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Monday August 8th 2022

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METRO TRANSIT

Safer and Smaller Trains?

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Metro Transit is in the midst of an experiment with running two-car, instead of three-car, trains on both the Blue and Green Lines. This experiment continues through 20 August. The purpose of the test is to see if two-car trains reduce the amount of cleaning necessary and increase the amount of “interaction” between the Metro Transit police and train riders. Three-car trains will still run on busy days, such as Twins game days.

Personally, though it may not do much for the cleaning issue, I believe the best way to make train travel safer is to order “open gangway” light rail vehicles, as are used in Toronto. Instead of separate cars with no inside connection between them, open gangway trains fit together with an open corridor between cars, creating an effect similar to articulated buses. This means people in back don’t have the full separation from the front which seems to embolden troublemakers, and it also means that if someone in one part of the train feels bothered or scared, they can move to the other part without waiting for the train to stop.

In other news, Metro Transit has quietly released information concerning the coming D Line, a Bus Rapid Transit line slated for Chicago Avenue. The D Line is scheduled to begin running in December 2022. One interesting tidbit that has been kept low-key is the fact that the 5 bus route will no longer run all the way to either Brooklyn Center or the Mall of America. The D Line, with its limited stops, will go the full route of the current 5, but the 5, which stops every block, will only run between Osseo Road and 47th Avenue North to 56th Street and Chicago Avenue South. And while the D will run every 10 minutes, the 5 will only show up once every half hour. (The change on the north end of the 5 won’t go into effect until the 47th Avenue Station is completed in Spring 2023).

I sincerely hope that the D Line will make bus riding on the Chicago Avenue corridor a little less hectic. Following that, we will be getting a B Line on Lake Street (long story why they’re out of order like that), and an E Line along Hennepin and France Avenues to the Southdale Shopping Center.

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