Jim Walsh over at the Strib writes “The Green Line’s first month is in the books“. [quasi-paywall] He quotes me:
Picking up the pace
One number that continues to vex Metro Transit, however, is a slower-than-advertised travel time.
According to timetables released before the line opened, a trip from Union Depot to Target Field was expected to take about 48-49 minutes. Metro Transit officials said last week that the westbound Green Line is averaging about 54 minutes, end to end and that the eastbound train is averaging about 53 minutes.
On a Tuesday morning last week, a westbound trip took 67 minutes while an eastbound trip took 57 minutes. The next morning, a westbound train took 61 minutes while an eastbound trip finished in an hour.
Traffic lights along the route — even at quieter cross streets — are clearly slowing travel times, said David Levinson, a University of Minnesota professor who specializes in transportation. Officials decided not to give the Green Line what is called pre-emption — the ability to change a light to green when a train approaches. Doing so would speed the train, but probably slow car traffic.
Trips taken Tuesday and Wednesday included several minutes stopped at traffic lights.
“That is just seriously bad engineering,” Levinson said. “If you are serious about transit and encouraging people to take transit, you need to make it as efficient as possible. My guess is that politicians don’t understand the intricacies of traffic signal design.”
John Siqveland, a spokesman for Metro Transit, said officials continue to look at making improvements, including “the sequencing of Transit Signal Priority to allow light-rail trains to continue through these smaller cross streets continuously.”