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Posts in Category: Minneapolis

Bus Minneapolis St. Paul Transit Information

Much more than a store 

| Wednesday, April 16, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Lalita Williams (foreground) and Tim Johnson assist customers at the Metro Transit store on Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis.For the last six years, Dan Hackman has made regular stops at Metro Transit’s retail store in downtown St. Paul to purchase Day Passes – $6 fare cards that allow him to make unlimited trips on a bus or METRO line for 24 hours.

Hackman lives near the store, in the skyway level of the U.S. Bank Building, and said he uses the passes to visit patients he works with as a Personal Care Assistant.

“I like that I don’t have to worry about having any money in my pocket,” he said during a recent visit.

While such transactions have long been the lifeblood of Metro Transit’s St. Paul and Minneapolis retail operations, the stores' employees have spent less time on fares and more time on general customer service in recent years.

To reflect the change, the stores are being rebranded as Service Centers, where customers can stop in for help planning trips, to collect Lost & Found items or ask basic questions about Metro Transit's services. 

The shift from fare sales to general service has been precipitated by the ease of online sales, Auto Refill and use of bulk fares like Metropass and U-Pass, which provide unlimited rides for a flat fee. The spread of ticket-vending machines and expansion of fare card sales to more than 100 Cub stores and other locations throughout the metro has also allowed customers to get fares at locations that are most convenient to them.

While the Minneapolis and St. Paul Service Centers still sold more than $4.7 million in stored fares last year, employees are now as likely to plan trips, answer questions about schedule changes or detours and introduce new or out-of-town customers to their transit options as they are to help customers with fares.

Traffic has remained constant but about half of those who visit Metro Transit’s Service Centers now come to purchase fares, add value or replace a lost Go-To Card. The rest come looking for transit information or other types of help. On average, 800 people visit the Minneapolis store on Marquette Avenue each weekday; another 400 visit the St. Paul location.

“As it has become easier to pay fares, we are seeing fewer sales but the traffic hasn’t gone down because people still want and need help,” said Mary Capistrant, who supervises retail revenue operations.

Linda Seidl, who started at Metro Transit 40 years ago, has seen the evolution first hand. When she started, Seidl sold tokens and paper punch fare cards. The punch cards were replaced by magnetic cards in the 1980s, and Go-To Cards with stored value were introduced nearly a decade ago.

The change in fare technology has benefited customers in numerous ways, including the ability to replace a lost, registered Go-To Card without losing any of its stored value, Seidl said. “Before, if they lost a card, someone was smiling but it wasn’t them,” said Seidl, who has come to know many regular customers in her decades of service.

A former Metro Transit driver, Tim Johnson began at the Minneapolis location a year ago. He said fare sales remain an important part of the job but that he and other employees play a powerful role helping people who are new to transit. Many times, employees will drive to their first day of work then come to the Service Center looking for a way to get there using transit.

If a boarding location is nearby, customers may be walked or directed to their stop; other times a printed map helps get customers where they need to go.

“It’s nice to be able to give them something tangible – a piece of paper that says go here and get on this bus,” Johnson said. “To send them with a map is important because a lot of people have never ridden a bus before.”

Aisha Dancy worked with customers over the phone in the Transit Information Center before moving behind the counter at the Minneapolis location three years ago. Dancy said working directly with customers is rewarding because she gets to see them leave with newfound confidence and hear about their successful trips during a subsequent visit.

“A lot of people will come back and thank me,” she said. “It’s nice to know that it worked out and that they got where they needed to go.”

In St. Paul, the questions have recently turned to the METRO Green Line. Laquanda Jarrett, who works at the St. Paul Service Center, said customers come in every day to ask for a schedule or to find out when the light rail line is opening (June 14).

“Every single day, we get at least 20 people asking about it,” Jarrett said. “They’re just so excited and ready.”

Metro Transit Service Centers At a Glance

The Metro Transit Service Center on Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis.Minneapolis

History: Original location opened at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis in 1979. The operation moved to its street-level storefront on Marquette Avenue in 1986.

Address: 719 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis

Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday – Friday; ticket vending machine available during business hours.

Fun fact: The Minneapolis ticket-vending machine is among the highest-grossing in the system, generating more than $100,000 in retail sales each month.

St. Paul

History: A small kiosk opened in the in Ecolab building in 1980. The store later relocated to Town Square. It has been located in the U.S. Bank Center since 1988.

Address: Skyway, US Bank Center, 101 E. 5th Street

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday; ticket-vending machine available 24 hours a day.

Fun fact: The location’s Snoopy statue, among the last remaining in St. Paul, is regularly outfitted with seasonal attire. Downtown workers and tourists often stop by to snap a photo with the statue.

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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.

Bus METRO Green Line Midtown Corridor Minneapolis Route of the Week St. Paul

Route 53: Limited stops from Lake Street to Lowertown 

| Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Jeff Nelson likes to be productive – even when he’s commuting.

