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Posts in Category: Minneapolis

Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 11 joining Hi-Frequency Network 

| Wednesday, March 16, 2016 11:03:00 AM

As a Northeast Minneapolis resident, Angela Washington rides Route 11 nearly every day to get to and from her work as a caretaker in south Minneapolis. 

On more than one occasion, she’s missed the bus and found herself waiting. And with service every half-hour during the day it isn’t always a short wait, either.

“If you miss the 11, you’re donezo,” Washington said during a recent northbound trip home. “It’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, call a helicopter because I have to get to work.’”

Now, though, Washington and others who ride Route 11 won’t have to wait nearly as long as they used to.

Beginning on Saturday, March 19, a portion of Route 11 will join the Hi-Frequency Network – a collection of high-ridership, urban routes with trips every 15 minutes throughout the day on weekdays and on Saturdays. There will be 30-minute service during the evenings and on Sundays.

Parts of routes 5, 6, 10, 18, 19, 21, 64, 84, 515 and all of Route 54 are also a part of the Hi-Frequency Network, along with the METRO Blue and Green lines.

The improvements on Route 11 effect only a portion of the service – between the I-35W and 46th Street Station and 29th Avenue NE and Grand Street NE. Trips that continue to the Columbia Heights Transit Center will operate every 30 minutes.

Route 11 was targeted for improved service because of residential and commercial growth in Northeast Minneapolis. It will also provide a better alternative for customers who are further from Central Avenue, where Route 10 operates, and routes 18 and 5 in south Minneapolis.

In south Minneapolis, Route 11 runs largely along Fourth Avenue South; in Northeast, the route crosses the Hennepin Avenue bridge and continues north on Second Street NE.

The majority of Route 11 customers travel to or from downtown Minneapolis, but it is also used as a crosstown service for those like Washington who travel to destinations outside the core.

“There are a lot of residents and jobs along the corridor, and offering a higher level of service makes transit more competitive with other alternatives,” Planner Kyle Burrows said. “Transit becomes a much more convenient and attractive option when service is so frequent you don’t have to consult a schedule.”

Among those looking forward to the increased service is Adam MacGregor, who uses Route 11 to get downtown for work and school throughout the week. “The benefit for me will not having to get places so early, because if I wait for the next bus a lot of times I’ll be late,” he said.

Dorothy Mulen, who has used Route 11 for the last 14 years, was even more enthusiastic. 

“Amen,” she said after missing her bus and boarding after an extended wait. “Every 15 minutes? I might just faint.”


Route 11 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

Service: Route 11 runs between the I-35W and 46th Street Station in south Minneapolis and Northeast Minneapolis, with service on Fourth Avenue South, Hennepin Avenue, Second Street NE, Lowry Avenue NE and Grand Street NE. As part of the Hi-Frequency Network, trips run every 15 minutes during the day on weekdays and Saturdays and every 30 minutes on nights and on Sundays. Service is provided between 4:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. every day of the week. There are trips every 30 minutes to the Columbia Heights Transit Center. 

Route length: Approximately 10 miles

Stops: 88 northbound, 91 southbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard and hybrid-electric buses

History: Both 4th Avenue South and 2nd Street NE were served by horsedrawn streetcars, and later by electric streetcars. From 1910 to 1939, 2nd Street NE also hosted the Minneapolis Anoka & Cuyuna Range streetcars that followed East River Road and Coon Rapids Boulevard to Anoka, the predecessor to Route 852. When bus service began, Route 9 operated on 4th Avenue South and Route 18 operated on 2nd Street NE. 


Other service changes taking effect on March 19

• To improve service in the northwest metro, Route 721 will improve from 60- to 30-minute service on weekends and operate an hour later on weekdays. On Route 724, 30-minute service will also start earlier on weekends.

Route 46 will be extended to Opportunity Partners in Minnetonka for select trips. This extension, combined with a connection to existing Route 18 service on Nicollet Avenue, will replace Route 568.

• Two mid-day trips will be added in each direction on Route 467, with service between downtown Minneapolis and the Kenrick Avenue Park & Ride in Lakeville. This service is a preview for the METRO Orange Line (BRT on I-35W).

• For the first time since Marq2 opened in 2010, running time will be added and some bus stop assignments will be moved to better balance the number of buses in each stop group.

• On Route 3, downtown-to-downtown trips will begin earlier in the day and continue through 1:15 a.m., all days of the week. The number of weekday trips that cover only portions of the route will be reduced.

In addition to these service changes, pocket schedules for routes detoured to Hennepin Avenue will be updated to reflect actual travel times and NexTrip information will become more accurate for these routes. There will also be some minor trip time adjustments to these detoured routes. 

For a complete list of service changes, pick up Connect or visit metrotransit.org.

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. 

