ST. CLOUD -- As St. Cloud Metro Bus plans for the future, a new feasibility study shows a need to plan for future growth.

Metro Bus has three facilities which are either at capacity, are landlocked or have parking challenges.

Metro Bus Planning Manager Doug Diedrichsen says the study provides them with a guide on how to plan for that growth and spend taxpayer dollars wisely...

Nothing will be done on any of these sites until we could do a plan that involved public participation.  The Western Transit Center was the one site that was included in our Long Range Transit Plan and so that went through the full stakeholder engagement process.  So, it was public participation which led to the conclusion that we needed that.  That's why funding was already set aside.

Diedrichsen says moving forward over the next few years, they will be identifying a location to build a new Western Transit Center which could open in four to six years.  Estimates show the new transit hub could take 50% of the current routes and funnel them through the new westside facility.  Diedrichsen says that will alleviate the pressure on the Downtown Transit Center which is running at capacity and encounters traffic challenges.

Meanwhile, he says they will also be examining how to expand capacity at the current Operations Center and assessing the flexibility and capacity at the downtown Transit Center and the Mobility Training Center for future considerations.

The study determined the existing Operations Center in East St. Cloud will require future improvements estimated at more than $34-million. Diedrichsen says it is important to note the feasibility study includes conceptual designs only and no formal steps will be taken until engaging in a public process.

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