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 Green Line

From the GM METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line

Decade later, Blue Line is booming 

| Thursday, June 26, 2014 5:00:00 AM

From General Manager Brian Lamb

When the METRO Blue Line opened a decade ago, residents hadn’t moved around the Twin Cities on rail since buses replaced streetcars five decades earlier. People weren’t sure what to make of the new light-rail service and expectations were modest. In fact, critics called it the “train to nowhere.”

What’s happened in the years since is nothing short of extraordinary.

More than 90.5 million rides have been taken since Blue Line trains began operating between the Warehouse District and Fort Snelling on June 26, 2004. Average weekday ridership continues to exceed 2020 projections by more than 25 percent – a response so strong that we extended platforms and ordered additional light-rail vehicles to begin running longer trains last year. Turns out a lot of people were interested in going “nowhere.”

As the Blue Line reaches its 10th anniversary there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about its future, too.

The opening of the Green Line earlier this month provides a host of new opportunities for passengers on both light-rail lines. With a simple, seamless transfer in downtown Minneapolis, Green Line customers can board a Blue Line train and continue south to the VA, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or Mall of America. Blue Line customers can continue their trips on the Green Line to the University of Minnesota, University Avenue and downtown St. Paul.

Improved bus service and the additions of the Northstar Commuter Rail Line and METRO Red Line at the north and south ends of the Blue Line have similarly given more people to access light rail, a trend that will only continue as our transit network grows in the years ahead.

As the Blue Line changed the way people get around, development followed suit. More housing, commercial and office space has been built or is under construction at several points along the 12-mile corridor.

Apartments that opened late last year across from the 38th Street Station filled almost as soon as they were made available. In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, apartments are rising immediately adjacent to Nicollet Mall Station. And the North Loop neighborhood around Target Field Station has been transformed from a collection of empty warehouses to a vibrant neighborhood where people live, work and play.

Downtwon East Station on the opening day of the METRO Blue Line.All of this activity bodes well for Twin Cities residents who, now more than ever, want to get around without relying on a vehicle. But the Blue Line isn't just serving those who have made it a part of their daily lives.

Light-rail has also become a strong selling point for groups working to attract more businesses and travelers to our region.

In Bloomington, the Mall of America is expanding, new hotel spaces have been built and the city is pursuing an ambitious plan to create more opportunities for transit-oriented development around Bloomington Central Station. Next month, visitors from around the world will use the Blue and Green lines to travel to and from Target Field for the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018 an even larger group will arrive in the Twin Cities to enjoy the 2018 Super Bowl, an event that would be virtually impossible without transit.

Success breeds success, which is why we can be confident the Green Line will enjoy a similar record of success in its first 10 years of service – and in every decade thereafter. In fact, even before opening day it was clear the Blue Line had put the Green Line in a strong position to succeed.

As our regional transit network continues to grow let us remember that it was the Blue Line that set the table as well as the standard for transit in our region and be thankful for all those who have helped to make it a success.

    > From the GM

    > METRO Blue Line

    > Photos from the Blue Line opening

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 Community METRO Green Line Minneapolis St. Paul

The last ride on Route 50 

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Nikki Bass grew pretty fond of Route 50 over the last decade. The Frogtown resident said the route not only took her where she needed to go but moved at an ideal pace – brisk, but casual enough to let her take in the sights along the way.

On Friday, June 13, Bass spent a little more time looking out the window than usual. That’s because she was among several customers aboard Route 50’s final eastbound journey, which departed downtown Minneapolis shortly after 6 p.m.

“I’m really going to miss it,” Bass said as the bus moved toward the University of Minnesota campus. “The trains are going to be moving so fast, I don’t know if I’ll be able to see as much.”

Despite their nostalgia, Bass and other passengers making their final trips on Route 50 last week said they knew losing the bus meant gaining something even better – reliable, efficient all-day service on the METRO Green Line. Trains replaced Route 50 buses because the Green Line covers the same territory and can provide service more efficiently.

Route 50’s final run came almost 16 years to the day after the limited-stop bus service was introduced in an effort to attract new riders who wanted a faster, more efficient service on University Avenue. Route planner John Levin spoke with Minnesota Public Radio about the route on its first day of service, June 15, 1998, in an interview that can be heard here.  

As Green Line trains began running down University Avenue, several bus routes in the Central Corridor were improved to make the most of the new light-rail service. Besides Route 50, routes 8 and 144 had their final runs on June 13 as service was consolidated with other routes to improve efficiency.

