For the most up-to-date FAQ list, please visit the Metro Transit Gold Line Project website.
- Why not just add more buses?
- If congestion is one of the problems, why not just add more lanes to I-94?
- How will Gateway Corridor affect property values?
- Why is transit so important to commercial development? How does transit help attract good, high-paying jobs?
- Do transit stations bring in more crime?
- Will the Gateway Corridor result in increased costs for cities through maintenance or safety services?
Why not just add more buses?
Express bus service in the corridor today only provides people an opportunity to leave Washington County communities to work in downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. There is no all-day service that operates throughout the entire corridor. Data has shown that there is a demand for this type of service.
Simply adding all-day buses on existing roads would not achieve another goal of the Gateway Corridor Commission: to increase economic development activities in the corridor. The Commission has learned that development is not attracted to normal bus routes. Development investments follow infrastructure investments. Constructing a permanent bus guideway and stations would attract development to station areas.
If congestion is one of the problems, why not just add more lanes to I-94?
No transportation improvements will solve congestion. There are just ways to manage it better. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has no plans between now and 2033 to add lanes to I-94 in the east metro. MnDOT plans to focus on preservation of existing assets, not adding more freeway lanes. The lack of programmed major projects in the corridor is consistent with highway funding constraints locally and nationally.
The Gateway Corridor Commission feels strongly that the east metro has to provide travel choices for residents. The Gateway Corridor as an alternative to driving will not erase congestion on I-94 altogether, it will offer many travelers a competitive option that will result in time savings and added convenience for many trips. As laid out in the Purpose and Need document, this is consistent with the region’s policy shift towards travel choices and multimodal investments.
How will Gateway Corridor affect property values?
It is impossible to predict the long-term property value impacts to station areas, but we can learn from other corridors. For example, the University of Minnesota studied commercial and industrial properties near METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT) stations and found that prices increased from an average of $36 to $56 per square foot. This impact was seen within one mile of a station area. Property values increased faster near the line than elsewhere.
As developers gain experience with the demand for property near transit, prices are increasing in advance of transit projects. Near a future Southwest LRT station location in Minnetonka, a warehouse building near the Opus station was valued at $8 million but just sold for $18 million in anticipation of Southwest LRT. Elsewhere in the country, communities have seen robust development come to BRT.
As for residential properties, the National Association of Realtors found that home values preformed 42 percent better when located near public transportation during the 2000s recession. They also found that there is a transit premium for properties near fixed transit routes, like the Gateway Corridor. Depending on local factors, this premium can be anywhere from a few percentage points to 150 percent. It is a common misperception that transit attracts only low-income housing. In fact it is typically the opposite and many cities work very hard to keep lower rate housing around transit so they don’t price out current residents.
High-quality, fixed transit is a permanent amenity. Like any community amenity, the impact on property values will depend in part on how it is designed. Gateway will work closely with the communities in the corridor to have the line and the stations reflect and support community identity and goals.
Why is transit so important to commercial development? How does transit help attract good, high-paying jobs?
Historically, the eastern suburbs have not been a very competitive market for office development. Better access to high quality transit can improve their attractiveness of suburban locations to employers. This dynamic can be observed on other transit lines in the Twin Cities region. For example, one-third of Blue Line LRT riders are “reverse commuters” traveling to jobs outside of downtown Minneapolis.
Locally and nationally, firms are competing for workers as Baby Boomers retire and companies face worker shortages amid shifting demographics. Increasingly, firms in knowledge-based industries seek to locate in areas that offer their workers a high quality of life, including access to high quality transit.
Do transit stations bring in more crime?
A number of studies have been conducted around the nation about this question. In cities like San Diego, Denver, Los Angeles, and Durham, North Carolina they have found no significant increase in crime due to the presence of a transit station. We can provide information about these reports if you wish.
Project planners spoke with the City of Woodbury police force and they informed us that the current park and ride lots have some of the lowest crime rates out of any parking lot in the city.
Will the gateway corridor result in increased costs to cities through maintenance or safety services?
No. Gateway Corridor will be operated by Metro Transit which includes Metro Transit police services that are dedicated to the regions transit system.