Posts Tagged ‘metro transit’

I-494, the mass transit orphan?

As The Deets covered yesterday, Google Transit recently launched — letting you easily search for mass transit opportunities along destinations in the Twin Cities.

I’m pumped. It’s the honest truth that last night I was on Southwest Metro Transit’s Web site trying to figure out if I could hop a bus from Chaska to my office in Bloomington.

It’s just up 212 and down 494 a few exits, so it seemed simple enough. However, their poor site is horrendous when it comes to usability, so I thought perhaps it was user error that no buses seemed to go down 494 east to west.

So this morning, upon reading Ed’s post, I did a quick Google Transit search for the 20 mile trip from Eden Prairie to Eagan, and nope, no buses go down 494. Instead they recommend a 40 mile, two hour trip through downtown Minneapolis.

Can someone tell me why? One of my biggest arguments against the colossal tax payer subsidies given to LRT and the Department of Transportation has to do with the fact that mass transit — as it exists today — benefits a fraction of the commuting population.

It seems like there are a significant number of residents and workers down here in the southern burbs along 494. And considering the horrendous gridlock that is 494 between 169 and 77 pretty much all day long, you would think our well-funded DOT would offer us some alternatives.

Am I missing something?

Riding the Bus: The good, the bad, and the nuts.

Bob Collins is asking what your bus riding experience is like, since good experiences on the bus aren’t newsworthy per Fox9’s standards.

I’d like to share Wendy’s story of her morning bus commute.

So, the bus stops somewhere between my stop and the edge of downtown, and this guy stands up. I figure he’s getting off the bus at MCTC, but no, he’s standing up for a different reason – so he can adjust his boy parts.

Dude stands up, sales book in one hand, and takes the free hand to grab his entire package. It apparently needed adjusting. I can’t really assume that it was bothering his knee or something to that effect, but the way he grabbed it allowed me to see the outline of absolutely everything that I never wanted to see on the bus at 8:40 in the morning. It’s possible the man only had one nut.

I’m not sure if that falls in the 90% of good trips or 10% of bad trips.

(This is still my favorite bus story ever.)

Roundup What makes a dive bar?

For everything you wanted to know about getting a DWI in Minnesota, check out the Minnesota DWI Blog.

TC Biz Journal: Edina Realty debuts Web tool to find foreclosed homes

New-to-me community websites: Frogtown Rondo Partnership and Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation (transitioning from their blog).

LA to Minneapolis just went through Fringe Festival Volunteer Training. (via mnspeak)

I totally mis-read this MPR headline as “The Legacy of Roosevelt Franklin.” I think that would have been a much more interesting story.

Our friendly neighborhood bus drivers have opinions on Fox9’s story on rude Metro Transit drivers. Transit Librarian says it was mostly fair. Driver 2165 says it was a bunch of crap.

Pax Christi Minnesota: On Alliant TechSystems/ATK protesting [mb] and hiring your own cops.

Bus Commuting Sucks More Often Than Not

As awesome as it would be if everyone could feasibly take public transit for their commute, Scott McGerik breaks down exactly why it’s not a good idea for him.

There’s math. He gives a perfect example of the back of the envelope calculations involved. I followed along and found that my per-mile costs are much lower than I thought. And depending on what your costs are, it makes everyone’s break-even point different.

What it really boils down to is that it’s just not feasible to take Metro Transit between suburbs. This is an oft-cited problem in discussion of what’s lacking in our public transportation system. If it takes 75 minutes to get to work by bus vs 10 minutes by car (each way), of course you’re going to drive. Similarly, there is no Southwest Transit option for me to get four miles across Eden Prairie from home to work. My choice becomes 9 minutes in the car vs 22 minutes on my bike.

If you need to get four miles across Minneapolis, public transit still may not be feasible depending on where you’re going, but there a lot more options.

Bike 2 Benefits, a Metro Transit Program

While I was working on yesterday’s roundup, I came across Metro Transit’s Bike2Benefits program.

Since I live four miles from where I work, I decided that it would probably not be nearly as bad as I imagined to commute to work on my bike. I did that for the first time today and it didn’t suck! So I was all proud of myself, but then I noticed that there are prizes involved in Bike2Benefits, so I went ahead and signed up for that.

Choose any eight-week period before Dec. 31 to start commuting by bicycle. Track your trips and mileage at this website. When you complete the program, you will automatically be entered in our year-end prize drawing. You’ll also receive a Twin Cities Bike Map (while supplies last). Once your eight weeks are over, continue tracking your commutes and you’ll be eligible for even more incentives!

Bike2Benefits is open to anyone 18 or older who lives and works in these counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington. There is no fee to participate.

Here’s how it works:


Bike/Walk Related:

  • R.T. Rybak wins the Great Commuter Challenge on his bike, beating out the Ramsey County Commissioner who walked/took public transit and Roadguy who drove a car. I did not bike to work today for Bike Walk to Work Day, but I give my potential bike commute a dry run on Monday evening and may do it yet this week, since Bike Walk to Work Day is just one part of Bike Walk to Work Week.
  • Minneapolis and St Paul mayors unveil community bike program. The program is called “Freewheelin” and is sponsored by insurance company Humana. “Solar-powered kiosks will be stationed throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul during the [Republican National] convention, which will be Sept. 1-4. People will be able to take bikes from these kiosks, travel anywhere and drop them off when they’re done. The only requirements will be online registration and a credit card number — not to be charged, but to hold people accountable when bikes are damaged or go missing.” 70 bikes will be left behind to continue the program after the convention and the program may expand for the following spring. IMO, going into the winter is not the best time to fire up the program, but at least it’s there.
  • Cycling in the city. on bike culture in the TC. (via east-lake)
  • Bike2Benefits is a Metro Transit program somewhat similar to the commuter challenge (but focusing on biking, obviously). (via twin_cities)

The Rest:

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