Purple People, Transit and the future of White Bear Avenue
18 Sep 2023
September 16th was a beautiful day for the White Bear Avenue Parade. And it was the perfect day to consider a new destiny for this storied corridor. White Bear Avenue was developed as the first stretch of suburban planning in St. Paul. It has the feeling of optimism in wide parking lots abutting strip malls as we cruise to the City's border at Larpenteur Avenue.
But with the Hafner site sitting torn down and vacant for over a decade, increasingly ESABA has been hearing about neighborhood desires to see some attention paid to upgrade this stretch. Recently, with crash data that is staggering, the community council has also been fighting to make it safer.
To bring the Purple Line Bus Rapid Transit to White Bear Avenue would signal this kind of commitment and energy for change. Community partners and the MetCouncil are currently conversing and studying what it would mean to bring this service and its amenities to this corner of the East Side.
Here's what we think it would mean: thriving businesses along a more walkable, livable, avenue with rapid transit stops serving the corridor's commuters and shoppers and workers every 15 minutes in either direction. Unlike other routes being considered where station development would trigger some surrounding development interest, this route down White Bear Avenue would mean the potential to redevelop the whole corridor. And ESABA and its allies believe that is a change this neighborhood deserves.
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