General manager, Duluth Transit Authority
In April, the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) will begin construction activity on a new intermodal transportation center located in the heart of downtown. The new transit center has been in the planning process for more than 10 years and became a reality in 2009 when the DTA was awarded a $16 million FTA capital grant as partial funding of the project. The total project budget is set at $28.5 million and will be a public/private partnership with the balance of the funding coming from the DTA, state of Minnesota bonding and private investment.
The new multimodal transportation center will resolve several longstanding issues in downtown Duluth affecting automobile traffic, bus operations, the safety and security of pedestrians and the DTA’s 12,000 daily passengers. The new facility will be located one block off of Superior Street, the main downtown corridor, at the convergence of the city’s renowned skywalk system. This is a network of elevated walkways providing all-weather pedestrian access to major business, retail and hospitality facilities throughout the downtown area.
The new terminal will include a passenger lobby with restrooms, ticket counters and seating. The building will include eight covered loading bays for DTA buses as well as accommodations for Jefferson Lines intercity bus services, other regional bus services, taxi, ride-share and vanpool parking, electric vehicle charging stations, secure bicycle storage, a drive-thru banking station, plus 380 public parking spaces and a sub-station staffed by the Duluth Police Department. The facility will also be one block from the historic St. Louis County Depot, which will serve as the terminal for the planned Northern Lights commuter rail service between Duluth and the Twin Cities.
In addition to resolving congestion and parking issues in the downtown area, the project is planned as the solution to pedestrian connectivity issues between the downtown commercial district and the city’s popular Lake Superior tourist area. The completion of the Interstate 35 corridor through Duluth in the early 90’s restricted pedestrian access between the downtown and the waterfront area. An important component of the DTA’s construction project includes the rebuilding of the “Northwest Passage,” the major skywalk link spanning Interstate 35 that will connect directly from the DTA’s new intermodal center to the waterfront convention center. Bicycles will also be accommodated on this section of the skywalk system.
The DTA has also initiated a traffic signal preemption project for the downtown area. The relocation of the DTA’s transfer hub will require the re-routing of buses and result in significant changes to downtown traffic patterns. This $810,000 project will upgrade traffic signals along the Superior Street corridor that will be coordinated with police, fire, emergency vehicles and DTA buses. Buses departing the new intermodal terminal will be staged by traffic control signals that will be timed to allow the buses to move quickly through the downtown area. The DTA is projecting a completion date of December 2015 for these projects.
President, Siemens Rail Systems (U.S.)
Siemens is very excited about what’s going on in America’s mass transportation arena. And in 2014, we think people will be surprised by how much they’ll see Siemens across different modes of transportation. While Siemens has made its name in light rail, you’ll now see us branching out more in newer areas.
America will finally see Siemens’ new made-in-America electric locomotives in full service along the Northeast and Keystone corridors. These locomotives are part of a 70-vehicle deal, first announced in 2010. These locomotives are capable of reaching speeds of 125 mph, hauling a train of 12 single-level passenger coaches, are energy efficient and made with components provided by 69 businesses across the country. They’re also manufactured at our Sacramento, Calif., plant, which is 80 percent powered by solar energy.