From Barb Thoman, Executive Director
This week Metro Transit, an agency of the Metropolitan Council, unveiled a draft plan for restructured bus service to coincide with the opening of Central Corridor light rail in 2014. This new and extended service is made possible by shifting resources that duplicate new light rail transit service. The Green Line, as it will be known, will run every ten minutes most of the day, seven days a week.
Metro Transit expects that nearly 40% of riders on the Green Line will come from connecting bus service. At Transit for Livable Communities, we know that for our transit system to serve the greatest number of people, it needs to offer frequent well-connected service and safe and convenient access by walking and by bicycle.
The proposed restructuring plan would greatly improve north/south bus service in areas of Saint Paul that currently have very limited service or no service at all. The plan also proposes to extend several existing routes to enable new connections between other bus routes or light rail.
When the Green Line opens, there will be N-S connecting bus routes one-mile apart in the area covered by changes in service, including Route 62 along Rice Street, Route 65 along Dale Street, Route 83 (new) along Lexington Parkway, and Route 84 along Snelling. The thicker the line on the map, the more frequent the service.
The proposed plans take into consideration comments and suggestions collected over the last several months at community meetings and via surveys and the Trusted Advocates program. Metro Transit will take comments and testimony about the draft plan through July 9. See below for meeting details. Here are some highlights of the proposed plan (PDF):
New and extended Service:
- A new bus route on Lexington Avenue, where no bus runs today, will plug a 2-mile gap between north-south bus routes. Currently, there are north-south routes on Dale and Snelling, but nothing in between.
- Route #87, from Highland to Rosedale, will run more frequently (every 20 minutes) and have weekend service for the first time.
- Route #84 along Snelling Avenue will run every 10 minutes. New “Rapid Bus” service on Snelling—faster, with higher amenities—may also be timed for the introduction of the new service plan.
- More frequent north-south service on Dale Street (route #65) and a connection south to Grand Avenue and route #63. Route #65 would terminate at Grand Avenue.
- The Grand Avenue bus (route #63) would be extended north from the University of St. Thomas area to connect with the Raymond Avenue light rail station on the Green Line.
- The #67 Minnehaha Avenue bus would be extended west to the Franklin LRT station on the Hiawatha or Blue Line.
Redundant services eliminated or reduced:
- With Green Line light rail service running every 10 minutes, parallel service on the local route #16 will be reduced to every 20 minutes and terminate on the western end at Oak Street on the U of M campus.
- Route #50 will be eliminated, as it duplicates Green Line service along the Central Corridor.
- The #94 express bus route between the Minneapolis and Saint Paul downtown cores would be reduced to weekday morning and evening rush hours and the mid-point stop at Snelling Avenue will be eliminated.
- Route 144 express service from Highland Park to downtown Minneapolis will be eliminated.
A series of public meetings and hearings have been scheduled to take questions and testimony about the proposed changes in bus service, as follows:
Tuesday, June 19, 4-6:30 p.m. (presentation and testimony begin at 4:30pm)
Brian Coyle Center, Multipurpose Room
420 15th Ave S, Minneapolis
Served by Metro Transit Routes 22 and Hiawatha Line Cedar-Riverside Station
Thursday, June 21, 4-6:30 p.m. (presentation and testimony begin at 4:30pm)
Central Corridor Resource Center
1080 University Ave. W., St. Paul
Served by Metro Transit Routes 16 and 50
Saturday, June 23, 1-3 p.m. (presentation and testimony begin at 1:30pm)
Goodwill Easter Seals, Community Meeting Room
553 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul
Served by Metro Transit Routes 16 and 67
Tuesday, June 26, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Public hearing--presentation and testimony begin at 11:30am)
Hennepin County Central Library, Doty Board Room
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Served by multiple Metro Transit routes
Thursday, June 28, 4-6:30 p.m. (Public hearing--presentation and testimony begin at 4:30pm)
Rondo Community Outreach Library, Multipurpose Room
461 Dale Street North, St. Paul
Served by Metro Transit Routes 16 and 65
The Metropolitan Council also will receive comments on the service plan through 5pm, July 9, as follows:
- Written comments: Metropolitan Council, 390 N. Robert St, St. Paul 55101
- Fax comments to: 651-602-1464
- Send TTY comments to: 651-291-0904
- Email: email@example.com
- Record comments on Council’s Public Comment Line at 651-602-1500