Rapid transit, North Minneapolis on the move

The local news media were invited by the Minneapolis City Council for a special tour of the proposed C-line Atrial Bus Rapid Transit (ABRT) Route on April 27. The tour followed the same planned route that the ABRT will take beginning at the transit hub center in Brooklyn Center to Penn Ave., and then merging into Olson Highway to finally connect with the Blue and Green Light Rails.

The C-Line ABRT is just one route that is planned for the Twin Cities by Metro Transit. The A-Line ABRT was launched on June 11, and runs the length of Snelling Ave. to Ford Parkway in St. Paul. It meets up with the Blue Light Rail at 46th St. in Minneapolis. These new longer urban rapid buses are designed to move more riders through congested busy streets at a quicker pace to get them to their destination faster than the current bus system thus enhancing their commuting experience.

The ABRT will be 25 percent quicker for transit riders than the 19 because it will have fewer stops, and like the light rail it will operate every 10 minutes. The local bus 19 will continue following the current route but the service will be less frequent — every 30 minutes. Another advantage the ABRT will have over the 19 is the convenience of pre-paying with a Go-To-Card at stations prior to boarding just like the light rail. And also like the light rail, riders will board and depart conveniently through all doors avoiding delays to keep the ABRT on schedule. Another feature that will keep it moving at a steady pace, the ABRT will have the capacity to command traffic signals to extend green lights. It will be green lights all the way!

Another feature, riders will experience the same amenities as the light rail with well-lit heated stations, security enhancements, and state of the art monitors that will display up to the minute bus departure information. Along the route colorful plantings and shade trees will enhance and soften the hard streetscape. Streets will not have to be widened to accommodate these new buses but bump outs will be created to allow for quicker boarding of passengers.

The opportunities that the ABRT will bring to North Minneapolis cannot be overstated. The convenience and reliability of the ABRT does not come without a price — up to $35 million financed by a combination of state and federal funds. But it is an investment for the economic development and the future of the Northside because the convenience of transit attracts businesses and investors to the area which enhances the economic opportunities for residents making it a preferred neighborhood for families.

Another contributing factor for finding a more reliable and quicker transit option for Northsiders is because it will not only connect them to businesses and schools in the area but also provide them with connections to both downtowns — Minneapolis and St. Paul. In addition, the ABRT will give them links to other vital destinations such as University of Minnesota, US Bank Stadium, VA Hospital and Mall of America. These important transit links will provide residents more options for education, jobs, healthcare, shopping and social gatherings. By 2030 the C-Line ABRT is expected to service 9,000 customers every weekday, which is an increase from today’s 7,000 ridership.

Originally construction of the rapid stations for the C-Line ABRT was to begin in 2017, but due to delays in approval of funding, construction will begin instead in 2018.  Service for the much anticipated C-Line will be inaugurated a year later in 2019.  North Minneapolis will soon be moving faster with the new C-Line ABRT, keeping pace with the rest of the Twin Cities connecting bridges with other communities.