More efficient and more frequent, that’s the goal of a proposal for a new transit line aimed at connecting Bloomington and Richfield residents with downtown Minneapolis, and vice versa.
To be known as the D Line, the bus service will follow the template set by Metro Transit’s A Line a couple of years ago, and the C Line that’s in development to connect downtown Minneapolis with Brooklyn Center via Penn Avenue and Highway 55 starting in 2019.
The D Line has several hurdles to clear before operation begins, but a 30-day public comment period regarding the revised plan is expected to begin next month, after approval by the Metropolitan Council. Following the conclusion of the public comment period in early June, a final plan will be considered by the council later this summer, according to Charles Carlson, the senior manager for Metro Transit’s bus rapid transit projects.
The rapid transit bus lines are intended to operate similar to the light rail trains that now connect Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis and downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul. Buses will run more frequently than they do on traditional city-to-city routes, and will have accommodations to improve the efficiency between destinations.
The D Line will follow the popular Route 5 that now connects Bloomington and Richfield to downtown Minneapolis. From Mall of America, buses will travel west on American Boulevard, north on Portland Avenue through Richfield and use Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis to connect to downtown Minneapolis. The line will not terminate downtown, however, as it will continue to Brooklyn Center via Fremont and Emerson avenues in north Minneapolis.
Efficiency is gained several ways. Like the trains, fare boxes will be available at the boarding platforms of each stop, eliminating the need to pay upon entering the bus. The platforms will be similar to those of the trains, with shelters, lighting, schedule information, pylons noting the stop, real-time updates for buses approaching the platform, surveillance cameras and emergency telephones. Unlike the train platforms that are 300 feet in length, bus platforms are a compact 60 feet, Carlson said.