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Posts in Category: METRO Green Line

METRO Green Line St. Paul Station Spotlight

Past and present converge at Victoria Street Station 

| Tuesday, May 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM

A METRO Green Line train at Victoria Street Station. Sam Hayat opened his first car repair shop on University Avenue nearly 30 years ago. After struggling to sustain the business, he tried making a go of it at locations in south Minneapolis, Bloomington and Brooklyn Park.

A year ago, he returned to the place where it all began, opening the doors to Eco Garage at the northwest corner of University Avenue and Victoria Street and just north of the METRO Green Line’s Victoria Street Station.

After years of bouncing around, it appears Hayat has finally hit the sweet spot.

“We’ve been busy since day one,” Hayat said recently. “It’s been a huge difference as far as business goes. This is really beyond my expectations.”

Hayat, who has expanded from one to four mechanics since opening in 2013, is expecting things to get even better after the Green Line opens on June 14. His thinking is that customers who need to leave their cars for the day will come to Eco Garage because of its convenient location on the Green Line.

Business owners and community leaders say Hayat’s success is a precursor of what is to come for those who live and work near Victoria Street Station. In addition to increased mobility and improved conditions for small businesses, light-rail is viewed as a catalyst for residential, commercial and retail development, as well as a springboard for community building.

One of the groups leading the charge is Model Cities, a nonprofit human service and community development group that has been active on University Avenue for nearly 50 years.

Based just north of Victoria Street Station, Model Cities hopes to begin construction in 2015 on two sites at or near Victoria Street Station, together known as  Model Cities Redevelopment. The Model Cities BROWNstone and Central Exchange projects would together bring 60 new units of family and workforce housing as well as two new pocket parks, public art and a reading room that focuses on the role African Americans played in St. Paul’s early railroad industry.

Dr. Beverly Oliver Hawkins, the chief executive officer at Model Cities, said the project is part of a larger goal to develop and promote a distinct cultural district that celebrates the area’s history and the mix of cultures that now reside there.

“The window of opportunity has opened up and we are jumping through it,” Hawkins said.

Community leaders driving to restore the Victoria Theater also see the Green Line’s opening as a seminal moment for their efforts. Located just north of Victoria Street Station on University Avenue, the 1915 theater was a popular community hangout through the 1930s, when it was converted to retail use.

After nearly 20 years of vacancy, the Victoria Theater Arts Initiative is working to purchase the building and re-open it as a community arts center. The theater is one of several locations where community celebrations will be held for the Green Line’s opening and will continue to feature art from the community throughout the year.

Tyler Olson, who lives nearby and is involved in the restoration effort, said having light-rail trains run outside the theater’s doors will be critical to building interest in the site.

“This is probably something that could move forward without light rail, but having that adds a real depth of audience and allows us to share a lot more easily,” he said. “This could be a community center in a very traditional sense but now it will be open to a huge number of people from across the Twin Cities.”

Mary Milton, the owner of Transformation Salon, is also hoping the extra attention will be a boon for her nine-year-old business, located on University Avenue just west of Victoria Street Station. While the construction period was difficult, she believes the future will be much brighter.

If business improves as she expects, she wants to expand into a larger space and offer shoes, clothing, jewelry and other items.

“That was kind of my vision in the beginning,” she said. “I’m hoping that people will see the business and be encouraged to stop and get off.”

The renewed entrepreneurial spirit reflects a deep-seeded culture of self-reliance in the area surrounding the station.

MK Nguyen grew up in Frogtown as the daughter of Vietnamese refugee immigrants who became pioneers in the Southeast Asian small business community, opening Ala Francaise Bakery, the Twin Cities’ first bánh mì shop. As community leaders, they helped many others establish small businesses on University Avenue and St. Paul.

Nguyen now hopes to build on that legacy by opening a retail space of her own. She also wants to help grow the capacity of residents and business owners to work together and build a "healthy, wealthy, vibrant Frogtown for the next generation." The Green Line is an integral part of that vision, creating new opportunities for residents and youth to engage and develop a healthy, participatory, and sustainable model for social and economic growth, she said.