While many Route 50 customers looked fondly on their years riding the bus, their was also excitement about the Green Line's opening. Among those looking forward to the change was Cameron Kolbe, who has commuted on Route 50 for the last eight years. 

“I’ve been psyching myself up and trying to acclimate myself to the fact that this is the new reality,” Kolbe said. “It’s going to be a weird adjustment but I’m looking forward to it.”

Sherry Hurt, who lives near the Green Line’s Victoria Street Station, said she turned to Route 50 two years ago so she could avoid the hassles of driving to work. She plans to use the Green Line to get to her job near the U of M campus and to run errands on University Avenue.

“I’m one of those people who hates to be late,” she said. “This bus always got me there early and I think the train will do the same.”

Being on the final Route 50 trip was particularly symbolic for Melissa Williams, a St. Anthony Park resident who has commuted by bus for nearly a decade. On Saturday, June 14, Williams and her four-year-old son had tickets to be on the first Green Line train departing Raymond Avenue Station.

Riding Route 50 for the last time, Williams said she saw the Green Line’s opening as an historic moment for the community.

“It’s a sign that University Avenue matters,” she said. “A lot of my friends will joke that you have to have a visa to cross over the river (between Minneapolis and St. Paul) but I don’t think that will be the case anymore.”

    > METRO Green Line

    > Enhanced bus service + METRO Green Line

    > Rail returns to the Central Corridor

    > Route 50: Limited stops for longer rides

Photos: Top right, Jodi Elowitz and Debra Jane take their photo while riding on the final eastbound Route 50 trip; the two have commuted to and from the University of Minnesota on Route 50 for the last three years. Bottom left, John Levin, who devised the route as a planner for Metro Transit, rides home after work on Route 50's final day of operation.

Interview from Minnesota Public Radio © 1998. Used with permission. All rights reserved.​

METRO Green Line St. Paul Station Spotlight

Hope abounds at Hamline Avenue 

| Monday, June 16, 2014 12:00:00 AM

METRO Green Line trains at the Hamline Avenue Station. Like many of the students who documented the METRO Green Line’s construction as part of a special class at Gordon Parks High School, Khalaun Phillips viewed light-rail construction as an unwelcome inconvenience.

Now that work has come to an end, he looks at the project a lot differently.

“I learned a community needs things that bring people together and the train does that,” Phillips said during a recent visit to the school, which sits on University Avenue just east of the Green Line’s Hamline Avenue Station.

Philips’ change of heart came partly from his involvement in the school’s “Transitions” class. For the last several years, students in the class have interviewed residents about what life was like on University Avenue and what they think the Green Line will mean for the community in the future.

The results are collected on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website to be preserved for future generations to look back on.

Only time will tell how the Green Line will shape the area around Gordon Parks and Hamline Station, but as light-rail trains begin carrying passengers up and down University Avenue it’s already evident the area is poised for change.

Several vacant auto dealerships are being redeveloped to provide new housing and retail space. Small businesses are cropping up along University Avenue and in the surrounding neighborhoods. And immigrants who have settled in St. Paul are bonding together to support one another and promote their distinct cultural offerings.

Among the most visible signs of change can be found just north of Hamline Avenue Station, where Minneapolis-based Project for Pride in Living will begin construction this summer on a vacant property once used as an auto dealership.

PPL’s $28 million Hamline Station project includes two buildings that will together include 108 new apartments, as well as commercial and retail space and a courtyard.

Barbara McCormick, PPL’s director of housing, said the project is mean to serve working-class residents who live in the community and want to take advantage of being near transit. Already, it’s clear the demand is strong for such housing.

“The calls have been coming in since the sign went up,” McCormick said.

West of Hamline Station, a vacated showroom is being converted into retail space. East of the station, at University Avenue and Griggs Street, another old dealership is being renovated into a new Goodwill store.

Not every change around Hamline Avenue Station is coming in the form of new construction, though.

Seeing opportunity from the Green Line, several African business owners banded together in late 2013 to launch a new marketing and branding campaign for the Little Africa district.

The idea is to promote the cultural district as a destination for visitors traveling through the corridor on the Green Line. The district covers area south and north of University Avenue between Fairview Avenue and Syndicate Street.

“We want people to know they don’t have to travel to Ethiopia to experience Ethiopian culture, because it’s right here in their backyard,” said Gene Gelgelu, one of the effort’s organizers.

One of the businesses included in the effort is Flamingo Restaurant, located a block east of Hamline Avenue Station on Syndicate Street.

