Skip to main content

Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus METRO Green Line St. Paul

The sky's the limit

| Friday, June 6, 2014 9:43:00 AM

A new stairway-elevator tower connecting street-level transit and the St. Paul skyway opened on Thursday at the METRO Green Line’s Central Station.

The first person to take the trip up the tower: Rick Cardenas, who advocated on behalf of the disability community to make the case for its construction.

“Yep, it works,” Cardenas told the Star Tribune as he exited at the skyway level alongside several others who joined him to celebrate the opening.

While Cardenas and others in the disability community were especially vocal about the tower’s importance, the building will be a benefit to anyone who lives, works or visits downtown St. Paul. More than 73,000 people work in the city and another 8,100 call it home.

Central Station is the Green Line’s most centrally-located stop in downtown St. Paul and will serve as a gateway to several nearby entertainment, dining and recreational destinations.

“This stairway-elevator tower builds on the excitement that is spreading throughout downtown St. Paul with the Green Line’s opening and reaffirms our commitment to making transit in the Twin Cities open and accessible to all individuals,” said Metropolitan Council Member Rich Kramer, who represents downtown St. Paul.

Besides its functional benefits, the tower also stands as a piece of public art. Colored glass mimics the shades of sunrise and sunset while interior stonework goes from light to dark – effects meant to create a feeling of transition. The artwork was created by JoAnn Verberg,

The tower is among several improvements that will enhance the experience for transit customers in downtown St. Paul.

In July, construction will begin on three new custom shelters at downtown St. Paul’s busiest boarding locations, at Cedar and 5th streets, 5th and Minnesota streets and 6th and Cedar streets. Improvements to the waiting area at Minnesota and 6th streets will follow later.

The new shelters will include public art, security upgrades, NexTrip signs with real-time predicted departure information, bicycle amenities and landscaping. The stations are also being built to accommodate the addition of arterial Bus Rapid Transit features, including off-board ticket vending machines. Arterial BRT lines on West 7th Street and East 7th Street will include stops downtown.  

Funding for the waiting area improvements and the tower came from a federal grant received by Metro Transit. Green Line funding was also used to help pay for the tower.

    > Stairway-elevator tower opens at downtown St. Paul METRO Green Line station

    > Star Tribune: Ahead of LRT, St. Paul skyway accessibility improves

    > Downtown St. Paul Transit Improvements

    > METRO Green Line