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Light Rail METRO Blue Line Minneapolis Transit Police

Partners share Metro Transit Police Department's Officer of the Year honors  

Posted by Laura Baenen | Tuesday, July 02, 2019 4:14:00 PM

MTPD Officers of the Year Michael Affeldt (left) and Joe Carchedi

As partners, police officers Michael Affeldt and Joseph Carchedi spend so much time together their peers refer to them jointly as “Affeldt and Carchedi.”

And now they share something in addition to a name and a beat. Affeldt and Carchedi were recognized as Metro Transit’s officers of the year at the department’s annual awards ceremony, held on Friday, June 28.

The officers were celebrated for proactively policing some of the transit system’s busiest areas, including the METRO Blue Line’s Lake Street and Franklin Avenue stations and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center.  

Sgt. Bret Fraser, who recommended them for the award, said the officers have shown “compassion, understanding and reasonability of true beat officers.”

The officers were also credited with using video surveillance to disrupt crimes in progress, leading effective narcotics investigations and participating in a youth baseball program, Badges and Baseball.

Affeldt joined the department in 2014, serving initially as a Community Service Officer. Carchedi joined the department in 2015.

Several other officers were recognized at the awards ceremony, including:  

  • Officer Chad W. Loeffler, who received the department’s Tim Bowe Award. The award is presented annually to an officer who works part time for Metro Transit. Loeffler is a K9 officer for the Lakeville Police Department and has worked part-time for Metro Transit since 2002.
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  • Lt. Mike Johnson, who was named the Supervisor of the Year. Johnson helped Metro Transit prepare for the 2018 Super Bowl and the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four.
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  • Officer Chris Miles, who received a Medal of Merit for successfully getting a distraught man to drop a knife, and a Certificate of Appreciation for identifying a suspect accused of causing tens of thousands of dollars in property damage with graffiti.
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  • Officer Cleven Duncan, who received a Certificate of Appreciation for recording a message from a jailed suspect to his mother, who was approaching death at the hospital.
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  • Officer Andrew Carlson, who received a Certificate of Appreciation for helping a homeless man locate a low-cost apartment.
D Line

Artist quilts riders waiting for METRO D Line  

Posted by John Komarek | Wednesday, June 26, 2019 11:53:00 AM


Local artist Carold Hancuh holds two of her quilted characters at a bus shelter near E. 48th Street and Chicago Avenue in the future METRO D Line corridor.

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As the METRO D Line enters the engineering phase, local artist Carol Hancuh’s quilted people who are perpetually waiting for the upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

These aren’t normal quilts; however, they are shaped like free-standing people. Hancuh’s artwork, entitled “Waiting for the D Line,” started with a discovery of her love of quilting people’s faces.

“My first full-body, independent quilt was a 4-foot-ten girl,” Artist Carol Hancuh said. “I decided she needed a friend, and then one after another, I ended up with eleven people of all shapes and sizes.”

From about five- to almost seven-feet tall, she decided that her quilted people needed a place to convene. After brainstorming locations like parades or marches, she arrived at a bus stop.

“It was perfect: bus stops have all kinds of people from all walks of life waiting for their ride,” Hanuch said. “The next question was: which bus were they waiting for?”


Hakan holds his quilted likeness behind the counter of his coffee shop at 48th and Chicago.

She found her answer through one of her subjects based on a real-life person: the owner of a local coffee shop at East 48th Street and Chicago Avenue. When she discovered Hakan and his shop Sovereign Grounds were along the future D Line, she had found her bus line.

“As it’s still not yet operational, there’s another question: how long will these people wait?” she said. “It could be a short wait or a long wait.”

Until full funding is secured, these quilt people – just like riders along the corridor — will continue to wait for fast, frequent, and all-day service until the anticipated launch in 2022.

MEET THE PEOPLE WAITING FOR THE D LINE


Meet the people waiting for the METRO D Line as envisioned by Hancuh. The faces dictated the personalities and stories of each of these characters.

Hakan is the Turkish barista in Minneapolis who owns Sovereign Grounds Coffee shop.
Edna is a Red Hat Lady. Her pet mouse, Morty, accompanies her everywhere inside her hat.
Friedrich lives alone. He is in his upper sixties and thinks he is still God’s gift to women. 
Star is the goth daughter of a flower child mother and an aristocrat father.
Yana is Russian. She immigrated to the U.S after her husband died to seek a little peace.
Sadie is the youngest of the two daughters of Clarice and Charles. She is quiet, shy, curious, and happy-go-lightly. 
Sophie is Sadie’s sister. She’s upset because she’s not allowed to carry her friend’s present. It’s fragile.
Clarice is the mother of Sophie and Sadie. Their family is from the East Coast.
Jesu is homeless. He has seen and experience everything.
Toby is a four-year-old boy who has had it waiting for that bus.
Jane is a single mother raising Toby. She wants to spend her one day off having fun with Toby.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carol Hancuh is a retired computer mask design layout professional who became enchanted by contemporary quilts in 2011. Since then, she studied quilting in Tuscany, Italy and brought her love back to Minnesota. She grew up in Minneapolis and took the bus regularly. Today, she lives with her husband, two cats, and mounds of fabric in Eagan, Minnesota.

