Rescheduled Roseville transportation forum set for May 19

A forum to learn about transportation services in Roseville — and to explore “transportation deserts” in Roseville where more services are needed — is Saturday, May 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N.

The program was to be held in April but was rescheduled because of a major snowstorm.

The forum is sponsored by the City of Roseville, the library, Roseville Area Senior Program and the Roseville Community Health Awareness Team  — CHAT — which has found that transportation problems are a major barrier to good healthcare and nutrition for some area residents.

The forum will touch on a number of topics, including: public buses and the Transit Link dial-a-ride, both operated by Metro Transit, including an introduction for new riders on how to use the systems; Metro Mobility, which offers rides in accessible buses to people with disabilities; the Shuttle Bug bus services for older people and those with disabilities, operated by the Roseville Area Senior Program sponsored by Roseville Area School District.

The forum will also discuss the Roseville Area Circulator Bus service that began a pilot program April 10 each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1:55 p.m. It covers a route from Larpenteur Avenue at Hamline Avenue to Dale Street, north to County Road B, west to Snelling Avenue, South to Roselawn Avenue, east to Hamline and south to Lapenteur. Also to be discussed is Mobility 4 All, a new nonprofit that has paired with Newtrax to start a pilot program in White Bear Lake similar to Uber or Lyft, providing rides on demand to people with disabilities. It is looking at expanding that program to the Roseville area.

The forum will also explore what areas in Roseville have a shortage of public transit options and what might be done to help.

The Roseville Area Circulator Bus service is provided by the nonprofit company Newtrax of White Bear Lake, which started a similar program there. The Roseville pilot program now serves a loop in south Roseville.  

It picks up riders at eight housing complexes for seniors or people with disabilities and drops them off at two Cub groceries, Target, Roseville Library, Fairview Community Center and the farmers’ market at Fairview Avenue and County Road B. Anyone may ride for free, although donations are accepted. A north loop may be added later this year.

For the first five weeks, the Newtrax circulator bus has carried an average of 17 riders, a number organizers say likely will grow as they hold additional information meetings at some of the senior housing complexes.

The Roseville City Council agreed to fund the program for six months, but also called for the service to renew its efforts to seek ways to serve immigrants and others who live in the neighborhood around Larpenteur Avenue and Rice Street, an area with high transport needs and limited services. 

A workgroup headed by City Manager Pat Trudgeon is meeting to figure out how to do that.


— Warren Wolfe is a journalist who retired from the Star Tribune, where he wrote about aging and health care issues

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