Officials recently announced the preferred routing for the eastern segment of Gateway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), with proposed branding as the METRO Gold Line.
Like the Red Line running between Mall of America and Apple Valley, this will give suburban Park & Ride users a one-seat ride to a secondary job core and a two-seat ride to our region’s primary job center. Unlike the Red Line which runs on Cedar Avenue (a freeway which turns into a stroad in Apple Valley), the Gold Line is proposed to run on secondary and frontage roads rather than Interstate 94. Just as with the Red Line, which used transit capital dollars to significantly expand automobile capacity and reduce long-term replacement liabilities for automobile infrastructure in the corridor, infrastructure opportunists have already taken advantage of the Gold Line to push for unnecessary projects.
Will the Gold Line be akin to the Blue or Green Lines but for the rubber tires? Join me on a virtual tour of the newly-announced preferred corridor, heading east from I-494.
Helmo Avenue, Oakdale
While this station area is currently half surrounded by fields at the moment, that may surely change. Other than fields, the station area is largely surrounded by warehouses and other structures scaled to the movement of semi trucks, and a few townhome developments with a hierarchical roadway network inherently problematic for transit station walkability. Walkscore: 22
Inwood Avenue, Oakdale
This station is between Oak Marsh Golf Course and the back side of the Oakdale Village Shopping Center. You can walk to the backside of Buffalo Wild Wings or Sport Clips. Walkscore: 26
Keats Avenue, Lake Elmo
Interestingly enough, this station isn’t at Keats Avenue, its dot on the map is a over a half mile west along the I-94 frontage road. Imagine leaving a Saints game expecting to catch a bus at Mears Park, but you have to walk west to Wabasha to the actual bus stop. But you have to walk on the shoulder of a high-speed frontage road between a farm field and a freeway. Walkscore: 8
Settlers Ridge Parkway, Woodbury
This country corner has a four way stop surrounded by four farm fields. Seriously. Not making this up. Walkscore: A Generous 4
Manning Avenue Park & Ride, Lake Elmo
Well, at least we’re being honest here with the station name… This is drive-up transit rather than walk-up transit. We’ll buy ridership with expensive parking spaces provided for free. Walkscore: 0