Monday, February 3, 2014

Gateway Corridor summary

Gateway Corridor Fiasco
The Gateway Corridor (gold line) is a needless east-metro transit plan to replace the existing express buses that already run successfully on I-94 (MetroTransit express 294, limited stop 350, express 351, express 353, express 355, express 375), using the shoulder to move around traffic and take commuters to downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis without stopping. Gateway wants $485 million to build a dedicated bus lane that ends at Union Depot.

October 15, 2015 - “At Oak Meadows Senior Living in Oakdale, a large group of citizens from Fourth Street in Oakdale rose up and rebelled against plans by Gateway Corridor proponents to destroy their beautiful residential street and neighborhood by jamming down their throats a dedicated-bus-lane project...” [more]

October 7, 2015 - A 3:30pm meeting of the St. Paul City Council at 15 W Kellogg Blvd, 3rd floor will vote to rezone properties along Gateway Corridor.
   •  meeting information: Gold Line station plans & zoning study
   •  list of St. Paul properties to be rezoned (pdf, 6 pages) 
       includes properties north & south of I-94 (homes on Pacific, McLean...)
   •  Sun Ray shopping center complaint & scheme (pdf)
   •  Gateway Corridor - Gold Line station plans & HRA marketing study
   •  East Side Review - October 4, 2015
The rezoning vote was pushed by appointed (unelected) St. Paul city councilor Bill Finney. On November 3rd, a new ward 7 city councilor will be elected.

Inspections are next, then code violations, then condemnations (eminent domain). Thanks to Mr. Finney and the St. Paul City Council.

September 14, 2015 - The Federal Transit Administration announced that the Metropolitan Council will receive $1 million to make a Gateway Corridor - Transit Oriented Development plan. Gateway Corridor has been planning to send as many as 20 people to Washington DC on October 7th. (They took 30 on a trip to Los Angeles in 2014.) With money on the way, maybe they won't spendthousands of dollars flying 20 transit people to DC. They've moved some letters to change their name to Getaway Corridor.

September 3, 2015 - Lake Elmo wary of Gateway Corridor bus line - Star Tribune

July 24, 2015 - Gold Line SAP meeting Friday, July 24 at 8:30am at St. Paul City Hall.

March 2015 - a Woodbury survey found 52% of residents said they were not too likely or not at all likely to use bus rapid transit. And the price of Gateway Corridor BRT went up $35 million.

March 9, 2015 - Two sets of bills wanted another $3 million for Gateway Corridor:
House File 1616 (status) and Senate File 1464 (status) Gateway Corridor wants $3 million from the general fund
House File 1617 (status) and Senate File 1463 (status) Gateway Corridor wants $3 million from the sale of bonds

January 2015 - Governor Dayton announced a plan to increase the gas tax for roads, bridges, and the 3rd-Kellogg transit bridge. The plan also increases sales taxes, vehicle licenses, and car tabs for light rail and BRT.

December 2014 - Gateway wants more gold. Tans from the Gateway Corridor Commission's June 2014 tour of Los Angeles have faded, so they want more study money from the Minnesota Legislature in 2015. Gateway wants $3 million more. They also say they will ask for 50% of construction costs from the Federal Transit Administration in 2015. (It's always “next year,” isn't it?) But language in the FY2014 federal spending bill limits future federal spending on new starts to 40% (H.R. 83, page 1461, summary) and eliminates funding for local improvements. The $3 million does not include the $40 million they want to tear down the Third Street (Kellogg) bridge instead of repairing the bridge for less than $8 million (details below).

December 2014 - Highway-Rail Grade Crossings and Rail Safety report. Of 683 rail crossings of oil trains in Minnesota, 102 crossings are a high priority for safety improvements.

October 2014 - Another $100,000 study money was thrown at Gateway Corridor from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to explain how the Gateway bus might help the health of the east metro.

September 25, 2014 - Infrastructure Opportunists and the Kellogg Bridge” by Matt Steele at offers a better plan for the Third Street (Kellogg) bridge. The annual average daily traffic (AADT) numbers are:
   •    9,900 for Third Street (Kellogg) 4 lane bridge
   •  13,900 for Smith Avenue 2 lane bridge (High Bridge)
   •  21,200 for Seventh Street bridge over Swede Hollow
   •  31,500 for the Snelling & University avenue intersection
   •  95,000 for Interstate 94 at White Bear Avenue

September 24, 2014 - St. Paul is seeking Federal and state money for the rarely used Third Street (Kellogg) bridge connecting St. Paul's Lowertown and Dayton's Bluff. They say the bridge built in 1982 is not up to Federal code. The code violation was not discovered during the intensive bridge inspections following the I-35W bridge collapse. Bridge repairs would cost up to $8 million. A $40 million replacement bridge could have:
   •  pedestrian walkways
Third Street Bridge (Kellogg) in St. Paul, Minnesota
   •  bike lanes
   •  an ice-melting system
   •  Saints ballpark scenic overlook
   •  bus rapid transit lanes for Gateway Corridor
   •  connections for a potential Rush line train (through the former Bruce Vento Sanctuary and Swede Hollow Park).
Construction businesses parked in Lowertown, having just worked on the green line light rail, Union Depot, the Saints ballpark, and the Lafayette Bridge are looking for the next big government contract in the area.