“My mind is blown every single day by the genius of the people in my neighborhood," Nguyen said. "My goal is to unleash the human potential that already exists in Frogtown, invite others to join our story, and add to the rich and dynamic history embedded in Frogtown.”

While focused on the future, residents around the station remain ever-mindful of the neighborhood’s history. The historic Rondo community was divided by the construction of Interstate 94, and that past experience remains front of mind for many who still live in the area.

To recognize the leaders who held the neighborhood together throughout the years, the Victoria Street Station features 17 images of people who have impacted the community. The group includes educators, historians and entrepreneurs, such as Tiger “Jack” Rosenbloom who ran a small shop at the corner of St Anthony Avenue and Dale Street and is remembered for saying “Never say can’t.”

Scultptor Foster Willey learned about the individuals while crafting the station artwork and said he was struck by the number of strong personalities that called St. Paul home.

“There is a very compelling story of a very vibrant community that had some rough times and their resilience in overcoming that while continuing to thrive and celebrate their history and culture,” he said.

Victoria Station At a Glance 

Connecting bus routesRoute 16, which will provide local service on University Avenue between Stadium Village Station and downtown St. Paul.

Public art: Minneapolis artist Foster Willey partnered with his brother Guy to sculpt portraits of historic people and landmarks from the Rondo community which are affixed to the station walls. Around 80 individuals were nominated for inclusion in the “Faces of Rondo” project and community members helped select 17 people to include. Among those featured at the station is Gordon Parks, who overcame trying circumstances to become a well-regarded author, photographer and filmmaker. Others featured at the station are Pearla Mae Barnes, Lou Bellamy, Dorothea Burns, Charles Crutchfield Sr., Mahmoud El-Kati, Beverley Oliver Hawkins, Katie McWatt, Debbie Montgomery, Rhoda Stroud, Billy Williams, Floyd Massey Jr., Sharon Sayles Belton, Tiger Jack Rosenblum, Hallie Q. Brown and Evelyn Fairbanks. There are also images of the Rondo-Stryker streetcar, a familiar sight in the neighborhood from the 1920s to the 1950s; Mechanic Arts High School, a fixture in the community until it closed in 1976; and Pullman porters. Many early African American Rondo residents worked on sleeping cars as Pullman porters, and fromed the first all-black union. Learn more

Area landmarks: Ryan Park, Carty Park, Frogtown Park and Farm, Maxfield Elementary

Bike-ped connections: A NiceRide kiosk is located in the northwest corner of University Avenue and Victoria Street.  This summer, St. Paul will construct a bike boulevard on Charles Avenue between North Aldine Street and Park Street. There are pedestrian crossings over I-94 at Chatsworth and Grotto streets.

Neighborhood groupsFrogtown Neighborhood Association; Summit University Planning Council

Bicycle Bus Community METRO Green Line Safety Transit Police

Transit Police on board and on bike 

| Monday, May 05, 2014 12:00:00 AM

The Metro Transit Police Department's Bike Patrol poses during a training at Fort Snelling.When Sgt. Leo Castro is on patrol in St. Paul, he doesn’t need to roll down the window to get fresh air.

That’s because he’s clipped into the pedals of a Cannondale mountain bike, traveling the streets on a pair of 26-inch wheels to monitor busy boarding locations and respond when needed.

Castro and other Metro Transit Police Department officers will be getting even more time in the open air when the METRO Green Line begins service on June 14.

Because the light-rail line runs through two downtowns, the University of Minnesota and a busy commercial corridor, Transit Police will be riding bikes, patrolling on foot and spending time aboard buses and trains so they can have more mobility and respond as quickly as possible.

“As a bike officer, we can get to certain areas where a squad car can’t go and get there a lot more quickly,” Castro said. “Even in rush hour we can cover three or four blocks in a couple of minutes.”

In 2010, Castro became the first Metro Transit police officer to get trained and certified as a bike patrol officer. Today, he leads a unit of 16 officers who split time between their bikes and a squad car. Bike officers will also load their bikes on bus racks and bring them on trains while doing fare checks and other on-board policing.

