Last chance for public input on Lake Street transit changes: Final public open houses scheduled for late November

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Last spring there were ten options for transit improvements on Lake Street. Now there are three. Details about the alternatives are now available, including potential trip times, service frequency, route maps, track alignments, station locations, and station layouts. The public will have the opportunity to meet with transit officials, see this information, and comment on proposed changes at two open houses this month before a final decision is made early next year.

The information may also be viewed at www.metrotransit.org/project-library under the heading maps and diagrams.

The first option is an enhanced bus line on Lake Street, which would have an estimated travel time of 30 minutes from West Lake Street to the Midtown Station. Like an express bus, the new enhanced bus would have fewer stops along the route. There would be prepaid fare zones, similar to LRT, and raised platforms to allow faster loading and unloading from both front and rear doors of the bus. This route would likely connect to bus rapid transit on Snelling Ave. in St. Paul. Local bus service on Lake Street would continue with service every 15 minutes.

This is the simplest and least expensive option, but many residents and business owners are unhappy with the idea of more construction on Lake Street. Because the stops for the enhanced bus would be separate from local stops, they would take away more of the already rare on-street parking. Stops could be as much as a half-mile apart.

A second study option is a streetcar along the existing rail right-of-way in the Midtown Greenway. This would have the benefit of a faster travel-time between West Lake Street and the Midtown Station, an estimated 14 minutes. This option would not add to the congestion on Lake Street.

However, a streetcar would require the most infrastructure work, including some bridge reconstruction over the Greenway and elevators to make stations accessible from street level. Many Midtown Greenway users worry that the rail cars, while smaller and slightly slower than the LRT cars, would detract from the “green” aspect of the Greenway. And since the line would end at the Midtown Station, there would be no improvement whatsoever to transit east of Hiawatha Ave, what the study refers to as “the remainder of Lake Street”.

The third option would be some combination of the first two.

Public Open Houses
Both open houses are from 6 – 8 pm, with a presentation starting at approximately 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, Nov. 20 Thursday, Nov. 21
Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Colin Powell Center
2924 4th Avenue South

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