"We now have a transitway that is fully and permanently configured," said Joshua Collins, a Hiawatha community outreach specialist.
Collins said it is important for Downtowners to know that the light rail track is embedded in the street so there is no impediment to pedestrians or motorists.
"There are no ties or crushed rock that you have to step over. If you are a pedestrian or a car, you go right over that track," Collins said. "There are no bumps. There is nothing unsafe for you."
In Downtown, light rail trains will stop at all stop lights and follow similar traffic patterns as cars.
"In Downtown, light rail will not have preemption. There are not gate arms [to stop traffic]," Collins said. "If you look south of Downtown, you'll see that at a lot of the intersections, the train does have preemption, meaning all cars stop for the light rail and gate arms come down. That won't happen in Downtown because the train will operate just like cars."
Collins said light rail would follow the Downtown traffic pattern because, "if the light rail did have preemption on those streets, it would cause more backup and be a little more of a headache for Downtown motorists."
While waiting for trains at the light rail stations, passengers will have windscreens and canopies to protect them from the elements. Collins said the canopies would also have heat lamps that passengers can operate themselves by pushing a button.
Trains will run every 7.5 minutes during rush hour and every 10 minutes between peak hours. In the later evening and early morning, trains will stop every 15 minutes.
Source: Joshua Collins, community outreach specialist with the Hiawatha Project Office