NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday August 16th 2018

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Metro Transit

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

One of the sad things about writing for a monthly paper is that even when you have early access to inside information, you rarely get the “scoop” because it’s publicly available before your publication hits the stands….

That said, this month’s big transit news is the quarterly service change, which was originally planned for 16 June, but was moved up to the 9th in order to coincide with construction on I-35W.

There is no direct effect on Phillips, but residents will notice anyway. The most obvious change is that buses which normally go down I-35W are being detoured off the freeway between downtown Minneapolis and 31st St. Routes 133, 156, 467, 552, 553, 554, and 558 will be using the Portland/Park one-way pair without stopping, and Routes 135, 146, 535, 578, and 597 will be using the Blaisdell/1st Ave. S. one-way pair stopping only at Lake St.

The second big difference is that Route 535, a limited stop route to Richfield and Bloomington, will be running seven days a week instead of just Monday through Friday.

A third change, less relevant to Phillips per se but exciting to me, is that Route 54, a limited stop route from the Mall of America to downtown Saint Paul, is being extended to Maplewood Mall. As someone who goes to Maplewood about once a month, I look forward to having a faster, more direct way to go than the 64, the bus that stops every block from downtown Saint Paul to Maplewood Mall….

To what do we owe this disruption? Interstate 35W is being rebuilt south of downtown Minneapolis, in part to accommodate the planned Orange Line, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that is planned to start in 2020 and run from downtown Minneapolis to Burnsville via the current Routes 535 and 465, stopping along the freeway at Lake St. (in a new station like the current one in the middle of I-35W at 46th St.), 46th St., 66th St., 76th St., American Blvd., and 98th St.

Will it be worth it? If past transit projects are any indication, then yes. Can you imagine life without the Blue and Green line rail lines? Yet, people complained about the disruption caused during construction. A few businesses even closed due to the loss of customers. But when all was said and done, things bounced back wonderfully. May it be ever so more so now!

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