Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council has decided to develop the city’s new Destination Medical Center transit system in phases.

The City Council voted unanimously today to move forward with pursuing a federal transit grant to create a bus rapid transit system serving downtown Rochester from a single transit hub at the current Mayo Clinic parking facility along 2nd Street Southwest. At this point, the system will not include the development of an east transit hub that is planned for the former Seneca Foods site next to Graham Park.

The plan calls for submitting a grant for federal funding in September to develop a bus rapid transit system that would through the downtown on 2nd Street to Civic Center Drive and then create a loop back to 2nd Street by heading south on 3rd Avenue Southeast, west of 4th Street, and then north for two blocks on South Broadway. he plan carries a capital cost of $107 million and the annual operating expense is estimated at just under $3 million.

City of Rochester

The system would serve all of the major Mayo Clinic properties, along with the Mayo Civic Center, the Government Center, and the Fullerton Parking Lot.

City officials say the phased approach to developing the system allows the city to move forward on creating a transit system while work continues on the possible development of the east hub at the Seneca site in conjunction with Olmsted County in the future. It was also noted the phased plan leaves the city with an array of options to consider if the coronavirus pandemic has long-range effects on mass transit ridership.

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