NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday September 25th 2020

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Rounding the Corner

METRO TRANSIT 

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON 

From the perspective of the common customer, the situation with Metro Transit and the coronavirus probably looks like the end of the world. However, from the point of view of someone who follows the inner workings of the system, it is merely asleep, not dead. 

There is a service change going into effect 12 September 2020. Unfortunately, the details haven’t been made public as of the deadline for this month’s Alley issue. That said, I speculate that we will be moving closer to a restoration of the full pre-COVID-19 schedule. For those of us who are tired of long waits, or of having to go a different way because their usual route is suspended, this will be great news. 

Behind the scenes, plans are still being made for the future. At present, there is one piece of major good news and one piece of bad news. The bad news first: 

The Blue Line extension to North Minneapolis and the northwestern suburbs has been put on yet another delay because the BNSF Railroad won’t grant permission for Blue Line tracks to be put on their right of way. Personally, I don’t find this to be much of a problem as the BNSF route is less than ideal. I hope they keep the portions of the route on Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis and Bottineau 

Boulevard/Broadway in Brooklyn Park. The plans have already been made, might as well use them. 

However, without being able to use the BNSF property, Penn Avenue to Broadway to Bottineau would be the most geographically useful alternative. Stops for Plymouth Avenue and Golden Valley Road on Penn would be more useful than they would be in the middle of Theodore Wirth Park. Extra stops on Broadway/Bottineau at Hy-Vee, 42 nd, and 62 nd would further add to the usefulness of this line. 

Transit2 

Now for the good news: The long-hoped-for Northstar service extension to Saint Cloud is back on the table. MNDOT recently published a feasibility study and it looks like it could really happen in about fiveyears. Even though the best of the four proposed scenarios isn’t great, it’s better than what we have now. 

Hopefully, the coronavirus will be but a bad memory by the time either of these plans graduates from the drawing board to the stark light of reality. I hope to live to see it. 

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