Woodbury backs Gateway alignment plan, with conditions
The general location of Woodbury’s one and only Gateway Corridor bus rapid transit station, and the proposed BRT route, received support by local officials last week.
Last Wednesday, Woodbury City Council members approved a resolution in support of the locally preferred alternative (LPA) alignment for the section of the proposed Gateway Corridor that would run through Woodbury. The alignment begins and ends at a proposed park-and-ride station in Lake Elmo. From the station, the BRT route will go south on Manning Avenue, then west onto Hudson Road to Settlers Ridge Parkway. Woodbury’s proposed station is planned for the vicinity of Settlers Ridge Parkway.
From Woodbury’s proposed station, the route would continue north on Settlers Ridge Parkway, over Interstate 94, to Lake Elmo’s Hudson Boulevard.
The city of Woodbury supports the alignment. The LPA does not affect any of the traffic at Radio Drive or Woodbury Drive, which are the city’s — and Washington County’s — two busiest intersections. That was, Assistant Community Development Director Janelle Schmitz said, a concern with previous versions of the LPA.
“This LPA really only affects the alignment east of Settlers Ridge Parkway, but that anything west of that would remain unchanged, and for Woodbury, that was very important,” she said, “because some of the earlier alignments showed it coming into Woodbury a lot earlier and crossing over at Radio Drive or Woodbury Drive, and there’s some major traffic concerns that we had, as well as the county engineer, about what that impact would be.”
The city is also asking for assurances that the Gateway Corridor BRT line does not replace the existing express bus route that Woodbury residents have been using, Schmitz said. Rather, Woodbury officials would like to make sure that the express bus route is run in conjunction with, or in support of, the Gateway route.
The BRT line could have some other impacts to Woodbury in the future, and in the way that the area surrounding the future station will be planned, Schmitz said.
“We have to work with the Met Council and the landowner to develop a plan for that area that can be tied into our 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Our focus, as we’ve said all along, is on place to work, so we want to continue to work with the Met Council and the landowner in defining how that looks and what that becomes in Woodbury,” she said.
The city also asks that a feeder bus network be included for the Woodbury area, as well. Though much of the alignment is on the north side of the freeway, city staff feels that a feeder system that connects into the Gateway route at various points will be beneficial to all parts of the community, Schmitz said.
Finally, Schmitz said, the city of Woodbury wants to make clear that it not only supports the refined LPA for the Gateway Corridor, but that it also fully supports increased investment in the East Metro’s entire transportation system.
“We have always been a strong advocate for transportation improvements, and our support of a transit improvement of this nature in the East Metro would not take away from our transportation support,” she said. “This again is to supplement, not in lieu of, transportation. We need both of those to complement each other.”
The resolution supporting the recommended LPA alignment was passed on a 4-1 vote. Councilmember Christopher Burns cast the dissenting vote.