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Posts in Category: Shelters

METRO Green Line Shelters St. Paul

Ambassador program makes its mark in downtown St. Paul 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, October 01, 2019 1:26:00 PM

Ambassadors who supported the Streets of Summer pilot program, sponsored by the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance.Keeping busy boarding areas clean isn’t always easy. But a pilot program initiated by a group of downtown St. Paul business owners shows the dramatic impact that can be made when a small group of individuals is hired to pick up litter, remove graffiti and perform other maintenance activities.

The results of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance’s Streets of Summer pilot program were presented this week, after the three-month test came to an end. According to the Downtown Alliance, five full-time ambassadors picked up 84 bags of trash, erased more than 500 pieces of graffiti and removed more than 5,300 pieces of gum between June and August.

The efforts were part of a broader program that also brought musical performances, public art and trash can mosaics to a four-block area of downtown St. Paul. Some of Metro Transit’s busiest boarding areas, including the METRO Green Line’s Central Station, were included in the Downtown Alliance’s focus area.  

To support the effort, Metro Transit provided ambassadors space to store cleaning supplies and worked with the Downtown Alliance to host activities at boarding areas around Central Station, Rice Park and elsewhere.

“Metro Transit was an incredibly great partner,” said Emma Burns, a project manager with the Downtown Alliance. “We think it was a great success.”

Burns said the group received especially positive feedback from transit customers who appreciated not only the extra maintenance but regularly encountering ambassadors, who sported blue polos with “Street Team” printed boldly on the back.

Ambassadors had more than 2,000 contacts with individuals and business owners, according to a summary prepared by the Downtown Alliance. “First and foremost, it was about having extra eyes and ears on the street,” Burns said. “People told us it was great to see consistent staff tidying up, saying hello and just being around.”

The pilot program was funded by the Knight Foundation and others to determine whether a downtown business improvement district could be created to sustain similar efforts in the future. Discussions about next steps are underway.  

Privately funded improvement districts are common in larger cities, including Minneapolis. Ambassadors with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, created a decade ago, are similarly focused on providing a clean, safe and welcoming environment downtown.

While the St. Paul pilot has concluded, Metro Transit is continuing to do its part to provide customers a safe, clean and welcoming environment downtown.

The agency’s facilities maintenance team was recently expanded so staff could more proactively maintain busy boarding areas and clear snow during the winter.

Learn more about the impact of the Streets of Summer pilot program

Shelters St. Paul

Bus stop improvements continue in downtown St. Paul 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, February 05, 2019 12:52:00 PM

A new waiting shelter was recently installed outside the old Pioneer Press Building, part of a broader and continued effort to improve waiting facilities across downtown St. Paul.

The new shelter is located on 5th Street between Cedar and Wabasha streets. The busy boarding stop had previously been without a shelter, in part because it’s located on a hill with a narrow sidewalk.

Bus stop improvements were incorporated into the redevelopment of the St. Paul newspaper’s former headquarters into nearly 150 apartments for low- and middle-income earners.

The developer, St. Paul-based Real Estate Equities, allowed Metro Transit to place the shelter on private property and incorporated its design into the redevelopment project. The sidewalk was also widened.

A $250,000 Metropolitan Council grant helped cover site preparation and other improvements to the public space around the building. The apartment building is expected to open later this year.

Other downtown St. Paul stops that will be improved this year include:

 > Minnesota Street and 6th Street East, where plans call for a new shelter

 > 6th and Wabasha streets, where plans call for a replacement shelter

Plans call for new and replacement shelters to be installed at six other locations through 2022. The future improvements are being led by Metro Transit in coordination with the City of St. Paul, MnDOT and the community.

In 2015, Metro Transit installed new shelters with real time signs, security features and other amenities at three of downtown St. Paul’s busiest boarding locations.

See a list and map of downtown St. Paul bus stops planned for shelter improvements

Learn more about the Better Bus Stops program

Shelters

New guards designed to help keep the heat on 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, November 16, 2018 5:00:00 PM

When cold weather arrives, customers a grateful for any warmth they can find. But on-demand shelter heaters are frequently vandalized, taking them out of service until they can be repaired. 

A new metal guard beginning to appear at some busy boarding locations could help prevent future damage and keep customers from waiting in the cold. 

