C Line steps closer to rapid bus reality
In the coming weeks, the groundwork for better, faster bus service through Minneapolis' North Side and Brooklyn Center will start to take noticeable shape as construction commences on the C Line, the next chapter of Metro Transit's bus rapid transit story.
The C Line is the region's second arterial BRT project, part of a planned eleven-line system, which would link nearly 500,000 jobs and residents to improved transit.
This week, the Metropolitan Council awarded a construction contract for the project to Thomas and Sons Construction Inc. The awarded contract, coming in under budget at $13 million, also includes work to reconstruct significant portions of Penn Avenue. Together, these enhancements form the Penn Avenue Improvements Project, a partnership between Metro Transit, Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis to make meaningful infrastructure improvements in the Penn Avenue corridor.
"BRT has the potential to transform our region's transit network," said Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. "It's a proven solution to some of the challenges facing local bus service today. I'm thrilled with the progress we're making toward our vision of a strong regional transit network. That network is a prerequisite to being more economically competitive with peer regions both nationally and internationally."
This means that in slightly more than a year, residents will enjoy the same rapid bus service that has proven successful with the A Line, which connects Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Roseville along Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway. The C Line will bring 23 stations along its 8.5 miles between downtown Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. Each of these stations will feature pre-boarding fare payment and real-time bus arrival signage. Riders will board easily through any door of the larger, specialized buses that will include the first-ever regional demonstration of fully electric buses. C Line stations also will bring added security features, including security cameras, increased lighting and other amenities to the communities the line serves.
In 2016, the region's first rapid bus line, the A Line, opened to great fanfare and riders immediately showed their satisfaction with the service. Ridership along the Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway corridor is up more than 33 percent when compared with figures from before the A Line went into service.
"We are excited to get our shovels into the ground, taking us one step closer to bringing residents, businesses and communities along the C Line the same comfort, reliability and efficiency that have become the hallmarks of the A Line," said Brian Lamb. "As we advance the C Line, we continue to make plans to bring this service throughout our system, expanding our rapid bus network to better serve tens of thousands of riders every day."