Skip to main content For screen readers, our previous mobile pages might be more easily navigated while we continue to improve the accessibility of our website.

 

Posts in Category: METRO Blue Line

METRO Blue Line Public Art

Big commitment brings ‘Small Kindnesses’ back to life 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, June 11, 2019 2:29:00 PM

Public Art Administrator Mark Granlund and Max Hoaglund, an independent technologist, finish repairs to a box holding a video player at the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station.

Joe Scala firmly believes art supports individuals’ well-being. He also believes it should work properly.

Those dual beliefs have been in evidence for the past 15 years as Scala has voluntarily and dutifully looked after nearly two-dozen audio and video boxes at seven light rail stations along the METRO Blue Line.

Recording his observations in weekly spreadsheets, he’s reported frayed cords, stiff springs, faulty screens and hundreds of other repair needs for the public art installations, collectively known as “Small Kindnesses, Weather Permitting.”

“It’s been a little bit of an adventure and a learning experience for a lot of people,” Scala said before setting out on another recent scouting trip.

A nearly completed overhaul of the custom-designed and built boxes won’t stop Scala from making his near-weekly rounds. It should, however, make his laundry list a little shorter than usual.

Repairs to the boxes have been ongoing almost since the start. But over the past year, old technology has been swapped out, standardized and updated, making the system more durable and easier to maintain.

“After 15 years, things were becoming obsolete and the whole system really needed to be redone,” Metro Transit’s Public Art Administrator Mark Granlund said.

On a recent afternoon, Granlund and Max Hoaglund, an independent technologist helping with the updates, removed the glass cover of a box at the 46th Street Station, revealing a tangle of wiring connected to a small circuit board.

Behind a miniature red velvet curtain rested a video player that rotates through more than 80 short videos. At other locations, video or audio is triggered by pulling a lever, spinning a wheel or ringing a bell.

The custom nature of each box is what’s made maintaining the collection so tricky. But there are plenty of supporters who appreciate the efforts to keep them going after all these years.

Among the most excited is Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist Janet Zweig, who was commissioned to create the interactive art project ahead of the Blue Line’s 2004 opening.

Zweig collaborated with others on the engineering, installation and maintenance, and helped solicit and curate content. She received hundreds of VHS tapes and CDs from local poets, songwriters, storytellers and others based on the themes of courtesy and weather – two Minnesota clichés.

“I’m really thrilled that there’s so much follow through on this,” she said.

Beyond the recent repairs, Zweig said she was especially grateful to Scala for his years of diligence, calling him a “superhero of public art.”

While Scala’s fully embraced the role, it came to him unexpectedly.

While overseeing an installation, Zweig worried aloud how maintenance needs would be documented. Scala overheard the conversation and volunteered to check on them.

He’s sent detailed reports to Metro Transit staff every week for the past 15 years.

Scala said his work has been motivated not just by a belief in the power of art, but by his friendship with Zweig. He’s also pretty fond of the stories the boxes bring to the community.

Because he’s seen every submission, he usually doesn’t stick around until the end. But he’ll wait for the next train if one of his two favorite music videos come up (one features a humorous song called “Commuters,” and the other is of two people fishing on a lake). Another, by the late Native storyteller Jim Northrup, also stirs memories.

“They’re serious, they’re humorous and, collectively, they’re a really great inventory,” Scala said. “I feel really good about the commitment to get them refurbished.”

Metro Transit plans to solicit new audio and video submissions to be added to the "Small Kindnesses, Weather Permitting" collection later this year. Watch for more details soon. Listen to existing audio clips here.

Attend an upcoming public art tour

Learn more about Metro Transit’s collection of public art by attending an upcoming guided tour. A tour of the Blue Line will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 15. The two-hour tour will begin at the 28th Avenue Station. RSVP to the tour and find dates and times of future tours at metrotransit.org.

Above: Public Art Administrator Mark Granlund and Max Hoaglund, an independent technologist, finish repairs to a box holding a video player at the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station.

Awards Bus Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis Safety

Sarah Gibson claims Rail Rodeo crown with calm demeanor 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:42:00 PM

Rail Supervisor Connie Skinner (top left) scores Train Operator Sarah Gibson during Metro Transit's 2019 Rail Rodeo. Train Operators Joe Bretto (top right) and Mose Mahir (bottom right) perform pre-trip inspections during the contest.

Train Operator Sarah Gibson’s laid-back approach won her Metro Transit’s Rail Rodeo crown last Saturday.

“I really didn’t do much to prepare. This is what I’ve been doing for five years now so operating a train is almost second nature, and I’ve always been pretty good at written tests,” said Gibson, who has worked for Metro Transit for seven years, the first two as a bus operator.

