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DTA to provide FREE ROUND-TRIP FARES for West Duluth commuters during I-35 construction season beginning Monday, April 4th

Published: Expires: 5/4/2011

FREE RIDES for weekday commuters boarding west of 46th A.W.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) and the DTA have teamed-up to ease rush-hour traffic congestion on I-35 and Grand Avenue during the second phase of the I-35 re-construction by providing FREE round-trip fares for weekday commuters boarding buses during morning peak hours at bus stops west of 46th Avenue West and Grand Avenue, including a temporary Park & Ride at the Lake Superior Zoo.

The DTA’s FREE-round-trip fare option for West Duluth commuters begins Monday, April 4th. Mn/DOT is expected to begin restricting traffic on I-35 during that week.

“Buses only” express lanes on Grand Avenue between Central Avenue and Carlton Street will again be utilized by all DTA buses during morning and afternoon peak hours. In addition, New Duluth and Proctor express buses will operate in “non-stop” express mode between Carlton Street and downtown Duluth, Essentia Medical Campus and St. Luke’s Hospital during the construction season.

Weekday commuters boarding buses west of 46th A.W. and Grand Avenue during morning peak hours (buses arriving downtown between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.) will receive FREE round-trip transportation on the DTA throughout the I-35 construction season. Passengers will be issued a free transfer upon boarding the bus in the morning, which will be good for a FREE return trip any time that day.

Last year, the DTA’s Ride FREE service helped reduce traffic congestion along Grand Avenue and minimized the effects of the I-35 construction on the West Duluth neighborhood. The DTA averaged nearly 404 rides per day with more than 43,227 free rides during last year’s construction season (April 17 through October). In addition to the free rides, an additional 30,689 rides were generated in the West Duluth corridor during the construction season for a total of 73,916 rides.

Temporary Grand Avenue Park & Ride at Zoo

  • Lake Superior Zoo parking lot at 7100 Grand Avenue
  • Park & Ride passengers can board buses at DTA bus turn-around at 71st A.W. or on Grand Avenue.

“Buses Only” Express Lanes will be provided along Grand Avenue:

  • On-street parking along Grand Avenue between Central Avenue and Carlton Street will again be restricted during weekday morning and afternoon peak hours to provide a dedicated bus lane – south-side parking will be prohibited during morning peak hours and north-side parking will be prohibited during afternoon peak hours.
  • “Peak-Hour” Express lanes are dedicated to DTA buses only.

Proctor and New Duluth Express buses will operate alternate express routing:

  • New Duluth (2X) and Proctor (3X) Express buses to downtown will run on Grand Avenue, Carlton Street and Michigan Street to downtown. Afternoon express buses will return to New Duluth and Proctor along the same alternate express route.
  • New Duluth and Proctor Express buses will run in non-stop express mode between Carlton Street and downtown Duluth via Michigan Street.

Mn/DOT and the DTA are encouraging West Duluth commuters and those commuting from the south on I-35, to take advantage of the FREE DTA commuter service during the 6-month construction season. The DTA is anticipating greater ridership during this year’s construction season because of rising gas prices.

Mn/DOT plans to complete the 2-year I-35 re-construction project this year. For I-35 construction updates, see Mn/DOT’s website at www.dot.state.mn.us/duluthmegaproject/.

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