The new Rosemount Transit Station opened with a flourish Tuesday, as administrators, city officials, dignitaries, state representatives and citizens gathered at what Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste declared "a welcome feature."
The transit station design "matches our downtown features. The number of people this station serves will only grow.”
The new 480-square-foot indoor transit waiting area at 14550 Burnley Ave. was filled as the city celebrated the grand opening. Droste spoke about the city’s excitement to open the new transit bus center, which began operating three peak-period morning tips to downtown Minneapolis and four peak-period afternoon trips from downtown Minneapolis on Monday.
In addition to Minnesota Express bus routes 476 and 478 to downtown, there is also all-day service on Flex Route 420 that operates between Rosemount and Apple Valley. Find more route information here.
Robin Selvig, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) customer service manager, said Rosemount numbers indicate that almost 40 riders are boarding the buses there every weekday. MVTA averages about 2.6 million rides per year.
Joe Zanmiller is a Rosemount resident who rides the bus from Rosemount to his job with the University of Minnesota in downtown Minneapolis every weekday. He has been riding the bus since service began in Rosemount four years ago.
“I think the community has been anxiously waiting for this since service began,” he said. “I think it’s a great asset, and it will increase ridership as people become aware of the facility. It’s economical, it’s good stewardship as far as resources go. It’s a stress-free commute. I’m setting a good example for my children, and I’m saving for my kids’ education.”
According to Zanmiller’s estimates, he saves about $240 per month by riding the bus. Reliability, he said, is just as good as driving his own vehicle. He is a firm believer in the benefits of mass transportation and takes every chance to tell others about the benefits.
Construction on the transit station began in September. The heated facility allows riders a place to wait for buses in out of the weather, a bonus during Minnesota’s bone-chilling winters. A 130-square-foot outdoor canopy will also provide shade in the summer. The station features a handicapped-accessible restroom and includes outdoor parking space for 102 vehicles.
“We’ve been here for 154 years, and even though it’s been 154 years, today is a very important day for us,” Droste said Tuesday. When Rosemount was first established, residents boarded the train to ride to the Minnesota State Fair. Now, residents have access to express bus routes into the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
“It’s a tangible asset in the community that is visible,” Selvig said. “As more people see it and understand, if you work in downtown Minneapolis, this is great way to go.”
She said MVTA has been working on the project for 10 to 12 years. The 478 direct service route gets riders to downtown Minneapolis in about 50 minutes. The 476 takes about one hour.
Prior to the transit station’s opening, bus services had been operating from the Rosemount Community Center where there was no indoor waiting area for transit riders. According to a news release from the MVTA, additional express service to Minneapolis is slated for 2013 based on federal grant funding. MVTA has received federal grant funds to expand service to St. Paul, with the Rosemount station to be considered in those future routes.
“We don’t want our residents with jobs in St. Paul to feel left out,” Droste said.
He expects the population of Rosemount to double in the decades to come, and this new transit station will give those residents more transportation options.
“Improving transit systems is a priority of Dakota County,” said Tom Egan, Dakota County Commissioner and a member of the Community Development Agency. “If you build it, they will come, and we are really looking forward to putting action to those words in this community. CDA is very proud to be a small, but integral part of this partnership.”
To complete the Rosemount Transit Station, MVTA partnered with a variety of organizations, including the State of Minnesota/MnDOT, the City of Rosemount, the Dakota County CDA and the Metropolitan Council. MVTA is the public transportation provider for the businesses and residents of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount and Savage, and provides service to the Lakeville Cedar Park & Ride.