New transit planning for Midtown Corridor

Metro Transit is working on a solution to solve a problem it’s found with transportation on the Midtown Corridor (the area between the Light Rail Stations at Midtown (Blue Line) and the West Lake (Green Line)).

So what exactly is the problem? According to Metro Transit, there isn’t a reliable transit option that operates in the corridor and connects passengers to the two north-south light rail lines. However, a lot of people that live in the area rely on transit to get to where they need to go – both in and outside of the corridor. The bus route on Lake Street has the second-highest number of passengers in the State, and the Lake Street/Midtown station has 4,000 passengers per day, as reported by the journal Finance and Commerce.

Metro Transit hopes that by adding faster west-east transit service will increase ridership, improve access to local businesses, and support economic development. Image courtesy of Metro Transit.

Right now, Metro Transit is in the very beginning stages of determining the best solution, and it is asking for input from community members.

Community members gathered at Whittier Park Rec Center on January 29th to learn more about the Metro Transit corridor study. Metro was interested in learning how people use the corridor currently and what they’d like to see in the future.

Transit Options

While Metro is taking all input and suggestions from the community, here are the primary options under consideration:

First, Metro Transit needs to determine whether the new transit mode should operate on Lake Street or on the Midtown Greenway.

Second, the type of transportation needs to be determined. There are four modes of transportation that are on the table:

  • Dedicated busway – These buses are diesel or diesel-electric hybrids, carry 60-105 passengers per bus, and operate in a dedicated lane. Bus stations would be every 1/2 mile to 1 mile and would collect fares and provide real-time transit info. Cost per mile is $10-50 million.
  • Light rail – LRT trains are electric, carry 200 people per car, and operate on a light rail line. LRT stations are generally located every 1/2 to 1 mile and would collect fares and provide real-time transit info. Cost per mile is $80-125 million.
  • Street car – The cars are electric, carry 115-160 people, and can run in an exclusive street car lane or in mixed-traffic lanes. Stations would be located every 1/4 – 1/3 mile and can either be very basic or can offer various amenities (fare collection and real-time transit info). Cost per mile is $30-60 million.
  • Bus rapid transit – BRT vehicles are diesel or diesel-electric hybrids that carry 60-105 people per bus and operates in mixed traffic. Stations are every 1/4-1/2 mile and can be basic or can offer various amenities (fare collection and real-time transit info). Cost is $2-6 million per mile.

Attendees hear it straight from the source. A Metro Transit route planner answers questions and talks about the pros and cons of each method of transportation considered in the study.

Next Steps

Metro expects that its transportation research will continue for the rest of the year and is planning on having a final report ready next February.

Between now and then, the department will be forecasting ridership, estimating implementation and operating costs, and working to understand environment and community issues. They plan to hold more public meetings throughout the research process – look for events in April, August, and December.

For more background on the decision to conduct the study, check out an article in Finance & Commerce.

Get Involved

Related story: Planning for Minneapolis Midtown Transit Corridor gets underway

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    Rebekah Peterson's picture
    Rebekah Peterson