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Posts in Category: Route of the Week

Route of the Week

Better service, quirky destinations grow Route 32 ridership 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, April 01, 2019 9:39:00 AM

A Metro Transit Route 32 bus at the Robbinsdale Transit Center in Robbinsdale, Minn.Ask people why they ride Route 32, and you’ll likely hear something about how convenient it is.

Route 32 runs largely along Lowry Avenue between the Robbinsdale Transit Center and the Rosedale Transit Center, serving several key destinations and quirky businesses.

The route has become particularly popular as service has improved over the past few years. In 2012, the Lowry Avenue Bridge re-opened, bringing a four-year detour of Route 32 to an end. Weekend and weekday evening service has also been expanded.

The service improvements have considerably boosted Route 32 ridership. Nearly a half-million rides were taking on Route 32 last year, more than twice the amount taken in 2012. 

“I think Route 32 service is starting to meet the market demand that has been there this whole time,” Senior Planner Michael Mechtenberg said.

To build on this success, federal funding will be used to further improve Route 32 service. Instead of every half hour, trips will operate every 20 minutes, every day.

Popular destinations served by Route 32 include downtown Robbinsdale, North Memorial Health Hospital, the Hennepin County North Regional Library and Rosedale Center.

Along the way, customers can enjoy views of Victory Memorial Drive, the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline, a century-old cemetery and even a Ferris wheel that comes alive with pink neon at night.

There are also a host of small businesses with quirky names and a cool retro feel, including Market Bar-B-Que, with its neon-lit sign of a waving pig in a chef’s toque, Broken Heart Tattoo Club and Good Carma, a foreign auto repair shop that sits next to Carma Coffee, which is decorated with auto parts.

Leslie Davis, an environmental activist who doesn’t own a vehicle, is a longtime rider who commutes on Route 32. "It’s a crazy street sometimes in rush hours,” Davis said of Lowry Avenue. “I’ve never had any problems on this route. This bus is very good.”

Fridley resident Carol Owens, who boards at Lowry and Central avenues, also sees Route 32 as a reliable way to get to and from her job at Wells Fargo in Roseville. “I’ve been taking it forever,” she said on a recent afternoon.

Route 32 at a glance

Service: Urban Local

Route length: 10 miles

Bus stops: 130, eastbound and westbound

Key destinations: Downtown Robbinsdale, North Memorial Health Hospital, Hennepin County North Regional Library and Rosedale Center. Route 32 also crosses Victory Memorial Drive, lined with trees and monuments honoring Hennepin County servicemen and servicewomen who died in World War I, and provides a view of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis from the Lowry Avenue Bridge.

In Northeast Minneapolis, Route 32 provides access to several local businesses, including Betty Danger’s Country Club, billed as a “country club for the 99 percent,” Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, with its upstairs speakeasy Al’s Place reachable from the University Avenue side by an unmarked door.

Farther east, the route passes Windom Park, Gross National Golf Club and the nearly century-old Sunset Cemetery. In Roseville, Route 32 traverses a light industrial area to reach the Rosedale Transit Center on the east side of Rosedale Center. There, passengers can catch the A Line and several other connecting bus routes. 

Have a favorite bus route that you think more people should know about? Tell us what makes it great and we'll consider including it in our "Route of the Week" series. Send your thoughts to ridersalmanac@metrotransit.org

Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 11 joining Hi-Frequency Network 

| Wednesday, March 16, 2016 11:03:00 AM

As a Northeast Minneapolis resident, Angela Washington rides Route 11 nearly every day to get to and from her work as a caretaker in south Minneapolis. 

On more than one occasion, she’s missed the bus and found herself waiting. And with service every half-hour during the day it isn’t always a short wait, either.

“If you miss the 11, you’re donezo,” Washington said during a recent northbound trip home. “It’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, call a helicopter because I have to get to work.’”

Now, though, Washington and others who ride Route 11 won’t have to wait nearly as long as they used to.

Beginning on Saturday, March 19, a portion of Route 11 will join the Hi-Frequency Network – a collection of high-ridership, urban routes with trips every 15 minutes throughout the day on weekdays and on Saturdays. There will be 30-minute service during the evenings and on Sundays.

Parts of routes 5, 6, 10, 18, 19, 21, 64, 84, 515 and all of Route 54 are also a part of the Hi-Frequency Network, along with the METRO Blue and Green lines.

The improvements on Route 11 effect only a portion of the service – between the I-35W and 46th Street Station and 29th Avenue NE and Grand Street NE. Trips that continue to the Columbia Heights Transit Center will operate every 30 minutes.

