Some of Minneapolis’ busiest streets will get upgraded bus infrastructure later this year in an attempt to minimize traffic woes for riders.
Starting this fall, the city and Metro Transit will implement permanent bus lanes on Hennepin Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Lake Street and southbound Chicago Avenue between East 28th Street and the Chicago/Lake Transit Center.
The bus lane will be a permanent addition to Chicago Avenue, helping buses to turn into the transit center, while the Hennepin Avenue bus lane will replace on-street parking between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. northbound, and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. southbound on weekdays, with parking still permitted outside of these hours.
Later this year, Metro Transit also expects to test a similar bus lane on Nicollet Avenue from Lake Street to Franklin Avenue – a stretch that encompasses Eat Street.
Stemming from a 2018 trial on Hennepin Avenue, the new bus lanes are an attempt to speed up commutes on the busy corridor by giving buses an uninterrupted lane.
According to Metro Transit, transit speeds in that area can slow to 6 mph during rush hour. Still, more than 400 transit rides take place on the corridor every day, with a total of more than 3,300 riders.
These efforts are part of the larger city Transportation Action Plan, informed by the transit goals laid out in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
The improvements on Hennepin Avenue come as the corridor is slated for an eventual bus rapid transit service, the E Line. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
The projects are being partially funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies' American Cities Climate Challenge, with Minneapolis one of 25 cities taking part in the challenge that offers cities funding to reduce carbon emissions.