Economic, ridership concerns could derail Northstar plans for St. Cloud

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2012 - 9:52 PM

An extension is dependent on the commuter-rail line building ridership.

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  • Comments

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briechersFeb. 5, 1210:36 AM

One other big reason for lack of riders is a bus system that is much more effective for commuters. Rail in many parts of the country and certainly here in Minnesota is fueled more by fads that foresight.

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bouttimeboysFeb. 5, 12 4:22 PM

Why is it that anything other than rousing support for Phase 2 is "disappointing"? Why is questioning the economics of a rail project so upsetting to some folks? I have not heard Anoka County say they wouldn't participate, they simply asked what a fair share should be, and what sufficient ridership would be. Further, the two counties receiving benefit from Phase 2 did everything they could to kill the station in Ramsey, why are they surprised they lost some friends along the way? Poor strategy boys...

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truthfullFeb. 5, 12 5:05 PM

How did Look ever get to be in charge of anything. His past job was a sign painter for tea party until the last elections. One of the worst council members in Ramsey and has no experience in any traffic matters or anything else. Now a transportation expert? I don't think so can't get along with anyone!

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inrealityFeb. 5, 12 7:34 PM

The Ramsey Station sounds like a great deal, $15 million for 200 riders. This is crazy. We can't be wasting our limited resources on nonsense like this yet alone expanding the madness to St. Cloud. Have you looked at Highway 10 lately? You know, that road that is next to the rail line. Well, it needs expanded. Bypasses are needed at each city to expedite the flow of traffic. This is much more important than a stop in Ramsey or expansion to St. Cloud. The current crop of elected "leaders" are mostly incompetent if this is what they think is important. Our nation is broke, our state is broke and many of our local governments are close to broke or would be without massive subsidies from the state & federal government. We can't afford everything and we must focus our resources on the most vital aspects of government first. This is clearly not being done. Trains and stadiums, that's what our leaders are talking about. They are so on top of the real important things. Pathetic.

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lundguyFeb. 6, 12 7:03 PM

The government works like this.As long as a project helps a few people,and it's a money making machine to get politicians rich,it will pass. We are wasting tax payers money that should be used on other items that people need. Most people have to or want to drive.Why should 85%of people pay for something only 15% of people will ever use? Use the Millions of dollars on Intrastructure or bigger roads. You wait and see,this will fail,but politicians and lobbyist will get RICH!

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twincitizen1Feb. 6, 1210:45 PM

I am a transit supporter/advocate/whatever, but it does seem that the Northstar line was built out of order. There is simply no way this thing should have been built ahead of Central Corridor or Southwest. Those LRT lines, while costing far more in initial costs, are expected to generate upwards of 30,000 riders daily. All-day light rail service has massive potential to drive commercial and residential development around its stations. The same cannot be said for Commuter rail like Northstar that only makes limited runs during peak periods and needs large parking lots/ramps as the dominant land use in its station areas. It seems that Northstar was the result of some local officials being buddy-buddy with the Pawlenty administration and jumping the queue to get this thing built decades ahead of its time. With that said, can anyone explain why the Fridley Station was built, rather than the Foley (Coon Rapids) Station? Fridley has the lowest ridership on the line and close enough that people would likely opt to drive or take a local bus that comes closer to their home or business. Foley Station has a massive Park and Ride facility that would add several hundred riders to the line instantly...I don't get it. If its ridership you want, without slowing the train any further, close Fridley and open Foley, using as much of the current infrastructure as possible.

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rshacklefordFeb. 7, 12 4:30 AM

"Look suggested that Anoka County could be "on the hook" for $188 million in a Northstar extension. That clearly baffled some NCDA board members, who said that an extension of Northstar is likely to be funded primarily by federal and state dollars." ---- Commissioner Dan Erhart is the one to blame for this fiasco. He is the 'elected one' that hired and directed a divison manager to do his bidding with regard to Northstar. The only thing that the current Anoka County Board is trying to accomplish is an equitable way out of this mess that was created by someone else.

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truthfullFeb. 7, 1212:40 PM

I don't blame Erhart unless he as part of the Anoka County Board that appointed Mr Look to the North Star project. Why the board would appoint someone with no experience in transportation to such an important job , I don't get it. Maybe politics? County parks would have been a better fit. (talking to the trees)Roads in Anoka County need help!

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copper88Feb. 7, 1210:54 PM

A few more scheduled runs during the day might help ridership. The limited schedule of the Northstar only works for people who only work 8 hours a day and don't ever have kid emergencies at school. If the Met council would make the train more useful to more people, the ridership would go up.

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bldgmaintFeb. 8, 1211:54 AM

the only thing Mr. Look cares about is who he will rip off next. If you're a county employee you get nothing. no raises and take a cut in pay. this is the lowest paid county in the 11 county area and that is do in part to mr. look and county chair savaraja. I'm not unhappy working for the county but would like all the benefits that the commissioners give themselves. mr look is not a forward thinker or looker.

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