NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday September 19th 2017

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Transit: Loos, Fare Hikes, and Detours

BY JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Finally! A month with Phillips-specific transit news, after two months of waiting.

The Lake Street light rail station is being renovated, including fixing the elevators and escalators, cleaning and re-coating/re-painting surfaces, replacing broken glass, and putting in new signs and lights.

Now if only the Met Council would do something about the elevators smelling like urine. I recommend installing a “Portland Loo” (http://www.theloo.biz) at light rail stations, park and ride lots, and other transit facilities. The Portland Loo is a metal outdoor toilet designed for areas where people often misuse provided facilities. It is vandalism-resistant and affords just enough privacy and comfort to be usable while not encouraging loitering or improper use. Passersby can’t see your genitals, but they can hear everything and see if more than one person is inside.

Non-rush hour local fares are going up from $1.75 to $2.00 and rush hour local fares are going up from $2.25 to $2.50 as of October 1, 2017. Express and Northstar fares are also increasing by 25 cents across the board. The Transit Assistance Program, an experiment which provided lower fares to people with low incomes, becomes permanent with a fare of $1.00 at all times, the same as the revised limited mobility fare. A proposed extension of reduced fares for children 6-12 and senior citizens to all times, instead of just non-rush hours, was not adopted.

Route and schedule changes affecting Phillips for the August 19, 2017 pick are as follows:

Minor schedule adjustments for the Blue Line and Routes 5 and 9; weekday afternoon times will be adjusted “to better accommodate ridership” on Route 21; Route 11 will have minor changes to reflect the new schedule at Washburn High School.

Route 2 must detour because the Franklin Ave. bridge over I-35W will be closed. It will take five minutes longer than usual between points east and west of the freeway. In addition, Route 27 will run once every 30 minutes at all times, rather than increasing to once every 10 minutes at rush hour. This route uses 26th and 28th Streets to zoom between the Lake St. light rail and McDonald’s by I-35W and Lake. Last but not least, Route 67 is being reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes at non-rush hours weekdays and Saturdays. The 67 provides a pleasant alternative to busier routes between the Franklin Ave. light rail and downtown Saint Paul.

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