Gibson will represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Rail Rodeo in Toronto in June. She also was named the Green Line’s Garage Champion, a new award this year, and won a jacket.

Joining her in Toronto will be fellow Train Operator Joe Bretto, who placed third. Train Operator Paul Gillespie placed second but is unable to attend.

During the skills competition, operators were judged on the thoroughness of a pre-trip inspection and their operation of a light rail vehicle in the rail yard and on the Blue Line. They also took a written exam on light rail rules and had to pass a uniform inspection.

This wasn’t Gibson’s first Rail Rodeo. In 2017, the only other time she’s competed, she finished third. She was also a finalist in the 2013 Bus Roadeo.

Gibson is taking the same relaxed approach to the international competition that she took to the local one.

“I enjoy my job and do it the best I can every day, so I suppose I’ll just keep doing that,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s family will join her in Toronto to cheer her on. They also hope to catch a Toronto Blue Jays game since the team will be at home during the competition dates.

Meanwhile, Metro Transit’s reigning Bus Roadeo champion, Heywood Operator Jack Berner, will compete in APTA’s International Bus Roadeo in May. This is expected to be Berner’s final Roadeo before retirement. He has won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo seven of the past 12 years.

Metro Transit’s annual Bus Roadeo will be held in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 14, Tuesday, Sept. 17, Wednesday, Sept. 18 and Thursday, Sept. 19.

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis Ridership

Final Four leads to record light rail ridership 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, April 18, 2019 11:46:00 AM

Metro Transit brought tens of thousands of fans to U.S. Bank Stadium for the 2019 NCAA Men's Final Four in Minneapolis.The METRO Blue and Green lines each set single-day ridership records on Monday, April 8, when the NCAA Men’s Final Four championship game was held at U.S. Bank Stadium.

There were 62,686 rides provided on the Blue Line and 68,210 rides on the Green Line that day. The combined total of 130,896 light rail rides topped the previous single-day light rail ridership record set on Sept. 11, 2017.

April 8 was the busiest day on the Green Line since Oct. 3, 2016, when the Vikings played a Monday night game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Blue Line’s previous single-day ridership record was set on Aug. 24, 2018.

Altogether, Metro Transit provided nearly 160,000 more light rail rides between Friday, April 5, and Tuesday, April 9, when Final Four activities were being held across downtown Minneapolis. Total rides on those dates are being compared to the same days the prior week.

Metro Transit also played a key role on Saturday, April 13, when Minnesota United hosted its inaugural match at Allianz Field. An estimated 5,500 fans took the Green Line and A Line to the stadium, at the corner of University and Snelling avenues.

Fans can take light rail to every major stadium in the Twin Cities, including CHS Field, TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field.

“As Minnesota sports fans and visitors can attest, transit is the most convenient, affordable and enjoyable way to get to and from large events,” General Manger Wes Kooistra said. “We are happy to support our community in this way and look forward to having an even greater ability to do so as our network grows in the years ahead.”

Light Rail METRO Blue Line Minneapolis

Train operator recalls 30-year-old CPR lessons, likely saving a passenger’s life 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1:29:00 PM

Train operator Jim Peach (above left) was moved to take a CPR class 30 years ago after watching helplessly as a fellow Northwest Airlines mechanic died of a heart attack at work. The next time he saw someone stricken when he was on the job, Peach knew what to do.

That time was the morning of Sept. 19, 2018. When Peach pulled his southbound Blue Line train into the Cedar-Riverside Station, he saw a crowd around a man having a seizure on the platform.

From the Rail Control Center, Rail Supervisor Jim Clancy (above right) called 911 as Peach and a bystander removed the man’s backpack to lay him on his back.

“I remember saying ‘We’re losing him.’ He was turning purple,” Peach said.

Peach estimates he performed about 10 chest compressions before the man’s color returned. Recalling his training, he turned the man on his side and asked for his name. The man responded “Kyle.”

“That’s when my head about exploded,” Peach said. “It was great. I was just, ‘My God, that just worked.’ When I got up and left, a lot of people started clapping.”

In January, Peach was recognized for having taken action by the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee. He also earned admiration from his colleagues.

“He likely saved that man’s life,” said Clancy, who watched the situation unfold on cameras back at the RCC. 

Peach maintained his composure long enough to move the train to the Franklin Avenue Station, where he was already scheduled for a break. After leaving the train, he was overcome with emotion.

“It was like a truck ran over me because I didn’t understand what my brain and body had just done,” Peach said. “I have never felt like that. My body was numb. Everybody tells me it was the adrenaline.”

Peach had trouble sleeping for a long time and still wonders how Kyle is doing, what his full name is and would like to know more about him.