As part of their basic training, bike officers are taught how to ride up and down stairs, dismount and make arrests and navigate safely through traffic and large crowds. Transit Police also recently participated in “Bike Rapid Response” training with the Minneapolis Police Department to learn how bikes can be used to calm crowds during large events, such as the MLB All-Star Game.

Officer Daniel Wallace is part of the department’s newest class of bike officers and comes with two years of previous experience patrolling the Mall of America by bike. Wallace said one of the biggest challenges to patrolling on a bike is carrying all of the gear. A “duty belt” with a radio and other equipment weighs around 30 pounds.

“Once you learn how to ride you never forget,” Wallace said. “But doing it with all the equipment is a little more of a challenge.”

Bike patrols primarily take place in the spring and summer, but officers aren't afraid to go out in difficult weather conditions, including ice, snow and rain.

While physically demanding, Officer Kelly Franco sought a spot on the bike unit because it offered variety and a unique opportunity to interact more with the public.

“When you’re in a squad car, the majority of the time you’re going from call to call,” she said. “But when you’re on bike patrol you’re mingling and interacting with people and other bike riders so you get to see a different perspective.”

In his experience on the street, Castro said being on a bike has allowed him to quickly identify and apprehend suspects, respond to medical emergencies and generally be more proactive about quality of life issues such as loitering.

Being on a bike has also been a great way to combine his interest in biking with his job and public service, said Castro, the department’s 2010 Officer of the Year.

“I’m passionate about bikes, but I’m equally passionate about community-oriented policing,” he said. “Really, that’s what this is all about.”

    > Metro Transit Police Department

    > For Transit Police K-9s, all work and a little play

Bus METRO Green Line Route of the Week St. Paul University of Minnesota

Route 87: Connecting the University of Minnesota to University Avenue 

| Monday, April 14, 2014 8:27:00 AM

Route 87 passed the METRO Green Line's Raymond Avenue Station on University Avenue.JB Shank sat aboard Route 87, laptop open, putting the finishing touches on a presentation he was due to deliver later that day.

A history professor at the University of Minnesota, Shank said he frequently brings his computer out on the bus and finds ways to be productive while traveling to and from the office.

“It’s another 20 or 30 minutes more work I get to do every day,” Shank said as he recently traveled towards the U of M’s St. Paul Campus.

Shank is among a host of customers who have found benefits to traveling on Route 87, which runs between St. Paul's Highland Village and the Rosedale Transit Center in Roseville. Buses run largely along Cleveland, University, Raymond and Fairview avenues.

The route is used by residents traveling to and from work, shoppers headed to Rosedale Center or Highland Village and those traveling to the U of M’s St. Paul campus, where parking can be a challenge.

Will Secur, a graduate student studying applied economics at the U of M, is among those who take Route 87 to class.

Secur said he hadn't used transit before moving from Virginia to St. Paul last year, but that he found taking the bus to be the easiest, most cost-effective way of getting to class. Secur uses a U Pass that allows students to make unlimited bus and METRO trips for less than $100 a semester. 

"I like that I get to read, catch up on e-mail or just sit and relax before going to class," he said. "And it's pretty much door-to-door service."

Students exit a Route 87 bus at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus.

Jade Erickson, who boarded near Como and Cleveland avenues, has also found Route 87 to be the easiest way of getting around. For two years, Erickson took the route to classes at the U of M; now she rides to her job as a librarian at St. Catherine University.

"I drove for a couple of weeks but it was just too stressful," she said. 

Elma Williams realized how simple and convenient it is to take Route 87 when her car recently went to the shop for repairs. 

Needing a way to get to work, Williams called Metro Transit’s Transit Information Center and learned she could board near her home at University and Prior avenues and ride directly to her job at the Dollar Tree.

“This basically picks me up at the door and lets me off at the door,” said Williams, who expects to continue riding even after her vehicle is fixed. 

When the METRO Green Line opens June 14, Route 87 customers will find it even easier to get around. The route will make timed transfers to the Green Line at the Raymond Avenue Station, which will also be served by routes 1663 and 67Service on Route 87 will also be improved from every half hour to every 20 minutes, seven days a week. 

