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Carver in line for park-and-ride by 2013
Apr 27, 2010 | 897 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Mark W. Olson

In a few years, Carver officials envision a Highway 212 and County Road 11 interchange loaded with homes, businesses and industries.



Now it will also have a park-and-ride.



Carver recently received a $4,358,760 federal grant to build the city’s first park-and-ride facility, southwest of Highway 212 and County Road 11.



“I truly believe that the transit station will be good for commercial, it will be good for housing, it will be good for workforce housing, it will be good for everybody,” said Carver Councilor Mike Webb, who worked on the project.



Plans call for a 2012 groundbreaking, with express bus service by 2013. Currently Carver’s closest park-and-ride is in Chaska, at the Highway 41/212 intersection. The Carver project will be similar to Chaska’s site.



Officials hope that the grant will allow the city to beat the development rush. “It’s very important for future planning,” said Carver City Planner Cindy Nash. “The area by 212 will be the next to develop in Carver, but it’s also the most logical to have larger park-and-ride facility in Carver as well. It’s important for us to preserve that site and develop it, even if it’s ahead of demand.”



“We have the ability to craft it as we see it rather than tear down to build up,” Webb said, adding, “The timing worked out perfectly.” Officials still need to choose a specific site, and acquire the property, Nash said.



The funding will pay for property; building the 400-stall project; and three years of demonstration bus service. The city will need to match 20 percent of the grant, some of which will come from fare box revenue, Nash said.



The money was from a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant awarded through the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board. The city has been planning for a park-and-ride for four years, Nash said. It unsuccessfully applied for the grant two years ago.



“The council had the foresight to recognize the importance of a diversified transportation system, not only in providing alternative modes of transportation to residents and employees, but also to reduce congestion along the [Highway] 212 corridor,” Nash said.

SouthWest

SouthWest Transit is providing contracted express bus service to the Carver park-and-ride.



SouthWest Transit was formed in 1986 to serve as the public transit agency for the cities of Chaska, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie. “Carver would be interested in discussing other possible arrangements as well, including potentially joining SouthWest Transit,” Nash stated, in an e-mail.



SouthWest Transit will add “tails” to existing bus routes to service Carver, said SouthWest Chief Executive Officer Len Simich. “It made a nice marriage. It’s very cost effective and will be a great benefit for Carver and points west of there,” he said.



By getting people on the bus further west, SouthWest Transit will be able to get commuters from resulting in congestion highways 212 and 5, Simich said.

Chaska and Chan



SouthWest Transit is also developing other plans for growth.



It is planning to add another level to the park-and-ride at Highway 41 and 212 in Chaska – a lot that’s already at 80 percent capacity, Simich said. Ultimately the lot will also include an enclosed waiting area with restrooms, he said.



It will be built with the potential of adding a second level. However, Simich said he wanted to be sensitive to the adjacent neighborhood. “We don’t want to overstep our bounds there,” he said.



Funding for this expansion was originally for a park-and-ride in Chaska’s long-delayed “EdCampus” development. If EdCampus is developed, SouthWest Transit would have some sort of facility at the site, but not a park-and-ride, Simich said.



A new transit station near “The New Chanhassen Theatres” is also being planned, and SouthWest hopes to advertise bids on the project in the next month.

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