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DTA ends PARK FREE – RIDE FREE service after October 29

Published: Expires: 11/19/2010

The Duluth Transit Authority will end its Park FREE – Ride FREE services after Friday, October 29 as I-35 construction season is coming to a close.

In an effort to mitigate traffic on I-35 and Grand Avenue during the I-35 Mega Project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation contracted with DTA last spring to provide free round-trip express service for weekday commuters boarding morning buses at temporary Park & Ride lots on Grand Avenue and bus stops west of 46th Avenue West during the construction season.

The Park FREE – Ride FREE service did reduce traffic congestion along Grand Avenue and minimized the effects of major highway construction on the West Duluth neighborhood. Ridership from Grand Avenue Park & Rides was less than predicted; but morning peak hour ridership originating from west of 46th and Grand Avenue peaked at 690 new rides per day. The daily average for the summer (May-September) was 594 additional riders per day. Over 36,000 total rides were produced over the summer months.

Congestion expectations were less than initially expected, as many commuters found alternative routes and traffic on I-35 was well managed by Mn/DOT.

Last spring, the DTA established four temporary Park & Rides on Grand Avenue and “buses only” express lanes on Grand Avenue between Central Avenue and Carlton Street for buses operating non-stop between 46th A.W. and downtown Duluth, SMDC and St. Luke’s Hospital.

The DTA and Mn/DOT may modify the I-35 traffic mitigation plan for next construction season; but are committed to providing free round-trip express service for those boarding buses west of 46th Avenue West next year too.

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