Fast, frequent, all-day service

Construction on two Bus Rapid Transit Lines affects Lake, France, Upton and Hennepin this year

Street projects on Hennepin Avenue from Lake to 26th, West Lake, France and Upton mean that getting around southwest Minneapolis is challenging right now, but traveling by bus will get faster when the work is done in 2025.
Met Transit is currently working on two Bus Rapid Transit lines in the area. It is year two of B Line construction along Lake Street. Year one of a two-year construction project for the E Line began in April. 
BRT is part of a focus on “fast, frequent, all day service,” according to Met Transit General Manager Lesley Kandaras.
“Everyone benefits when we invest in better bus service,” said Kandaras. “Riders get to their destinations faster and more reliably, streets become safer and less congested, and access expands to jobs, entertainment, shopping and other destinations.”
Ridership on the Bus Rapid Transit routes have been growing, and the lines are among the most popular offered. “On A, C and D, ridership grew significantly after improvements,” stated Katie Roth, director of arterial Bus Rapid Transit projects at Metro Transit.
Combined, nearly 220,000 people live within a 10-minute walk, bike, or roll of B Line and E Line stations. More than 1 in 10 households on these corridors do not have access to a vehicle. 
The B and E Lines will run every 10-15 minutes, seven days a week during the day and most of the evening. They aim to make travel time 20-25% faster along the routes. 
The E Line is a story of partnerships, according to Roth. Of the 34 stops, 25 platforms are being constructed in partnerships with others, including Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis. Timelines were aligned by Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis to install fiber optic communication infrastructure and additional pedestrian, traffic signal, bikeway and intersection improvements during the E Line construction. This results in lower costs overall and less impact, pointed out Roth.
“We and our local partners are doing everything we can to make the most of these generational investments while limiting impacts on those directly impacted by construction today,” said Roth.
The intersection at Upton and 43rd in Linden Hills wouldn’t have been completely closed to car traffic if it was just for the E Line work, pointed out Metro Transit Communications staff member Drew Kerr, who lives in the area. 
The city of Minneapolis timed improvements to 200 feet of a clay sanitary sewer and water main lines in Linden Hills at the intersection of 43rd and Upton to align with the E Line construction, according to Minneapolis senior transportation planner Katie White. The intersection will be completely shut down to traffic for about 10 weeks, and work began on April 15, 2024. The sanitary sewer line dates to 1919, and the water line to 1901. “We’re taking the opportunity to consolidate the work and to consolidate the impact on the community,” said White. 
After the city’s portion is done, the intersection will remain partially closed while Met Transit completes its work.
During the construction period, parking on 43rd St. and Upton Ave. will remain available up to the road closure area. Other street parking off the main node will remain open.
The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC) and Southwest Business Association are encouraging people to Walk, Bike, Roll to Linden Hills, with weekly drawing for gift cards and prizes.
While construction will restrict road access, new Wild Rumpus Books (2720 W 43rd St.) co-owner Timothy Otte is looking forward to the long-term benefits. Otte sometimes uses the METRO C Line and Route 6 to commute to and from the bookstore, located in the Linden Hills business district, where parking is limited.  
“As someone who has relied on transit to get around the region, I always roll my eyes when people say it’s going to be disruptive,” Otte said. “Well, sure. But it’s short-term pain.”
Jen Belleflour of New Gild Jewelers (4300 Upton Ave. S) said, “This should be our busiest season, and instead, we’ve had to cut everyone’s hours by 20% and cancel our attendance at an industry trade show at the end of the month. We’re trimming everywhere, but it’s a dramatic downturn, and I feel scared for us and also concerned about other small businesses.” New Gild recently celebrated its seventh anniversary. “It’s unbelievable how much three weeks of ghost town can beat your business down. We are trying to stop the bleeding, but the worst case would be letting all of our employees go and doing the work ourselves,” stated Belleflour.
Karen Binkowski of the Southwest Business Association observed, “There was no official communication to the businesses that there would be three construction projects going on simultaneously at that intersection – the sewer work, the E line work, and the water main work – all of which have required an enormous amount of street parking to be taken away during their busiest shopping season.” Local businesses have created a map showing where parking is available to distribute to customers. 
“The business owners are working together to try and survive this disruption to their businesses during their busiest season,” said Binkowski. In addition to the parking map, they donated gift cards to the Walk, Bike, Roll campaign, and are promoting the campaign through flyers and social media posts. 
The Metro E Line will operate in the Route 6 corridor along University Ave./4th St., Hennepin Ave. and France Ave. from the University of Minnesota to Southdale. E Line service will begin in 2025. It will cost $60 million.
The existing 12-mile Route 6 bus will be simplified to travel from downtown Minneapolis to Minnesota Drive and France Avenue primarily via Hennepin Avenue and Xerxes Avenue, running every 20 minutes most of the day. 
The line is estimated to serve between 13,400-14,200 riders by 2040, according to a corridor study done by Kimley-Horn and Associates from January 2020.
The Metro B Line is in the Route 21 corridor along Lake St. and Marshall/Selby between Uptown and downtown St. Paul. Work east of Hiawatha was done in 2024, and work west is being done this year. Service will begin in June 2025 (it was initially projected for 2024). 
With this project, Lake St. will go from a four-lane road to three lanes, with red bus-only lanes in one or two directions, a move Met Transit transportation planner Adam Smith said is being done for safety. Lake Street has the highest number of crashes in both the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. There will also be some new left-turn lanes. The total cost is $65 million, with $12 million for the Lake St. Improvements coming from a RAISE grant.
“Because Lake Street sees such a high share of our deaths, we made it a priority,” said White. “It wouldn’t have happened without the federal grant.”
Route 6 is the region’s sixth highest in terms of ridership, and Route 21 is the city’s busiest bus line.
Also coming on March 22, 2025 is the Gold Line, a 10-mile bus rapid transit line connecting St. Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale and Woodbury generally along I-94. It will operate primarily within bus-only lanes. Park and ride lots will be in St. Paul, Oakdale and Woodbury.
When the 12-bus rapid transit network is complete, 625,000 residents (20% of the regional population) will live within a half-mile of a bus rapid transit station. Many of those lines will intersect and connect to existing or planned light rail stations.  
“We’re building an integrated system of fast, frequent and reliable transitways that only gets stronger with each additional line,” said Nick Thompson, deputy general manager of capital projects for Metro Transit. The vision is to have 11 new lines open by 2040.


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