Metro Red Line (Minnesota)
|METRO Red Line|
|Operator||Minnesota Valley Transit Authority|
|Began service||June 22, 2013|
Apple Valley, Minnesota
|Stations||5 (7 planned)|
The METRO Red Line, previously known as the Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transitway, is a bus line between the Twin Cities suburbs of Bloomington, Minnesota and Apple Valley, Minnesota. The Red Line was built with bus rapid transit elements including dedicated bus lanes along the sides of Minnesota State Highway 77/County Road 23, as well as distinct stations, although it cannot be classified as Bus Rapid Transit in accordance with the BRT Standard. The line is planned to be extended to the suburb of Lakeville, Minnesota, eventually running from Mall of America in Bloomington, the southern terminus of the Blue Line light-rail service, to 215th Street in Lakeville.
After a few construction schedule setbacks, the line officially began operation on June 22, 2013.
The corridor has seen rapidly increasing traffic volumes over the past 20 years due to explosive growth in Dakota County. Traffic congestion is a commonplace along much of the corridor as far south as County Road 42. The Metropolitan Council, county and local officials promoted the transitway as a means to improve mobility in the corridor.
The Red Line runs from the Mall of America in Bloomington to the Apple Valley Transit Station (and will later serve 215th Street in Lakeville), serving some of the fastest growing areas in the Metropolitan Area and in the State of Minnesota. Traffic volumes on Cedar Avenue currently exceed 100,000 vehicles a day at the Minnesota River bridge every morning, with congestion sometimes extending as far south as County Road 42 in Apple Valley. The cities of Lakeville, Farmington, and Eagan are projected to double in population between the year 2000 and 2025, and the City of Apple Valley will gain half again its current population: 90,000 more residents in the Corridor. Red Line Bus Rapid Transit buses have more futuristic detail.
The MVTA operates the Red Line. It contracts with the Metropolitan Council to provide the service. In the Red Line's first year of operation, the MVTA's ridership numbers reached record levels.
Red Line buses run mostly on bus-only lanes. Most stations meet the Red Line on the highway, so that buses do not have to exit to make a stop.
Stations and transitway
Cedar Avenue was reconstructed with new bus shoulder lanes for easier travel between Downtown Minneapolis and Lakeville. The transitway begins at Mall of America and heads towards Eagan, Apple Valley and Lakeville with bus shoulder lanes on both sides of Cedar Avenue, making it easier to bypass traffic.
Stations were designed with bus pull-offs to allow buses to pass other buses picking up and dropping off passengers.
At Cedar Grove, buses use to exit the highway to use Cedar Grove Transit Station. Recently, Dakota County built a new center-median Cedar Grove station on Cedar Avenue. This reduces travel time by several minutes, as buses no longer exit the freeway. The 300-foot climate-controlled walkway over Cedar Avenue connects the new station to the existing transit station. This addition to Cedar Grove opened on May 20, 2017.
In July 2011, the Metropolitan Council officially designated the Cedar Avenue BRT line as the Red Line. This is part of a broader scheme to designate Minneapolis-St. Paul transit lines by color. Corresponding lines within the system include the Blue Line, the Green Line and the proposed Orange Line BRT along Interstate 35W.
- Ferraro, Nick (15 January 2015). "Dakota County rapid transit line boosts 2013 MVTA ridership". TwinCities.com. Pioneer Press. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- "Met Council approves line color names for region's developing transitway system". Metropolitan Council. July 2011. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Metro Red Line Official Homepage
- Official Red Line Dakota County Information Homepage
- Dakota County Resources Page for the Red Line, Corridor Map & Listed Documents
- Metropolitan Council webpage on the project