Metro Transit’s plan to increase bus connections to Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (the Green Line) when it opens in 2014 is the subject of three public meetings and two public hearings in June (see details below).
The plan proposes to reduce bus service on University Avenue where light rail will operate and on its parallel route, I-94, and shift those resources to increase coverage, frequency and hours of service for bus connections with the rail line.
Under the new plan, north-south bus frequency on Snelling Avenue (Route 84) will improve to every 10 minutes.
“Connectivity of the transit network is critical,” said John Levin, Metro Transit’s Director of Service Development. “This service plan will allow additional access for those in the area who haven’t used public transportation before as well as for current customers through new and improved transit options.”
In May, the Metropolitan Council voted unanimously to bring the Concept Service Plan resulting from the Central Corridor Transit Service Study forward for public comment. The formal public comment period is underway. Public meetings are scheduled on June 19, 21, and 23, followed by public hearings on June 26 and 28 (see details, below).
The service plan is based on information gathered by Metro Transit, and incorporates input from transit customers, residents and public officials. The District Councils Collaborative of Minneapolis and St. Paul (DCC) partnered with Metro Transit to develop the Trusted Advocates Program, in which community members act as liaisons to groups that traditionally have been under-represented in the planning process. These advocates reduce cultural and language barriers to effective input into transit planning for their communities.
Plan beefs up existing service connections and adds new route on Lexington Avenue
Once LRT begins operating on University Avenue, the plan proposes to reduce bus service on University and I-94, freeing up resources to increase coverage, frequency, and hours of service for bus connections with the rail lines. This will improve the frequency of four local routes on weekdays, five on Saturdays, and six on Sundays. Other routes will be added and extended to Green Line stations to accommodate light-rail travel – including a new route on Lexington Avenue – with 40% of Green Line riders expected to come from bus connections.
The following routes are proposed to have significant changes in structure, hours of operation, or frequency: 8, 16, 50, 94, 63, 65, 67, 83, 84, 87, 134 and 144. These changes will establish a more efficient flow of traffic and will foster better connections with the Green Line, which will run every 10 minutes seven days a week. Routes 2, 3, 6, 21 and 53 will see no significant changes.
Connecting service on Route 21 (Selby Ave.) will continue at the same frequency it is today.
“Creating a comprehensive plan to optimize bus connections to the new line is an exciting opportunity,” said Scott Thompson, a Metro Transit Senior Planner. “The input we have received through the community process has been invaluable.”
Today, the Central Corridor study area includes 23 bus routes serving 165,000 residents, has 349,000 jobs and sustains 86,000 daily bus rides.
Public comment sought on service plan
Metro Transit encourages the public to attend the meetings and hearings this month, to learn about the plan and voice their comments or concerns. “We’re interested in receiving feedback from as many people as possible,” Thompson said. “This will continue to inform and improve the service plan.”