Jim Segal is rethinking the type of bags he provides customers at his University Avenue store, Ax-Man Surplus.
That’s because he thinks more than a few of them will be boarding the METRO Green Line after shopping at the store, located less than a block from the Snelling Avenue Station.
“We’ll probably have to get bags with handles to make it easier for people to carry their stuff on the train,” said Segal, whose store deals in everything from bowling pins to snail magnets.
Segal doesn’t mind making a few tweaks at his business, though. In fact, he’s looking forward to the Green Line’s opening as much as anyone along the 11-mile corridor.
“The thing I’m most interested in seeing is new folks coming up and down the avenue,” he said. “We’re going to have exposure to a whole new audience.”
Segal isn’t alone in his anticipation.
Jeri Quest, the co-founder and CEO of Dress for Success Twin Cities, said she expects light rail to greatly improve the non-profit’s ability to help women entering the workforce. The organization, which provides professional attire and career counseling, is located just north of the Snelling Avenue Station on University Avenue.
“We’re thrilled that this station is opening literally across the street from our office,” Quest said. “Our clients really rely on public transportation so we can’t wait for it to open.”
Quest estimated that more than half of the 700 economically disadvantaged women Dress for Success Twin Cities worked with last year used public transportation. Employees and volunteers are also expected to use the train, she said.
Just up the street, Danya Frank said the Snelling station will be a huge asset for concertgoers at the Turf Club. Frank is the executive vice president at First Avenue, which purchased the Turf Club in 2013.
“We’re really excited about what light rail is going to mean for the Midway as a whole and the Turf Club specifically,” Frank said. “A lot more people will have access to come see shows, which gives us a much bigger audience.”
Frank said the train will also be an asset for employees traveling back-and-forth between St. Paul and Minneapolis since many of the venues’ employees don’t have vehicles.
“Having the train makes transportation between the clubs not even easier, but really possible,” she said.
Kari Canfield, the executive director of the Midway Chamber of Commerce, said her group is also looking forward to traveling the corridor on light rail. The Chamber’s offices are in Spruce Tree Centre, at University and Snelling, so visits up-and-down University Avenue will start and end at Snelling Avenue Station.
“Instead of jumping in the car to visit them, we’ll just be getting on the train,” Canfield said. “It’s a great connector and will make our jobs a lot easier.”
Snelling Avenue Station At a Glance
Connecting bus routes: Route 16 buses will continue to serve University Avenue between downtown St. Paul and TCF Bank Stadium. Route 21, which runs between Uptown and downtown St. Paul, travels on University Avenue between Snelling and Hamline avenues. Route 84 travels through the intersection of University and Snelling avenues as it runs between the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station and Rosedale (this is a particularly popular route for those attending the Minnesota State Fair). The A Line (Snelling Avenue BRT) will also open in 2015, bringing high-frequency, limited-stop service to Snelling Avenue between 46th Street Station and Rosedale.
Public art: Artist Roberto Delgado assembled historic and current photos from around the Twin Cities, using a silk screen process to transfer them to tiles. The murals and columns included hundreds of faces, including some of present-day bus riders Delgado photographed. Delgado said the resulting art is “pretty abstract” but is intended to invite the curiosity of those traveling to or from the station. “If you look hard enough you’ll find something,” he said. “And if you find something that’s a pretty good trip, artistically.” Delgado also designed artwork for the Stadium Village and Central stations. Learn more.
Area landmarks: Midway Shopping Center, Hamline-Midway Library, Hamline Elementary, Hamline University, Hancock Recreation Center, LEAP High School, Hamline Park, Aldine Park, Dickerman Park
Bike-ped connections: Charles Avenue bike boulevard (construction to be complete in summer 2014); bike lanes on Pascal Street North between I-94 and University Avenue; pedestrian bridge crossing I-94 between Aldine Street and Concordia Avenue; bike lanes on Marshall Avenue west of Snelling Avenue; bike lanes on Minnehaha Avenue west of Hamline Avenue.
Neighborhood groups: Hamline-Midway, Union Park