More downtown bus station options offered in White Bear Lake

January 10, 2019 10:54 PM

A rapid bus transit line is planned for the east metro, and Thursday night residents in White Bear Lake learned more about the impact it might have on their community. 

The 14-mile Rush Line Project would make 21 stops between downtown St. Paul and White Bear Lake.

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RELATED: Bus line planned for St. Paul, White Bear Lake takes step forward

On Thursday, those behind the project presented ways to fix concerns some residents have. 

"Tonight's focus is on the downtown station," said Andrew Gitzlaff, the senior transportation planner for Ramsey County.

"We've been doing a lot of talking and a lot of listening"

Early planning placed the downtown bus station along 2nd and Clark Avenue, a busy area with shopping, a library and residential homes nearby.

"You don't want to put it right in the middle of downtown White Bear Lake, it doesn't fit good there," said Lee Dally, a resident of the community. 

Thousands of residents signed an online petition against the idea.

"That just shows the strength of opposition (to) this," said fellow community member Ed Cox. 

Officials said those concerns have been heard.

"We've gone and taken a step back," Gitzlaff said. 

On Thursday, Gitzlaff introduced five different options for a bus station - all within walking distance of downtown White Bear Lake.

"Every option is going to have it's own challenges, as well as opportunities," Gitzlaff said. 

In addition, the county is starting to scale back plans for a large parking structure, as well as keeping buses away from residential streets.

"Wherever we're going to fit it in, we're going to have to work on making sure it's compatible," Gitzlaff said. 

A rapid bus transit station may end up somewhere downtown soon, but many who live in White Bear Lake hope the city can maintain that sense of community. 

"I understand having bussing and the need for it," Cox said. "It's just do it right if we're going to do it." 

Officials said the project is still about five years from breaking ground.

Those who want to weigh in on the project can do so online.

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Brett Hoffland

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