- Associated Press - Sunday, February 12, 2017

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - Rochester plans to spend $5 million on an extreme makeover of its transit system, though the details are still being sorted out.

There’s no agreement on how to move forward on transit as developers plow ahead with new hotels and condos and the city plans to add 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years.

The Destination Medical Center, a massive downtown transformation effort is expected to bring tens of thousands of new workers and more Mayo Clinic patients to Rochester’s core.

“We need a game changer,” said RT Rybak, the vice chair of Rochester’s Destination Medical Center economic development board. “We have to be really smart about the way people move throughout Rochester. We can’t do it by just doing more of what we’re doing now because it would overwhelm the city with parking ramps and congestion.”

About 200 residents were able to give feedback recently on four potential plans to make the city easier to navigate for residents and visitors, Minnesota Public Radio News reported (https://bit.ly/2k341GQ). The plans included better bike lanes, unmanned vehicles and wider sidewalks.

Jo Derouin said she liked some of the plans, including buses equipped with bike racks and an app to track bus arrivals. But she didn’t approve of bike lanes on the side of the road, saying she thinks they’re dangerous.

Ken Holte, a principal with SRF Consulting, the firm contracted by the city to come up with a transportation plan, said residents will have to be open to using public transit downtown in the future.

“The system we’re looking to set up is to make it easy for people so it is attractive for them, and it’s not meant to be a burden,” he said. “But it will be different.”

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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