May 28--More than 50 downtown residents attended a somewhat rancorous "listening session" on Tuesday night regarding a new Metro Transit bus stop in front of the River Park Lofts at 6th and Wacouta Streets.
Loft owners say the bus stop, which serves multiple routes, will draw bus riders directly outside their windows at all hours of the day and night. In addition to noise and fumes from idling buses, they expressed concerns about the potential for loud, unruly behavior.
The two-hour session, organized by the CapitolRiver Council's development review committee, also drew representatives from Metro Transit, the St. Paul mayor's office and city engineering.
City officials denied that the bus stop was moved from in front of the nearby Park Square Court building as a direct result of the recent 6th Street sidewalk expansion, which is accommodating outdoor seating near the Bin, Barrio and Bulldog restaurants. The Public Kitchen and Bar is under construction in the Park Square Court building.
Metro Transit officials say the 6th and Wacouta stop sits closer to the regional ballpark and further from the next stop, in front of the Mears Place Apartments. Construction could begin this year on a new bus shelter and sidewalk "bump-out" to accommodate an arterial Bus Rapid Transit line running from the Union Depot on Kellogg Boulevard to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington. If funded, the BRT line -- which would mostly follow West Seventh Street -- could open in late 2016.
Copyright 2014 - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.