The guards were designed by Licensed Journeyman Electrician Jim Davis, above, who sought an alternative to making persistent repairs. Davis and fellow electricians installed the new guards along the Marq2 corridor earlier this year, and began putting them in at select light rail stations this fall. The guards could be used more broadly going forward. Metro Transit maintains about 1,500 heaters systemwide. 

The custom stainless steel guards are being made by Metro Transit technicians.

The new guards have performed well, and Davis said he's hopeful they’ll continue to be successful. "If this isn’t the answer than it’s pretty darn close,” he said this week. 

Remember: Shelter heaters only work when temperatures are below 40 degrees. To report a broken heater, please contact Customer Relations

Community Shelters

Students ask how neighbors feel about nearby bus stops 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:05:00 PM

Sketch of a woman planting a bush at a bus stop sign

Metro Transit and community partners have spent a lot of time asking customers how they feel about their bus stop – questions that have led to investments in new shelters, light and other bus stop improvements.

Building on that work, students from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs set out to learn what nearby property owners, residents and workers felt about these locations. The student’s sought to answer three main questions:

  1. How do neighbors feel about nearby bus stops?
  2. What influences these feelings?
  3. How can neighbors become more engaged in creating better bus stops?

To answer these questions, in-person surveys were completed at nine bus stops with different demographics and physical attributes.

The survey found that, overall, bus stops are viewed as a valuable asset, improving walkability and access and potentially supporting local businesses. The survey also found that many community members had taken informal ownership of their nearby bus stop, shoveling snow and picking up litter, and were willing to partner with Metro Transit on future maintenance and improvement activities.

The findings led students to develop several recommendations and key objectives Metro Transit could focus on moving forward.

See the student’s recommendations and read their full report here.

Students who participated in the Capstone Project include: Joseph Ayers-Johnson, Kurt Howard, Casey Lauderdale, Joseph Polacek and Jake Schutt. Illustration courtesy Joseph Polacek.

Bus Shelters

Fulfilling our commitment to creating a better bus stop 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, February 27, 2018 9:23:00 AM

A bus shelter on Nicollet Mall includes heat, light and real-time signs.

From General Manager Brian Lamb 

A little over three years ago, we committed to providing customers a better experience at the bus stop. 

Since then, we’ve installed shelters at nearly 200 locations, primarily in Minneapolis and St. Paul, where they either didn’t exist or needed to be replaced. Light and on-demand heaters have been included at many of these sites.  

Some of the region’s busiest boarding locations have also been improved. A dozen shelters with heat, light and real-time signs were installed along Nicollet Mall last month and a rapid bus-style shelter was recently built at Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue. 

Concrete pads that improve accessibility were also put in at more than two-dozen sites last year in a continued effort to make it easier for everyone to get around bus stops. 

And more improvements are on the way. 

As many as 80 more shelters will be installed this year, more than half of which will be at sites where there currently isn’t any protection from the elements. These plans also include replacing aged shelters that had previously been privately-owned and maintained. 

Next month, construction will begin on the region’s second rapid bus line, the C Line, which will bring two-dozen stations with shelters, real-time signs, security features and ticket vending machines to a corridor now served by Route 19. Similar plans are being made for the Route 5 corridor. 

Later this year, customers will also see newly-designed shelter schedules that provide clearer information and real-time signs at some shelter sites. 

Perhaps just a significant as these improvements, though, is the accompanying effort that’s been made, in partnership with several community partners and customers, to think about future bus stop investments.   

Assuming customers with less frequent service had longer waits, we’d used guidelines that led shelters to be placed in some suburban locations where we served relatively few customers.

After receiving community feedback and reviewing wait time data we recently revised those guidelines. Under the new guidelines, shelters will be considered at any site where there are more than 30 boardings a day, with a priority on sites that have more than 100 daily boardings. 

The guidelines also place a higher priority on locations that serve people with disabilities, older adults and those who are less likely to own a vehicle. Transfer points and boarding locations near healthcare or social service centers will also get greater consideration.

The new criteria are a clear demonstration of how equity, defined as equal access to opportunity for all, is guiding our work. 

As always, we want to hear about your bus stop experience and what you think can be done to make it even better. Please contact Customer Relations to share your thoughts.

Learn more about bus stop improvements 

Better Bus Stops

Map: Review recent and planned bus stop improvements

Guidelines for placing and removing waiting shelters

Using community wisdom to design Better Bus Stops

Do bus stop amenities like shelters and benches make waiting for the bus more tolerable?  Research from the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies suggests that yes, they do. 

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