The recommendation for the short-term (0-2 years) is to study and contract an on-demand transit service in the Stillwater-Oak Park Heights-Bayport area and to continue transit, biking, and ped infrastructure in the corridor.
For the mid-term (3-5 years) the recommendation is to further scope transit improvements, identify funding, set up governance, and monitor needs for peak-period express service.
The mid-term recommendation is also to develop:
- A high-frequency service (10-15 mins) between Downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and Maplewood Mall.
- A lower frequency service (30 mins) between Maplewood Mall and the Stillwater-Oak Park Heights-Bayport area.
- Continue to evaluate the needs for peak-period express service in the corridor.
- The recommendation for the high-frequency service wholly lies within Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, even though the study was conducted by Washington County. It sounds like it is going to be dependent on those counties having interest in developing transit in the corridor.
- Washington County should evaluate connecting the Stillwater area to the Gold Line. There isn't much transit in the county currently, so a broader analysis might find that different or additional connections should be added.
- The study presentation (we don't have any detailed results yet) doesn't seem to show that Stillwater needs a direct bus connection to Minneapolis. I think that is already shown by the lack of an existing route and also the sheer distance between the two cities.
- A Highway 36 BRT could take advantage of transit investments that are completed or underway. A BRT route that follows the recommended service between Minneapolis and Maplewood Mall could take advantage of bus lanes and stops in Downtown Minneapolis for the arterial BRT network, the Washington Ave LRT/Bus lanes, the U of M Transitway, the Rosedale Transit Center, the 36/Rice Park and Ride, and the Rush Line between English/36 and Maplewood Mall. The major investments would be in the additional buses (which may not be needed if peak service levels contract due to more working from home) and paying operational costs for additional service.
Here is the project presentation: