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METRO Green Line University of Minnesota

East Bank Station tops 1 million boardings 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, April 23, 2015 12:00:00 AM

The METRO Green Line's East Bank Station. Without a vehicle, University of Minnesota senior Kelsey Decker relies on transit to get to school, work and go shopping. One of her primary boarding locations: the METRO Green Line’s East Bank Station, situated at the heart of the U of M campus.

Decker was at the station this week as she prepared to board a westbound train that would take her to downtown Minneapolis, where she could transfer to the Blue Line en route to her job at Ikea in Bloomington. Decker estimates she’s at the station at least four times a week.

“I’ve been using the Green Line pretty much since the day it opened,” Decker said. “It’s very convenient and comfortable.”

Riders like Decker have made East Bank Station the most popular boarding location on the Green Line. In March, it became the first of the Green Line’s 23 stations to top 1 million boardings since service began in June 2014. Year-to-date, there have been an average of 4,468 weekday boardings at East Bank Station.

“Being in the middle of campus and near several major destinations, we knew East Bank Station would be a popular boarding location,” Director of Light Rail Brian Funk said. “We’re excited to see students and others using the Green Line as part of their daily travels.”

East Bank Station’s popularity is just one sign that the U of M has fully-embraced the Green Line. More than 16,000 U-Passes, which provide unlimited rides for a per-semester fee, have been sold this spring semester.

Combined, the three stations that serve the U of M campus – Stadium Village, East Bank and West Bank – have seen nearly 2 million total boardings. That represents about 22 percent of the 9.1 million total rides the Green Line has seen since service began.

Like Decker, U of M student Ian Rapson is also at East Bank Station several times a week. Rapson rides the Green Line between campus and Nicollet Mall Station (the Green Line's second-busies station), where he transfers to a Route 10 bus that delivers him to and from him home in Northeast Minneapolis.

“I do a lot of biking, but this is just as convenient and I like that can read when I take transit,” Rapson said.

    > Good Question: How are light rail rides counted?

    > Learn more about East Bank Station's public art

    > University of Minnesota Transit Service

    > Washington Avenue Transit/Pedestrian Mall

Community METRO Green Line Minneapolis Safety St. Paul University of Minnesota

Strong ridership defines first six months of METRO Green Line service 

| Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2:41:00 PM

There were around 6 million rides on the METRO Green Line during its first six months of service.Strong and growing ridership is the hallmark of the METRO Green Line’s first six-months of operation.

Customers have taken about 6 million rides since service began on June 14, including more than 1 million rides in both September and October. Average weekday ridership in November was 36,240, near the 2030 projection of 41,000 rides. 

“The community response to the Green Line is even better than we imagined,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “In less than one year of operation, the Green Line has clearly had a major impact on the way people get around, interact with and enjoy the Twin Cities.”  

Combined ridership on the Green Line and routes 16 and 94, which also serve the Central Corridor, has nearly doubled from last year. The Green Line replaced limited-stop Route 50 that ran on University Avenue and service was enhanced on several routes that connect with Green Line stations.

The most popular stops have been East Bank Station, in the center of the University of Minnesota campus, and Nicollet Mall Station in downtown Minneapolis. Stadium Village Station, near TCF Bank Stadium, has also become a hub of activity on gamedays. Around 25 percent of Minnesota Vikings fans took the Green Line to and from the game this season, double the ridership from previous years.

Combined with other rail and bus service, the Green Line is expected to drive Metro Transit’s total year-end ridership to around 84 million, the highest it has been since 1981.

In addition to strong ridership, the first six months of Green Line service are noteworthy for the focus on public safety, enhanced performance and community development.  

Metro Transit continued to educate pedestrians, motorists and others about light rail safety through presentations and a robust marketing campaign, including a billboard on University Avenue.

Transit Police hired 22 new officers to patrol the Green Line and the neighborhoods it serves. Transit Police say there has been no significant change in crime along the corridor since the Green Line opened.

Light-rail operations have also improved through coordination with local partners. Technology called predictive priority has been successfully implemented at 18 low-volume intersections along the Green Line corridor. Predictive priority gives trains their best chance of getting a green light, reducing the amount of time trains spend waiting at signalized intersections.

Transit-oriented development has also continued along the corridor.

Project for Pride in Living started construction in August on its 108-unit Hamline Station Project, which replaces a vacant auto dealership immediately north of the Hamline Avenue Station. On Dec. 19, Surly Brewing Co. will open its new beer hall just east of the Prospect Park Station.

In November, seniors began moving into The Terrace at Iris Park at Episcopal Homes’ new Midway Village development immediately south of the Fairview Avenue Station. In December, move-ins began at Midway Pointe, the second of three new residences at Midway Village. The third residence, Episcopal Church Home – The Gardens, will be ready for occupancy in January 2015.

Residents of the entire campus began using light-rail as soon as it opened, CEO Marvin Plakut said.

“Interest in our community increased even before the Green Line’s opening and continues to grow now that the service is up and running,” Plakut said. “People are excited by the freedom that waits right outside their door. Episcopal Homes is the only senior community that can offer it.”

    > New York Times: Despite cheaper gas, public transit ridership is up 

    > Explore the Twin Cities using our Green Line A to Z guide

    > Green Line tops 1 million rides, again

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Northstar University of Minnesota

Vikings fans bleed purple, ride Green 

| Tuesday, November 04, 2014 1:22:00 PM

Vikings fans board the METRO Green Line at Stadium Village Station.Vikings fans have long enjoyed traveling to and from home games on light rail. And while it’s been all about the METRO Blue Line in past seasons, the opening of the METRO Green Line and a move to TCF Bank Stadium has changed the gameday dynamic.

Fans traveling to the game on light rail now take the Green Line to Stadium Village Station, which sits just east of TCF Bank Stadium. Those traveling from Minneapolis or points south can ride the Blue Line to Downtown East Station – where the Vikings’ new stadium is being built – and make an easy transfer to the Green Line to complete their journey.

The expanded transit opportunities, which also include bus and Northstar services, have led to a major uptick in gameday ridership. An estimated 20 to 24 percent of fans – nearly 13,000 people – have taken light rail to each of the Vikings’ regular season home games so far this season. Gophers fans have also heavily used light rail on gamedays.

Ridership to Vikings games has nearly doubled from previous seasons, but careful planning is allowing fans to travel easily and efficiently to and from each game.

For the first time this season, Metro Transit is offering pre-paid, round trip light-rail fares online so fans can bypass ticket vending machines (Metro Transit police continue to check fares before customers are allowed to board). Ambassadors are also available to answer questions at the station. To help move fans safely and efficiently, extra trains provide additional service after each game as needed.

It’s hard to understand just how well the system works without seeing it in action. The below lapse, taken following Minnesota's win on Sunday, Nov.2,  does just that (the video compresses about an hour's worth of post-game boarding activity). The next time you head to the game, consider joining the crowd!

    > The easy way to Vikings games & events at TCF Bank Stadium

    > Plan your trip to TCF Bank Stadium

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

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