Route 11 was targeted for improved service because of residential and commercial growth in Northeast Minneapolis. It will also provide a better alternative for customers who are further from Central Avenue, where Route 10 operates, and routes 18 and 5 in south Minneapolis.

In south Minneapolis, Route 11 runs largely along Fourth Avenue South; in Northeast, the route crosses the Hennepin Avenue bridge and continues north on Second Street NE.

The majority of Route 11 customers travel to or from downtown Minneapolis, but it is also used as a crosstown service for those like Washington who travel to destinations outside the core.

“There are a lot of residents and jobs along the corridor, and offering a higher level of service makes transit more competitive with other alternatives,” Planner Kyle Burrows said. “Transit becomes a much more convenient and attractive option when service is so frequent you don’t have to consult a schedule.”

Among those looking forward to the increased service is Adam MacGregor, who uses Route 11 to get downtown for work and school throughout the week. “The benefit for me will not having to get places so early, because if I wait for the next bus a lot of times I’ll be late,” he said.

Dorothy Mulen, who has used Route 11 for the last 14 years, was even more enthusiastic. 

“Amen,” she said after missing her bus and boarding after an extended wait. “Every 15 minutes? I might just faint.”


Route 11 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

Service: Route 11 runs between the I-35W and 46th Street Station in south Minneapolis and Northeast Minneapolis, with service on Fourth Avenue South, Hennepin Avenue, Second Street NE, Lowry Avenue NE and Grand Street NE. As part of the Hi-Frequency Network, trips run every 15 minutes during the day on weekdays and Saturdays and every 30 minutes on nights and on Sundays. Service is provided between 4:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. every day of the week. There are trips every 30 minutes to the Columbia Heights Transit Center. 

Route length: Approximately 10 miles

Stops: 88 northbound, 91 southbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard and hybrid-electric buses

History: Both 4th Avenue South and 2nd Street NE were served by horsedrawn streetcars, and later by electric streetcars. From 1910 to 1939, 2nd Street NE also hosted the Minneapolis Anoka & Cuyuna Range streetcars that followed East River Road and Coon Rapids Boulevard to Anoka, the predecessor to Route 852. When bus service began, Route 9 operated on 4th Avenue South and Route 18 operated on 2nd Street NE. 


Other service changes taking effect on March 19

• To improve service in the northwest metro, Route 721 will improve from 60- to 30-minute service on weekends and operate an hour later on weekdays. On Route 724, 30-minute service will also start earlier on weekends.

Route 46 will be extended to Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka for select trips. This extension, combined with a connection to existing Route 18 service on Nicollet Avenue, will replace Route 568.

• Two mid-day trips will be added in each direction on Route 467, with service between downtown Minneapolis and the Kenrick Avenue Park & Ride in Lakeville. This service is a preview for the METRO Orange Line (BRT on I-35W).

• For the first time since Marq2 opened in 2010, running time will be added and some bus stop assignments will be moved to better balance the number of buses in each stop group.

• On Route 3, downtown-to-downtown trips will begin earlier in the day and continue through 1:15 a.m., all days of the week. The number of weekday trips that cover only portions of the route will be reduced.

In addition to these service changes, pocket schedules for routes detoured to Hennepin Avenue will be updated to reflect actual travel times and NexTrip information will become more accurate for these routes. There will also be some minor trip time adjustments to these detoured routes. 

For a complete list of service changes, pick up Connect or visit metrotransit.org.

Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week Suburban Transit

Route 17: Avoiding the rush by taking the bus 

| Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:50:00 AM

A Route 17 bus on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Every day for the last six years Charles Nelson has traveled across Minneapolis to see his wife at the nursing home where she lives near Lake Calhoun. Because the visits align with afternoon rush hour, he almost invariably elects to take the bus instead of battling traffic.

Watching cars idle on busy Lake Street, Nelson said he can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to drive under such conditions.              

“It just doesn’t make sense for me as a single person to be driving a car,” Nelson said as he traveled west on Route 17. “It’s not good for me or for the environment.”

Others on Route 17 similarly describe their use of transit as a practical, common sense response to the high costs of owning a vehicle and the pressures of Twin Cities traffic. On a recent weekday afternoon, passengers were found riding the bus to visit friends, get to work and avoid the hassles of driving to a Twins game at Target Field.

Such variety is common on the nearly 12-mile route because it serves so many distinct destinations.

