There was a time when no light rail trains rolled through downtown Minneapolis. And we're about to experience that again when Metro Transit shuts down rail service to most of its downtown stations for an 11-day maintenance project.
The work starts on Thursday night, so the trains will stop running after rush hour – at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday the 22nd. From then until Monday morning July 3rd (at 5 a.m.) four light rail stations will be out of commission. That means no Green Line or Blue Line trains in either direction.
The station at U.S. Bank Stadium will be the only one still operating in downtown Minneapolis. But to get to it – or to get from there to any downtown destination – non-drivers will have three choices: ride a bus, pedal a bike, or use shoe leather.
Alternatives to the trains
Metro Transit will have replacement buses running near the light rail route on 5th St. to shuttle passengers who would normally use the closed stations. Check this page for a map of where to catch those replacement buses. Regular train service for both lines will begin/end at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Another option could be to ride one of the regular downtown bus routes. This being Minnesota in the summertime, though, some of those may be affected by construction, too (especially a project on Hennepin Ave. from Tuesday, June 27 through Monday, July 3).
Then again, this might be a good time to put a little more exercise into your commute. As this chart shows, walking from U.S. Bank Stadium to any of the closed stations is a pretty manageable hike of either four, seven, nine, or 12 blocks.
To make bike riding more feasible, Metro Transit has set up a deal with Nice Ride. During the train shutdown, if you use the Nice Ride app to book a bicycle downtown, the first half hour will cost only one dollar, Metro Transit says. Rides of more than 30 minutes will still cost three dollars for each additional half-hour.
What are they doing to the train line?
Mainly they're just keeping it in good shape. Metro Transit calls the work preventive maintenance. But they say once it's done travelers should get a smoother ride and a slightly faster one because there will be less waiting time at traffic lights.
They're also making the system more ready for any future expansion.