By Charlotte Munkel-Olson, Community Organizer, and Emma Pachuta, Director of Programs
On March 7, the Saint Paul City Council voted overwhelmingly to support a recommendation for modern streetcar on West 7th Street. The move marks another major milestone for the Riverview Corridor project.
Saint Paul’s endorsement of Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) 4b is the latest in a series of votes needed from the cities and counties along the future transit line. The City of Bloomington and the Metropolitan Airports Commission also recently voted to affirm this recommended mode and route option.
Thanks to everyone who has spoken out to inform this project along the way!
TLC-Smart Trips staff not only played a role in making sure community members had a voice and a presence at recent project hearings and local meetings, we have spent more than a year engaging in Saint Paul’s West 7th, Highland Park, and Downtown communities along the Riverview Corridor. Our on-the-ground work has shown strong community support for transit, walking, and biking improvements in the corridor. We heard over and over from decision-makers how valuable this input from community was to inform the project.
In addition to the route and mode, we were excited to see a number of important factors included in the official resolution to help ensure the project is approached holistically and with community in mind:
• “A design that prioritizes pedestrian and bicyclist safety along the entirety of West 7th Street and meets the Saint Paul Complete Streets goals and the priorities of the updated Comprehensive plan.”
• “A detailed plan and budget for construction mitigation based on lessons learned from other transit projects in the region and best practices from around the country and developed in conjunction with small business owners along the corridor.”
• “A seamless connection between the West 7th Street portion of the Riverview Corridor with the branch that will serve the Ford site.”
Though we have held various community conversations, gathered 251 survey responses, and created yard signs supporting community togetherness throughout the Riverview Corridor, the work is far from over.
• Ramsey County and Hennepin County still need to vote on the LPA to keep this project moving forward.
• Once all 5 needed LPA votes are in, the LPA moves to the Metropolitan Council for inclusion in the region’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan. Riverview streetcar planning moves into the next phase, which will focus on Environmental Assessment.
• In 2018, Ramsey County Rail Authority also will move forward to secure funding for and begin a study to confirm how to best serve the Ford Corridor, including setting up a Policy Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee and a Citizens Advisory Committee.
Here’s what we need from you!
If you already have a Riverview yard sign or poster from us, continue to create positive support by keeping those signs visible and further reinforce the need for equitable, community-focused transportation. Our intention with creating these yard signs was not to solely rally support for the Locally Preferred Alternative, but to help Riverview Corridor community members vocalize what they envision their neighborhoods looking like through this process. Keep your signs up to show your neighbors that they’re not alone!
If you don’t have a yard sign or poster yet, sign up to get one. The yard signs and posters are free and can be picked up at our office or delivered to you!
You can also voice your support on social media with the hashtag #YESriverview.
Stay tuned for more updates and ways to keep influencing the Riverview streetcar project in the months ahead. In the meantime, consider getting involved in our ongoing work at the State Capitol to increase funding for multi-modal improvements just like this one. Catch up here and connect with Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-789-1418 to learn more.