Several boarding areas are being improved along the Route 63 corridor, including the stop at Third Street East and Etna Street, left, where a new concrete pad was recently poured ahead of a shelter installation, and Third Street East and Forest Street North, right.
Speedier service and new shelters are coming to the Route 63 corridor in September.
To improve speed and reliability, 60 low-boarding bus stops will be eliminated, and several others will be relocated so buses can pass through signalized intersections before stopping. At some stops, there will also be expanded parking restrictions and new concrete pads that make it easier for all customers to board.
The improvements will take effect as part of the September 12 service changes and are being made as part of the Better Bus Routes program, which combines service and facility improvements. A similar effort was undertaken two years ago on Route 2, where bus stop consolidation has improved travel times during busy periods by 5%.
On Route 63, travel times are expected to improve by 5% due to bus stop consolidation.
Among those looking forward to the changes is Amy Gage, who lives in Merriam Park and directs Community and neighborhood relations at the University of St. Thomas. "I've been spoiled by the A Line's convenience, so improved speed and reliability will be a welcome upgrade to Route 63,” she said, referring to the Bus Rapid Transit service that runs up and down Snelling Avenue.
Barb Thomas, who regularly rides Route 63 to travel downtown, to church and to other destinations, is also excited about the improvements. “I'm looking forward to a faster trip and more comfortable experience in the new shelters,” she said.
Next year, Route 63 could be further improved by the use of Transit Signal Priority, which would allow buses to request longer green lights at select intersections. The future may also bring more frequent service and a new limited stop route that would replace the east end of Route 63.
The Better Bus Routes project is focused on high-ridership local bus routes that are not likely to be improved by Bus Rapid Transit service in the near future. The next route in line to be improved is Route 3.