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Posts in Category: METRO Green Line

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Safety

Wig-Wag lights heighten LRT visibility 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, April 25, 2016 2:17:00 PM

Sitting on shop carts in a basement workshop at the Hiawatha Operations and Maintenance Facility are dozens of metal and plastic modules, each outfitted with a set of relays, sequencing devices and a tight bundle of red, blue, white and yellow wires. 

They represent a lot of work — and a lot more to come.

That’s because the forearm-sized modules are the custom-crafted, hand-made electronics behind the newest safety feature on Metro Transit’s light-rail vehicles: wig-wag headlights. Common on freight trains, wig-wag headlights alternately flash to help those outside the train detect motion and take notice of the approaching vehicle. 

Although not a requirement on light-rail, they are being installed across the fleet as yet another way to alert pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of an oncoming train.

The wig-wag headlights will automatically go on anytime a light-rail operator activates a train’s warning bells and horns. The audible warnings are activated whenever a train pulls into or out of a station, or crosses a street or pedestrian crossing on the METRO Blue and Green lines.

“The operator is going to continue doing what they’ve always done, but this is going to give that higher degree of visibility to everybody outside the train,” said Brian Funk, who served as Director of Light Rail before recently moving to Bus Transportation. 

With 86 light-rail vehicles, and headlights on each end, electronic technicians have been tasked with building hundreds of modules and harnesses — the wiring that ties them into the power supply.

The modules were designed and assembled by Electronic Repair Technicians Scott McDowell and Bruce Von Drashek — meticulous work that took several months. “These little fingers have been going for quite a while,” Von Drashek said. 

Building the hardware is just step one. Because the wig-wag lights are a modification from the original design, Electro Mechanic-Technicians Doug Robinson and Brooks Letourneau were tasked with coming up with a way to fit them into both the newer Siemens and older Bombardier trains.

“Our role was to modify the assembly to accept the new lights, concentrating on universality and making sure we used as few parts as we needed,” Robinson said. “Making it as efficient as possible was a lot of fun.”

Wig-wag headlights have been installed on two trains and the entire fleet will eventually be outfitted.

In addition to providing greater visibility, the project will improve reliability. LED lights last up to seven years, compared to about a year for the existing headlights. Using LEDs also eliminates the need for a DC to DC converter, which can fail and cause trains to be pulled from service.

Express Bus METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Metropass Minneapolis Northstar On the METRO

New transit-friendly HQ a perfect ‘Match’ 

| Monday, December 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Be the Match employee Mike Smith spends his time on the bus catching up on emails and listening to the radio.When Be the Match relocated to its new North Loop headquarters, Michael Smith thought he'd continue driving to work.

But weeks after the relocation, he gave up on the idea of driving and using one of the few underground parking spaces available to a small portion of the donor network’s 900-plus employees. 

The decision to go “all in” on transit came after Smith compared his options and became convinced commuting between Minneapolis and Lakeville on Route 467 would be considerably more relaxing than battling traffic on Interstate 35W, his routine for the last several years.

On the bus, Smith spends his time catching up on emails and listening to the radio, occasionally using free WiFi now available on some buses.

“It’s changed my life to be honest with you,” said Smith, Be the Match’s Director of Donor Shared Services. “My wife has even noticed. It’s not that shock and awe feeling where you need a half hour to decompress because the drive is so crazy.  It’s amazing what this is going to do to my family as well as my work.”

Smith isn’t the only Be the Match employee to embrace transit since the non-profit moved from Northeast Minneapolis to a site immediately adjacent Target Field Station. After working in a location with relatively limited transit options, staff now find the METRO Blue and Green lines, Northstar and dozens of express and local bus routes at their doorstep.

Chief Financial Officer Amy Ronneberg said Be the Match looked at 70 different locations but was sold on the North Loop in large part because of its transit access. Like many companies moving to the downtown core, Be the Match sees transit as a key to retaining and recruiting top talent, particularly when it comes to Millenials who are increasingly averse to driving.

“As we looked out into the future, we knew it was important to be in a place with vibrancy,” Ronneberg said. “Being here with all of the amenities and transportation options, I think we’ve opened ourselves up to a whole new potential workforce.”

With thousands of people passing by each day – especially during the Twins season – Be the Match also saw a chance to increase its visibility and raise awareness of its mission. Operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, Be the Match manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. 

To ease the transition for current staff, Metro Transit worked closely with Be the Match to help employees understand the options available to them. Be the Match also joined the Metropass program, which gives employees the opportunity to buy a low-cost transit pass that provides unlimited access to buses and trains.

Staff have also been given the freedom to work remotely and are encouraged to carpool, bike or walk to work.

Among those who have converted from a drive-alone commute to transit is Human Resources Coordinator Diane Dombeck, of Spring Lake Park. Before the move, she had taken Northstar just once to a Minnesota Twins game. Now, she takes the train daily to and from Fridley Station.

“I wasn’t sure how it would work, because it was a new thing to me,” she said. “But it’s really painless and a lot more fun than I thought it would be because you chat with other train riders and get to know people. I actually love taking it now.”

