The next Metro Transit service change is in effect Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Changes that affect the Southwest Connector readership area are:
• Routes 17 and 25 will have minor schedule changes because of the reopening of the 3rd Ave. S./Central Ave. bridge downtown.
• Route 467 will have minor schedule changes to reflect actual travel times.
• Route 21 will have the most serious changes of all. First, the 21A branch to Saint Paul will run every 15 minutes instead of once every half hour from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Second, the 21 will not serve Uptown Transit Center. Instead, it will travel via Lagoon Ave. westbound and via Lake St. eastbound. Third, the western terminus is being moved to France Ave. because of upcoming construction projects. In addition, although technically not a route or schedule change, people coming from Saint Paul on the 21 will benefit from the new bus-only lane on Lake St. between the Mississippi River and 27th Ave. S. This bus-only lane will extend into Southwest Connector territory in the future. Unfortunately, because of street width issues, there will only be a bus lane in the westbound direction. Studies have shown that traffic jams affect the 21 westbound more than eastbound.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines are planned to improve the transit situation throughout the Twin Cities. Lines of importance to the Southwest Connector readership area are:
• The B Line, which will run down what is now Route 21, and is the reason for the bus-only lane I mentioned above. New shelters for the B Line are already being put up, and will open for public use once they are safe, which is estimated to be before the end of this year, although the B Line itself will not be operating until June 2025. As the B Line will not stop at all the current Route 21 stops, Route 21 will continue to exist between Hennepin and Minnehaha Aves., and a new Route 60 will provide local service in Saint Paul.
• The E Line, which will run mostly down the France Ave. branch of what is now Route 6, is also opening in 2025. Like the B Line, the E Line won’t stop at all the current Route 6 stops. Route 6 will continue to exist via the Xerxes Ave. branch.
The infamous Green Line light rail extension, also known as Southwest light rail, is still chugging along, late and over budget. While it is about 60% complete, the last 40% is the hardest part, as anyone who watches the news on TV probably knows. Metro Transit expects to open it in 2027.
I am planning to start a series soon on “How to Ride the Bus or Train,” a primer for those who are new to Metro Transit or coming back after a long time of not using it. Please contact this newspaper if you know of any specific things I should cover.
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