Transitway planning marches on
Layover facility construction, Robert Street planning advanced
Despite concern regarding possible delays with the opening of Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit, the project also progressed April 24 with authorization for several planned and budgeted funding designations.
Dakota County commissioners, acting as the Regional Rail Authority, authorized spending up to $1.5 million of transitway project funds, as budgeted, to design and construct the planned Apple Valley Transit Station vehicle layover facility.
It is to be built on vacant land adjacent to the existing transit station and will have space for storing and staging up to 10 BRT vehicles.
The layover facility will be owned and maintained by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and will include a restroom and vending machines for drivers.
Final authorization also was granted to dedicate another $316,100 in Regional Rail levy funds for the purchase of seven sleek BRT buses designed for quick boarding and exiting, planned to provide quarter-hour stops at five stations on Cedar Avenue.
Those BRT vehicles are planned to run on bus-only shoulder lanes, while express bus service will continue to shuttle passengers to Minneapolis, St. Paul or the Mall of America for easy connections to other transportation systems including the Hiawatha Light Rail.
Timing and technology is key to the transitway operations, as routes must coordinate seamlessly with the regional transit system, Dakota County Transportation Director Mark Krebsbach said.
Forwarding that mission, commissioners authorized the planned addition of $200,000 for technology that will give buses signal priority at intersections.
Commissioners also approved an agreement for an expansion of a 2008 feasibility study that will examine transitway alternatives on Robert Street, running from downtown St. Paul to UMore Park in Rosemount.
Dakota County is leading that transitway project in partnership with Ramsey County and names numerous other state and federal entities as stakeholders, as well as 10 surrounding cities that include Eagan and Rosemount.
The study is expected to be completed by next year.
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com or facebook.com/sunthisweek.