Roseville forum to cover transportation problems, changes

courtesy of Newtrax • The 10-mile Roseville South Loop bus route launched April 10. It, and other transportation-related topics, will be discussed during an April 14 public forum at the Roseville Library. See the link below for a larger version of this graphic.

A public forum about Roseville transportation issues — including a new weekly bus loop on Tuesdays — will be the topic of a public forum from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N.

Although parts of Roseville are served by metro buses, taxis and other services, some area residents have difficulty getting access to transit services, and that’s part of the impetus for the forum, organized by the Roseville Community Health Awareness Team, CHAT.

The volunteer group, which promotes a broad range of health education, found that a lack of transportation is among the top barriers to good healthcare and nutrition for some area residents, particularly older people, those with disabilities and some immigrants.

Some areas have little bus service, CHAT found. Some people with disabilities have difficulty using public transit. Some older people have stopped driving but are not familiar with how to use buses, as are some new Americans.

The forum will help area residents become familiar with current bus services including Metro Transit, Metro Mobility for people with disabilities, and the Roseville Area Senior Program’s Circulator Bus.

Those who attend also will learn about two new services — the new weekly free bus service and an on-demand service similar to Uber, for seniors and people with disabilities.




New Roseville South Loop

One step that may ease the issue is a new 10-mile Roseville South Loop bus route launched April 10 by a White Bear Lake nonprofit called Newtrax, which uses its fleet of 45 buses to transport students with disabilities to and from job training and life-skills classes.

Each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1:55 p.m., two accessible, 12-passenger buses will pick up people at eight housing sites in Roseville and St. Paul, taking them on a big loop with drop-offs at two Cub groceries, Target, Roseville Library, Fairview Community Center and the farmers’ market at Corpus Christi Church at Fairview Avenue and County Road B.

Passengers can make voluntary donations, but there is no fee for the rides. City officials have expressed willingness to help defray the projected $18,000 annual cost of the service, and some businesses are expected to chip in. Newtrax is donating use of the buses, with gas and drivers’ wages the primary expense.

Pickup sites will be Greenhouse Village, Roseville Seniors House, Roselawn Village Apartments, Sienna Green, Heritage Place, and Villa Park Senior Condos, and in St. Paul The Heritage and Lyngblomsten Apartments. Rides are available to anyone, not just those who live at those housing sites.

The loop will cover Larpenteur Avenue from Hamline Avenue to Dale Street, north to County Road B, west to Snelling Avenue, south to Roselawn Avenue, east back to Hamline and south to Larpenteur. There are also spurs connecting to the Fairview Community Center and to two apartment buildings in St. Paul on the Lyngblomsten housing campus.

The new service is modeled on a similar program that Newtrax started on Wednesdays last September in White Bear Lake. Two neighborhoods in St. Paul are talking with Newtrax about starting other bus-loop programs. In addition, a bus loop in north Roseville may be started if the south loop proves successful, said Scott Olson, Newtrax transportation coordinator.

Newtrax also is working with another nonprofit, Mobility4All, to test out a new on-demand service for people with disabilities provided by private drivers screened by drug tests and criminal background checks. Now being piloted in White Bear Lake, that service would include wheelchair-accessible vans, in some cases allowing families to earn money using accessible vehicles they own to help relatives.


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

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