Dombeck was reminded of how different life will be when winter weather hit a few weeks ago and she had to drive to Be the Match’s former location. With traffic, the usual 25-minute commute turned into almost 90 minutes on the road.

“I really missed the train that day,” she said.

Metropass popularity growing

Be the Match is among several employers to join the Metropass program this year. The Mall of America, Delta and Regions Hospital also joined the program in 2015. Around 280 companies now participate in the Metropass program. Staff at participating companies can purchase the unlimited-ride passes for a flat monthly fee. The passes can be bought pre-tax and the cost is typically offset by an employer contribution. Any company with at least ten participants can join the Metropass program. To learn more, visit metrotransit.org/metropass.

Supporting TOD through grants, assistance

Be the Match’s new headquarters, at 524 5th Street N., were built by Minneapolis-based United Properties (United Properties has since sold the building; Be the Match has a 15-year lease, with the option of renewing). The Metropolitan Council provided a $487,000 brownfield clean-up grant to assist with pre-development at the site, previously home to a printing facility. To learn more about how the Council and Metro Transit are supporting Transit-Oriented Development through grants and technical assistance visit metrotransit.org/tod.

North Loop rising

Be the Match is among several recent developments in the area immediately surrounding Target Field Station. District 600, a new 78-unit apartment building adjacent to the Fulton Brewery, is set to open in February 2016. Construction is also underway on a new 12,000-square-foot brewery, Inbound Brewco., at 70 N. 5th Street. Metro Transit is planning to expand and improve its Heywood Campus north of Target Field. 

METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Ridership

Light-rail ridership continues to climb 

| Thursday, November 12, 2015 9:21:00 AM

Customers exit a light-rail train at Nicollet Mall Station in downtown Minneapolis.Light-rail ridership continued to climb in October, continuing a historic year for the METRO Green and Blue lines. 

Nearly 1.3 million Green Line rides were recorded last month, beating the light-rail line's previous monthly high of 1.25 million set in September. More than 10.2 million rides have been taken on the Green Line through the end of October.  

Average weekday ridership on the Green Line has also exceeded 40,000 for the last 10 weeks. The average weekday projection for 2030 was 41,000 rides.

With another 961,000 rides in October, total Blue Line ridership has reached almost 9 million and is on pace to set a new annual ridership record. The previous record of 10.5 million rides was set in 2012.

October's ridership is just the latest in a string of milestones for the light-rail lines. Previously:

    > On Sept. 3, single-day ridership on the Green and Blue lines topped 100,000 for the first time ever.

    > More than 1 million rides were taken on both the  Blue and Green lines in July. 

    > In April, East Bank Station became the first Green Line stop to reach 1 million boardings

    > A decade after opening, the Blue Line surpassed 100 million total rides in January. 

Combined, more than 7.75 million total rides, including 5.5 million bus rides, were taken last month. Nearly 72.3 million rides have been taken through the end up October, up about 2 percent compared to last year.  

METRO Green Line

Green Line sets monthly ridership record 

| Wednesday, October 14, 2015 10:11:00 AM

Nearly 1.25 million rides were taken on the METRO Green Line in September, a new high-water mark for the light-rail line.

Average weekday ridership on the Green Line last month was 45,644 -- well ahead of the 41,000 average weekday rides that were forecast for 2030. Prior to September, the Green Line’s highest monthly ridership came in October 2014, when there were 38,597 average weekday rides.

Total Green Line ridership through the end of September was 8.94 million. Ridership on all modes was 64.5 million, a 3 percent increase compared to the first nine months of last year.

September’s strong light-rail ridership can party be attributed to special events. More than 193,000 light-rail rides were taken to home sporting events last month.

Single-day ridership on the Green and Blue lines topped 100,000 for the first time ever on Thursday, Sept. 3, when the St. Paul Saints, Twins and Gophers each played at home. Total ridership on that date was 355,665. 

Average weekday ridership on all modes in September was 302,669, the highest monthly average since at least January 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    > Video: Green Line anniversary

    > Single-day LRT ridership tops 100K for the first time

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line

Single-day LRT ridership tops 100K for first time 

| Monday, September 21, 2015 2:29:00 PM

Single-day ridership on the METRO Green and Blue lines recently topped 100,000 for the first time ever.

The milestone came on Thursday, Sept. 3, when there were a combined 100,909 light-rail rides. Nearly 64,000 rides were provided on the Green Line that day, while almost 37,000 rides were provided on the Blue Line.

Nearly a quarter of the rides taken were attributed to fans traveling to a St. Paul Saints, Minnesota Gophers football or Minnesota Twins game.

Event ridership has been strong on both the Green and Blue lines this year.

Saints fans took an estimated 52,990 Green Line rides to home games at CHS Field this season, an average of 981 rides per game. Through the end of August, Twins fans had taken nearly 512,000 rides, a 14 percent increase over last year.

    > State Fair ridership reaches new high

    > Blue, Green lines top 1 million rides in July

    > East Bank Station tops 1 million boardings

 

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