Anyone who has visited the heart of downtown Minneapolis in the last year and a half is painfully aware that Marquette and 2nd Avenues are under construction. A Christmas present for those office tower workers downtown – the improved corridors will be fully opened next week. The major improvement lies in building side by side bus lanes, causing the Metropolitan Council to term this new one way pair the "crown jewel of the new express bus network." Buses used to be stuck behind each other in a single file line, even if a particular bus wasn't making a stop. Now the 60+ express bus routes using the corridor have a passing lane, which will significantly reduce their delay downtown.
On another transit note, the Star Tribune reports the Northstar Commuter train is averaging 2,207 passengers per day. The headline Northstar LRT Ridership Below Metro Transit Goals is too pessimistic in my view. The 2010 goal is to have 2,460 passengers use the train per day. The train probably has a bump up because of the newness factor, but it also probably has a dip because of people working less during the holidays (its only been open for two weeks). The train will eventually attract people to move to housing near train stations. I will be surprised if the train ridership doesn't increase by ten percent to meet the goal by next December.