A combination of rail for the Midtown Greenway and enhanced bus service for Lake Street has been recommended by a group studying transit alternatives for the Midtown Corridor.
The 4.4-mile corridor runs between the Metro Blue Line’s Lake Street/Midtown Station and the proposed West Lake Station for the future Metro Green Line (SW LRT).
The Policy Advisory Committee charged with making a recommendation for the Midtown Corridor approved the plan Wednesday.
“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 committee member and former chairman of the Latino Economic Development Center, in a statement.
The proposed transit improvements, which still require funding, include new and improved bus stations every half mile on Lake Street, an off-board fare payment system and transit signal priority for buses. An enhanced bus line is expected to shorten the trip along the corridor from an average of 42 minutes to 30 minutes.
Rail would run south of the Midtown Greenway bike trail.
The improvements are expected to cost between $235 million and $270 million with $15 million in annual operating costs, according to Metro Transit.
About 14,600 people use the bus service on the corridor during the week and with planned improvements Metro Transit officials predict ridership will grow to 32,000 riders a day.
“We’re very excited about the idea of improving transportation in the Midtown Corridor,” said Joyce Wisdom, a committee member and executive director of the Lake Street Council. “People really want to be able to move without parking and un-parking.”