Construction on a new vertical connection between the METRO Green Line’s Central Station and the St. Paul Skyway is now underway.
The connection was celebrated Wednesday morning in St. Paul as disability advocates and downtown business leaders joined officials from St. Paul, Ramsey County and the Metropolitan Council for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the corner of Fifth and Cedar streets, where the connection will be located.
Expected to be completed in time for the opening of the METRO Green Line, the vertical connection will serve as a link for commuters while improving accessibility at the Central Station.
The vertical connection is just one part of a suite of transit improvements planned for downtown St. Paul.
Planning is also underway to improve bus boarding areas at Cedar Street and Fifth Street, Fifth Street and Minnesota Street, Sixth Street and Cedar Street and Minnesota and Sixth Street in mid-2014.
New shelters, public art, security upgrades, real time arrival signs, lighting, bicycle amenities and landscaping are planned for each of the stops, which together see more than 6,000 daily boardings.
Stations at Fifth Street and Minnesota Street and at Sixth Street and Cedar Street will also be built to accommodate ticket vending machines and other components of Arterial Bus Rapid Transit, planned for West Seventh Street and East Seventh Street.
A $3.2 million federal grant is paying for the station improvements and a share of the vertical connection.
This week, service was expanded on a dozen Metro Transit bus routes serve downtown St. Paul, including routes 21, 54, 62, 64, 68 and 74.
> METRO Green Line
> Downtown St. Paul Transit Improvements
> Metro Transit expands bus service in St. Paul, East Metro
> Pioneer Press: St. Paul Skyway elevator, downtown bus stop improvements planned