Traveling westbound, Route 17 runs through residential and commercial areas of Northeast Minneapolis, across the 3rd Avenue Bridge and through the heart of downtown on Nicollet Mall. The route continues through Uptown on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street and then continues west on Minnetonka Boulevard through St. Louis Park. Most trips end near Knollwood Mall, but some end near 36th Street and Wooddale on a branch that serves several large employers.

Bobby Watkins is among those who travel on Route 17 on a daily basis. Watkins lives in Northeast Minneapolis and takes the bus to get to his job at the Dairy Queen near 50th and France (transferring from Route 17 to Route 6 at the Uptown Transit Center).                                      

Watkins owned a vehicle for a few years but went car free three years ago when he faced an $800 repair bill. Instead of paying for car repairs, he puts his money toward a 31-day Go-To Card pass that allows him unlimited rides for $59 (rush-hour 31-day passes are $85 a month).

“The car just cost too much,” he said. “Breaking down once was about the same as a few months bus fare.”

Korissa Ebersole also uses transit as a way to save money. But as a new mother, she also likes the fact that she can cradle her seven-month-old child while riding the bus.

A passenger boards a Route 17 bus in St. Louis Park. “She really likes to be held and is a lot less fussy on the bus,” Ebersole said, returning downtown on Route 17 after having lunch with a friend.

Sitting next to Ebersole was Angela Record, who was headed to her job as a cleaner at Target Field. Record said she takes the bus to work and for most other trips because it’s a more relaxing, enjoyable experience.

“People don’t like to follow the rules of the road,” she said. “This feels so much safer to me.”

Rayla Heflin also sees the bus as a safer travel option. Heflin has a car but takes Route 17 to and from her jobs at Taco Bell and T.J. Maxx in St. Louis Park because she finds it hard not to look at her phone while driving. Riding the bus allows her to text, play games and listen to music all she likes.

“I try to limit it, but sometimes I get involved and miss my stop,” Heflin said. “I know if I was in the car and I was too focused on my device something a lot worse might happen.”

Bob Kelley also uses the bus as a way to keep himself in check. Car-free for the last three years, Kelley takes Route 17 to get to his job in Uptown and to visit friends in Northeast Minneapolis. Besides saving money on gas, insurance and car repairs, taking the bus also has a way of limiting his spending at the store.                       

“This helps keep my shopping trips to a minimum because I only buy what I can fit in my bag,” he said.

While many on Route 17 have made taking the bus a part of their daily routines, St. Louis Park resident Jane Nelson, her son and his girlfriend were making a rare trip to Target Field.

Looking to avoid traffic and parking, Nelson called Metro Transit’s Transit Information Center and learned Route 17 would provide a simple, one-seat ride to the ballpark.

“I just don’t know downtown very well so I thought it would be easier to walk to the bus stop than to try and figure out how to get around,” she said. “It was a lot easier to just go the four blocks to the bus stop.”

A Route 17 bus on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Route 17 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 17 serves Northeast Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis, Uptwon and St. Louis Park. Traveling southbound, buses run on Washington and Central avenues and through downtown on Nicollet Mall. Buses continue on Nicollet Avenue and 24th Street, stopping at the Uptown Transit Center on Hennepin Avenue before going to St. Louis Park on Lake Street and Minnetonka Boulevard (Route 17F goes south at Highway 7 to provide a connection to multiple employers in St. Louis Park). On the west end, Route 17 runs on Texas Avenue, serving Knollwood Mall and residential areas. Buses run every 5 to 15 minutes during rush hour, every 15 minutes midday and every 30 minutes in the evening. Service runs every 15 to 30 minutes on weekends and holidays. Service hours are approximately 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.             

Route Length: Approximately 12 miles

Stops: 123 eastbound, 125 westbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard and hybrid-electric buses

Ridership: Approximately 2.1 million customer boardings in 2013, the ninth highest ridership among all Metro Transit bus routes.

History: Buses, including some of the first gas-electric models, began running on Nicollet and Hennepin avenues in the early 1920s. A streetcar line that ran from Hennepin and Lagoon avenues to Lake Street and Brownlow Avenue operated from 1892 to 1938. The Richfield Bus Co. operated buses on the far west end of what is now Route 17 until Twin City Rapid Transit took it over in the 1950s. The northeast section of the route is rooted in a horsecar line that opened in 1892 and ran from downtown Minneapolis to Broadway and Monroe streets, where Logan Park is now located. Horsecars were replaced with electric streetcars, which operated until 1954.

Future: Concept plans for the Southwest LRT project call for Route 17 to be extended to the proposed Blake Road Station.                                                              

Bus METRO Green Line Route of the Week St. Paul

Route 83: A new link on Lexington Parkway 

| Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Dressed in a suit and tie, Alon Coleman recently took his first trip on Route 83. If the interview he just finished leads to a new job, it will be the first of many for the 20-year-old St. Paul resident.

