The Drive will keep you up to speed with the latest on Twin Cities commuting.

Maple Grove Transit works to address overcrowding on Route 785

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 9:14 AM

Too many riders and not enough seats, that's the situation some afternoon commuters who ride Maple Grove Transit Route 785 are facing.

The transit agency operates nine trips from downtown Minneapolis to the newly expanded Parkway Station in Maple Grove. Passengers who take the third and fifth trips at 4:08 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. respectively have had standing room only conditions while northbound trips departing a few minutes later have seating available. To that end, transit spokesman Mike Opatz is encouraging riders on trips three and five to consider waiting five to seven minutes for a bus which has seating available.

"This is the behavior we are encouraging," he said. Trips at 4:13 p.m. and 4:47 p.m. "are by no means empty, but only half to 3/4 full."

The route has been extremely popular since a new ramp was opened at the Parkway Station off I-94 and Maple Grove Pkwy. From August 2013 to August 2014 ridership on the line rose from 13,900 a month to 15,300, Opatz said.

Some riders have wondered why Maple Grove Transit just doesn't add another bus or two. It's not that simple, Opatz said.

For starters, the agency has only so many buses and there are budget constraints. The agency may get up to four new buses in 2015 those could be added to Route 785, allowing the agency to restructure trip times, Opatz said

Additionally, the 2nd Avenue bus lane downtown allows for only one to two buses per minute to keep things flowing. Maple Grove Transit has to share that corridor with other providers, including SouthWest Transit, Metro Transit and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority.

With 4 p.m. being the most popular time for downtown workers to catch Maple Grove Transit buses, the agency is moving up trips four and six by 1 minute to close the gap between trips three and four and five and six. All four trips operate between 4 and 5 p.m. Opatz hopes that will help balance the ridership on those runs.

Another option for riders is to use the park and ride ramp at Arbor Lakes and catch a ride on Route 781, he said.

A survey of license plates showed that riders who use the Parkway Station come from 28 different cities from the northwest suburbs and exurbs such as Otsego, Monticello, Albertville, St. Michael and Hanover.

Here is the current northbound schedule for Route 785.

9 a.m. update: Rush hour wrap up

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:59 AM

Friday served up the smoothest commute in quite some time as low traffic volumes allowed motorists to zip along with few delays.

Even the handful of crashes and stalls didn't cause much angst for commuters. Drive times held steady all morning. In a word, that kept things delightful.

Check back later today for a round up of this weekend's construction impacts. We do have some lane closures on metro freeways that could cause delays.

8:45 a.m. update: Stall on I-35E, vehicle fire in Centerville

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:48 AM

In a morning in which problems have been few and far between, we do have a couple issues now.

A stalled vehicle is blocking a lane on southbound 35E at Larpenteur Avenue. That's in the work zone and has traffic jamming up Hwy. 36.

Up in Centerville, it's a car fire at the intersection of Main Street and 20th Avenue. 

8:30 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:30 AM

The docile rush hour continues as road are wide open and congestion free. Not much in the way of problems save for a pedestrian reported to be walking on westbound 494 at Hardman Avenue in South St. Paul and a fender bender on the right shoulder of northbound I-35E at County Road E in Vadnais Heights.

Some road work on eastbound I-94 at Ruth Street has the right lane closed.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 15 minutes

Southbound 35E from County 96 to I-94: 9 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 11 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 10 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 9 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 6 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 9 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 16 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 12 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 10 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 15 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 10 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 18 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 8 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 8 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 8 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 7 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 6 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 10 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 8 minutes.

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 6 minutes.

8 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:01 AM

Travel times have held steady all morning with light traffic volumes and only a handful of crashes. The one causing headaches at present is a crash on southbound I-694 at 10th Street in Oakdale.  Plan on a 5-minute set back from Hwy. 5 past the scene.

Look out for a two vehicle crash blocking the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue and Hiawatha Avenue in south Minneapolis. Police are on the scene.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 15 minutes

Southbound 35E from County 96 to I-94: 9 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 11 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 10 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 9 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 6 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 9 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 16 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 12 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 10 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 15 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 10 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 18 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 8 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 8 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 8 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 7 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 6 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 10 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 8 minutes.

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 6 minutes.

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