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Weigh in on proposed Gold Line routes

Before we know if the Gold Line bus-rapid transit Route will turn into Woodbury Village, the Gateway Corridor Commission is seeking public feedback at an open house next Wednesday.

Before the commission selects a route for the eastern part of the line, the commission needs to gather public input at the open house as well as online. The event runs from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale.

The Gold Line will connect downtown St. Paul and the east metro along Interstate 94 on dedicated bus lanes.

Bus rapid transit, or BRT, has been slowly making its way to the Twin Cities’ metro after the opening of the Red Line in 2013, which connects Apple Valley to the Mall of America. Earlier this summer, Metro Transit debuted the A-Line BRT, which cuts through St. Paul’s Snelling Avenue and connects the 46th Street Light Rail station to Rosedale Mall.

Like those lines, the Gold Line will operate similar to light rail transit, where passengers pay before they they board and buses dock into stations for 10 to 15 seconds and will arrive at stations more frequently than other bus lines.

The Gateway Corridor Commission, a body of public officials across different counties, cities and other organizations, needed to find an alternative route for the line’s eastern section following Lake Elmo’s withdrawal from the project.

The commission presented potential alternative routes in August, including one that would cross the interstate on a new bridge as the route turns south into Woodbury along Bielenberg Drive.

Other routes the commission is considering could terminate in Inwood Drive in Oakdale, as well as another that would by running along Hudson Road in Woodbury and terminate near Manning Avenue.

Officials say they are considering these routes because of future and existing development.

In light of shorter routes, the project’s original $485 million estimate will likely decrease anywhere from $25 to $75 million, depending on which route the commission selects, said Washington County Planner Lyssa Leitner. Daily ridership projections have also decreased to about 7,400, down from 8,000 because the route would have fewer stops.

Those who attend the open houses will be able to learn more about the routes and offer feedback on the project.

An advisory committee will be drawing up a draft of a preferred route at its Oct. 13 Policy Advisory Committee meeting based on in-person and emailed comments.

Officials say they plan to select a route by the end of the year.

Those who cannot attend the open house can submit feedback online under the contact page at thegatewaycorridor.com.

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