Commuters in the central Anoka County cities of East Bethel, Ham Lake and Blaine will have new Metro Transit express bus service to downtown Minneapolis.
Starting next Monday, Route 865 will make nine trips morning trips and nine evening trips on Hwy. 65 on weekdays. Three trips will serve the new park and ride lot at the East Bethel Theatre, 18635 NE. Ulysses St., while three will serve a parking lot Metro Transit is leasing at Family of Christ Lutheran Church, 16345 NE. Polk St. in Ham Lake.
All nine trips will stop at the Paul Parkway Park and Ride lot, a 400-stall surface lot currently under construction at Paul Pkwy. and NE. Ulysses St. in Blaine. The lot is expected to open by the end of the month, said Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr.
The portion of Route 865 serving Ham Lake and East Bethel will test the market potential in those cities. Service will be evaluated after three years, Kerr said.
Paul Parkway, however, is likely to draw commuters from Coon Rapids and the west side of Blaine, and take pressure of the 95th Avenue Park and Ride at Hwy. 610 and Noble Pkwy. in Brooklyn Park and the Foley Boulevard lot at 9425 Foley Blvd. in Coon Rapids.
Anoka Transit, which has contracted with Metro Transit to operate the service, was awarded $6.6 million federal Congestion Air Mitigation Quality Grant to cover costs of building the Paul Parkway Park and Ride, buying seven motor coach buses and provide service in Ham Lake and East Bethel. Anoka County is also chipping in $1.86 million.