August 31, 2014 (Sunday) - The ten week old Green Line light rail train hit and killed a woman at the intersection of University Avenue and Emerald Street SE in the Prospect Park neighborhood at 10:15am. The train operator applied some form of brakes but was not able to stop the train in time.

August 28, 2014 (Friday) - Minneapolis City Council voted on Southwest Corridor at 9:30am in room 317 of Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415, 612-673-3000. The vote was 10-3 for spending $1.65 billion on a commuter light rail train (before Target layoffs).

July 2014 - Fresh from their vacation in Los Angeles, the Gateway Corridor Commission decided to pick bus rapid transit (BRT). The BRT route they picked runs on the disjointed, residential Hudson Road in St. Paul. The BRT route messes with the one-way traffic in front of the 3M headquarters in Maplewood and takes over 4th Street North in Oakdale and Hudson Blvd in Lake Elmo. After avoiding most of Woodbury, the route jogs inexplicably south to tag the northeast corner of Woodbury and ends before Manning Av (map).

June 2014 - The Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway
Administration requested that Gateway Corridor proposal be resubmitted
with the option of a managed lane on I-94. Meanwhile thirty members of the Gateway Corridor Commission left town and took a fact-finding vacation in Los Angeles (Los Angeles?!? How does LA have anything to do with Woodbury?  Visiting the BRT red line in Apple Valley would have more appropriate.).

Despite years of taxpayer-funded studies and meetings, the Gateway Corridor Commission can't understand that the existing bus transit is the safest, most flexible, most efficient, and most economical transit for the East Metro.

Are they really wanting to put it on Hudson Road?

► Do they realize Hudson Road is residential in Saint Paul?

► Do they realize Hudson Road is a disconnected street? It stops and starts.

► Has the Gateway Corridor contacted each of the residents and received their willingness to move?

What is the Gateway Corridor -- bus or train?

The Gateway Corridor Commission couldn't decide what type of vehicle they wanted (bus, train, or gondola) or where they should put it, until 30 members took a taxpayer funded vacation to Los Angeles in June 2014.

►   Metro Council and Minnesota Department of Transportation have said that bus rapid transit in managed lanes should be considered for the Gateway Corridor, which might run eastward from Union Depot in St. Paul toward Wisconsin along Interstate 94. Buses would travel on existing pavement and leave the interstate to stop at transit stations. - Pioneer Press 

►   East metro citizens do not want light rail, according to signed petitions, open house meetings, and surveys taken by state representatives. "In a recent survey of her constituents, Rep. Andrea Kieffer, a Republican from Woodbury, [said] most don’t want light rail in the area. Rep. Kathy Lohmer said her survey had similar findings.” - Woodbury Patch

"Residents and business owners voiced their concerns about plans for transit along the Gateway Corridor... All seven audience members who spoke opposed the corridor plan... Tom Giannetti, who owns St. Paul Harley-Davidson, which sits along I-94 near Century Avenue, said the proposed route could cut into his property and poses 'the single biggest threat to my business.'” - Pioneer Press
Light rail would wipe out the 75 space parking lot. - Lilli News 

►   The Gateway Corridor settled on bus rapid transit in fall of 2012. The Minnesota Legislature voted in 2013 to allow Woodbury to create bus rapid transit. - Star Tribune

►  Minneapolis-Saint Paul has the fastest U.S. metropolitan highways according to Texas A&M and Streets.MN. Here is a picture of weekday morning traffic on I-94 on the east side of Saint Paul. The east metro lacks the ridership, congestion, urban density, or population increase to justify bus rapid transit, let alone light capacity rail.

►   Carrying capacity differs between buses, light rail trains (light capacity), and heavy rail trains (heavy capacity). “The willingness of many rail advocates to support high-cost, low-capacity rail lines calls into question the entire rail agenda. Supporters of low-capacity lines are not truly interested in transportation.” - Cato Institute & UTA TRAX response (operating at only 21.8% of capacity)

Is light rail safe? Is light rail good for business?

