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Crackdown on drivers parking in new Hennepin Avenue bus lane

Bus-only lanes have been introduced on two of the busiest south Minneapolis streets.

New bus-only lanes are now in operation on two of south Minneapolis' busiest streets, with one more to follow later this fall.

The City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit will hold a "celebration" on Friday to mark the opening of the bus lanes on Hennepin and Chicago avenues.

The lanes have been painted red and will be a permanent feature on Chicago Avenue, where it will allow buses easier turning into the Lake Street transit station.

On Hennepin meanwhile, the lanes will operate between Franklin Avenue and Lake Street during peak periods from 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. northbound, and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. southbound on weekdays.

The Hennepin bus lane has replaced what was previously on-street parking. While parking in the lanes will be permitted outside of the peak periods, any vehicle found parking in them during the bus-only hours will be in trouble.

City traffic control officers have already been out and about enforcing the bus lanes this week, issuing tickets to drivers parked in the red lanes during peak hours, judging by photos posted on Twitter by @WedgeLive.

After the rollout on Hennepin and Chicago, another bus lane will open on Nicollet Avenue, between Lake and Franklin, later this fall.

The lanes have been added to improve the reliability of Metro Transit buses, and have been partly funded by the city's participation in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge.

“Bus only lanes will help our transit system become more efficient and reliable, which is critical to meet our goals of linking people to jobs and reducing our city’s climate impact,” said City Council President Lisa Bender in a press release.

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