If they could meet, Peach said he’d like to tell him about the man who inspired him to take a CPR class. His name was Gene, and they worked in Northwest Airlines’ machine shop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“I felt really bad. A real nice guy I worked with died, and I couldn’t help him,” Peach said.

Peach knows firsthand the importance of saving a life. As a baby, he was in a house fire on Feb. 19, 1957. An aunt and uncle rushed him to a hospital.

“I was very badly burned at four months old, and it took me 61 years and seven months to pay it forward,” marveled Peach, who at 62 still bears scars from that fire.

Registered nurse Alicia Bravo, who works in the emergency department at Hennepin Healthcare and is a CPR advocate for the American Heart Association, was amazed at what Peach was able to do.

“He hadn’t taken a course in 30 years, but maybe he had been hearing all these messages since then about CPR and that could have been with him,” Bravo said. “He’s very brave for having done something.”  

Where to learn CPR

Visit the American Heart Association’s website to find out where and when CPR classes are available in your area. Visit www.heart.org/en/cpr to learn more.

A CPR kiosk can also be found in the skyway level of Hennepin Healthcare’s Red Building, 730 South 8th Street, Minneapolis. The kiosk includes a mannequin that gives live feedback to compressions.

A Line BRT Bus Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Ridership

Light rail, Bus Rapid Transit lines set annual ridership records 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, February 11, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Customers board a Metro Transit light rail vehicle at the Nicollet Mall Station in 2018.It was another record-setting year for Metro Transit’s light rail and Bus Rapid Transit lines.

The Green Line, Blue Line and A Line each saw their highest annual ridership ever in 2018, breaking records that were set just a year earlier.

Ridership on the Green Line has steadily risen since the light rail line opened in 2014. Nearly 13.8 million rides were taken on the Green Line last year. Average weekday ridership topped 42,500 rides.

More than 11.1 million rides were taken on the Blue Line, the highest annual total since it opened in 2004. The increase in Blue Line ridership partly reflects a shift to transit amid construction on Interstate 35W.

In its second full year of service, customers took more than 1.6 million rides on the A Line. Total ridership in the A Line corridor is about one-third higher than 2015, when it was served only by Route 84. 

“Continued growth in light rail and Bus Rapid Transit ridership affirms what we’ve always believed – that people value fast, frequent and reliable service,” Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra said. “We are encouraged by the response and look forward to offering more of this service in the years to come.”

Systemwide, Metro Transit provided more than 80.7 million total rides in 2018. This was the eighth consecutive year annual ridership topped 80 million rides, keeping ridership at its highest point in three decades.

Across transit types and providers, nearly 94.2 million rides were provided in the seven-county region in 2018. That total includes suburban transit providers as well as the Metropolitan Council’s Metro Mobility, Transit Link and Vanpool services.

Metro Transit’s 2018 ridership total includes 55 million local and express bus rides (including Maple Grove Transit, which is operated under contract by Metro Transit). Bus ridership declined 4 percent from 2017.

Some ridership loss was expected following an October 2017 fare increase. Lower-than-usual gas prices also played a role. 

The decline in bus ridership largely reflects losses on Metro Transit’s busiest local routes, which will be substantially replaced and improved with Bus Rapid Transit service in the coming years.

Where service improvements have been made, bus ridership has risen. Ridership to St. Louis Park’s West End and on routes 32 and 54 improved in 2018. Some Route 54 trips began offering limited stop service between downtown St. Paul and Maplewood Mall beginning in June 2018. 

Other 2018 ridership highlights include:

 > More than 1.3 million rides through the Transit Assistance Program, which allows qualified individuals to ride buses or light rail for $1.

 > A record number of Vikings fans took transit to and from home games. In all, nearly 263,000 rides were provided to and from U.S. Bank Stadium over the course of the pre- and regular season.

 > A record number of rides were provided to and from the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday, Sept. 1. More than 83,500 rides were provided on State Fair Express Buses and regular routes that serve the fairgrounds that day.

 > Nearly 210,000 additional rides were taken over more than a week’s worth of Super Bowl events in February 2018.

Metro Transit 2018 Ridership At A Glance

Mode Total Rides Average Weekday Rides Percent change from 2017
Bus 53.3 million 177,319 - 4%
Green Line 13.8 million (record) 42,572 + 5%
Blue Line 11.1 million (record) 32,921 + 4%
A Line 1.6 million (record) 4,860 + 2%
Northstar 787,327 2,814 0
Total 80.7 million 260,486 - 1%

 

Metro Transit Annual Ridership, 2004-2018

Who rides Metro Transit?

 

Page 1 of 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >>

Skip footer navigation

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US ON: