Council moves another rapid bus line closer to reality

Posted In: Communities, Planning, Transportation
Date: 5/10/2018

The Metropolitan Council approved sending the D Line Recommended Station Plan out for additional public comment, following a vote at Wednesday’s meeting.
 
The D Line would be the region’s third and most expansive rapid bus line. It would substantially replace Route 5, running between the Mall of America and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center on Portland, Chicago, Emerson and Fremont avenues. Route 5 is the region’s busiest bus route, carrying about 16,000 customers each weekday. During rush hours, Route 5 buses make up less than two percent of vehicle traffic but carry more than 20 percent of people traveling through the corridor.
 
The public is invited to review and provide comments on the station plan through Friday, June 8. Upon completion and approval, the plan will identify the final locations for D Line stations in advance of engineering work. Construction on the project would likely begin in 2019.
 
The recommended station plan calls for nearly 40 stations with real-time signs, ticket vending machines, light, heat and security features.
 
“The D Line has the potential to transform our regional transit network,” said Alene Tchourumoff, Chair of the Metropolitan Council. “When we think about the growth in population our region is expecting, bus rapid transit is a proven solution to moving people more quickly and efficiently, whether they’re going to work, school, entertainment, or more.”
 
The D Line follows the successful launch and operation of the A Line along Ford Parkway, Snelling Avenue and 46th Street in Saint Paul. The region’s second rapid bus line, the C Line, is now under construction on Penn Avenue, Olson Memorial Highway and 7th Street. The C Line is expected to open in 2019.
 
The D Line’s recommended station plan already incorporates comments received during a public comment period on the draft version of the plan published earlier this year. Over 100 comments were received, prompting the addition of three stations to the recommended plan – 7th Street and Bryant in north Minneapolis, Chicago and 48th Street in south Minneapolis, and Portland and 70th Street in Richfield. More about the D Line (will soon include recommended plan and how to comment).

Project seeking bonding money

The Council’s vote comes on the same day the Senate majority at the Minnesota State Legislature released its $825 million bonding proposal. Neither it, nor the $825 million proposal from the House majority include any bonding for transit.
 
Governor Dayton included a $50 million request in his public works bill to allow the Council to further develop the regional rapid bus system. Among the projects it would potentially support is the D Line, which still needs $35 million. The total cost of the project is about $75 million.
 
During the Council vote, Chair Tchourumoff called on the Minnesota Legislature to include the $50 million bonding investment.
 
“I appreciated the opportunity to testify before the House Transportation Finance Committee last month,” continued Tchourumoff. “What I heard in that committee was similar to what I’ve heard in conversations with many state and local lawmakers – that there is bipartisan support for this type of investment in regional transit. This project has support from all corners of the region, and I call on state leaders to ensure we don’t miss the opportunity to advance this critical infrastructure project.”

 
A wide array of cities, businesses, and more have expressed support for the D Line and the inclusion of the $50 million bonding request in a final bonding bill, including:

  • Letter of support from Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce 

  • Letter of support from Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Letter of support from Bloomington Chamber of Commerce 

  • Letter of support from Richfield Chamber of Commerce

  • Resolution in support from the Minneapolis Downtown Council 

  • Resolution in support from Hennepin County

  • Resolution in support from the City of Bloomington 

  • Resolution in support from the City of Minneapolis

  • Resolution in support from the City of Brooklyn Center

  • Resolution in support from the City of Richfield

  • Resolution in support from the I-494 Corridor Commission 

  • Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and East Metro Strong together launched BetterBusesMSP.com.

Bonding proposal – $50 million for Bus Investment

The $50 million for busway corridor projects would help further develop the rapid bus regional system, potentially including the following projects:

  • D Line (Chicago-Emerson Ave. from Brooklyn Center to Mpls. to Bloomington)

  • B Line (Lake St.-Marshall Ave.)

  • E Line (Hennepin Ave.)

  • Design and construction of up to seven additional rapid bus corridors and express bus improvements related to the Orange Line (Burnsville-Mpls.) and the Gold Line (East Metro).

This investment would improve mobility options and reduce congestion. The planned rapid bus network would connect 200,000 people a day to almost 500,000 jobs regionwide.


 

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