ABOUT THE METRO D LINE
The METRO D Line is a BRT project that connects Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Richfield, and Bloomington with fast, frequent service and improved stations. It will substantially replace Route 5.

Transit Police

Gratitude motivates new Metro Transit police officers 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, June 25, 2019 12:37:00 PM

Eight years to the day after a bullet tore through his left triceps in a close firefight with Taliban militants in Afghanistan, Chang Lee was sworn-in as one of the Metro Transit Police Department’s newest police officers.

Seven other men and seven women were also sworn in before family, friends and fellow officers on Thursday, June 20. With the additional officers, the Metro Transit Police Department has around 140 full-time officers and more than 50 part-time officers.

After his injury, Lee spent a year in physical therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center working to regain use of his left arm and hand.

Even so, he didn’t hesitate to take another oath to serve. Lee said he wants to repay a debt of gratitude on behalf of his parents, who were born in Laos and eventually made their way to Minnesota.

“The United States gave my parents an opportunity to have a good life and to live in freedom,” he said.

New MTPD Officer Chang Lee takes his oath to serve
Chang Lee (far right) is sworn in alongside his colleagues.

Public service also runs in the family. A cousin is a Roseville police officer. That cousin allowed Lee to ride along with him after returning from Afghanistan, sparking an interest in law enforcement. An uncle, Fue Vang, is a train operator and his stepfather, Soua Moua, is a bus operator.

Gratitude motivated new officer Samuel Klimmek, too. A St. Paul couple adopted him and his twin brother, who are from Hong Kong. Klimmek’s twin brother is a Minneapolis police officer; both are veterans.

“They (our adoptive parents) taught us that you have to give back to the country that’s given us so much,” Klimmek said.

Other new officers were motivated by positive experiences with law enforcement during their childhood. One said police helped arrange custody transfers when her parents separated; another said they were influenced by an officer they met through the DARE program.

Alexandra Wagner thought she’d study fashion design or law until she joined the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department’s Explorers’ program, which provides youth a chance to learn about law enforcement through volunteer service.

Wagner is now working on a master’s degree in clinical social work, focusing on treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and ways departments can better handle mental health issues.

The other new police officers are: Sarah Baker, Lisa Bistodeau, Sarah Boltz, Brooklyn Carroll, Peter Fry, Alexis Junker, Tyler Lo, Hela Maurer, Liam Pham, Daniel Swenson, Toua Vang, and Brett Volkmann.

In addition to English, the 15 new recruits know American Sign Language, Amharic (which is spoken in Ethiopia), French, Hmong, Korean and Vietnamese. Three of the new recruits previously served as Metro Transit community service officers.

Before being sworn in, the recruits completed the department’s custom, nine-week academy. They will now spend another four months working alongside field training officers.

Metro Transit police officers primarily focus on patrolling the transit network but respond to calls for service throughout the seven-county region.

Metro Transit Police Department Swearing In Ceremony June 20, 2019

 

 

Bus Community

Artwork highlights the connection between transit, regional parks 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, June 20, 2019 3:39:00 PM

Large, colorful monarch butterflies may give you a ride to a regional park this summer.

Metro Transit has wrapped two buses, dubbed Nature Connectors, with a beautiful painting designed by Minneapolis muralist Greta McLain and created in her studio, GoodSpace Murals. The painting prominently features monarch butterflies.

The buses are now traveling on routes that lead to some of the region’s most popular regional parks – Minnehaha and Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis and Como and Lake Phalen in Saint Paul – as part of an effort to highlight the connection between transit and parks.

A map highlighting the routes that serve select regional parks can be found at metrotransit.org/parks. Temporary sidewalk clings featuring butterflies will mark the path between each park and select bus stops.

“Helping connect folks to our amazing natural resources is beautiful and important work,” McLain said. “This is a huge honor for us.”

The Nature Connector buses are the brainchild of Amanda Lovelee, regional parks ambassador for the Metropolitan Council. Lovelee’s role is to help raise awareness of regional parks.