Jessica Rains, who has used Route 87 for nearly a decade, said she is grateful for the increased service. When Route 87 doesn’t match her schedule, Rains turns to Route 84, which runs on Snelling Avenue and is further from where she needs to be. “When I ride the 84, I get a lot of exercise,” she said. “This will make it much easier to get back and forth.”

Kurt Sanderson is also looking forward to an easier commute. After taking a job at Ecolab in downtown St. Paul, he began taking Route 87 to University Avenue and transferring to Route 50, a limited-stop bus on University Avenue. Route 50 will be replaced by more frequent, consistent Green Line rail service.

“I think that will make it a lot easier to get in and out (of downtown St. Paul),” Sanderson said. “I’ll be able to walk less than 1/10 of a mile getting from my house to the stop, to the train to the office.”

A Route 87 bus travels through St. Paul's Highland Village neighorhood on Cleveland Avenue.Route 87 At a Glance

Type: Urban local

ServiceRoute 87 runs between the Rosedale Transit Center and Highland Village, along Fairview, Raymond, University and Cleveland avenues. The route runs near three major schools – the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus, the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University. Buses run every half hour between approximately 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Route Length: Approximately 8 miles

Stops: 55 northbound, 56 southbound

Vehicles: 30-foot standard diesel buses 

Ridership: There were 160,502 rides on Route 87 in 2013, with an average of 614 customer boardings per weekday.

History: Buses ran from University and Prior avenues to Cleveland and Ford Parkway beginning in 1926. When streetcars replaced buses in 1952, the route was combined with bus service to downtown St. Paul via Minnehaha Avenue (today’s Route 67). A shuttle bus ran from Raymond and University avenues through the St. Anthony Park neighborhood, later becoming a rush-hour only branch of Route 16. This service was later combined with the route running south of University Avenue to Highland Village and a Roseville circulator route to create Route 87.

Future: When the METRO Green Line opens June 14, service will improve to every 20 minutes, seven days a week. Route 87 will also make timed transfers with the Green Line at the Raymond Avenue Station, which will also be served by routes 16, 63 and 67.

METRO Green Line Minneapolis Station Spotlight University of Minnesota

Getting to the game and more on the Green Line 

| Tuesday, April 08, 2014 12:00:00 AM

A METRO Green Line test train departs Stadium Village Station in Minneapolis.

When the cost of gas skyrocketed in 2008, Wally Widlund and his wife decided to make a change.

The couple sold their car and relocated from south Minneapolis to Prospect Park, nearer to work at the University of Minnesota.The decision to go car free has meant more walking and almost daily bus rides to fetch groceries, stop at the library or go the gym.

Beginning June 14, they’ll have an additional option  – the METRO Green Line. The Green Line’s Stadium Village Station is just a few blocks north of their home and will provide convenient and reliable transportation to both downtowns and the University Avenue corridor. “I’m really looking forward to being able to easily go to St. Paul and accessing all that’s along University Avenue,” Widlund said recently, riding to the Minneapolis Whole Foods on Route 6. “It will make it a lot easier for us, and I just like the vibrancy it will bring to the neighborhood.”

Widlund’s enthusiasm is shared by business owners, residents and commuters who will use Stadium Village Station.

Located at University Avenue and 23rd Avenue SE, the station will provide immediate access to TCF Bank Stadium, which the Golden Gophers football team will share with the Minnesota Vikings while a new stadium is constructed in Minneapolis. Several other U of M athletic facilities, including Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena, the McNamara Alumni Center and the Biomedical Discovery District are also nearby.

“We are excited about the Green Line opening,” said Jacqueline Brudlos, communications manager for the U of M’s Parking and Transportation Services. “Its impact on gamedays as well as the average school day should offer...relief to drivers in the immediate vicinity of campus.”

Brudlos, communications manager for the U of M’s Parking and Transportation Services. “Its impact on gamedays as well as the average school day should offer some potential relief to drivers in the immediate vicinity of campus.”  

Just south of Stadium Village Station is the bustling Stadium Village commercial district, which got its name after businesses located near the U of M’s former Memorial Stadium.

