From Michelle Dibblee, Senior Organizer

Two east metro corridors –Red Rock Corridor and the newly named “Gateway Corridor” along I-94 – are moving forward.  As I’ve learned in my work with Transit for Livable Communities, the opening of a new corridor is preceded by a long process of study and analysis, the wrangling of resources, and  the ups and downs of the political process. I’ve also learned to celebrate the long view – especially when it means that more and more people can be involved in the creation of a new transportation option. So let’s recognize these steps being taken for two east metro corridors – and, if you’re a resident along the Red Rock Corridor route, participate in a station area open house this week!

Red Rock Corridor, the proposed commuter rail line from St. Paul to Hastings, is hosting open houses for the four stations along the proposed route: Hastings (August 17), Cottage Grove (August 18), Newport (August 19), and Lower Afton Road in St. Paul (August 25). The Red Rock Commission also announced the appointment of three Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) members this month, filling the CAC for a total of 11 representatives from cities along the line. If all goes well, the line is expected to be operational by 2019.

The proposed Gateway Corridor along I-94 is picking up speed with the formation of the Gateway Corridor Commission and today’s announcement of a funded Alternatives Analysis. These are the first steps toward making a transit investment in this corridor a reality. The Alternatives Analysis will examine various routes and modes from demographic, engineering, and environmental perspectives. When it is completed in 2012, the expected outcome is a recommendation of several modes and/or routes for more in-depth study.

Here’s a thought to leave you with … given the nearly $700 million estimated cost of a proposed new St. Croix River bridge at Oak Park Heights, near Stillwater, Minnesota and all the negative environmental impacts, we at TLC think our first priority should be using available state and federal money to dramatically expand transit options in the east metro area – not to build a new highway bridge for residents of western Wisconsin.  Here is a link to the letter we wrote……What do you think?

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