Metro Transit

MN Metro Transit: Rail, Enhanced Bus Options Recommended for Midtown Corridor

A study of transit alternatives in the Midtown Corridor recommends a combination of rail in the Midtown Greenway and enhanced bus service on Lake Street as the best long-term transit solution for the corridor.                        

The recommendation, known as a locally preferred alternative, was approved Wednesday by the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) for the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis. The group includes community and business representatives as well as elected and appointed officials from the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County and city of Minneapolis

The alternatives analysis considered the benefits, costs and impacts of creating a 4.4-mile transitway between the Metro Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station and the proposed West Lake Station on the Metro Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT).

“As the Lake Street area becomes more popular as a tourist destination, as well as a great place to live, work, eat, bike and shop, it is vital that we provide faster and more efficient transportation,” said Ron Lezama, a PAC member and former chairman of the Latino Economic Development Center, located on Lake Street

The recommended transit improvements will be advanced as funding is available.

With enhanced bus (also known as arterial bus rapid transit), improved stations would be built every half mile on Lake Street. Buses would continue operating in mixed traffic but travel times would be improved by making fewer stops, the use of off-board fare payment and transit signal priority. The improvements would extend into St. Paul on Marshall Avenue, connecting with the Metro Green Line’s Snelling Avenue Station on University Avenue.

Rail would run immediately south of the Midtown Greenway bike trail. The LPA calls for trips to be operated with single-car trains. Future analysis will identify the vehicle type and double/single-track segments.

Bus and rail are recommended because enhanced bus would better serve those traveling shorter distances in the corridor while rail would better serve as a crosstown connection linking light-rail lines and other potential bus rapid transit lines.

“We’re very excited about the idea of improving transportation in the Midtown Corridor,” said Joyce Wisdom, a PAC member and executive director of the Lake Street Council. “People really want to be able to move along Lake Street without parking and un-parking.”

Midtown Greenway LPA at a Glance

  • Travel Times: A local bus trip from West Lake Street to the Metro Blue Line’s Lake Street Station would take an average of 42 minutes. An enhanced bus trip is estimated to take 30 minutes and a rail trip is estimated to take 13 minutes.
  • Ridership: Around 14,600 customers currently use local bus service in the Midtown Corridor each weekday. With enhanced bus and rail, ridership is projected to grow to 32,000 riders a day by 2030.
  • Cost: Depending on track design, enhanced bus and rail are estimated to cost between $235 million and $270 million to build and $15 million a year to operate.

For more information on the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis visit http://www.midtowntransitway.org/.

Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council.

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