Bus service along Snelling Avenue is going to change, and this week the public has one last opportunity to check out plans and provide feedback for the area's second Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.
Four sessions are set for this week and next in St. Paul and Roseville. The first is tonight from 6:30 to 8 at the Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Avenue in St. Paul. (See schedule below for other sessions).
Metro Transit is finalizing plans on how each of the stations will fit into the sidewalk and street along what is being branded as the A-Line.
Starting in 2015, the BRT line will shuttle passengers between 46th Street Station on Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis and Rosedale Center, following closely what is now Route 84.
The A-Line will operate much like the Red Line in the southern metro. On that line, buses operate in a similar fashion as light-rail trains in that they stop only at designated stations about every half-mile along the route.
By having fewer stops, Metro Transit says the new A-Line will offer trips 12 minutes faster than on the current Route 84 bus. Trip time will drop from 48 minutes to 36 minutes, Metro Transit said.
Bus riders will be able to give feedback on station designs comment on how they should function and what features they should have. Metro Transit conducted a survey on Facebook and Twitter, and many of those who responded wanted the following amenities: Weather protection, enhanced maps, real-time information, destination signs, security cameras and bike racks.
The A-line will allow riders to connect with both the Blue and Green light rail lines and serve destinations such as Hamline University, Macalester College, Minnehaha Park, and the Midway and Rosedale shopping centers.
The agency says A-line "will be the first in a system of additional urban BRT lines to be build over the next several years."
The area's first BRT line opened last June. Operated by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, the line provided 130,733 rides from June through December 2013.
Here is the schedule for the three other open houses:
5:30-7 p.m. May 19, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., May 20, Chatterbox Pub, 800 Cleveland Av. S., St. Paul.
5:30-7 p.m. May 20, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Av. N., Roseville.