Metro Transit and project partners today celebrated the start of construction on the METRO Gold Line, which will become the first Bus Rapid Transit service in Minnesota to primarily use bus lanes.
When construction is finished, Gold Line buses will run along a 10-mile corridor generally north and near Interstate 94, serving stops in Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury. Service is scheduled to begin in 2025.
“With all-day service in both directions, the Gold Line will become a convenient, reliable and sustainable transportation option for people traveling along the Interstate 94 corridor,’’ Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle said.
Like other BRT lines, the Gold Line will feature enhanced stations with heat, light, and real-time signs, and specialized buses that allow for all-door boarding. Approximately 70% of the Gold Line route will use bus lanes.
Maplewood resident Darrell Paulsen, who chaired the project’s Community and Business Advisory Committee, looks forward to riding the Gold Line for work and social outings.
Paulsen lives near the future Maplewood Station and is among the 13% of households in the Gold Line corridor who are without cars. “I have cerebral palsy, so Bus Rapid Transit is a great asset to my family and myself,” Paulsen said.
The Gold Line will provide access to several key destinations, including downtown Saint Paul, the Sun Ray Shopping Center, 3M's Maplewood headquarters, Tamarack Hills and Woodbury Village. There are around 93,500 jobs within a half-mile of Gold Line stations.
"It’s a win/win,” said Will Schroeer, executive director of East Metro Strong. “People in Dayton’s Bluff get access to more jobs, and suburban employers get access to more employees.’’
And more development is coming. As of 2020, more than $388 million in permitted construction was occurring along the Gold Line corridor and another $1.2 billion in development was planned.
Forest Lake-based Norhart this summer began construction on a seven-story, 328-unit apartment building that will be within walking distance of the future Helmo Avenue Station. "We are excited to offer our residents a fast, comfortable, and cost-effective way to explore Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, Woodbury, and more," Norhart CEO Mike Kaeding said.
As part of the construction project, new Park & Ride facilities will be built at the Sun Ray Station in Saint Paul, the Helmo Avenue Station in Oakdale, and the Woodlane Drive Station Park & Ride in Woodbury. The existing Queens Drive Park & Ride in Woodbury will also have parking for Gold Line riders.
A new bridge over I-94 connecting Helmo Avenue in Oakdale and Bielenberg Drive in Woodbury will be partially funded through the project as well. “The bridge will lessen heavy traffic on Radio Drive/Inwood Avenue and better connect our two communities,’’ said Laurie Staiger, president and CEO of the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Gold Line project is being led by Metro Transit with support from Ramsey and Washington counties. The Federal Transit Administration is covering almost half of capital costs, estimated at $505 million.
Find more information and subscribe to the Gold Line newsletter at metrotransit.org/gold-line-project. Follow the Gold Line on Twitter @GoldLineBRT.
Learn more about the METRO network
The METRO Gold Line is part of a growing network of Bus Rapid Transit and light rail lines, collectively known as the METRO network. METRO lines feature frequent, all-day service, enhanced stations. Learn more at metrotransit.org/metro-network.