Care about the future of transit on the route 6 corridor? This Friday is your final chance to submit your comments on the E Line BRT route! Last chance to get your comments in about stop locations (move the southbound 43rd and Upton Station back to the far/south side of the intersection to improve timing), 24/7 dedicated bus lanes (support the Hennepin Ave S staff recommended design), or anything else that tickles your fancy (station design, signage, multimodal connections, etc.).
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a significant investment in long-term transit infrastructure. This means faster boarding, faster and more reliable service, more permanent stops, dedicated routes, dynamic signage, and ticketing before boarding. But BRT routes and amenities will only be as good as commenters and agitators force them to be. Said another way, without your involvement and input, we could get a result that makes you wonder if the people who designed this have ever ridden transit before.
Moving the southbound 43rd and Upton station to the near side is a great example. Bus stops that occur short of an intersection often lead to longer delays because a bus will get stuck at the intersection while riders board. Signal prioritization helps, which is part of the design, but combining these elements is the better choice. Moving the station to the far side of the intersection allows the bus to leave immediately after boarding is complete without waiting for the signal. Similarly, a bus stopping short of the intersection creates an awkward choice for drivers or bikers if they need to turn. Do they go around and risk the bus pulling out from the station or wait for loading and unloading to complete? Transit riders entering or exiting the bus may also come into blind contact with those trying to swerve around the bus to turn. Moving the station forward and across the intersection is a little change, but when it comes to transit usability, desirability and safety, these little details add up.
Similarly, BRT needs to have dedicated lanes. It is very hard to be “rapid” if the bus is stuck in the same traffic as other vehicles. During rush hour, the E line corridor has nearly half of all users being moved by bus. Let’s not slow them down by being stuck in traffic! Just in the pilot phase of dedicated bus lanes on Hennepin, Metro Transit reported 15-18% travel time reductions, 27-36% passenger delay reductions, and up to 24% reliability improvements. Dedicated bus lanes are hugely beneficial to making transit use the easiest choice, which is better for everyone, regardless of your mode. When we’re investing tens of millions into transit service upgrades in a given corridor, we should do all we can to set that investment up for success.
The final countdown of any major design or plan can feel as long and unending as the original Europe song (looking at you Hennepin Ave S approval…), but this Friday April 8th is the final opportunity for you to weigh in on the route for this line, which is slated to open for service in 2025.
Here’s your TL; DR:
What: Comment on the final METRO E Line Corridor Plan
When: Comments are due by April 8th (Friday)
Why: So we can get the best BRT route possible
Who: You and all of your transit supporting friends!
Top image credit: Metro Transit