Connections to the Corridor: Transit Service Planning is Underway

by Jill Hentges and Scott Thompson, Metro Transit
September 6, 2012

This post is the first in an occasional series “Connections to the Corridor”.  In this series, we will highlight a variety of efforts underway to connect people to the Central Corridor (officially known as the Green Line) and beyond. 

This fall, Metro Transit will put the final touches on the transit service plan that will provide critical bus connections to Central Corridor (Green Line) light-rail service in 2014. Since January, efforts to engage community members in the planning process included surveys, interactive mapping, small group meetings, presentations, open houses and the integration of Trusted Advocates in partnership with the District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (DCC).

Central Corridor Transit Service Study area is bounded by the Mississippi River on the south, I-35E on the east, Larpenteur/East Hennepin avenues on the north and by Hiawatha Avenue, East Lake Street and the Mississippi River on the west. The study area is almost completely urban, including downtown Minneapolis, downtown St. Paul and the University of Minnesota, and covers many neighborhoods of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the suburbs of Lauderdale, Falcon Heights and Roseville. All of these key stakeholder groups were offered an opportunity to get involved in the Central Corridor Transit Service Study.  The population of the study area is about 246,000, and as of 2008, there were about 357,600 jobs located there. This represents about 8.6 percent of the population and 22 percent of the employment in the entire metropolitan area.

 

Transit Literacy Provides Planning Guidance

Since kicking off the transit service study, Metro Transit has been on the road, connecting with as many of the communities (transit customers and community/neighborhood groups) in the study area as possible. Initially, engagement included conversations about individual travel patterns and transit use. Following the draft concept plan, outreach expanded to share the plan with stakeholders and to gather feedback and comments. Fortunately, the communities include populations that are incredibly transit literate. The data, feedback and comments were very detailed and invaluable in the planning process.

The Trusted Advocate Project – a new feature for community outreach in the corridor – was used to help design transit service to best serve residents, employers, employees and students within the study area. With funding from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, DCC contracted with nine organizers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the public process including renters and new Americans from Africa, persons with varied abilities, African Americans and Southeast Asians. The trusted community members met with groups in the study area to gather input on future bus service in the corridor.

Major travel patterns and service improvement themes voiced by stakeholders included:

•        Frequency improvements such as on Raymond Avenue and Dale Street

•        Easier neighborhood-to-neighborhood travel without having to transfer in downtown

•        Better timed connections in general

•        New crosstown routes, such as on Lexington Parkway in St. Paul

Click here to see the Proposed Central Corridor Concept Plan Bus Service Network (pdf).

Next Steps
The revised plan will be fine tuned over the next few weeks, and Metro Transit staff will present the recommended plan as an information item to the Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee on Sept. 24.

Informational Open House

Metro Transit will host an Informational Open House to announce revisions to the concept plan from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Rondo Community Outreach Library. Served by Metro Transit routes 16, 50 and 65.

Contacts

•        Central Corridor Transit Service Planning, Scott Thompson, Senior Planner, Metro Transit, Scott.Thompson@metrotransit.org, 612-349-7774

•        Central Corridor Transit Service Outreach, Jill Hentges, Community Outreach Coordinator, Jill.Hentges@metrotransit.org, 612-349-7318

•        Trusted Advocate Project, Karyssa Jackson, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, karyssa@dcc-stpaul-mpls.org, 651-528-8165