►  Here is a list of light rail crashes and the causes (with news links)

►  Here is a list of businesses impacted by the Central Corridor (with news links)

►  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a list of needed rail safety improvements in January 2014, including:
•  Promote Operational & Developmental Safety in Rail Mass Transit - promote organizational safety culture, training safety, maintenance safety, address and reduce fatigue and human error, adopt close-call reporting systems, and promote operational safety through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) oversight, which should start at development. [html, pdf]
•  Implement Positive Train Control Systems - monitor the location and movement of trains, then slow or stop a train that is not being operated in accordance with signal systems or operating rules. This safety redundancy prevents train-to-train collisions and overspeed derailments, as well as the associated injuries and fatalities to passengers, railway workers, and others. PTC systems are not a dream; they are in use on the Northeast Corridor in the Northeast United States and on the Michigan Line between Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan. [html, pdf]

►   Minnesota has one rail safety inspector for the entire state. - Star Tribune, Minnesota law

Does the Gateway Corridor contribute to urban sprawl and the Wisconsin Reciprocity Tax Deficit?

►  Younger families are moving to the Minneapolis urban core instead of Woodbury. - Star Tribune (chart)

►  Wisconsin owes millions of tax dollars to Minnesota for its commuter residents. Gateway Corridor wants to increase Wisconsin's debt by providing transit for Wisconsin residents who work in Minnesota. Governor Walker agrees $60 million is owed to Minnesota but will only pay the bill if Wisconsin's employment situation improves. - WXOW-19 LaCrosse, Star Tribune (update

► The Gateway Corridor will not cross the St. Croix River into Wisconsin. - Finance & Commerce

► The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area - Transit System Map 2014 shows some of the bus and train coverage of the Minneapolis - Saint Paul area.
Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Transit System Map 2014
Twin Cities 2014 Transit System Map

Has any money already been spent? Can't more money be flushed away?

CH2M Hill (Englewood, CO)  =  $1.5 million (2011)
Kimley Horn (Raleigh, NC)     <  $3 million (2013)
Jeff Dehler Public Relations (Crystal, MN) = $100,000 (2013)
Jeff Dehler Public Relations (Crystal, MN) = $110,000 (2014)
► Bus rapid transit on Hudson Road would cost over $400 million. Bus rapid transit on a managed lane on I-94 would cost $520 million. Light rail transit on Hudson Road would cost over $1 billion.
► Gateway Corridor received more money from the 2014 legislature and took 30 people on a fact-finding vacation tour of Los Angeles in June 2014.

Should 3M name all the stations on the Gateway Corridor (bus, train, plane)?

►  Scotch® Magic Tape transit station
►  Nexcare™ Steri-Strip™ Skin Closures for injured pedestrians
►  Non-post consumer Post-It® temporary transit station
►  3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes station
►  Imation™ Floppy Disk terminal (as modern as train technology)
- Star Tribune

Probably not. 3M closed its Saint Paul campus a few years ago. Is 3M planning to close its Maplewood headquarters too? Is Gateway Corridor transit just a tool to help sell the 3M property in Maplewood? 3M held its first annual meeting outside of Minnesota this year. The meeting was in Austin, Texas on May 13, 2014.

►   Gateway Corridor Steering Committee?!? You can't steer light rail. Joke? - Lillie News

The East Metro of Minneapolis-Saint Paul is a good place to live. Saint Paul's east side is a great place to live. It is not a gated community. It's diverse. It has no high profile destinations, no flashy museums or malls or casinos. It has the native Mounds Park, which is great and historic. It has the picturesque Lake Phalen. It has great bus and express bus service. It does not need or want a $1.2 billion light rail line to nowhere.

Make a difference. Make your voice heard. Tell your story.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton   651-296-3391
Office of the Governor, 130 State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Representative Tim Kelly, Transportation Policy and Finance Committee Chair   651-296-8635
559 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Representative  Linda Runbeck, Subcommittee on Metropolitan Council Accountability and Transparency  Chair  651-296-2907
417 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Representative Tony Albright (55B)   651-296-5185
387 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Representative Tim Mahoney (67A)   651-296-4277
591 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Representative Sheldon Johnson (67B)   651-296-4201
549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Senator Richard Cohen, Senate Finance Committee Chair
web mail   651-296-5931
121 Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155

Minnesota Senator D. Scott Dibble, Transportation and Public Safety Committee chair   651-296-4191
111 Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Minnesota Senator Foung Hawj (District 67)
web mail   651-296-5285
Capitol, Room G-24, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155-1606

Find your Minnesota Representative and Minnesota Senator by zip codes

Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck   651-602-1390
  ► Chair, Corridors of Opportunity (aka Partnership of Regional Opportunity

