Big changes are coming this spring for commuters who ride Minnesota Valley Transit Authority buses as service on at least eight routes will affected when a new Bus Rapid Transit line begins operating on Cedar Avenue.

The transit agency will hold two open houses this month to show plans for the reconfigured routes and allow riders and others to offer input to the proposed changes on routes 420, 437, 438, 440, 441, 442, 445 and 475, which the MVTA operates in the southern metro suburbs of Rosemount, Eagan, Burnsville, Savage and Apple Valley.

Parts of some routes will be eliminated. Others will be rerouted. A few will be expanded to provide local service seven days a week. Most will connect the new BRT line that’s visioned as becoming the primary mode of public transportation from the southern suburbs to the Mall of America, said MVTA spokeswoman Robin Selvig.

"This is a pretty big deal," Selvig said. "We are looking for riders to weigh in and tell us if this looks good, if there are places we are missing the boat, and if we are providing a service that is useful."

Bus company representatives will give presentations and answer questions from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Eagan City Hall and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at Apple Valley City Hall.

The new 16-mile BRT line to be dubbed the Metro Red Line will use buses to transport people along Cedar Avenue from 215th Street to the Mall of America. The line will operate much like light rail, but instead of trains, buses using shoulders on Cedar Avenue will provide station-to-station service.

Among the changes being considered are:

Route 420




will run on 147th Street rather than on County Road 42.

Route 437

will no longer travel north of the Minnesota River, but will provide service between the Cedar Grove and Eagan transit stations.

Route 440

will no longer serve downtown Minneapolis, but will provide service between the Apple Valley Transit Station and the Palomino Hills Park and Ride. To get to Minneapolis, riders can use the BRT to connect to the Hiawatha Light Rail at the Mall of America. Service would operate seven days a week

Route 441

will be eliminated with the addition of Saturday and Sunday service on Route 440.

Route 442

will be renamed Route 422 and provide local service between the Apple Valley Transit Center and Burnsville Center.

Route 444

will see some schedule adjustments to accommodate connections with other service.

Route 445

will not travel beyond the Cedar Grove Transit Station. Some "reservation" service points might be added.

Express Route 465

will operate on Nicollet Avenue and the portion of the route on McAndrews Road will be eliminated. Service on the south end of the line will extend to the Burnsville Center and some trips might serve the new Walmart store on Cliff Road. Service to the University of Minnesota would run about every 30 minutes during the day, with more frequent service in the mornings.

Express Route 475

will have more frequent service to Minneapolis and on some trips include a stop at the Minnesota Zoo.





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8:10 a.m. update: Still tight on 35E in White Bear Lake