Christopher Ferguson is active in the business community and owns two Stadium Village businesses, a Dairy Queen and Bywater Business Solutions. Ferguson said he and other business owners are largely optimistic about what the Green Line will mean for the area.

A METRO Green Line train near the Stadium Village Station in Minneapolis.The hope is that the Green Line’s convenience will bring community members to Stadium Village throughout the year, and that some train passengers will be compelled to stop while traveling along the corridor.

Stadium Village businesses are partnering on events like the April 24 Taste of Stadium Village and looking to activate public open spaces to make Stadium Village a fun place to visit.

“The next phase of work is to get people to use the train and take advantage of the opportunities it creates -- to get them to explore parts of the community they haven’t before just because they weren’t as easy to get to,” Ferguson said.

Laura Beeth, the system director of talent acquisition for Fairview Health Services, also sees promise in the Green Line. Fairview has several locations along the light-rail corridor, including outpatient and children’s clinics on University Avenue just east of Stadium Village Station.

Beeth said the new light-rail connection will not only benefit patients and employees but the thousands of students who go through clinical rotations at Fairview sites every year.

Fairview is actively working to attract students who live in the Green Line corridor and works with several schools that are connected by transit service, including the U of M, St. Catherine University, Augsburg University, Saint Paul College and Minneapolis Community & Technical College.

“Not all of these students have cars and this will be a very convenient, affordable, stress-free way to get here,” Beeth said.

The convenience of light-rail is also seen as a major boost for those attending a wedding reception or other event at Profile Event Center, located on University Avenue about halfway between the Green Line’s Stadium Village and Prospect Park stations.

Having an easy way to travel to and from the venue is important for out-of-town guests who don’t want to rent a car and will also make for a fuller, more enjoyable visit, owner Patrick Kellis said.

“A lot of people have relatives or friends coming in from out of town,” Kellis said. “Now they can stay in a hotel downtown and take light-rail right to our facility, as well as the Mall of America, the airport, lots of places. It will be more of a fun weekend experience.”

Duane Rohrbaugh, the general manager at The Commons Hotel, said the prospect of a car-free, hassle-free stay drawing guests to the hotel, a block south of Stadium Village Station.

“In the last three weeks, we’ve booked three groups for the MLB All Star Game and it’s all because of the Green Line,” he said. “They’ll get into town, get on light rail and be able to get right here.”

The Green and Blue light-rail lines will share stations in downtown Minneapolis, including Target Field Station, where the All-Star Game will be held on July 15.

While particularly beneficial during events and gamedays, Rohrbaugh said the light-rail connection will be a year-round asset for guests at the hotel, which opened in late 2012.

“This (the Green Line) is just going to be a major artery for people to get into Stadium Village from either downtown and any place in the Twin Cities really,” he said.

A METRO Green Line test train at Stadium Village Station in Minneapolis. Stadium Village Station At a Glance 

Connecting bus routesRoute 6U, with local service in Edina, Uptown, downtown Minneapolis and the U of M, will be extended further east to 27th Avenue SE to connect with Stadium Village Station and provide local service to Prospect Park. Route 16 will continue to provide local service on the University Avenue corridor but will not continue to downtown Minneapolis; westbound commuters can instead transfer to the Green Line at Stadium Village Station. Several express or limited-stop routes with service to the U of M will also connect with the station, including Route 111, Route 113, Route 114, Route 115, Route 118, Route 252, Route 272, Route 465, Route 652, and Route 579. The U of M’s Campus Connector (Route 121) and East Bank Circulator (Route 123) also connect to Stadium Village Station.

