SouthWest Transit CEO calls for end to downtown Minneapolis bus gridlock

He has written a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey.
Publish date:

The CEO of a Twin Cities transit service has blamed a "lack of proper traffic control" and failure to prioritize buses for the gridlock that's causing delays in downtown Minneapolis.

SouthWest Transit CEO Len Simich wrote a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey concerning downtown construction that is causing significant holdups to bus services, in some cases up to an hour long.

The construction in question is the closure of Marquette Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets, which is resulting in bus services detouring via South 2nd Avenue.

While Simich notes the city had given transit operators plenty of notice at the work and worked with them to minimize the impact prior to it starting, "the cooperative planning effort did not lead to a positive outcome when put into practice."

"A significant part of the plan was to station traffic control officers at key intersections to ensure buses moved on schedule," he wrote. 

"While traffic control officers were stationed at key intersections, it became clear on the first day that the officers were not directed to prioritize transit above any other mode.

"This lack of follow through by the city has resulted in significant delays to transit service throughout downtown Minneapolis during peak traffic hours, which has left our customers frustrated wondering why more is not being done by the city."

Simich notes that 40 percent of downtown workers take public transport to work, and further delays could exacerbate the current downturn in bus users across the Twin Cities metro.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Help is on the way though, with a meeting between the city and transit operators taking place on Thursday evening.

As KSTP reports, the city agreed to "tweaks" that will create additional travel lanes, different signal timings, and open up a bus-only road allowing them to access 3rd Avenue South.

These changes should go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday, with work on Marquette wrapping up next month.

On its Facebook page, SouthWest thanked the city and Mayor Frey for its prompt response to its concerns.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Tributes pour in after MN Supreme Court justice's daughter found dead

Olivia Chutich died near the campus of Iowa State University.

Image from iOS (96)

Early Saturday fire damages Burger King in Richfield

The fire was reported around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Jamal Mashburn Jr. / Gopher Basketball

Maryland hands Gophers first home loss of season

The 17th-ranked Gophers fell to the Terrapins 63-49 on Saturday afternoon.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Minnesota Department of Health files lawsuit against Alibi Drinkery

The Lakeville bar has been in the news for defying orders.

Iron Tap snowmobile delivery

This MN restaurant will deliver to your ice house... on a snowmobile

Just in case you work up an appetite fishing on Lake Waconia.

Klobuchar and Trump

Klobuchar reacts to report Trump plotted against his attorney general

The NYT story alleges further tactics to overturn the election.

snow, plow

Snowy Saturday: Here's how much snow is forecast in Minnesota

Snow will reach the metro area by the early afternoon.

Cam Talbot

Wild improve to 4-1 with victory over Dubnyk, Sharks

The 4-1 win gives the Wild four victories in five games to start the season.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 9.08.16 PM

Daughter of MN Supreme Court Justice, Allina Health CEO found dead in Iowa

The 21-year-old was found dead in the parking lot of a sorority, according to police.


Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 11.57.02 AM

Bus operator to shift routes for 6 services due to downtown delays

Bus drivers and passengers have been exasperated by the construction.

Image from iOS (7)

Police tactics called into question after injuries at 3rd Precinct

Mayor Jacob Frey has requested the National Guard be brought in.

Metro Transit responds to viral video of bus incident

The video has been shared widely on social media.

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 10.45.41 AM

Commuters can expect hellish downtown traffic on Thursday

Multiple roads around Target Center are closed for the president's rally.

I-35W ramp closures bring traffic woes to downtown Minneapolis

Downtown exits off of I-35W will be closed until the fall.

Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 11.50.19 PM

Minneapolis fire chief told of 3rd Precinct blaze by CNN's Don Lemon

Mayor Jacob Frey is also coming in for criticism for appearing on MSNBC.