Apple Valley plans to restrict parking on Upper 139th Street to prevent people from leaving their cars on the street to hop the new Red Line Cedar Avenue busway.

Before the busway was built, 139th was a through street joining Cedar. The street was turned into a cul-de-sac ending east of Cedar to make room for construction of the Red Line's walk-up 140th Street station.

To give fire trucks space to maneuver on the street, the city has banned parking in the cul-de-sac.

Neighbors also are concerned about the possibility of busway parking in front of their homes because the station has no parking.

Service from Apple Valley to the Mall of America began June 22, so it's too early to tell if parking on the street will be a problem. But residents want to make sure their street does not become a park-and-ride area.

The four households on the block next to the cul-de-sac agreed they would like on-street parking prohibited from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Some City Council members said they doubted if the busway would attract neighborhood parking because it is an all-day circulator and not a commuter service, but they said that if the neighbors could agree on the hours of the restrictions, the council would approve them.

Council Member Tom Goodwin said the stop was not needed in the first place.

"I knew this thing was going to be a pain. Nobody has ever told me why" Apple Valley had to have three stops, Goodwin said. "This is a neighborhood and we have a big stop there.''

The Metropolitan Council will release the first ridership numbers from the busway after July 4, spokeswoman Michelle Fure said.

The service, which runs every 15 minutes during weekday daytime hours and every 30 minutes on nights and weekends, was free for a week ending Sunday.

Jerry Chase of Apple Valley was among the passengers who rode for free last week.

"It's terrific,''Chase said as he returned to Apple Valley from the Mall of America. "I went in the morning. It was traffic time, and we just blew by all the traffic'' by moving to the shoulder on Cedar, he said.

Chase said he expects to use the busway often to get to downtown Minneapolis events. Up to now, he said, he has parked at the 28th Street Station in Bloomington to take the Hiawatha Light Rail Line to downtown Minneapolis events. Now, he said, he will take the Red Line from Apple Valley, transfer to the light rail at the mall and avoid the mall parking.

Jessica Moran of Eagan rode the Red Line bus to her work for a marketing research company at the Mall of America. She does not own a car.

Previously, bus service from Eagan to the mall ran every hour and the last bus from the mall left at 8 p.m., Moran said. Now, the longest she has to wait for a bus is 30 minutes, and the Red Line buses run later into the evening. "It means I can stay late at work now,'' she said.

One passenger was coming from Minneapolis to shop at the Goodwill Store in Apple Valley. Another was going with a friend to downtown Minneapolis to have lunch with her father.

Roxy Knuttila, 70, of Lakeville, had ridden the new bus service several times since its opening. "I try to gas up my car once a month,'' she said.

One Saturday, the first day of service, she took the busway to Bloomington to help a friend with a project. On Sunday evening she rode the bus to Eagan to meet a friend and attend a concert at Caponi Art Park.

"There didn't used to be any service on Sunday at all,'' she said. With the new service, "I was able to go to a concert.''