Red Rock Corridor plans coming along

The proposed Red Rock Corridor bus rapid transit line would connect southwest suburbs as far out as Hastings to St. Paul. The route would link up with the Gateway Corridor’s stops in Dayton’s Bluff before continuing on into downtown St. Paul. (submitted graphic)
The proposed Red Rock Corridor bus rapid transit line would connect southwest suburbs as far out as Hastings to St. Paul. The route would link up with the Gateway Corridor’s stops in Dayton’s Bluff before continuing on into downtown St. Paul. (submitted graphic)

East Side stops added to plan

East Side residents could one day use a bus rapid transit line to go to jobs in Cottage Grove.

By the same route, southwest suburbanites from Newport all the way down to Hastings could easily travel into the East Side to visit restaurants or go to school at Metropolitan State University, or commute to work in downtown St. Paul. And from there, they could link up with other transit lines such as the Green Line light rail route between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

That’s the vision of the Red Rock Corridor, a proposed bus rapid transit line that would connect the southwest suburbs to downtown St. Paul’s Union Depot along the historic 30-mile Red Rock Corridor, which is known historically as a regional auto, truck and rail route.

An open house about the project will take place in St. Paul Park’s City Hall building on Wednesday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The line would connect up with the proposed Gateway Corridor in Dayton’s Bluff, taking advantage of already planned bus stops. The Gateway Corridor, another proposed BRT line that would travel between downtown and the eastern suburbs near the Interstate-94 corridor, includes five proposed stops in the St. Paul’s 7th Ward. Red Rock would plug into three of those.

Though the Red Rock was formerly envisioned as a commuter line for 9-to-5 downtown workers, transportation planners have expanded the vision in the past year or so to include travel options throughout the day and evening.

Unlike the Gateway Corridor with its dedicated guideway, the plan for the Red Rock corridor would be to implement it in phases, and the line would operate in mixed traffic along U.S. Highway 61, similar to the recently launched A Line along Snelling Avenue.

Though funding isn’t located yet, project manager Lyssa Leitner says planners will look to federal funding sources, as well as regional grants through the regional public development entity Metropolitan Council.

Planning for Red Rock is still somewhat preliminary — public comments are open through Jan. 20 on the proposed route, stops, and mode, after which the transit line’s planning commission will start laying out a plan for implementation. That plan will map out a years-long process to install the route.

Notably, the route has been under consideration since at least 1998 when the Red Rock Corridor Commission was established, but has recently gained traction as revised plans have emerged.

For more information on the proposed transit line, visit www.redrockcorridor.com.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com

 

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