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City will study transit to make sure people can get where they're going

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In the coming years, Rosemount will grow and the people who move into the city will want to go places. That's why the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Analysis is important. The joint local and federal planning effort will determine improvements to the modes and routes for transit from St. Paul to Rosemount.

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The study will identify the spine of a broader network of transportation for the region. As Rosemount grows, especially with the addition of the University of Minnesota's UMore Park development, that network will grow in importance. The university has plans to build a sustainable community on land it owns in Rosemount and Empire Township. The community could bring up to 25,000 people to the area.

The purpose of the study is to provide the necessary transit infrastructure and service to meet the long-term mobility and local accessibility needs between downtown St. Paul and areas in Dakota County. The project includes a number of stakeholders including the Federal Transit Administration, Dakota County, Dakota County Regional Railroad Authority and the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.

According to a website created for the project, population and job projections show that Dakota County will grow at a faster rate than the regional average between now and 2030. That growth will increase travel demand.

Growth is only part of the equation. In addition, a number of problems exist along the study area already, including limited transit service and time-efficient options, needs of people who depend on transit, roadway congestion and regional objectives for growth.

So far in the process three corridors have passed federal screening thresholds, including Robert Street to Mendota Road; US Highway 52 to Concord Boulevard; and Concord Boulevard to I-494.

The process is a requirement of the Federal Transportation Administrations to qualify for funding mass transit funding. Dakota County Rail Authority representative Joe Morneau said getting funding is competitive.

In the coming months, Morneau said, they will analyze ridership models to help determine the best routes and modes. The goal of the analysis is to help find the best fit for communities.

To help represent Rosemount in the overall project, senior planner Eric Zweber sits on the Technical Advisory Committee and mayor Bill Droste sits on the steering committee. Zweber said their involvement is advocating that the best transit options be brought to Rosemount.

While likely years down the road, Zweber said the process is important. Residents can follow the process or voice their opinions by visiting robertstreettransit.com.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
(651) 460-6606
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