New lanes marked with bright red paint and reserved for city buses during rush hours opened Friday on Hennepin Avenue in south Minneapolis, with the goal of faster trips for transit users and less congestion on the heavily traveled corridor.
City officials and staff from Metro Transit marked the lanes’ arrival with a ribbon-cutting at the Uptown Transit Station near Lake Street.
“As our city continues to grow, it’s our responsibility to step up efforts to make sure people can get around safely and efficiently,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “Ridership data shows clearly we can meet that core responsibility, decrease congestion, and curb climate change through our targeted bus-only lanes.”
From 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays, there will be no street parking on the northbound side of Hennepin between Lake Street and the Uptown Transit Station and from 25th Street to Franklin Avenue — keeping that space clear for a bus lane. From 4 to 6:30 p.m., there will be no parking southbound from Franklin Avenue to 25th Street, and buses will run in that space.
On-street parking will be allowed outside rush hours.
The lanes come after a pilot in May 2018 found buses moved faster when they had a dedicated lane. About 3,300 riders board buses on Hennepin between Franklin Avenue and the Uptown Transit Station each weekday. Trips are often behind schedule because buses get stuck in traffic, at times moving at just 6 mph.
“Bus-only lanes will help our transit system become more efficient and reliable, which is critical to meet our goals of linking people to jobs and reducing our city’s climate impact,” City Council President Lisa Bender said.
Bus-only lanes have also recently been implemented on southbound Chicago Avenue from E. 28th Street to the Chicago/Lake Transit Center and will be tested on portions of Nicollet Avenue between Lake and Franklin later this fall.