Public art: Artist Roberto Delgado created a collage of historic and current photos from around campus and the Twin Cities, transferring the images to tiles using a silk screen process. The collage includes several photos from the U of M archives and commencement. “I like to superimpose photos so it becomes like a puzzle and you have to get up close to see what’s going on,” he said. Delgado created similar artwork for the Snelling Avenue and Central stations. Learn more

Area landmarks:  TCF Bank Stadium, Williams Arena, Mariucci Arena, McNamara Alumni Center, University Recreation and Wellness Center, Biomedical Discovery District, Stadium Village, Prospect Park

Bike-ped connections: The Dinkytown Greenway, an off-road trail through Dinkytown, runs between the Mississippi River and just north of TCF Bank Stadium. The trail connects with the U of M Transitway, which connects to the U of M’s St. Paul campus and is open only to bicyclists, transit and emergency vehicles. The Washington Avenue Transit/Pedestrian Mall runs between Walnut and Pleasant streets. Bicylsts and pedestrians can cross the Mississippi River on the Washington Avenue Bridge. There is also a trail along East River Parkway, on the west bank of the nearby Mississippi River. The U of M Bike Center is located at 401 SE Oak St, on the west side of the Oak Street Parking Ramp. For more information on biking on campus visit the U of M’s biking website.

Neighborhood groups: Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association, Prospect Park 2020, Stadium Village Commercial Association

Bus METRO Green Line Minneapolis Route of the Week University of Minnesota

Route 6: A reliable ride from Edina to the Green Line 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, April 04, 2014 12:00:00 AM

A customer boards a Route 6 bus on Xerxes Avenue in Linden Hills.Minneapolis resident Iris Key has spent a lot of time on Route 6.

As a student at the University of Minnesota, Key rode the bus between campus and her Uptown residence. When she got a job near Edina’s Southdale Center, she used Route 6 to commute to and from work. Now, nearly 15 years after she began riding, Key continues to use Route 6 to get to appointments, run errands or go out in downtown Minneapolis.

“The 6 really is my bus,” Key said this week, returning home after visiting the dentist. “I love it because it’s so dependable and reliable. It’s always there when I need it.”

Key isn’t the only person who has come to see Route 6 as a reliable way of getting around. Several Route 6 customers said in recent onboard interviews that the bus is a mainstay of their daily travels, allowing them to save money, avoid parking hassles and limit their own driving.

Traveling northbound, Route 6 buses run from the Bloomington-Edina border near I-494 and France Avenue, stopping at the Southdale Transit Center before making their way past homes, parks and businesses in southwest Minneapolis on Xerxes, France or Wooddale avenues. The France Avenue branch serves 50th & France and another retail nodes at 44th Street; the Xerxes Avenue branch runs though the Linden Hills retail area west of Lake Harriet.

In Uptown, buses stop at the Uptown Transit Center and continue on Hennepin Avenue to downtown Minneapolis and the U of M.

Students, workers and residents use the route as a way to get to work or school, run errands or get to entertainment in Uptown or downtown.

Sarah Koster, who lives in Uptown, uses Route 6 for all of those reasons. During the week, she rides to her job in the Warehouse District; on weekends she rides downtown for events like Timberwolves games. “I have a vehicle, but I rarely if ever use it,” she said.

Erick Briden, who boarded in Linden Hills, uses Route 6 to get to class at Minneapolis Community & Technical College on Hennepin Avenue and to get to jobs in Edina and Hopkins (transferring to Route 12 in Uptown). As a pre-med student, Briden said riding the bus allows him to remain productive while getting where he needs to be.

“I do homework, general research and, when I’m feeling really disciplined, I’ll read,” he said.

While Koster and Briden both occasionally drive, some Route 6 customers say using transit has allowed them to live completely car-free.

Janne Flisrand has never owned a vehicle and has relied on Route 6 since moving to Uptown in 1996. Flisrand takes Route 6 to her shared workspace in downtown Minneapolis and also bikes, uses car-sharing and routes 2, 3, 21, 63 and 94 to get around.

A Route 6 bus passes by streetcar tracks south of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.By cutting her transportation costs, Flisrand said she has been able to build her retirement account and invest in her home. Beyond saving money, though, she said taking transit makes her feel more connected to the community.

“Riding the bus reminds me how interesting the cities are and how I don’t get to see that in everyday life,” she said. “I like being reminded of that.”

Route 6 also provides a reminder of how people used to move around the Twin Cities.

The route closely parallels two of the Twin Cities most historic streetcar lines, the Como-Harriet and Oak-Harriet streetcar lines, which operated until 1954. The lines served as commuter routes while providing access to the Chain of Lakes and points further west.