Metropolitan Council District 13 (St. Paul) Richard Kramer   651-774-4971

Metropolitan Council District 14 (St. Paul) Jon Commers   651-645-4644

Metro Transit   651-602-1500, 612-373-3333
560 Sixth Av N, Minneapolis, MN 55411

Ramsey County District 6 Commissioner Jim McDonough   651-266-8350
Ramsey County Board Office, Room 220 Court House, 15 W Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102
  ► Chair, Ramsey County Board
  ► Chair, East Metro Transit Alliance
  ► Member, Minnesota Transportation Alliance (aka Move MN)
  ► Member, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB)
  ► Member, Corridors of Opportunity (aka Partnership of Regional Opportunity)
  ► Member, Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority (RCRRA)

Ramsey County District 5 Commissioner Rafael Ortega   651-266-8361
  ► Chair, Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority (RCRRA)
  ► Vice-chair, Gateway Corridor Commission
  ► Member, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB)

Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik   651-430-6215
  ► Chair, Gateway Corridor Commission
  ► Member, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB)
  ► Member, Corridors of Opportunity (aka Partnership of Regional Opportunity)

Gateway Corridor Commission   651-430-4300
Washington County Regional Railroad, 11660 Myeron Road N, Stillwater, MN 55082

Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County 4th District Commissioner   612-348-7884
A-2400 Government Center, 300 South 6th St., Minneapolis, MN 55487
  ► Chair, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB)
  ► Chair, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA)
  ►  Member, Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board (SWMCB)
  ►  Member, Corridors of Opportunity (aka Partnership of Regional Opportunity)
  ►  Member, Central Corridor Management Committee (CCMC)
  ►  Member, Southwest LRT Community Works Steering Committee (SWLRTCWSC)
  ►  Member, Metro Transit’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)
  ►  Member, MnDOT Transportation Finance Advisory Committee (TFAC)
Peter McLaughlin's “principal aideBrian Shekleton is also the vice president of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (conflict of interest)   612-348-5204

Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) Marisol Simon   312-353-2789
200 W Adams St, Suite 2410, Chicago, IL 60606

Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) Elizabeth Zelasko Patel  202-366-0244
1200 New Jersey Av SE, E45-340, Washington, DC 20590
FTA Office of Planning and Environment - projects permitting contact

United States Representative Betty McCollum
web mail   651-224-9191, 202-225-6631
165 Western Avenue North, Suite 17, St. Paul, MN 55102

United States Representative Keith Ellison
web mail   612-522-1212
2100 Plymouth Av N, Minneapolis, MN 55411

United States Senator Amy Klobuchar
web mail (  612-727-5220, 202-224-3244
1200 Washington Av S. Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55415

United States Senator Al Franken
web mail (  651-221-1016,  202-224-5641
60 E. Plato Blvd. Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55107

United States President Barack Obama 
web mail   202-456-1111
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
We The People - the White House petition

Rail~Volution 2014 at the Hyatt Downtown Minneapolis - September 21-24, 2014  612-486-5611

East Side Transit Spotlight

The East Side Transit Spotlight was a Gateway Corridor opposition meeting that took place on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 6-8 pm at the Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center, 790 Conway Street in St. Paul. The meeting included a short movie, Is the Gateway Corridor Hudson Road Alignment a Pure Illusion?

The movie shows several congestion-free views of Interstate-94 in the east metro, with highway-level and aerial views, but the narration does not call attention to the lack of congestion. The narration lists many businesses east of Ruth Street that would be impacted by the proposed plan but fails to list the businesses west of Ruth that would be impacted. The video jumps between several disconnected parts of Hudson Road without addressing the problems of making connections. It turns the camera away from showing all the houses that would be impacted by rapid transit on their doorsteps. It fails to mention the bus-or-train indecision, the huge costs, replacing the existing-effective express buses, increasing urban sprawl, and Minnesota funding transit for Wisconsin. The movie was created by Steve Ellenwood & Bob Tatreau.


  1. "Does the Gateway Corridor contribute to urban sprawl and the Wisconsin Reciprocity Tax Deficit?"

    Logic check?

    a) There isn't a WI-MN reciprocity agreement anymore, so how would that deficit be "contributed to"? And from the looks of things there's no deal in sight regarding reciprocity.

    b) The younger families moving to urban core hurts your argument more than helps. If ever anything, you've proved that better transit options increase the perceived worth of a neighborhood's livability for younger families and indirectly improve property costs.

  2. a) Governor Walker agrees $60 million is owed to Minnesota but will only pay the bill if Wisconsin's employment situation improves.

    b) "If ever anything" -- Minneapolis and Saint Paul sprawl has never been limited by geographical boundaries like other cities. Heavy infrastructure rail is not the answer.