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Talking Points: Green Line Opening Hailed A Big Success

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Despite the weather, the debut of the Metro Transit Green line is being hailed as a big success.

On Saturday, about 45,000 people took advantage of free service to try out the new line connecting downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. But along the corridor, there is concern about safety. During the test runs of the line there were four car accidents, and there is a lot more pedestrian traffic along the route than there is along the Hiawatha line.

Metro Transit is predicting as many as 28,000 riders per day will take advantage of the new Green Line connecting the downtowns with 23 stops along the way. The fact there are so many key stops along this route is magnifying safety concerns.

The train travels through busy pedestrian areas, including the State Capitol and the University of Minnesota, not to mention University Avenue with its many small shops and ethnic restaurants. In the 10 years that the Hiawatha line has been running there have been 10 accidental deaths, and six of those were pedestrians.

During the test phase of the Green Line there have been four accidents, all involving cars and most were trying to turn left. The drivers were caught off guard by getting hit from a train coming from behind them. Mark Fuhrmann, the deputy general manager of Metro Transit, appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning to talk about Green Line safety.

"Those folks made those lefts illegally through a red left arrow. There are lefts available, but we really urge motorists to follow the traffic signals because there could be a train coming at any time from any direction," Furhmann said.

Metro Transit is also concerned about pedestrians jaywalking and is urging everyone to cross at designated crosswalks. Extra St. Paul Police officers have been on duty all weekend enforcing traffic regulations along the corridor. Metro-Transit has hired 22 new police officers who will be permanently assigned to the Green Line Corridor.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Matt Brickman and Esme Murphy every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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