Bus Rapid Transit Minneapolis

Input sought on North Minneapolis BRT plans 

| Monday, November 16, 2015 8:52:00 AM

A draft station plan for the C Line.Residents are invited to provide feedback on plans for a new arterial Bus Rapid Transit Line that will serve North Minneapolis at a series of November open houses.

Like the A Line on Snelling Avenue​, the C Line will improve on local bus service through a combination of enhanced stations, larger buses and faster, more frequent service.

The C Line will follow the Route 19 alignment between downtown Minneapolis and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center, with service on Penn Avenue and Olson Memorial Highway. In downtown Minneapolis, the C Line will operate on 7th and 8th streets. 

A Draft Station Plan, published last week, provides more details on 24 locations where BRT stations are planned. The public can learn more about those station plans at the open house and provide comments through Dec. 6.

Feedback will be incorporated before plans are finalized and more detailed engineering work begins in 2016. With funding, construction will begin in 2017.

C Line open houses will be held according to the following schedule:

    > Tuesday, Nov. 17 — 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minneapolis Central Library, and 6-8 p.m. at Patrick Henry High School 

    > Wednesday, Nov. 18 — 6-8 p.m. at Harrison Education Center 

    > Thursday, Nov. 19 — 6-8 p.m. at Lucy Laney Community School 

C Line resources

    > C Line Station Plan

    > C Line Fact Sheet

    > C Line FAQs

    > Subscribe to C Line Update

Bus Minneapolis Suburban Transit

Minneapolis commute made easy with Maple Grove Transit 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, November 04, 2015 9:14:00 AM

Customers exit a Maple Grove Transit bus in downtown Minneapolis.For nearly 20 years, Leslie Ross has taken the bus to and from his job in downtown Minneapolis.

Since moving to Maple Grove in 2007, that’s meant riding Maple Grove Transit Route 781, an express service that gets him from to and from work in a little over a half-hour.

“It’s my time before and after work to just relax and read the newspaper or a book,” Ross said on a recent morning commute. “I don’t even check work e-mail because it’s just so nice to have this small amount of time that I can unwind.”

The opportunity to trade a stressful and time-consuming commute for a faster and more enjoyable ride has led many others in the north metro community to the same conclusion. In 2014, more than 788,000 rides were provided on Maple Grove Transit’s six express routes with service to downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

Though buses and Park & Rides are owned by and carry the name of Maple Grove Transit, the service itself is operated under contract by Metro Transit. Metro Transit’s operators drive the buses, mechanics at Metro Transit’s Martin J. Ruter Garage maintain the 39-bus fleet and fare payments are made using the same system used on Metro Transit vehicles. Metro Transit’s Customer Relations department also assists with feedback from Maple Grove Transit customers.

The City of Maple Grove manages Maple Grove Transit through its Transit Administrator, who conducts transit planning, administration, customer service and marketing.  The city also has a Transit Commission of eight customers who provide input.

Metro Transit has provided Maple Grove Transit services since 1990 and will continue to do so through at least 2018 after the recent approval of a three-year contract extension.

Maple Grove Transit Administrator Mike Opatz said Metro Transit has consistently provided great service and that he looks forward to building on the successes of the last 25 years. Among the improvements made this year was the addition of free WiFi to some Maple Grove Transit buses.

“We truly appreciate all of our partners throughout Metro Transit,” Opatz said. “We’re particularly grateful for the service and support we receive from the operators, garage staff and supervisors, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead.”

Maple Grove is one of 12 suburban communities that have chosen to “opt-out” and directly contract their transit services through other providers. SouthWest Transit provides service in Chanhassen, Chaska, and Eden Prairie; the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority provides service in seven south metro suburbs; and Plymouth Metrolink provides service in Plymouth. (MVTA merged with contracted providers in Shakopee and Prior Lake in 2014.)

For customers, the fact that the buses say Maple Grove Transit while the operators wear a Metro Transit uniform isn’t all that significant. Instead, they’re just happy to have an alternative to battling congestion on Interstate 94 (Maple Grove Transit routes use bus-only shoulders to bypass traffic).

On the same trip as Ross, the 20-year transit veteran, was newcomer Tara Roberts who began riding the bus just a few weeks earlier when she started training in downtown Minneapolis. Able to board just blocks from her home, Roberts uses her time commuting to text with her children instead of stressing about traffic and parking.

“I get anxiety when I drive downtown so I really didn’t want to deal with it,” she said.

After moving from Puerto Rico this summer, Carlos Muniz said he will be especially grateful that he can walk or take a short drive to the Maple Grove Transit Station near his home instead of having to drive as he faces his first Minnesota winter.

“It’s all new to me, so I think there would be a lot of complications with that,” he said. “I’m glad I’ll just be able to rely on the bus.”

Maple Grove Transit At a Glance

Routes: Routes 780, 781, 782, 783, 785 and 788 provide express, weekday service to and from downtown Minneapolis during peak periods. Route 787 offers midday and evening service on weekdays. Route 789 provides weekday express service to the University of Minnesota when fall and spring classes are in session.

