Ramsey County reevaluating White Bear Avenue as alternative for METRO Purple Line route

Ramsey County is reevaluating using White Bear Avenue as an alternative route for the METRO Purple Line rapid transit proposal, according to a letter sent to Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams.

The letter says the county has “withdrawn our support for the submittal of federal rating documentation in August and will instead focus on the reevaluation of White Bear Ave as an alternative route for the Purple Line.” It was sent on March 22 from Trista MatasCastillo, the chair of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, as well as Rafael E. Ortega, the chair of the Ramsey County Regional Railroad, and county commissioner Victoria Reinhardt.

RELATED: Maplewood mayor considering withdrawing support for Purple Line transit project

Reached by phone, Mayor Abrams told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it’s a push in the right direction with the Purple Line.

“The one thing I think everyone agrees on, [is] we need more transit on the east side,” Abrams said. “Running the purple line up White Bear Ave is a real benefit for the residents and benefits.”

Officials had been considering running the Purple Line along Bruce Vento Trail, a pedestrian and bicycle trail, which received pushback from residents.

At a meeting earlier this week, Metro Transit Deputy General Manager Nick Thompson spoke at length with residents, noting maps would be drawn of the new alternative that goes over different routes.

“The process will involve a new corridor alternative with Maryland Avenue, White Bear Avenue and the existing route and looking at the connections around Maplewood,” Thompson said. He added that the Metropolitan Council is the lead on the project, along with Ramsey County.

Abrams said the next step is for Metro Transit to undergo an analysis phase for running the Purple Line along White Bear Avenue, and stressed she would like to see Century College involved in the process as well.

“It would be beneficial for the college, too, by providing bus options for students,” Abrams stated.