“That would be great,” Coleman said as he traveled south from Roseville to catch a Route 70 bus at St. Clair Avenue and finish his journey home. “I’m very conscious of my carbon footprint and it would really help me save money.”

Coleman was among many residents testing out Route 83 during its first week of operation. The new service began on Saturday, June 14, as part of a suite of bus improvements aimed at strengthening connections to METRO Green Line stations.

Route 83 buses run largely along Lexington Parkway, filling a gap in north-south service between Snelling Avenue (served by Route 84) and Dale Street (served by Route 65) and providing a new connection to the Green Line’s Lexington Parkway Station. Buses on the contracted route run between the Roseville Super Target and Montreal Circle in St. Paul with service every 30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Chris Boldt is among those who immediately began using Route 83 to connect to the Green Line. Boldt works at the University of Minnesota and his research office is a short walk from the Green Line’s East Bank Station.

“Before, I just drove and parked,” Boldt said. “But I’m anti- paying for parking and this basically takes the same amount of time so it just makes sense (to take transit).”

Awazi Jaafaru, 15, also found instant value in the new route. Before she could take Route 83, getting to her internship on Energy Park Drive meant riding Route 23 to the Blue Line’s 38th Street Station, riding light-rail to downtown Minneapolis and transferring to Route 3.

In contrast, Route 83 provides a one-seat ride and gets her to the office in less than a half hour.

“It feels pretty good that it doesn’t have to be so complicated anymore,” said Jaafaru, who also plans to use Route 83 to connect to the Green Line and travel to classes at the U of M.

After testing out the Green Line on its first day of service, Linda Sootsman decided to take Route 83 to the Roseville Super Target to pick up a few items and see what the new route was like. Like many of the seniors who live with her at the Wilder Square Hi-Rise, Sootsman doesn’t own a vehicle and depends on transit to go to work and run errands.

“It’s great to have options because it gives me a lot more freedom,” Sootsman said. “I don’t see a need for me to get a car with the way I can get around on transit.”

Rachel Eutnam also appreciates having more options. Living in a one-car household, Eutnam uses transit during the day to get around with her one-year-old son. Eutnam was using Route 83 for the first time to visit the Ramsey County Library branch on Hamline Avenue.

“It’s all about connectivity and timing when I have to work around his naps,” she said.

Eutnam said she will also use Route 83 to visit one of St. Paul’s largest attractions, the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Stops on Lexington, Horton and Hamline avenues provide access to the park.

Campus Manager Michelle Furrer said Route 83 is a welcome addition as the park invests in transportation improvements aimed at relieving congestion. Around 4.4 million people visit the park ever year and more than 90 percent of park users arrive by car.

“We know we need to shift toward transit and having the addition of Route 83 and the Green Line that connects to it is a great step in the right direction,” Furrer said.

On the far south end of the route, buses will bring people directly to the Summit Brewery, located on Montreal Circle. Around 50,000 people visit the brewery every year and the combination of light-rail and bus service to the brewery’s front door “will be awesome,” said Carey Matthews, Summit’s marketing coordinator.

“The biggest thing for us is obviously greater accessibility to the brewery for the general public,” Matthews said. “It’s going to make it a lot easier for people to get over here and visit us.”

Route 83 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 83 buses operate between the Roseville Super Target and Montreal Circle, just south of West Seventh Street in St. Paul. Buses primarily run on Lexington Avenue but also provide service on Hamline Avenue between Larpenteur and Como avenues and on Edgcumbe Road between Jefferson and Randolph avenues. The route runs non-stop on Interstate 35E between Randolph Avenue and West 7th Street. Buses run about every 30 minutes from approximately 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week. An end-to-end trip takes around 37 minutes. The route serves many residences, businesses, schools and the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. The route also intersects with the METRO Green Line’s Lexington Parkway Station, allowing customers to transfer to light-rail and continue toward downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis. In addition to the METRO Green Line, Route 83 is intersected by routes 65, 61, 3, 67, 21, 63, 70, 74 and 54.

Route Length: Approximately 8.5 miles

Stops: 39 northbound, 43 southbound

Vehicles: 25-foot, 22 passenger small bus (the smaller vehicle is used because of operational constraints -- a railroad overpass near Como Park prevents the use of a larger vehicle). 