Today, the Minnesota Streetcar Museum maintains a portion of the streetcar track between Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet and invites the public to take trips on a restored streetcar between May and November.

While streetcars have vanished, Route 6 customers will soon have a new way to ride the rails when the METRO Green Line opens June 14. Route 6U’s western end, which now stops west of TCF Bank Stadium, will be stretched further to the east to connect with the Green Line’s Stadium Village Station and Prospect Park. Customers can also transfer to the METRO Blue or Green lines at the Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue Station.

Heather Klopotek, who rides Route 6 between Uptown and her job at the U of M, said she will use the Green Line to visit friends in St. Paul. Klopotek said she has avoided going to St. Paul in the past because it means having to drive or taking a longer bus trip.

“I see myself spending a lot more time in St. Paul with the train,” she said.

Quinn Sahulka, who lives in downtown Minneapolis and takes Route 6 to class at the U of M, said she too will be more likely to visit St. Paul once Green Line trains are running. Sahulka doesn’t own a vehicle and said the idea of a long bus ride has kept her from visiting museums and other St. Paul locations she’s always been interested in seeing.

“I’m so excited that I’ll finally be able to explore St. Paul without it having to be such a trying experience,” she said.

A Route 6 bus travels on 4th Street SE in Dinkytown.Route 6 At a Glance

Type: Urban local

ServiceRoute 6 serves Edina, southwest Minneapolis, Uptown, downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota. On its south end, Route 6 provides limited service to an industrial area in the northeast corner of the Highway 100 and Interstate 494 interchange. Traveling northbound, Route 6 buses travel along the France Avenue corridor, serving shopping centers and Centennial Lakes Park, a mix of parkland, offices and housing. Buses stop at the Southdale Transit Center before entering Minneapolis and continuing north on branches that serve Woodale, France or Xerxes avenues. All branches converge south of Lake Calhoun and continue north to the Uptown Transit Center and along Hennepin Avenue to downtown Minneapolis. After crossing the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, northbound Route 6 buses travel on University Avenue SE to Oak Street, near the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. Southbound buses return to downtown Minneapolis on 4th Street SE. Buses run every four to 10 minutes during rush hour, every 10 to 15 minutes midday and every 15 minutes on evenings and weekends. On weekdays, service runs from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Route Length: Approximately 19 miles

Stops: 167 northbound, 167 southbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard diesel and hybrid buses

Ridership: More than 2.7 million total passenger boardings in 2013 (an increase of more than 47,000 rides compared to 2012) with an average of nearly 7,500 rides per weekday.

History: Electric streetcars ran on the Como-Harriet and Oak-Harriet streetcar lines between 1891 and 1954. The Como-Harriet line ran down France Avenue and the Oak Harriet line ran down Xerxes Avenue. Both continued to downtown Minneapolis, the U of M and St. Paul. At the U of M, streetcars traveled through Dinkytown on 4th Street SE. In Minneapolis, streetcars traveled on Hennepin Avenue to 31st Street, east of Lake Calhoun, before continuing south on private right of way to Lake Harriet. West of Lake Harriet, streetcars diverged into branches that went west to Hopkins or south on France and Xerxes avenues. The Como-Harriet and Oak-Harriet streetcar lines were popular routes for lake-bound residents, but they also were key links for those traveling downtown or to the U of M for work and school. The Como-Harriet line connected with all the major lines in downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul and operated around the clock seven days a week. In 1952, France Avenue was repaved and streetcars were replaced with shuttle buses in Edina. Buses replaced streetcars completely in 1954. These were the last streetcar lines to be replaced with bus service in the Twin Cities. From May through November, restored streetcars make round-trips on a section of the Como-Harriet line between Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. The Minnesota Streetcar Museum maintains the tracks, streetcars and Linden Hills Station.

Future: Route 6U will be extended east from Oak Street to 27th Avenue SE to provide a connection to the METRO Green Line’s Stadium Village Station. Route 6 customers will also be able to connect with the Green and Blue lines at the Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue Station.

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