Transit project aims to speed bus transit Downtown
The closure of Marquette Avenue between South 1st Street and Washington Avenue Monday marks the start of the final phase of the MARQ2 transit project.
Begun last summer, MARQ2 aims to increase the speed and efficiency of bus transit through Downtown. Marquette and 2nd avenues will be reconstructed to make room for double bus lanes on both streets, which the city says will dramatically increase the capacity for commuter bus routes in the Downtown core.
The new north-south bus transit corridor was also intended to remove about a third of the bus traffic now routed down Nicollet Mall, reducing noise and congestion on that street. Bicyclists would then be allowed to use Nicollet Mall 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Streetscape improvements on Marquette and 2nd avenues include new landscaping with more trees and public art, wider sidewalks and new transit shelters, some of which are planned to have real-time departure information.
MARQ2 includes about $32 million in street and streetscape work and an additional $9 million in transit facility construction. Much of the funds come from $133 million in federal funds awarded the Minnesota Department of Transportation to reduce traffic congestion in the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
The funding agreement requires all MARQ2 work to be completed by this December.
The city reported this final and most extensive phase of MARQ2 would cause traffic delays throughout the year. For updates on road closures, lane restrictions and construction work, visit the MARQ2 page on the City of Minneapolis website: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/public-works/MARQ2.