Bus lanes imminent on Hennepin Avenue

Credit: Nick Halter

Come September, the city of Minneapolis and Metro Transit will begin enforcing bus-only lanes during peak hours on Hennepin Avenue between Lake Street and Franklin Avenue.

Red bus-only lanes will be painted on Hennepin Avenue between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3, according to city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie.

The lanes will be added northbound from Lake Street to the Uptown Transit Station and from 25th Street to Franklin Avenue. Southbound, a painted curbside bus lane will be implemented from 25th Street to the Uptown Transit Station. The northbound lanes will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays; the southbound lane will be enforced from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

At an open house event in early August, Metro Transit officials said they debated adding the lanes on the whole stretch of Hennepin from Lake to Franklin, but they ultimately decided the best way to improve efficiency was to focus on the areas north of 25th Street where additional vehicle traffic turns onto the street near the Interstate 94 exchange.

“It was quickly apparent where the delays were taking place,” said Michael Mechtenberg, Metro Transit’s project manager for reliability.

Right now, just 20% of northbound Route 6 buses meet their scheduled six-minute run time between the Uptown Transit Station and Franklin Avenue, while 33% of southbound buses are on time in the afternoon.

No vehicle lanes will be lost to the bus lanes, but on-street parking will be prohibited in the bus-only areas during rush hour.

“This project is frankly a no-brainer,” Mechtenberg said.

Metro Transit is also considering removing bus stops one block north and south of the Uptown Transit Station to improve run times, according to signage posted at Lagoon Avenue and 28th Street.