Posts Tagged ‘ metropolitan council ’

Help for Central Corridor Businesses

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Council.

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Council.

The Northeast Neighbors & Business Association in Minneapolis is offering free assistance to businesses affected by the Central Corridor construction project. The group will provide free advertising through December 2010 on its Local Biz Bucks Online Coupon website for any business located on a construction route or in a construction area. Affected businesses will be allowed to place a static Coupon advertisement on the corresponding geographic page of the website where their business is located (either Southeast Minneapolis | U of M or East Metro). The Northeast Neighbors & Business Association will waive all fees for participating construction-affected businesses. For more information, email or phone the group at (612) 889-9648.

Central Corridor Update

From the Met Council:

The Metropolitan Council has awarded the first heavy construction contract for the Central Corridor light rail transit Project to Walsh Construction to build the seven-mile St. Paul segment of the line. Walsh’s $205.1 million award includes betterment work valued at $10.4 million that was requested by, and will be paid for, by cooperating agencies and utilities.

Construction is expected to begin in August east of the state Capitol on Robert and 12th streets north of Interstate 94, with utility relocation work there expected to start soon after July Fourth. Most of the heavy construction on University Avenue will occur in 2011 between Emerald Street and Hamline Avenue and in 2012 between Hamline and Robert. The work in downtown St. Paul will occur in 2011-2012.

The project is able to begin heavy construction due to advance funding commitments from its partners and federal approval of this arrangement. Under this same arrangement, the project began improvements in May on streets around the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota and utility relocation work last year on Fourth Street in St. Paul. The FTA has agreed to reimburse the project partners for the federal share of this advanced work once it awards a Full Funding Grant Agreement this fall.

Work on the seven-mile St. Paul segment includes:

  • Relocating utilities necessary for the LRT trackway
  • Constructing nearly seven miles of embedded double track
  • Fully reconstructing streets where track is being installed
  • Building 14 stations from Westgate Station to Union Depot Station
  • Modifying two bridges (on University over Highway 280 and on Cedar Street over Interstates 94 and 35E)
  • Installing concrete paving for signalized intersections
  • Building an infiltration trench for collecting storm water
  • Constructing at-grade pedestrian crossings
  • Demolishing the vacant Bremer Bank building and reconnecting the skyway

Steps to help businesses, property owners

The Central Corridor Project Office has taken steps to eliminate or reduce construction-related impediments to businesses and property owners. These steps include:

  • Limiting construction of each segment on University Avenue to two-thirds at a time while maintaining a lane of traffic on the other third.
  • Requiring contractors to restore the street in front of any business within 150 days and the sidewalk within 15 days.
  • Implementing a contractor incentive program to encourage responsiveness, create a partnership between contractors and the community and promote cooperation. Evaluation criteria will include conformance with notification requirements, timely response to public concerns, maintenance of vehicle access and accessible pedestrian routes and cleanliness of construction sites.
  • Issuing weekly emailed construction updates to provide the public with advance notice of routes that are closed and their alternates. To sign up for the emails, click here.
  • Holding public construction meetings for businesses and the public to get updates and a look ahead from project staff and utilities.
  • Setting up a construction hotline and posting the number, 651-602-1404, in prominent locations throughout a work zone.
  • Assigning multilingual outreach coordinators from the community to be liaisons between the project and the public from the engineering phase through construction.
  • Distributing a brochure to businesses on the corridor and nearby residents about how the project will communicate construction information and how it can be reached with questions and concerns.

About the project

The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction will begin in 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, with service beginning in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at the new Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight.

Transit Workshop

Transit meeting

Community engagement continues to be a central issue in development and planning. When engagement is poorly managed, community members may feel an incoming assault in their neighborhoods, which can make or break a project.

“A lot of folks have anxiety about builders coming into their community,” said Leslie Moody, executive director of the Denver-based Partnership for Working Families, while presenting to an audience of over 100 participants on May 11 as part of a workshop focused on developing transit-oriented districts and walkable communities.

Held at the Wilder Foundation, the workshop, titled Equitable Development and Community Benefits, was the third in a four-part series. The session centered on leveraging a community benefits model, which builds relationships between the community, the developer and the city.

“We want the public involved in government,” said Moody. “Having active civic engagement in these processes is the way to get people to understand government and support it.”

Not all communities are created equal as pointed out by Gretchen Nicholls of the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a leading sponsor of the event series.

“Community is a term we use very easily, although it’s a very complex idea,” she said.

After Moody’s presentation, participants shared success stories from their local areas and discussed topics related to points of influence in planning, timing mismatch, connecting on different priorities, and engaging communities over time.

A panel of local community organizers offered perspective. The panel included Russ Adams, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability; Gretchen Nicholls, LISC / Corridor Development Initiative; Malik Holt-Shabazz, Harrison Neighborhood Association; Mihailo (Mike) Temali, Neighborhood Development Center; Jonathan Sage Martinson, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative; and Brian Miller, Seward Redesign.

Common themes involved engaging developers early on, the role of small business, and ensuring community involvement beyond planning and throughout implementation.

Event sponsors included Twin Cities LISC, Metropolitan Council, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Center for Transit-Oriented Development, Urban Land Institute and The McKnight Foundation.

The last workshop, Financing of Transit-Oriented Districts – Building Public/Private Partnerships will be from 9 a.m. to noon June 15 at Dorsey & Whitney, 50 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis. For registration details, email Gretchen Nicholls.

Job Opportunities

Here are a couple of opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses to take part in a pair or large public projects:

Union Depot Renovation

Central Corridor LRT construction

DBE/Small business owners  are invited to meet with the six prime contractors that were pre-qualified to bid on the Central Corridor Light Rail / Civil East construction project between Union Depot in St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis.

The Meet & Greet will be held Thursday, March 18, 2010 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 375 Jackson Street, 2nd floor (Directly across from the Metropolitan Council), Saint Paul, MN 55101 (Map).

RSVP to Lynnette at 651-602-1769 or by email.

One of these six prime contractors present will be selected to construct the first half of the Central Corridor:

  • C.S. McCrossan and Ames Construction (joint venture)
  • Graham Construction Services and Kraus-Anderson (joint venture)
  • Kiewit Western Company
  • PCL Construction Services
  • Walsh Construction
  • Granite Construction Company

This is your opportunity to make an impression and to discuss what your company can bring to the table as a partner and team member. The DBE goal on this project is 15 percent.