Minneapolis - Transportation

Transportation

Half of Minneapolis–Saint Paul residents work in the city where they live. Most residents drive cars but 60% of the 160,000 people working downtown commute by means other than a single person per auto. Alternative transportation is encouraged. The Metropolitan Council's Metro Transit, which operates the light rail system and most of the city's buses, provides free travel vouchers through the Guaranteed Ride Home program to allay fears that commuters might otherwise be occasionally stranded if, for example, they work late hours.

On January 1, 2011, the city's limit of 343 taxis was lifted.

Minneapolis currently has one light rail and one commuter rail line. The Hiawatha Line LRT (currently being rebranded as the Blue Line)serves 34,000 riders daily and connects the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International airport and Mall of America in Bloomington to downtown. Most of the line runs at surface level, although parts of the line run on elevated tracks (including the Franklin Ave. and Lake St./Midtown stations) and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of the line runs underground, including the Lindbergh terminal subway station at the airport. The 40-mile Northstar Commuter rail, which runs from Big Lake through the northern suburbs and terminates at the multi-modal transit station at Target Field, opened on November 16, 2009. It utilizes existing railroad tracks and will serve a projected 5,000 daily commuters.

Minneapolis' second light rail line, the Central Corridor(currently being rebranded as the Green Line) will share stations with the Hiawatha Line in downtown Minneapolis, and then at the Downtown East/Metrodome station, travel east through the University of Minnesota, and then along University Avenue into downtown St. Paul. Construction began in November 2010 and expected completion is in 2014. The third line, the Southwest Line, will connect downtown Minneapolis with the southwestern suburb of Eden Prairie. Completion is expected in 2017.

Minneapolis ranks second in the nation for the highest percentage of commuters by bicycle, and was named the top bicycling city in the 2010 "Bicycling's Top 50" ranking. Ten thousand cyclists use the bike lanes in the city each day, and many ride in the winter. The Public Works Department expanded the bicycle trail system from the Grand Rounds to 56 miles (90 km) of off-street commuter trails including the Midtown Greenway, the Light Rail Trail, Kenilworth Trail, Cedar Lake Trail and the West River Parkway Trail along the Mississippi. Minneapolis also has 34 miles (54 km) of dedicated bike lanes on city streets and encourages cycling by equipping transit buses with bike racks and by providing online bicycle maps. Many of these trails and bridges, such as the Stone Arch Bridge, were former railroad lines that have now been converted for bicycles and pedestrians. In 2007 citing the city's bicycle lanes, buses and LRT, Forbes identified Minneapolis the world's fifth cleanest city. By 2010, Nice Ride Minnesota launched with about 60 kiosks for bicycle sharing, and 19 pedicabs were operating downtown.

A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Minneapolis the ninth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.

Seven miles (11 km) of enclosed pedestrian bridges called skyways, the Minneapolis Skyway System, link eighty city blocks downtown. Second floor restaurants and retailers connected to these passageways are open on weekdays.

Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) sits on 3,400 acres (1,400 ha) on the southeast border of the city between Minnesota State Highway 5, Interstate 494, Minnesota State Highway 77, and Minnesota State Highway 62. The airport serves three international, twelve domestic, seven charter and four regional carriers and is a hub and home base for Delta Air Lines, Mesaba Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.

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