Park & Rides: Free parking is available at five Park & Ride locations. Open since 2003, the largest Park & Ride is the Maple Grove Transit Station near the Shoppes at Arbor Lake; it features 926 parking spaces, a climate-controlled waiting area and bike storage. Open since 2010, Parkway Station has 800 parking spaces. Smaller Park & Rides are located on Zachary Lane, at Cross Winds Church and at the Shepherd of the Grove Church. 

Ridership: Customers took 788,000 rides on Maple Grove Transit routes in 2014; ridership has increased more than 10 percent since 2010.

More information: maplegrovemn.gov   

    > Good Question: Why are some routes operated under contract?    

Bus METRO Blue Line Minneapolis On the METRO

Transit-oriented development brings new life to Lake Street 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, November 03, 2015 8:38:00 AM

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for the county's new service center on Lake Street.Drawn by its affordability and central location, Michael Denny moved to the Corcoran neighborhood more than 36 years ago. Cities across America were in decline but even then, he said, he had a feeling good things were going to happen in this corner of south Minneapolis.

The evidence in support of Denny’s hunch has been piling up ever since.

Over the last decades, the neighborhood has welcomed new businesses, a YMCA and a weekly farmer’s market that now draws more than 66,000 visitors a year. In 2004, the neighborhood celebrated the opening of the METRO Blue Line and its Lake Street/Midtown Station.

On Monday, neighborhood leaders joined officials from Hennepin County and partnering organizations to mark the start of another transformational project: a redevelopment that will bring a new county Human Services Center, retail space and more than 500 housing units to land immediately west of the LRT station.

For Denny, who raised two children in a home just blocks from the site, the promise of more neighborhood vitality further affirms his decision to call Corcoran home.

“I could sense something was happening when I moved here, and I still have a really good feeling about the neighborhood,” he said after the groundbreaking ceremony. “I’m all in – I found it (home).”

Getting to this point hasn’t come easily, however. For more than a decade, officials and community leaders have been talking about how to enliven the area surrounding the light-rail station.

Successful negotiations allowed the county to take control of more than six acres, including land used for a Metro Transit Park & Ride and a Minneapolis Public Schools building where adult learning classes are held. The Park & Ride closed earlier this year, and MPS will remain on site while searching for a new location nearby.

The Human Services Center, including retail space along Lake Street, is expected to open in late 2017. More than 100 apartments are also part of the first phase, with more housing to be phased in over time.

County officials pursued the deal as part of an effort to create a decentralized network of service centers to better serve the community. More than a quarter of county residents receive county assistance and more than 16 percent of those people are expected to use the new Lake Street location.

In addition to giving people better access to services, the redevelopment will bring housing and job opportunities that benefit existing residents and draw more people to the city.

“What we have now is a chance to re-create urban America as a place of opportunity,” Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said.

Opportunity is also on the minds of more than 50 vendors at the Midtown Farmer’s Market, which wrapped up its 13th season in October. Though plans remain in the works, organizers look forward to having more conveniences for sellers and a better environment for all who attend.

“This will establish a real sense of permanency and create something that really feels like a home for the market,” Market Manager Miguel Goebel said.

The start of construction comes just months after a new senior housing project opened across Lake Street. That $45 million project includes 68 affordable apartments, a street-level plaza and a rooftop patio. (The Council provided a $1 million grant to support the transit-oriented development by Minneapolis-based Wellington Management.)

Transit-Oriented Development isn’t isolated to the Lake Street/Midtown Station area either.

Be the Match’s 900 employees will soon move into new offices next to Target Field Station, one of several developments in the rapidly-changing North Loop neighborhood. In St. Paul, a portion of a $28 million project that will bring more than 100 affordable apartments to what was a vacant used car dealership north of the Green Line’s Hamline Avenue Station will open in December.

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said these and other projects that bring jobs, housing and services to areas that are well-served by transit make the Twin Cities more accessible and equitable.

“Transit-oriented development is about letting people choose where to live, work and recreate — and giving them the freedom to make those choices without worrying about the financial burdens they’ll face when it comes to transportation,” he said. 


'Transit Village' At a Glance

> Opening in 2017: Hennepin County Human Services Center, 114 workforce housing units, 8,000 square feet of retail space fronting Lake Street, a transit plaza and parking.

> Later phases will include the public gathering space, more than 400 residences and additional parking. 

> The project is being developed by L&H Station development, LLC, a joint venture between BKV Group and Launch Properties.


    > Hennepin County anchors transit-friendly development in south Minneapolis

    > Star Tribune: Officials break ground on development at Lake St. and Hiawatha Av.

    > Route 21: A crosstown with culture, community

    > Metro Transit: Transit-Oriented Development

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