Hennepin Avenue South bus lanes will provide faster, more reliable transit service.
Metro Transit and the City of Minneapolis are implementing bus lanes on Hennepin Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Lake Street. Hennepin Avenue has among the best transit service availability – and use – in the Twin Cities. more than 400 bus trips travel the corridor each weekday, providing service to more than 3,300 customers boarding between Franklin Avenue and Lake Street and thousands more traveling through the corridor.
Unfortunately, Hennepin Avenue is also one of the slowest corridors in the region. During the rush hour, transit speeds regularly slow to 6 mph. There is also a high level of variability of traffic flow along Hennepin Avenue, particularly when there are delays on I-94. Bus lanes will provide a faster, more consistent ride by traveling in a dedicated lane unaffected by other traffic.
A three-day test of bus lanes was conducted in May 2018 to measure changes to route performance, learn more about bus lane operations and gather public feedback. Initial results were promising, and we're incorporating some lessons we learned from this experience into the final bus lanes design.
- Times will be adjusted to when Hennepin Avenue is most congested. The new bus lane hours will be northbound from 7-9 a.m. and southbound from 4-6:30 p.m. Bus lanes will operate weekdays only.
- The pilot bus lanes utilized the existing parking lane width, which was too narrow to operate effectively. Hennepin Avenue will be restriped to allocate more space for the bus lanes.
- During the pilot, 26th Street was the divide between the northbound and southbound bus lanes. This will be shifted one block north to 25th Street in the final design.
- We now better understand the challenges of operating in the curb lane. Before implementing the final bus lanes, we'll trim boulevard trees, clean obstructions close to the street and make improvements to the roadway for a smoother ride.
- We're adding a new northbound segment – Lake Street to the Uptown Transit Station – that will take advantage of existing parking restrictions on the east side of Hennepin.
Metro Transit and the City of Minneapolis expect to implement the Hennepin Avenue bus lanes by fall 2019. Unlike the pilot, we'll use permanent signage and striping to clearly identify the bus lanes. Moving forward, we'll continue to monitor performance, collect public feedback and make refinements to improve their effectiveness. The bus lanes will remain in place until Hennepin Avenue is reconstructed, with our experience helping to inform the future roadway design.
FUTURE HENNEPIN AVENUE:
Bus Rapid Transit METRO E Line
Longer-term Metro Transit is planning for future bus rapid transit (BRT) improvements on Hennepin Avenue. Like the existing METRO A Line on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul and the METRO C Line on Penn Avenue in Minneapolis, the E Line will provide faster service, enhanced stations and larger vehicles. This cost-effective way to speed up service substantially improves the customers experience – which will attract more people to use transit regularly. This will be Metro Transit's fifth arterial BRT corridor in the region.
Planning for the E Line began in 2019, with construction anticipated in 2023, in coordination with the reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue. Additional funding is needed to fully deliver the E Line. More information about the E Line can be found at metrotransit.org/e-line-project.
Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction
Hennepin Avenue between Douglas Avenue and West Lake Street is programmed in the City's Capital Improvement Program for reconstruction in 2023. Public Works will conduct technical work, collect community feedback and review policy guidance including the Access Minneapolis Plan (2009), Complete Streets Policy (2016) and Visions Zero Commitment (2017) to inform the design of Hennepin Avenue. The reconstruction project provides an opportunity to redesign Hennepin Avenue so it meets the street's current and future needs.
Interested in the project? We’d like to hear your thoughts.
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