Cedar BRT corridor plans take shape
Thursday, 07 August 2008
|Noise walls will likely be necessary by Laura Adelmann
After years of waiting and planning, Dakota County officials are scrambling to allow Cedar Avenue transit construction activities to begin by next spring.
During a Regional Rail Authority meeting Aug. 5, commissioners recommended the county be given the power to acquire transit right of way through negotiation or eminent domain.
Quick action is needed to gain property rights to allow development of bus-rapid-transit stations along the corridor, some widening of Cedar Avenue and changes to the Apple Valley Transit Station.
Under the recommendation of the Regional Rail Authority, which is made up of County Board members, the county would also take over budgeting, legal assistance and financial management of the RRA funds.
Recent progress of the Cedar Avenue BRT project includes development of a preliminary layout and the identification of potential stop locations, said Kristine Elwood, Cedar Avenue project manager.
Transit Manager Dan Krom said two platform stops are planned along Cedar Avenue on either side of 140th Street and another on the west side of 147th Street, with two options for consideration.
Elwood added that environmental studies show five residential areas in Lakeville and Apple Valley may require noise walls to keep in compliance with federal noise standards.
“There’s two in Lakeville and three in Apple Valley,” Elwood said, adding that the county will be working with the cities and residents regarding the noise issues.
As part of the project, Cedar Avenue will also be expanded to accommodate bus shoulders, turn lanes and intersection improvements.
In addition, two parcels south of the Cub Food store on 179th Street in Lakeville have been identified as potential park-and-ride facilities, Krom said.
The park-and-ride site would include about seven acres and initially accommodate about 250 cars.
Krom added that some environmental work is being conducted now, and once the preferred parcel is determined, primarily based on the appraised value, the Metropolitan Council or Metro Transit will lead the park-and-ride site acquisition and development.
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is leading development activities at the Apple Valley Transit Station where a consultant team will oversee the 140th and 147th Street stops as well as the design and construction of the station.
Among the features to be determined are the materials, design and colors of the transit station and stops.
Construction is expected to begin next spring, with operations beginning next September.