That’s why, for nearly a decade, he’s been taking the bus to his job at the Department of Employment and Economic Development in St. Paul. In the summer months, he combines short bike trips with a ride on Route 94. In the winter, when his routine includes morning visits to a gym near Nicollet Avenue and Lake Street, he catches Route 53.

One of the main reasons: he can use the time on the bus to squeeze in a little more work at the beginning and end of each workday, reading and catching up on e-mail while moving to and from the office.

“One of the biggest reasons I take the bus is that driving on I-94 can be such a pain,” Nelson said during a recent morning trip on Route 53. “Sitting in traffic, I’m just burning gas and wasting time.”

Nelson’s philosophy was shared by many commuters on Route 53, which travels between the Uptown Transit Center and downtown St. Paul along Lake Street, Marshall Avenue and Interstate 94. The route includes stops at the Chicago/Lake Transit Center and the METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station.

Between Uptown and Snelling Avenue, Route 53 covers much of the same terrain as Route 21. But it offers a quicker trip with around one-third the number of stops and also non-stop service on I-94 between Snelling Avenue and downtown St. Paul. Route 53 buses run only on weekdays, with eight eastbound trips each morning rush hour and ten westbound trips each evening rush hour.                   

Liam Moore, who boards at Otis and Marshall avenues, appreciates the efficiency of his limited-stop trip to downtown St. Paul, where he works at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Moore and his girlfriend share a vehicle, so he takes the bus to work every day.

“It’s nice because it’s such a direct route to downtown St. Paul,” Moore said.

Other eastbound commuters who travel shorter distances use the Route 53 and Route 21 interchangeably, based on their schedules.

Among them is DeAndre Lindsey, who takes Route 17 from his home in St. Louis Park and transfers to Route 53 or Route 21 at the Uptown Transit Center to get to work near Lake Street and Blaisdell Avenue. Though he could drive, Lindsey has been commuting by transit for the last eight years because he sees it as a cheaper and easier way of getting to work.

“And it forces me to stay on time,” Lindsey said.

Audrey Blanchard, who also boarded at the Uptown Transit Center, said she too could drive but prefers to take transit. Blanchard rides Route 53 to the Chicago/Lake Transit Center, near her workplace at the Midtown Exchange, and appreciates not having to pay for parking while on the clock.

“I could drive, but this is just much more convenient,” Blanchard said. “I’ve got my schedule down so this is easy.”

For Linda Griffin, riding the bus is also about convenience. Griffin takes Route 53 three times a week to the Division of Indian Work, where she volunteers. “I like the fact that I don’t have to warm up my car in the winter, but even in the summer I ride,” she said.

Route 53 customers who travel to St. Paul will have another transit option when the METRO Green Line opens June 14. Route 53 buses will connect with the Green Line’s Central Station, at Fifth and Cedar streets, and the Union Depot, the Green Line’s eastern terminus.

Though not considered a major feeder route for the Green Line, employees who work north of downtown St. Paul on Lafyette Road could use Route 53 to get to the Green Line’s downtown stations.

Route 53 customers may also someday see changes to service on the Lake Street corridor. A recent study of transit in the Midtown Corridor concluded with a recommendation for Bus Rapid Transit on Lake Street and rail in the Midtown Greenway.

BRT would cut travel time by offering fewer stops and technologies like off-board fare payment and traffic signal priority. Route 21 will continue to operate alongside BRT but Route 53 would be replaced. Select BRT trips could continue from Snelling Avenue to downtown St. Paul during rush hour.

Route 53 At a Glance

Type: Limited stop

ServiceRoute 53 runs between the Uptown Transit Center and downtown St. Paul, along Lake Street, Marshall Avenue and I-94. Eight eastbound trips depart Minneapolis each morning between approximately 6 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. In the evening, ten westbound trips depart St. Paul between approximately 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Chicago/Lake Transit Center and METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station are major transfer points along the route. Route 21 covers similar territory as Route 53, but has more stops. Route 21 also makes stops at University Avenue and Snelling Avenue and on Selby Avenue in St. Paul.

Route Length: Approximately 12 miles

Stops: 33 eastbound; 33 westbound

Vehicles: Standard 40-foot buses

Ridership: More than 216,000 customer boardings in 2013, with an average of 859 passengers per day. Ridership grew more than 8 percent between 2012 and 2013.

History: The Selby-Lake streetcar line operated from 1906 until 1953 and was among the most important crosstown connections in the burgeoning streetcar system, with more passengers per mile than any other route. An express bus also traveled on Lake Street to downtown St. Paul in the 1920s, competing with the Selby-Lake streetcar. Route 53 is the successor of that express bus service. 

Future: When the METRO Green Line opens June 14, Route 53 customers will be able to transfer to the train at the Union Depot and Central Station. The Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis also recommended Bus Rapid Transit on Lake Street, between the METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station and the proposed West Lake Station on the METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT). BRT features could be continued on Marshall and Snelling avenues, connecting with the Green Line’s Snelling Avenue Station.

