City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center highlight opening of full-scale station model for bus rapid transit service to be known as “Link”

On Monday, Sept. 13, officials from the City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC-EDA) toured an installation built to demonstrate how bus rapid transit (BRT) will be a major part of the future of public transit in Rochester.

Rochester’s rapid transit project is now “Link.” The new name and logo are integrated into a full-scale, branded BRT station model located at the future Mayo Civic Center stop on the future 2.6-mile route. The station model promises to be an immersive experience where members of the public can visit, walk through, and learn more about Greater Minnesota’s first BRT line.

At Monday’s opening, members of City Council and project staff were joined for a first look by representatives from the project’s community co-designers—a group that shaped the design and features of Link’s seven stations through a months-long effort to make the stations more representative of the values of the Rochester community.

“There are several features unique to bus rapid transit that are on display,” shared City Project Manager Jarrett Hubbard. “The most striking is the platform size,” he continued. “At 80 feet in length, Link’s platform will allow the larger, 60-foot vehicles to open three doors simultaneously at a level boarding platform to allow for efficient boarding and alighting.”

Other features demonstrated by the Link station model include generous enclosed spaces to provide shelter from the elements, off-board fare payment, and passenger information screens. The model will also have informational displays with details about Link’s planned service features, and renderings of each of seven stations along the route.

“Link will provide essential service along one of Rochester’s busiest corridors,” states Council President Brook Carlson. “In doing so, the service will accommodate future growth and provide a quality service for quality living—a council priority. We want to thank the co-designers who brought unique community perspectives to the station design process.”

Patrick Seeb, Executive Director of DMC-EDA adds “The bold look of the Link brand reflects the dynamism and interconnectedness of Rochester’s expanding portfolio of mobility options.”

The City and DMC encourages the public to take a self-guided tour of the Link station model Sept. 13 through Oct. 1. Project teammates are also giving guided tours to interested groups. State lawmakers will be visiting the model on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The annual meeting for DMC-EDA’s on Sept. 16 will include a stop at the BRT station. Groups interested in a guided tour can send a request to [email protected].

The City will be hosting a Mobility Fair on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The free public event is a block party on Second Street SE between the Rochester Public Library and the Link station model. In addition to the model, City mobility partners such as Lime Scooter, HourCar, Med City Mover, Arrive Rochester, and more will be on hand, providing information, demonstrations, and opportunities to sign up and contribute to the city’s future mobility plans.

Due to begin service in 2025, Link will span the length of Second Street, connecting downtown Rochester, the Mayo Civic Center, Cascade Lake, Mayo Clinic campuses, and the Rochester-Olmsted Government Center.

The Link BRT project has been submitted to the Federal Transit Agency to fund 49% of the $114 million through Capital Investment Grant – Small Starts program. The remaining funds will come from state and local DMC transportation funding.

More information is available on the project website.