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New bus route to go through Prospect Park, Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes areas

Construction on the E Line project will begin in April and is expected to be completed by 2025.
Some business owners have voiced concerns about the potential negative effects of construction like congestion, crime and delivery issues. (Image by Chloe Bechard)

Construction on the E Line along University Avenue SE will begin in April throughout Marcy-Holmes, Dinkytown and Prospect Park and is expected to be completed by 2025. 

Besides adding bus stations, construction will include utility work, traffic signal changes and pavement and intersection improvements. Residents of the area should expect detours, temporary lane restrictions and temporary bus stop locations during construction, according to Metro Transit spokesperson Erik Thompson.

Construction for the stations will be east of I-35W stretching along University Avenue SE and Fourth Street stopping at Oak Street SE.

Thompson said the E Line will require payment before boarding the bus, have three doors on each bus to reduce slowdowns and have traffic signal priority so buses will not get stuck at stop lights. Thompson added that the stations will come with security cameras, emergency call boxes, heat sensors and more.

President of the Dinkytown Business Association and local Raising Cane’s owner Kent Kramp said he believes the construction will be an overall benefit to the area despite any short-term consequences it may cause. Kramp added with more apartment buildings going up, adding more mass transit will make life easier in Dinkytown. 

“It is a positive, it’s just getting through the short-term negative to get to that positive,” Kramp said.

In addition to the E Line construction, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will repave sidewalks in the Marcy-Holmes area. MnDOT’s construction will go from April 2024 until September 2025. 

Construction could begin as soon as April 27, beginning on Fourth Street this year and starting up again in spring 2025 on University Avenue SE, according to Thompson. 

“We have a contractor, but we don’t yet have a schedule for that contractor. So we don’t know which stations they are going to do in which order,” Thompson said. “We’re working with the contractor now to help identify in which year and in which order we’ll be constructing those stations.”

Local Holiday gas station owner Clay Lambert said he is concerned a new bus route will bring crime into the area. 

“It’ll be an increase in crime. 100%,” Lambert said. “I’m the one that’s gonna be held responsible for that crime. That’s not fair to me.”

Thompson said construction is underway around Hennepin Avenue and Franklin Avenue in uptown, and MnDOT will have more construction projects to improve pedestrian areas soon. 

Kramp said he is worried issues that followed the Stadium Village transit station construction will return with this route. The chaos of detours, closed sidewalks, loss of parking and delivery trucks being unable to reach the store were all problems he remembers facing with the light rail station construction.

“I get that it’s a part of the process of having construction, the updated roads and stuff,” Kramp said. “It’s just when you’re living in it, it’s very difficult, very tough operationally.”

Lambert said congestion caused by the new bus stations will be a major issue for his store.

“You’re in the middle of the biggest concentration of stops already,” Lambert said. “You don’t need more.”

Kramp said with students leaving the University of Minnesota area in the summer, the added construction impacts will likely leave many businesses without a steady flow of customers. Kramp said a lot of Dinkytown businesses cannot fathom being unable to rely on University Ave SE and Fourth Street’s availability. 

“I would be less concerned if I just was kind of ignorant of the thought, but having gone through it with the light rail construction, I can remember it vividly and I can remember how difficult it was,” Kramp said. “That’s I think what makes me most nervous about it.” 

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  • Devin
    Apr 12, 2024 at 9:22 am

    What Claire and Reid said. Do better.

  • Ken DeYoe
    Apr 10, 2024 at 10:36 am

    Kramp is correct on one point for certain and that is pain precedes gain. If I were a business owner or a resident of the area, I’d simply be satisfied it’s a bus route and not light rail.

  • Claire
    Apr 10, 2024 at 10:35 am

    It’s really disappointing to see yet another article from MN daily that focuses heavily on [speculative] negatives of transit improvements. I take route 6 and walk/run between Stadium Village and Nicollet Island (or sometimes downtown or south Minneapolis) pretty often and it’s just a nightmare for pedestrian safety. These are the voices that need to be prioritized in this discussion.

  • Reid
    Apr 10, 2024 at 9:39 am

    Is there a reason residents along this corridor (or neighborhood associations) were not contacted for this report? Business owners routinely overstate concerns about increased crime, loss of parking spaces, etc. as harms facing their business. Despite study after study showing that increased foot traffic is a benefit to sales. As a Como resident, I don’t live in the immediate vicinity but I live close enough to where this will make accessing Uptown/South Minneapolis less of a hurdle.

    I felt this reporting did not accurately capture all the benefits of increased transit service (less cars on the road, equity for carless households, increased foot traffic for business owners, quieter streets, more efficient use of limited road space, etc.)