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Transit options listed for I-94 to and from parts east

Seven possible new transit options along I-94 heading in and out of the Twin Cities from the east — including express buses, light rail, bus rapid transit and commuter rail — are being studied by the Gateway Corridor Commission and will be presented

Seven possible new transit options along I-94 heading in and out of the Twin Cities from the east — including express buses, light rail, bus rapid transit and commuter rail — are being studied by the Gateway Corridor Commission and will be presented at public hearings later this month and in April.

The seven options, which were pared from a list of 20 alternatives, are:

Option 1: Express Buses from St. Paul-Minneapolis to Woodbury, which would maintain the current express bus service between downtown St. Paul-Minneapolis and Woodbury.

Option 2: Express Buses from St. Paul-Minneapolis to Eau Claire, which would also consider a managed traffic lane, such as MnPass.

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Option 3: Bus-Rapid Transit from Minneapolis to Hudson on I-94, an exclusive bus-only lane from Minneapolis to Hudson, primarily along I-94. Express buses would connect Hudson to Eau Claire.

Option 4: Bus-Rapid Transit from Minneapolis to Hudson through St. Paul’s Eastside, an exclusive bus lane from downtown Minneapolis to Hudson along a route that veers north of I-94 into St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff and Battle Creek Park neighborhoods.

Two possible alignments for this option are a St. Paul to Oakdale to Woodbury alignment and a St. Paul to Woodbury alignment. Similar to Option 3, the route would start in downtown Minneapolis and continue to the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. The route continues from Seventh Street onto either Minnehaha Avenue or Third Street connecting to Hudson Road near Radio Drive. The route would follow Hudson Road and connect to I-94, then continue to Hudson. Express buses would connect Hudson to Eau Claire.   

Option 5: Light Rail Transit from St. Paul to Hudson on I-94: starting at the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul and connecting to I-94 from either Seventh Street or Warner Road, then continue to Hudson. At the Union Depot, commuters would connect with Central Corridor LRT to continue onto Minneapolis. Express buses would connect Hudson to Eau Claire.

Option 6: Light Rail Transit from St. Paul to Hudson through St. Paul’s East Side: along a route that veers north of I-94 into St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff and Battle Creek Park neighborhoods. Two possible alignments for this option are a St. Paul to Oakdale to Woodbury alignment and a St. Paul to Woodbury alignment. Similar to Option 4, the route would start at the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, and continue from Seventh Street onto either Minnehaha Avenue or Third Street connecting to Hudson Road near Radio Drive. The route would follow Hudson Road and connect to I-94, then continue to Hudson. Express buses would connect Hudson to Eau Claire.

Option 7: Commuter Rail from Minneapolis to Eau Claire: It would start in Minneapolis and follow either the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway route north of I-94 through St. Paul’s Midway or follow the Canadian Pacific Railway south of I-94 along Ayd Mill Road to the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. The route would continue from the Union Depot along the Union Pacific Railroad route north of I-94 to Eau Claire. The route would travel northeast to St. Paul’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood, through Maplewood and Oakdale. The route continues to parallel to Highway 5 into downtown Lake Elmo before veering south of Bayport and crossing the St. Croix River into North Hudson. The route then continues north of I-94 to Eau Claire.