Letter: Sense of urgency needed on shuttle bus issue

Letter to the Editor graphic

I am pleased to see that the city staff is studying noise along West Center Street as reported in a recent Post Bulletin article, and I look forward to seeing the results. I am hopeful that the data will encourage the city and Mayo to reduce or eliminate shuttle buses on all residential streets in Rochester.

Community Development Director Irene Woodward said, “We know there is not much we can do…” I disagree. Minnesota statutes and the City Charter in Section 16 grant the city the right to regulate traffic on city streets, and city Ordinance 5-22 presently regulates public transit throughout the city. Regulation of private bus routes by ordinance is clearly possible.

Mayo Clinic spokeswoman Heather Carlson Kehren reports a 63% reduction in West Center Street bus traffic, from 264 daily buses to 96, primarily due to ending COVID restrictions. The math is accurate, but the information diverts attention from the real issue. When any disturbance is grossly beyond reasonable, even a significant numerical improvement provides limited benefit. An attack by 264 stinging wasps is not resolved by fewer bugs. Even 10 or 20 stinging wasps, or noisy buses, are too many.

Calculations using daily totals in Clinic emails show that more than 150,000 employee shuttle buses have roared through our beleaguered neighborhood over the past three years. It is time for a solution, yet Mayo sees no urgency. Instead, they promise to continue the same routes until March 2026 when the proposed rapid transit system is complete.

Jim Frost, Rochester

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