A bus named TCAAP?

Met Council looks to extend bus service from Roseville through Arden Hills to TCAAP, but it won’t happen overnight

The Metropolitan Council announced recently that it would evaluate a future extension of the A Line (Snelling Avenue) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Rosedale Center north to the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) property in Arden Hills.

“We are exploring the possibility of a future extension to the planned bus rapid transit line,” said Met Council Chair Susan Haigh. “An extension of the A Line presents an opportunity for us to make a strategic investment to support the development of over 400 acres [TCAAP] in a prime location near the core urban area,” Haigh said. “Business leaders, elected officials and community members all told us that they see transit to that area of the region as key to future economic growth. Further study will tell us more about the possible benefits of extending the A Line all the way to Arden Hills.”

“We’re very glad to see that the Met Council is studying extending bus service through Arden Hills and to the TCAAP property,” said David Grant, mayor of Arden Hills. Even companies in business today on Lexington and Hamline avenues such as Land O’ Lakes and Boston Scientific would benefit from more bus options, he pointed out, as well as new entities that may occupy TCAAP land down the road.

The TCAAP Joint Development Authority, city of Arden Hills, and Ramsey County are working on a master plan for the site, which, according to Grant, would mostly be a mix of residential and commercial development that will be phased in over a ten to 15-year period.

Benefits of BRT

BRT is comprised of transit improvements adding up to a faster trip and a better experience for transit riders.

Beginning in 2015, the proposal reads, A-Line bus rapid transit on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway, and 46th Street will link riders to METRO LRT Lines and 24 regular bus routes. The Green Line will connect A Line riders to both downtowns; the Blue Line also connects riders to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America.

“BRT improves rider convenience and creates economic incentives for future development, “ according to a news release from the Metropolitan Council. The Council has identified $15 million of funding for the estimated $25 million cost of the A-Line and intends to begin detailed engineering of the line as currently planned to Rosedale in 2013, while still seeking funding to construct and open the line in 2015.

“The Council’s action will also increase the profile of transit within TCAAP development planning to maximize the site’s transit orientation and development potential,” says Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner.

Matt Kramer, President of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, notes that “The Council’s decision only validates what we all have long known, that transit acts as a catalyst to serve existing employers and riders as well as to promote future economic development.”

The TCAAP property, representing 427 acres, is the largest development opportunity in the core metropolitan area. Just miles from each downtown, the property is currently being remediated prior to a joint Ramsey County/City of Arden Hills development agreement that will guide future development. As an example of the continuing work, just one building of the original 44 structures on the property remains to be demolished.

So the process continues to move along; remember, it wasn’t so long ago that a bus to TCAAP meant the possibility of going to a Vikings game.

For more information on the A Line (Snelling Avenue BRT), see: http://www.metrotransit.org/snelling-brt.

For more information regarding TCAAP, visit http://tinyurl.com/ramsey-csah96.

Denny Lynard wishes to note that the last time he was in New Orleans he saw a bus on Desire Street. A bus named Desire just doesn’t seem to have the same impact as the streetcar. He can be reached at dlynard@lillienews.com or 651-748- 7823.  

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