A new stairway-elevator tower connecting the St. Paul skyway to street-level transit at the Metro Green Line’s Central Station opened to the public June 5.
The stairway-elevator tower provides St. Paul commuters, residents and visitors a convenient link between the light-rail station and nearby bus waiting areas and businesses, offices and residences connected through the skyway. The stairway-elevator tower will also benefit those with limited mobility.
“This stairway-elevator tower builds on the excitement that is spreading throughout downtown St. Paul with the Green Line’s opening and reaffirms our commitment to making transit in the Twin Cities open and accessible to all individuals,” said Metropolitan Council Member Rich Kramer, who represents downtown St. Paul.
The $1.7 million project was made possible by an $800,000 federal grant received by Metro Transit. Additional funding came from the Green Line budget. The stairway-elevator tower was designed by St. Paul-based TKDA and built by Burnsville-based PCL Construction with support from Green Line staff.
Rick Cardenas, co-director of Advocating Change Together, was a strong advocate of the connection and on Thursday was given the chance to be the first to enter and use the elevator. Cardenas lives in downtown St. Paul and will board the Green Line at Central Station to commute to his University Avenue office.
“This elevator is going to make a big difference, especially during inclement weather,” Cardenas said. “Persons with mobility problems of any sort will utilize this option, making downtown St. Paul more viable for everyone.”
The stairway-elevator tower’s opening comes a week ahead of the Green Line’s grand opening. Green Line trains will begin service at 10 a.m. on June 14, and customers can ride free on all light-rail trains, buses and Northstar throughout the weekend.
On June 14, community celebrations will be held at several Green Line stations, including Central Station, where there will be live music and a “Skyway Open” mini-golf tournament.
“The opening of this connection is the beginning of many celebrations that will be happening along the Green Line,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. “The accessibility advocates and Metropolitan Council should be commended for getting this project completed. It will be a valuable asset for all those who connect to the regional transit system in downtown St. Paul.”
The Green Line is expected to see an average of 40,000 weekday boardings by 2030. The line includes 18 new stations, plus five stations shared with the Metro Blue Line in downtown Minneapolis.