History: Buses ran on Lexington Parkway between Rosedale Center and Concordia Avenue beginning in June 2001, but the service was discontinued after 18 months. Route 83 began service on June 14, 2014 as part of a suite of bus improvements designed to better connect people to METRO Green Line stations. Route 83 is directly contracted by the Metropolitan Council and operated by a third-party provider but is a part of the regional transit network with scheduled connections to other routes, common fares and technology, and the same trip planning and customer service resources that make using it seamless for riders.

Bus Express Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week Suburban Transit

Route 767: Trading a tiring trip for transit 

| Monday, May 19, 2014 12:00:00 AM

For more than a decade, Christina Stensby commuted from Brooklyn Park to downtown Minneapolis with her husband. When a new job disrupted that routine last year, Stensby didn’t hesitate to turn her occasional back-up plan – riding Route 767 – into an everyday habit.

“I didn’t even have to think about it,” Stensby said during a recent morning commute. “Parking downtown is so expensive and driving is too time consuming.”

Stensby’s disdain for battling traffic was shared by many customers recently found traveling on Route 767. The express bus provides a convenient alternative to driving alone for northwest suburban residents in Maple Grove, New Hope and Brooklyn Park who travel to and from downtown Minneapolis on Interstate 94.

Congested roadways are circumvented by using bus-only shoulders while buses move swiftly in and out of downtown using the Marq2 corridor. Trips between Route 767’s largest boarding location, the Bottineau Boulevard and 63rd Avenue Park & Ride, and downtown Minneapolis typically take around 30 minutes due in part to these features.

Doug Bastyr has been enjoying the speedy trip since he began taking Route 767 this winter. After years of driving to and from his job in St. Paul, he grew frustrated and elected to leave the car at home.

His commute now involves a 40-second walk to the bus stop, a trip on Route 767 and a transfer in downtown Minneapolis to reach his job near Highway 280 and University Avenue. When the METRO Green Line opens June 14, he’ll be able to ride light-rail to Westgate Station, a short distance from his office.

“A couple of months of sitting in traffic and taking two hours to get to and from work got pretty tiring,” Bastyr said. “I actually get to work quicker now than I did when driving.”

Tayu Lee, of New Hope, stopped driving alone last year when he decided he no longer needed to have his car with him during the day. Lee telecommutes once a week so he can run errands and make midday trips that require a vehicle and spends his time in Minneapolis focused on work.

Besides the convenience, Lee saves more than $100 a month in parking costs and makes far fewer trips to the gas station. An employer-subsidized Metropass costs him around $50 a month.

“This has been much better than I expected, honestly,” said Lee, who drives three miles from his home to the Park & Ride.

Maxine Veith began taking Route 767 three years ago, when her 15-year-old car started to show its age and she decided she didn’t want to put any more money into it. Today, Veith relies on transit not only to get to and from work but as her primary means of transportation.

“You get so used to it, it really doesn’t matter to me anymore,” she said of living car-free.

New Hope resident Ron Goodson still uses his vehicle to run errands and take other local trips, but said he’d never consider driving to work. Taking Route 767 allows him to relax and catch up on reading. A few times each week, he’ll also bring his bicycle on the bus and pedal home – a roughly 11-mile trip that takes around an hour.

“I like getting rid of some of the stresses of driving while fitting in a workout,” Goodson said.

Route 767 At a Glance

Type: Express

ServiceRoute 767 provides express service from Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park to downtown Minneapolis. On the north end, select trips provide local service to the residential area east of the Bottineau Boulevard and 63rd Avenue Park & Ride, located in the northwest corner of Bottineau Boulevard (County Road 81) and 63rd Avenue North. Buses run non-stop on interstates 694 and 94 to the Marq2 corridor in downtown Minneapolis. There are five morning trips that run southbound between 5:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and five evening trips that run northbound between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Trips between the 63rd Avenue Park & Ride and downtown Minneapolis are scheduled to take approximately 30 minutes.         

Route Length: Approximately 15 miles

Stops: 53 southbound, 60 northbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard diesel buses

Ridership: Total ridership of 46,742 rides in 2013, with an average of 185 passengers per day.

History: Route 767 began service in March 2007, at the same time the Bottineau Boulevard and 63rd Avenue Park & Ride opened. The Park & Ride was built with funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ).

Future: The Bottineau Boulevard and 63rd Avenue Park & Ride has been identified as one of 12 future stations for the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Transitway), which would bring light rail from Target Field Station in Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park along Bottineau Boulevard. Planners working on the Bottineau Transitway envision the area surrounding the Park & Ride being redeveloped with the addition of light rail. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the transitway is available for public comment through the end of May. For more information visit bottineautransitway.org.

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