NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday July 19th 2019

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Transit: Wish the 53 ran all day?

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Route 53 is one of the nicest bus routes in the Phillips neighborhood. While the 27 and 39 also deserve honorable mention, they are barely known by most people.However, almost everyone loves the 53.What’s not to love? It runs down Lake Street like the 21, but only stops at intersections with other bus routes, rather than at every stop. In Phillips, the stops are: Hiawatha, Cedar, Bloomington, Chicago, 4th Avenue South, and I-35W. Unfortunately, the 53 runs only at rush hour, eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon. There was a time about 10 years ago, when it ran more often and in both directions in both the morning and afternoon.

Do you ever wish Route 53 ran all day? Are you tired of being stuck on a slow 21 for most of your forays onto Lake Street? Well, there’s good news. In a few years, Route 53 will be replaced by the B Line, a Bus Rapid Transit line similar to the A Line on Snelling Avenue in Saint Paul. The B Line will have a similar stop pattern to the 53, with off-board payment and traffic signal priority like the light rail. This will make it even faster.

Unfortunately, the lead time necessary in writing for a monthly publication leaves me able to give you limited notices of the upcoming B Line meetings. However, if you happen to read this column in time, here are the meeting times and places:

• Wednesday, May 1, 4-6 PM, South High School (English and Spanish literature available), 3131 S. 19th Ave., Minneapolis

• Thursday, May 2, 4:30-6:30 PM, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave., Saint Paul

• Saturday, 4 May, 11 AM-1 PM, Oxford Community Center, 270 Lexington Pkwy. N., Saint Paul

• Wednesday, 22 May, 4-6:30 PM, Walker Library (Dual meeting for both the B and E Lines, the E Line being a similar project planned for Hennepin Avenue), 2880 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

If public transit matters to you, it would be wise to go to one of these meetings. Mostly, they consist of displays for you to look at to get the gist of what the project will look like when done. There is often a short presentation near the beginning, which is worth seeing but isn’t absolutely essential to getting the basic message.

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