Shegitu Kebede and Frewoini Haile opened the restaurant in 2010 but after surviving construction and a power surge that nearly put them under say the start of light rail service makes them feel as though they are “opening for the first time.”

“I don’t think anyone will appreciate it (the Green Line opening) as much as we do,” said Kebede, who immigrated to St. Paul from Ethiopia. “It’s a very huge chapter in our lives.”

Beyond bringing in new customers, Kebede said she and many of those who work at the restaurant will be able to commute to and from work on the Green Line. Kevede lives in Frogtown and will travel between Hamline Avenue Station and the Capitol/Rice Street Station.

Students from Concordia University-St. Paul will also likely be traveling between Hamline Avenue Station and the Capitol/Rice Street Station, said Jason DeBoer-Moran, the school’s director of marketing and communications. Political science students often travel to the Capitol with rented vans but will now be able to make less than a half mile to Hamline Avenue Station and ride the train instead.

The trips are just one example of how Concordia’s 3,600 students will use the Green Line, said DeBoer-Moran, who lives in the neighborhood and himself will use light rail. Students can also use the Green Line to travel and from campus, to internships along the Green Line corridor and to reach downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“It’s just another convenient option for those students who are trying to get around without having to worry about driving and parking,” DeBoer-Moran said. “Having more options to get here is always a nice thing.”

Hamline Avenue Station At a Glance 

Connecting bus routesRoute 21, with service from Uptown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul on Lake Street, Marshall, Snelling, University, Hamline and Selby avenues. Route 16, with service from downtown St. Paul to the University of Minnesota on University Avenue.

Public art: Minneapolis artist Foster Willey and his brother Guy combined Terra Cotta, hand-made glazed tiles and other materials to create what they call “Hamline Prairie Station.” The work is inspired by Prairie School Architecture, a popular Midwestern style that draws on the natural environment. “I have always been drawn to the combination of geometric and organic forms that define the Prairie style,” Foster Willey said. “The station provides a modern context for new designs that are both original and complimentary.

Area landmarks: Concordia University-St. Paul, Central High School, Dunning Recreation Center, James Griffin Stadium, Skyline Tower, Gordon Parks High School, HealthParners Center for International Health, Galtier Community School, Leap High School, Hamline Park.

Bike-ped connections: Charles Avenue bike boulevard (construction to be complete in summer 2014); bike lanes on Pascal Street North between I-94 and University Avenue; pedestrian overpass over I-94 at Griggs Street. Nice Ride kiosk at the St. Paul Police Western District (389 Hamline Ave. N.)

Neighborhood groupsHamline-Midway Coalition; Union Park District Council

Community METRO Green Line

Green Line poster contest winner revealed 

| Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:39:00 PM

Green Line poster contest winnter Genesia Williams with her winning entry on Thursday, June 12, 2014.When Genesia Williams heard about the METRO Green Line Opening Day Poster Contest, she knew immediately that she had to enter. A graduate of the Minneapolis Community & Technical College’s graphic design and print program, Williams wanted to gauge how others responded to her work, and saw the contest as an ideal opportunity.

“It was an easy and efficient way to test my skill set, to make sure I could tackle something of this size,” said Williams, who lives in Minneapolis and is a frequent transit user. “I just thought, 'Why not give it a go? Why not try it?'”

Turns out people responded quite favorably.

On Thursday, June 12, Williams’ design – a vibrant green featuring an abstract collage of light-rail vehicles – was revealed as the contest’s winning entry. The contest drew 47 entries that were narrowed down to five finalists by a group of community members from neighborhoods along the Green Line and then put up for a public, online vote in May.

To recognize her efforts, Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb presented Williams, 27, with a $500 check and a Go-To Card good for a year’s worth of bus and train rides outside the Green Line’s Operations and Maintenance Facility in Lowertown St. Paul. She will also receive a framed copy of the poster.

More importantly to Williams, her work will be viewed by tens of thousands of people who attend the Green Line’s grand opening. Postcard-sized copies of the poster will be distributed at stations and a limited number of larger copies will be available on Metro Transit's store.

    > Purchase a Commemorative Green Line Poster here

Surrounded by her family, Williams said she was elated to have a part in the history-making opening and that the poster "resonated with the people that the work was there to serve."

“I’m so excited I can’t even contain it,” she said.

    > METRO Green Line

    > Celebrate Green Line opening with commemorative Go-To Card

    > Star Tribune: Metro Transit unveils poster commemorating Green Line opening

    > Pioneer Press: Green Line poster designer wins free rides for a year

 

Page 10 of 18 << < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 > >>

Skip footer navigation

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US ON: