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Posts in Category: Minneapolis

Bus METRO Blue Line METRO Orange Line Midtown Corridor Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 27: A short route with a big impact 

| Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM

An end-to-end trip on Route 27 covers around two miles and takes just 10 minutes. While short, the route has proven to be an important connection for commuters and residents in south Minneapolis.

Joel Oliver is a case in point. Oliver boarded recently at East 28th Street and Park Avenue, using Route 27 to get to the METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station. From there, he continued south to the Minneapolis VA, where he works in vocational rehabilitation.

“I don’t use a car so public transportation is everything,” said Oliver, who is visually impaired.

While Oliver was traveling eastbound on Route 27, the route is also a strong link for those traveling west from the Blue Line. From Lake Street/Midtown Station, Route 27 buses travel east on Lake Street then venture north on Cedar Avenue to East 26th Street en route to Interstate 35W. Buses return to the Blue Line via East 28th Street.

James Broom is among those who travel westbound on Route 27. Without a car, Broom uses transit to get to his job in Bloomington and uses Route 27 to get to I-35W and Lake Street, where he transfers to Route 535.

“I generally like to bike, but when it’s winter and it's super cold I don’t like to go that far,” Broom said.

Broom works at Wells Fargo’s Bloomington office, but Route 27 is especially important to employees who work at the company’s home mortgage campus on 5th Avenue South. Wells Fargo employee Ludy has used Route 27 as part of her commute for the last 11 years, walking a few blocks to the Blue Line’s 50th Street Station and transferring to Route 27 at Lake Street.

“I take the train for a couple of stops and then this gets me the rest of the way,” she said. “It’s very convenient. I love it.”

Other major destinations along Route 27 include Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

Sharon Sanford uses Route 27 to see her doctor every couple of months and was on board this week after transferring from Route 7. Sanford said she elects to take transit primarily for environmental reasons. “I believe in mass transit because there’s too much pollution in the air,” she said.

While Route 27 is designed primarily to serve as a link between light rail and large employers and institutions, it has earned a following from south Minneapolis residents who use the bus to get groceries or shop on Lake Street as well.

Elie Hall is among those who use Route 27 to run errands. Hall began using the bus when he moved into Ebenezer Care Center on Portland Avenue four years ago. “I don’t want to drive anymore so this means a lot to me,” Hall said recently as he returned from the grocery store. “Every place I go, I use transit.”

Route 27 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 27 runs between the METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station and I-35W and Lake Street with service on Portland Avenue, 26th Street East and 28th Street East. Buses run every 10 to 20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes midday, weekdays only. The route serves major employers such as Wells Fargo, Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children's Hospital and Clinic. Reverse commuters who work in this location are also served by Route 39, which provides limited-stop service on Park and Portland avenues.

Route Length: Approximately 2 miles

Stops: 13 eastbound, 17 westbound

Vehicles: Standard 40-foot

Ridership: Nearly 63,000 customer boardings in 2012, with an average of 217 passengers per day

History: Route 27 service began when the METRO Blue Line opened in 2004. The route was created in part to serve large employers that were not directly connected to the new rail service.

Future: No service changes are planned at this time. However, there are plans for a new transit center at I-35W and Lake Street that would serve express buses and the METRO Orange Line. The Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis is meanwhile exploring improvements to service in the nearby Lake Street Corridor.

Bus Community Minneapolis Safety

When disaster strikes, buses serve as shelter 

| Friday, January 03, 2014 12:00:00 AM

In 2013, Metro Transit dispatched more than seventy buses throughout the Twin Cities in support of emergency responses to fires, gas leaks and other hazardous situations. Buses provide climate-controlled shelter and comfort for the displaced and also can be used as staging or relief areas for emergency response teams. 

On Jan. 1, at the request of the Minneapolis Fire Department, Metro Transit dispatched buses to house fire fighters and victims of a devastating explosion and blaze in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Metro Transit Police also assisted at the scene.

In past years, buses have been on-scene to assist during events such as powerful storms in north Minneapolis and Hugo as well as the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge.

“In these types of situations, having a safe place to take shelter is immensely important,” said Vince Pellegrin, Metro Transit’s Chief Operating Officer and a former volunteer fire fighter. “We’re happy we can work side-by-side with emergency responders to provide this service to our community.”

Bus METRO Blue Line Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 9: From the west metro to the METRO Blue Line 

| Monday, December 23, 2013 10:00:00 AM

When Diane Fischman moved to Minneapolis in 2006, she quickly lost enthusiasm for the traffic on Interstate 394. So she started taking the bus instead.

Today, Fischman uses Route 9 on a near-daily basis to get from her home in St. Louis Park to her job in downtown Minneapolis. She also uses Route 9 to bring her bike to Theodore Wirth Park or Cedar Lake and to visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market. When she travels, she uses the bus to connect with the METRO Blue Line and continue to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“I started using it (the bus) and found out I could use it to pretty much get all over town,” Fischman said this week as she commuted into her job at Wells Fargo. “Now I hardly ever use my car.”

Like Fischman, many customers interviewed aboard Route 9 on a recent weekday morning said they use the bus for several reasons and enjoy the freedom it provides them to leave their car at home, or give it up altogether.

From the west, Route 9 runs from the St. Louis Park-Minnetonka border along Cedar Lake Road, stopping at the Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and the Park Place & I-394 Park & Ride, each of which sit just south of I-394. From there, select Route 9 trips venture north to Glenwood Avenue, in Golden Valley, or continue west on Wayzata Boulevard, serving The Shops at West End and Target’s West Campus.

All Route 9 trips eventually operate through or near Theodore Wirth Park, serving the Bryn Mawr neighborhood before entering downtown Minneapolis on Glenwood Avenue, where streetcars once served large industrial tenants.

Among those who use the western section of Route 9 is Lubenia Brown, who has been riding the bus for nearly a decade. Brown boards at the Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and rides to her job as a special education assistant at Anwatin Middle School in Bryn Mawr.

“It’s very convenient because it drops me off a half-block from the school and I’m there 15 minutes before the day starts,” Brown said.

In downtown Minneapolis, Route 9 stops at the Ramp A/7th Street Transit Center, a popular hub for customers going to Twins games at Target Field, then continues south on Franklin Avenue to Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood. In south Minneapolis, Route 9 intersects with the METRO Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations.

Andrew Arndt moved to Bryn Mawr in September. Although he likes to bike to work, Arndt said he began using Route 9 when the snow started to fall and temperatures dropped. During his 20-minute bus commute to his stop at Nicollet Avenue, he catches up on work email and reads the news on his phone.                     

“I like the fact that I don’t have to deal with traffic or other drivers,” he said.

Route 9 originally ran between Theodore Wirth Park and downtown Minneapolis, but was extended further south to the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station in 2009. The move was part of an effort to improve the efficiency of "through routes" that enter and leave downtown.

The extension has brought riders like Corinna Cohen onto Route 9.                                    

Cohen boarded the bus on 42nd Avenue, continuing north to the Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station where she connected with a Route 2 bus. Though she has access to a car, Cohen said she prefers taking the bus so she can relax and avoid paying for parking. “If I was driving, I’d just be feeding the meter all day,” she said.

Sally Wiedenbeck also boarded in south Minneapolis, taking Route 9 to Bryn Mawr’s Anwatin Middle School. Wiedenbeck gave up driving several years ago and said she uses her 45-minute commute to read, listen to music and catch up on schoolwork.                                       

“I like the bus better than driving because it feels like my time,” she said. “I can do whatever I want.”

Route 9 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 9 travels from eastern Minnetonka, through St. Louis Park and downtown Minneapolis, and south Minneapolis, connecting with METRO Blue Line Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations. There are three Park & Rides on the St. Louis Park section of the route, including Westwood Lutheran Church, Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and Park Place & I-394 Park & Ride, at I-394 and Park Place. In St, Louis Park, Route 9 operates largely along Cedar Lake Road to The Shops at West End. In Minneapolis, Route 9 travels through the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, cutting between Cedar Lake and Theodore With Park before entering downtown Minneapolis via Glenwood Avenue. In south Minneapolis, Route 9 continues on Franklin Avenue and through the Longfellow neighborhood to 46th Street, where there are several connecting bus routes.

Route Length: Approximately 15 miles

Stops: 180 eastbound, 181 westbound

Vehicles: Standard 40-foot

Ridership: Route 9 saw more than 935,300 customer boardings in 2012, with an average of around 2,555 customer boardings per day.

History: Until 1954, the Glenwood streetcar line served industry that lined Glenwood Avenue, on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, as well as Theodore Wirth Park, a popular weekend destination for city residents (the waiting shelter at the Wirth end of the line remains today, and sits just south of Glenwood Avenue). The Glenwood line was later joined with the 4th Avenue South streetcar line, the first electric line in the city and one of the most popular routes in the system. Route 9 originally traveled between downtown Minneapolis and Theodore Wirth Park, but was expanded as planners looked to improve travel times and frequency on "through routes" that continue through downtown (such routes reduce redundant bus mileage while offering a one-seat ride for more passengers). Route 9 was extended west to St. Louis Park in the 1970s. In 2009, it was extended south through the Longfellow neighborhood to the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station.

Future: No service changes are planned at this time.                                                                                              

Bus Community Minneapolis

Happy Holidays from Metro Transit 

| Friday, December 20, 2013 3:50:00 PM

Metro Transit is rolling out the Twinkle Bus for its final appearance of the season at this weekend's Target Holidazzle Parade.

Adorned with more than 23,120 LED lights (including 7,980 blue, 7,420 yellow, 6,090 green, 630 red and 280 white bulbs) the 40-foot hybrid bus is the most visible sign of Metro Transit's holiday spirit. But it isn't the only one.

On Wednesday, Metro Transit partnered with BNSF Railway and the U.S. Marines to collect Toys for Tots at Target Field Station. Over the course of the day, nearly 350 toys, 10 bikes and cash were collected. 

The Toys for Tots drive followed the Metro Transit Police Department's participation on Saturday in the Shop With Cops program in St. Paul. Metro Transit was also at the annual Holiday on 44th celebration, where the Twinkle Bus also appeared. 

Continuing a longstanding annual holiday tradition, Metro Transit's bus drivers are being invited to don Santa hats and red sweaters through the end of the month.

The celebratory spirit continues on New Year's Eve, as Metro Transit partners with MillerCoors Brewing Company to provide safe trips through the Miller Free Rides program. Customers can ride free on all buses and METRO lines from 6 p.m. through the last scheduled trip.

Thanks to all of those who have made Metro Transit a part of their holiday celebrations and happy holidays!

 

    > Take Metro Transit to the Target Holidazzle Parade

    > Take Northstar to the Target Holidazzle Parade

    > MPR: The Twinkle Bus, Now in HD

    > Star Tribune: Twinkle Bus rejoins parades in Holidazzling fashion

    > Take Miller Lite Free Rides on New Year's Eve

    > Transit service for year-end holidays

Express Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 270: Making the most out of a trip between Maplewood and Minneapolis 

| Friday, December 13, 2013 9:00:00 AM

For the last 12 years, Shana Hansen has used Route 270 to get to her job in downtown Minneapolis. The practice has left her with a certain distaste for driving to the office, reinforced this week after spending nearly two hours traveling to the city from her home in Vandais Heights.

“I felt like leaving my car in the middle of the road and just walking away it was so aggravating,” Hansen said the following day, back in her usual habit of riding the bus.

Hansen was one of several customers sharing the ride on a recent southbound Route 270 trip who have turned to the express bus to avoid frustrating traffic. Others said they have opted to take the bus to avoid the high cost of parking downtown and so they could remain active while on their way to or from work.

Route 270 runs from the Maplewood Mall Transit Center and Park & Ride to downtown Minneapolis along the Highway 36 and Interstate 35W corridor. Using bus-only shoulders, buses can bypass congestion and be in Minneapolis in as little as 35 minutes. Route 270 also uses the Marq2 corridor in downtown Minneapolis to get in and out of downtown more quickly.

The service dates to 1976, when one morning and one afternoon rush-hour express bus trip was offered between White Bear Lake, Maplewood Mall and Minneapolis. At the time, it was called Route 36 because it used Highway 36.

Aaron Loss lives in Maplewood and has used Route 270 for the last five years. He said saving time on the road is important since he has children he needs to pick up and drop off at school every day, among other responsibilities. A Metropass customer, Loss estimates that he also saves around $100 a month on parking.              

“It’s cheaper, it’s quicker and I get to sleep a little longer,” Loss said. “It’s a lot better than stop-and-go traffic.”

Loss was among the customers who boarded at the Maplewood Mall Transit Center and Park & Ride, which sits just west of Maplewood Mall and was expanded earlier this year. The facility now includes 1,000 parking spaces, more than half of which are covered, and is a connecting point for several other bus routes.

Route 270 also has trips serving the Highway 61 and County Road C Park & Ride, which has more than 225 parking spaces. There is limited service extending to Mahtomedi, and three trips that stop at the Highway 36 and Rice Street Park & Ride. 

Among those who got on at the Highway 61 and County Road C Park & Ride was Carmel Funk, who said she started taking the bus five years ago when gas topped $4 a gallon.

“It was a really hard transition but then I found that I really liked it,” said Funk, who uses her time on the bus to read, crotchet, text and even pay bills online.

While Funk was among several customers who have spent years riding the bus, newcomers continue to arrive. In 2012, there were more than 357,000 customer boardings, up around 2.5 percent compared to 2011.

Responding to the rising demand, four morning and five afternoon trips were added to Route 270 as part of service changes that went into effect Dec. 7. Service now arrives in downtown Minneapolis from about 5:50 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., and departs from about 2:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Non-stop trips from Maplewood Mall were also added as part of the service changes.

Shannon Severson is among those who have just started using Route 270. Though she’s been riding for less than a year, it hasn’t taken her long to discover the advantages. “The benefit is I don’t have to sit in traffic or pay $24 a day to park,” she said.

Route 270 At a Glance

Type: Express

ServiceRoute 270 runs from the Maplewood Mall Transit Center and Park & Ride to downtown Minneapolis along Highway 36 and Interstate 35W. Route 270 also has trips serving the Highway 61 and County Road C Park & Ride, which has more than 225 parking spaces. There is limited service extending to Mahtomedi, and three trips that stop at the Highway 36 and Rice Street Park & Ride. There are a total of 22 trips that travel inbound to Minneapolis between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 22 afternoon outbound trips that depart Minneapolis between 2:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Service runs each weekday. A trip from Maplewood Mall to Minneapolis is scheduled to take between 35 and 40 minutes. Travel times are improved through the use of bus-only shoulders on I-35W and the Marq2 in downtown Minneapolis.

Route Length: Approximately 15 miles (from Maplewood Mall to Minneapolis)

Stops: 72 westbound, 72 eastbound

Vehicles: 60-foot articulated and coach buses

Ridership: More than 357,000 customer boardings in 2012, with an average of 1,327 passengers per day

History: Route 36, renumbered as Route 270 in 2001, began in July 1976 with one morning rush hour trip and one evening rush hour trip. The route served White Bear Lake and Maplewood Mall, which has included a Park & Ride since its opening. A one-way fare was 60 cents – today express bus fares are $3 during rush hour. As ridership grew, more trips were added, reaching the present level of 22 morning and 22 afternoon trips. To accommodate the growth, the Maplewood Mall Transit Center Park & Ride was expanded in 2013.

Future: Highway 36 is among eight corridors included in the Metropolitan Council’s Highway Transitway Corridor Study. The study looks at the possibility of all-day, station-to-station bus service similar to the METRO Red Line. A draft final report is due in early 2014.

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