 

Bus METRO Green Line Minneapolis Route of the Week St. Paul

Route 30: A new way to work 

| Monday, March 03, 2014 12:00:00 AM

Few of those who work at Access Ability drive themselves to the organization’s Northeast Minneapolis offices. Many come from North Minneapolis by taking a bus downtown and transferring to Route 61, which travels along nearby East Hennepin Avenue.

Their commutes will be quicker and easier after Route 30 begins running March 10. The new route will stop directly in front of Access Ability’s offices on Hoover Street NE as it travels between North Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

“Very few of our people have cars for transportation so this is really going to increase access,” said Linda Cazett, who works in customer service and recruitment for the non-profit, which provides jobs and training for people who need support entering the workforce. “I think a lot of people are going to be very pleased that this bus is something they can catch.”

Providing access to employment was the primary purpose behind the route, funded by a federal grant designed to help people get to work outside the urban core. Even before its inaugural run, employers and community leaders say they believe it will do just that.

Traveling eastbound, Route 30 buses will run through North Minneapolis along West Broadway Avenue and across the Mississippi River. After crossing Central Avenue and through the Beltrami neighborhood, buses loop around the north side of the Quarry Shopping Center before continuing east to the Northeast industrial area.

In St. Paul, buses run along Larpenteur Avenue, Eustis Street and Highway 280 to University Avenue, where the route connects to the METRO Green Line’s Raymond Avenue Station. Route 63Route 67 and Route 87 will also serve Raymond Avenue Station when the Green Line opens June 14.

In addition to the new connections, Route 30 will shorten commutes for those using existing services by providing more direct service and eliminating the need to transfer downtown.

Matt Halley, the executive director of the Cookie Cart, said such a connection is important for those who graduate from the West Broadway Avenue bakery to work elsewhere. Few of the 150 youth who work at Cookie Cart have vehicles but many look for jobs outside the immediate neighborhood.

“There isn’t a lot of jobs right in the North Minneapolis,” Halley said. “But I can think of three or four [former employees] who have left Cookie Cart to get to jobs in the Midway area so a bus that goes over there will be very convenient for them.”

Halley himself may also use the route to get to work. Halley lives in downtown St. Paul and will be able to take the Green Line to the Raymond Avenue Station, transferring to Route 30 instead of coming all the way to downtown Minneapolis and transferring to Route 5.

Blong Yang, who represents North Minneapolis on the Minneapolis City Council, said he’s excited to see another form of transit service on West Broadway Avenue. Besides improving access, he hopes more transit will help ease traffic on the corridor.

“Broadway is a busy, narrow street so anything that adds more traffic is not so great,” Yang said. “A bus line like this is fantastic because it gives people more options.”

Route 30 closely mimics a former bus route that operated until the mid-1990s. The old route, Minneapolis Route 3, ran on West Broadway Avenue between North Memorial Hospital and Industrial Boulevard in Northeast Minneapolis. Electric streetcars began to run on West Broadway Avenue beginning in 1891 and the Broadway Crosstown streetcar operated from 1914 through 1950 between Theodore Wirth Park and Northeast Minneapolis.

Senior Planner John Dillery said he took cues from those earlier services while devising Route 30. He expects the new route to be draw more riders simply because there are more destinations, such as the Quarry Shopping Center. The Green Line and connecting bus routes should also make Route 30 an attractive option.

“It’s easy to start picturing all sorts of new connections,” Dillery said. “There’s a whole mix of possibilities here."

Route 30 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 30 buses will run between north Minneapolis and St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Traveling east, buses will run from Golden Valley Road and Xerxes Avenue and along West Broadway Avenue. After crossing the Mississippi River and Central Avenue, the route travels through the Beltrami neighborhood and loops around the north side of The Quarry Shopping Center, one of the largest retail areas in Minneapolis. Buses continue east through an industrial area and serve several large employers, including Honeywell and UPS. In St. Paul, buses run on Larpenteur Avenue, Eustis Street and Highway 280 to University Avenue. On the eastern end, the route connects with the METRO Green Line's Raymond Avenue Station and ends at the intersection of University Avenue and Vandalia Street. Buses will run approximately every 30 minutes during rush hours and midday and every 30 to 60 minutes in the evening. Service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday.

Route Length: Approximately 9 miles

Stops: 49 eastbound, 51 westbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard buses

Ridership: Projected 700 passengers per day

History: The first horse-drawn streetcars appeared on West Broadway Avenue in 1883. Electric streetcars were introduced in 1891. The Broadway Crosstown streetcar line between Robbinsdale on the west to Stinson Avenue on the east. Buses replaced streetcars in the corridor in 1950. Route 30 partly mimics a bus route that replaced streetcar service, Route 3, with service from North Memorial Hospital in Golden Valley to Broadway and Industrial Boulevard, in northeast Minneapolis. The route was eliminated in the late-1980s.

Future: Route 30 was created through a federal grant designed to connect people to jobs in outlying areas. Service will be evaluated after one year of service. West Broadway Avenue has also been identified as a potential Bus Rapid Transit corridor. The service would largely follow the path of Route 14 from Robbinsdale to downtown Minneapolis.

For additional photos in full resolution, view the Route 30 set on Flickr.

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