“We have so much nature in our cities that is accessible by walking, bicycling and transit,” Lovelee said. “These buses will capture people’s imaginations and help draw attention to the marvelous network of regional parks throughout the metro area.”

Butterflies are a continuing theme in the work of GoodSpace Murals.

“Butterflies are an easily accessible, powerful symbol,” McLain said. “They migrate every year. They represent immigration – current immigration, our ancestors who immigrated. And they connect us to the natural world.”

The painting McLain created for the Nature Connector buses also includes images of two South High School students who she met in an art class.

One of those students, Hodan Ahmed, loved the class and since landed a summer job working in McLain’s studio. While Hodan hasn’t yet seen the wrapped bus, she saw a photo of the mural and said that her portrait is a “really good” likeness.

Earlier this week, one of the wrapped buses was used to bring students from the Matthews Recreation Center to Minnehaha Park, where they met with a naturalist from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Additional events will be held throughout the summer.

Learn more

View the map of routes serving the Theodore Wirth, Minnehaha, Como and Phalen regional parks at metrotransit.org/parks. For additional trip planning help, call 612-373-3333.

 

 

 

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Northstar

Employees recall opening days of Metro Transit’s rail lines 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, June 20, 2019 11:14:00 AM

To hear John MacQueen tell it, the METRO Blue Line’s June 26, 2004, opening was hardly a sure success.

“One of the strangest things was nothing worked well, except the day before we opened,” said MacQueen, the Blue Line’s first rail transit supervisor. “Until 3 o’clock the day before we opened, we could not get the fleet over the railroad without something going wrong. Then for 30 days after opening, we had no service interruptions because of equipment or systems failures of any kind. Things for some unknown reason clicked.”

Now Metro Transit’s rail systems safety manager, MacQueen is among several Metro Transit employees who helped open the METRO Blue Line 15 years ago, the Northstar Commuter Rail Line 10 years ago and the METRO Green Line five years ago.

Rail Transportation Manager Mike McNamara was among the Blue Line’s first train operators. Switching from one cab to the other, he remembers, routinely drew the attention of curious and eager onlookers.

“Of course, the kids were right up front. They wanted to sit in the seat and sound the horn and the bell, and parents would take a picture,’’ McNamara said. “That continued for the first few weeks.”

Northstar’s opening day, Nov. 16, 2009, was another attention-grabber. But the enthusiasm from fans who took the train to the opening of Target Field the following spring was even more surprising.   

“The trains that came into Target Field Station looked like something out of India. The aisles were packed,” MacQueen said.

The thrill of her first day on the job hasn’t faded for Program Technical Specialist Jody Salen, who started working at Northstar’s Operations & Maintenance Facility in Big Lake eight months before service began.

“It is impressive when you see (the train cars and locomotives) inside a building up close like that,” Salen said. “They were bright and shiny and new. Ten years later, that memory returns whenever I offer to give a tour of the facility. The expression on people’s faces when they see the locomotive sitting inside the shop is as familiar to me as it was that first day so many years ago.”

By the time the Green Line opened in June 2014, employees and the public were becoming used to urban passenger rail. 

Shoeb Behlim was an assistant manager in the Rail Control Center on the Green Line’s opening day and gave the order for the first train to depart Union Depot Station.

“We had some rain, a vehicle got stuck on our right of way east of Robert Street Station, but our staff was able to deal with it and continue service,” Behlim said. “It was all in a day’s work for us.’’

The excitement that was felt on each rail line’s opening day has continued in the years since, too.

Collectively, more than 216 million rides have been taken on Metro Transit’s rail lines since they’ve opened. The Green and Blue lines each set annual ridership records in 2018.

Now, construction is underway on the rail network’s next chapter – the 14.5-mile METRO Green Line Extension between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. Service is scheduled to begin in 2023, giving commuters frequent and reliable service to some of the region’s largest job centers.

“The Green Line Extension ’s reverse commuting potential is often overlooked,” said Robin Caufman, the Green Line Extension’s director of administration. “Extending the Green Line to Eden Prairie will make commutes easier for people going to major employment centers like Methodist Hospital, Opus Business Park, Golden Triangle and UnitedHealth Group.”

Metro Transit’s rail network by the numbers

  • 216 million combined rides on light rail and commuter rail since the Blue Line’s opening
  • 408,000 trips on the Green Line since opening
  • 32% of Metro Transit’s total annual ridership on rail lines (2018)
  • 62 miles of combined railway
  • 91 light rail vehicles
  • 6 commuter rail cars
  • 18 locomotives

Learn more about the METRO Green Line Extension

Construction is underway on the METRO Green Line Extension, the largest public infrastructure project in state history. To explore the route and learn more about current and future construction activities visit metrocouncil.orgv.

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