City, county set to review transit options
Public transit connecting downtown Rochester to a planned southeast transit hub could take two routes.
Rochester city staff and transit planning consultants have been evaluating whether Broadway Avenue or Third Avenue offer a preferred route between Second Street Southeast and a planned transit hub in the Graham Park area, which could include the former site of the Seneca Foods canning plant.
The Rochester City Council will receive an update on findings during its 3:30 p.m. meeting Monday, and Olmsted County commissioners will be updated during their 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday.
The report will compare research related to the two proposed north-south routes, as well as whether a dedicated bus line or rail option should be considered.
Information provided to the City Council ahead of Monday’s meeting points to a railed streetcar option being more reliable during all potential weather conditions and Broadway being a preferred option based on current land-use plans.
However, the bus option would be less expensive, with a rail option estimated to triple the cost, according to the draft report. Additionally, the Third Street option is seen as coming in with a slightly higher estimated ridership, based on current bus use.
With the collected data, the city and consultants plan to continue gathering public input on potential plans, with the expectation of returning to the City Council on Sept. 23 and presenting the information to the Destination Medical Center Corp. Board on Sept. 26. A final council vote is expected Oct. 7.
On Monday and Tuesday, city and county officials will also discuss a proposed agreement to outline how the city and county will work together to create the planned transit hub, which will include a parking structure, as well as other future development.
The proposed hub is one of two being planned under transit studies tied to Destination Medical Center efforts. The second is proposed for the existing Mayo Clinic parking lot on Second Street Southwest, which will require a separate agreement between the city and Mayo Clinic.
The planned southeast hub is expected to be created on the north end of Graham Park or on the former Seneca property at 1217 Third Ave. SE, which the county recently purchased for $5.6 million.
The actual location has been the source of some friction between city and county officials as plans continue to unfold.
County commissioners have said they prefer using the Seneca site, but some council members have indicated a desire for further evaluation before settling on a location.
The University of Minnesota Design Center is working on preliminary concept plans for the potential locations on county-owned land.
Under the proposed city-county agreement, the city would likely pay fair-market value for any county land used for structured parking and a transit facility. Other development, including retail or housing facilities, could involve private developers.
The agreement, along with plans for the transit route and hub location, will be used to prepare a preliminary notice to officially announce the city’s plan to seek federal funding for the transit project next year. That notice must be submitted by early October.
Meetings during the week of Aug. 5 include:
• Ethical Practices Board, 1 p.m. Monday in room 104 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.
• City Council work session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE
• City Council meeting, 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the Government Center
• Rochester Public Library Executive Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday at Bravo Coffee, 111 S. Broadway No. 219.
• Administrative Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in administrative conference room of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.
• Physical Development Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 of the government center.
• Board of County Commissioners, 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the government center.
• Housing and Redevelopment Authority administrative committee, 9 a.m. Wednesday in conference room 4 of the government center.
• Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 10 a.m. Wednesday in conference room 4 of the government center.
• Youth Commission, 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in the government center cafeteria.
• Zumbro One Watershed One Plan Policy Committee, 9 a.m. Thursday at People's Energy Cooperative, 1775 S. Lake Shady Ave., Oronoco
• Zoning Board of Adjustment, 7 p.m. Thursday in county board chambers of the government center
Rochester Public Schools
• School Board, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.