The routing decision for the Southwest LRT is basically done. I’ve previously bemoaned what seemed like the inevitable choice of Route 3A by the County because I (and others) had unanswered questions about ridership and the long-term logic of bypassing Uptown. Critics of 3C suggested that a more appropriate transit solution for Uptown would be a Greenway streetcar, and that transit advocates in Uptown should really wait their turn for what was surely a better alternative. However, this argument doesn’t make sense, because the major destinations LRT would connect are the U of M and Downtown with Uptown, not Hiawatha Avenue with Uptown.
After some disparaging for the future, I decided that I should try to be positive and proactive, rather than gloomy and snide. So Uptown and south Minneapolis are not going to benefit from the new LRT line. So what would it take to get substantial improvements to the transit system in the Hennepin/Lyndale/Nicollet corridors? Is there a cost-effective way to overcome, or at least minimize, the limitations now faced by the bus system (traffic congestion, inclement weather and slow fare collection)? Can we create a bus corridor that would rival LRT for speed and desirability?
I have some ideas, but I don’t pretend to be an expert. So, in a Net Density first, I’ll be asking a few very knowledgeable (and gracious) individuals to describe how they would improve the existing system in the Uptown/LynLake area. I will ask that they restrain themselves to improvements that could really be implemented, and are not wildly expensive (no subways). And, of course these improvements should have the potential to significantly increase ridership and make the overall transit experience in the area better.
The first guest post comes from a Metro Transit planner who has been involved in transitway planning throughout the region. From the conversations we’ve had so far, his post promises to be intriguing and give clear strategies for greater ridership and better service. He’ll also have some good real world examples of how improvements he is suggesting have been implemented in other cities. Stay tuned.