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Woodbury key component in I-94 transit options

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Woodbury figures prominently in a slate of transit options connecting the Twin Cities with Eau Claire, Wis., announced Wednesday by a transportation commission.

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The seven transit options presented by the Gateway Corridor Commission include mixes of bus traffic, light rail and commuter rail. The commission, formed in 2009, is tasked with studying and planning alternative transportation options along I-94.

The options will be presented at Feb. 24 meeting at Woodbury City Hall. Following public input, the commission's study team will look at possible station locations, service frequency and park-and-ride facilities, which will be presented in the spring, according to a press release.

The options outlined by the commission are:

Option 1 : Express Buses from St. Paul-Minneapolis to Woodbury

The first option would maintain the current express bus service between downtown St. Paul-Minneapolis and Woodbury. Buses would continue to operate on highway shoulders when general traffic is 35 mph or less. This option would include future Park & Ride lots throughout the corridor.

Option 2 : Express Buses from St. Paul-Minneapolis to Eau Claire

The second option would allow express buses to operate between downtown St. Paul-Minneapolis and Eau Claire. Express buses would use highway shoulders when the speed of general traffic is 35 mph or less. In addition to express bus service, this option would analyze a managed lane of traffic, such as a MnPass lane. This option would add Park & Ride lots throughout the corridor.

Option 3 : Bus-Rapid Transit from Minneapolis to Hudson on I-94

The third option would incorporate BRT in an exclusive bus-only lane from Minneapolis to Hudson, primarily along I-94. The route would start in downtown Minneapolis following I-94 to Ayd Mill Road and I-35E to the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, then continuing on Seventh Street or Warner Road onto I-94 to Hudson. Express buses would connect Hudson to Eau Claire.

Option 4 : Bus-Rapid Transit from Minneapolis to Hudson through St. Paul's Eastside

The fourth option would also operate BRT in 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

The fifth option would incorporate LRT from St. Paul to Hudson. The route would start at the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul and connect 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 Eastside

The sixth option would also operate LRT from St. Paul 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 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

The seventh option would incorporate commuter rail service from downtown Minneapolis to Eau Claire. The route 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.

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Michael Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. His coverage includes local crime, legislative activity and prep sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
(651) 702-0973
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