New Southwest bus plan for ’04 approved

In June, the Metropolitan Council and the City Council's Transportation Committee approved Metro Transit's plan for Southwest bus service beginning in 2004. The so-called "Sector 5" plan would:

  • Change or consolidate 10 current Southwest routes;

  • Add two routes improving crosstown traffic and 35W access to Downtown and Southern suburbs;

  • Add transit stations along 35W at 46th Street and Diamond Lake Road and along Lake Street at 35W, Dupont, Lyndale and Nicollet avenues.

    Metro Transit released the plan for public comment last December, but agency spokesman Bob Gibbons said it had to be adjusted based on the comments of 3,000 riders.

    Gibbons said the plan would be implemented next April.

    Adam Harrington, Metro Transit's manager of route and system development, said the plan is designed to limit redundant routes, focus service where riders are and maximize transit with future I-35W access plans. (For specific route details, see below.)

    Southwest service additions include proposed bus transit stations scattered along Lake Street, and two along I-35W on 46th Street and Diamond Lake Road. The transit stations would be toned-down versions of the Uptown Transit station at Hennepin Avenue and 29th Street, with no park-and-ride capabilities included.

    Gibbons said Metro Transit would spend $72 million on Sector 5 service next year, $3 million less than in 2001. He said funding cuts wouldn't cause many glitches yet because Metro Transit secured a $4.4 million federal grant to support Sector 5 service for the next three years.

    Gibbons said the new bus plan is available at www.metrotransit.org under Central-South Final Plan,and will be available in local libraries in a few weeks.

    SOUTHWEST BUS CHANGES

    New Routes

    Route 46 would be a crosstown route between Edina and St. Paul, running through Southwest from the proposed 46th Street bus station to 50th Street, connecting to Edina. During The weekday peak hours, buses would run about every 30 minutes.

    Route 535 B, C and D would be a new all-day express shuttle from Downtown to Richfield and Bloomington, stopping at I-35W transit stations. Depending on the route, weekday peak hour frequency would run every 15 minutes.

    Route Changes

    Route 4E -- connecting Downtown to Edina thru Southwest following Hennepin, Lyndale, and Bryant avenues to 50th Street -- would be shortened and redirected. The route would no longer go to Edina, but turn south at Penn Avenue at 50th Street into Richfield, slightly improving the wait time during weekday peak hours.

    Route 6 -- from the University of

    Minnesota across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge through Downtown and Southwest to Edina via France Avenue (6D,F) and Xerxes Avenue (6C,E,K) -- would be

    consolidated into one route through South Edina. The change eliminates east-to-west service between France and Xerxes on 44th Street.

    Route 18 would be streamlined from Downtown through Southwest into Bloomington and the Mall of America.

    The Nicollet Avenue route would remain, as would 18 G Grand Avenue service from 31st to 46th streets. Access to Southdale Center, however would be discontinued.

    Route 23, which connects Southwest to St. Paul via 38th Street, would remain primarily unchanged, except for a slight deviation. Instead of connecting to St. Paul, specifically Highland Village, the route connects directly to Minnehaha Park.

    Route 52 B, which runs to and from the University of Minnesota on 50th Street between I-35W and Nicollet Ave., was scheduled to be discontinued in the plan's first draft, but will instead be changed to Route 122.

    Route 52C, connecting the University of Minnesota to Southwest via Lyndale Avenue would become Route 124, keeping the same path, but discontinuing service on Lyndale of south of 31st Street. Instead the route will run 31st Street to Grand Avenue south to 48th Street, offering limited service from there to Lyndale and Minnehaha Parkway. Frequency would remain the same.

    Route 52LU, which connects the University of Minnesota to Southwest along Hennepin, would become Route 126, with a few changes. It would no longer run on Lyndale to 24th Street after exiting I-94W, but would exit on Hennepin Avenue. The route would follow Hennepin, then head to Grand Avenue at 36th Street following that to 46th Street and ending the route on 46th and Lyndale.

    Route 135, linking the University of Minnesota to Southwest, would change service slightly in the route's southern portion. Instead of connecting to Southwest via Lyndale Avenue at 35th and 36th streets, the route would run on Grand Avenue to 46th Street, where it would then connect to Nicollet Avenue.

    Route 191 would be replaced by Route 53, offering limited stops along Lake Street connecting the Uptown Transit station on Hennepin Avenue to the Midway shopping area in St. Paul.

    Route 554 would replace 35 L, S and U, although the route would remain unchanged, still connecting Downtown via Marquette and 2nd avenues to Bloomington following I-35W.

    -- Compiled by Robyn Repya