May 29--Metro Transit has published a departure and arrival schedule for the Green Line that lists 23 station stops in 48 minutes from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul.
When it debuts June 14, the 11-mile light rail corridor will connect the new Target Field Station in the Minneapolis Warehouse District to the Union Depot in St. Paul's Lowertown.
Officials with the Metropolitan Council long had predicted that a trip over the entire length of the corridor would take 40 minutes. Test runs in recent weeks were averaging about 67 minutes although officials have said the times will come down.
Most weekday departures will occur every 10 minutes, and weekend departures take place every 10 to 15 minutes. Departures are less frequent at night and in the early morning, occurring hourly from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. on a test basis.
How much of the new schedule is set in stone, and how much is hopeful thinking?
Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland said travel times have continued to improve as training for 120 Green Line operators continues. The most experienced operators have been completing "certain trips right around 48 minutes," he said.
Metro Transit staff continue working with the traffic divisions of St. Paul and Minneapolis to further refine and synchronize signal timing along the route.
"The focus now is on consistency -- both with signalization and training -- in order that trains will run on predictable schedules ... as we settle into regular operations," Siqveland said.
Critics have said a car can make the same trip in little more than 15 minutes in light traffic, not including parking. Metro Transit officials note that most passengers will not be taking the Green Line as a commuter rail most days, and the vast majority of trips will take place within shorter segments of the corridor.
The Met Council also is adjusting stops and schedules for 17 bus routes that intersect with the Green Line corridor. They include a new Route 83 from Montreal Circle, along Lexington Parkway to the Roseville SuperTarget, and a new Route 129 shuttle on the University of Minnesota campus from Willey Hall to Huron Station at Interstate 94.
More information is online at MetroTransit.org.
Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo.
Copyright 2014 - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.