Kutzky Park residents outraged by Mayo Clinic bus route

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 9:34 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Buses for Mayo Clinic are a common sight in Rochester, but some Kutzky Park residents have grown tired of them roaring up and down their residential street day after day.

Residents claim they see 200 buses a day on the street causing sleep loss, harm from bus fumes, and unsafe sidewalks and street. Mayo says that number is actually 113. During the height of the pandemic, Mayo Clinic spokesperson said in an email that more than 200 buses were running because of social distancing requirements.

“We have the problem of the buses barreling down west center street of Kusky park these buses serve a great need of the mayo clinic we need Rochester and the Mayo clinic to come up with a really aggressive plan to solve this persistent and ongoing problem,” resident Sarah Sigura said.

The Mayo Clinic shuttles have been running through West Center Street of Kutzky Park for three years, resulting in some to even move away from the street. Long time resident Stephanie Podulke said it’s a dangerous situation.

“The clinic has ample property, ample funds and we know that they are loaded with brain power so they could come up with their own solution that doesn’t use our neighborhood as a short cut,” Stephanie Podulke said.

The neighbors have reached out to the city of Rochester and Mayo Clinic multiple times and said nothing constructive has been done.

Rochester city council member Mark Bransford canvassed the neighborhood in June of 2022, no action has been taken since.

“It’s not something that belongs in a neighborhood, it doesn’t even belong in a commercial bus route if you can avoid it and yet mayo somehow thinks they can exploit any neighborhood they want any time they want because it suits their fancy,” resident Jim Frost said.

Mayo Clinic said in a statement they have eliminated running the buses between the hours of 4:30 - 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mayo Clinic reports residents on West Center Street have seen a 58% reduction in busses since March 2022.

Mayo Clinic is committed to continuing to work with the neighborhood to identify specific issues and address them as we can over the next few years. For a long-term solution, Mayo Clinic is also working with the City of Rochester toward the development and implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project along Second Street scheduled to open in 2026, which will eliminate the presence of employee shuttles on Center Street.

Heather Carlson Kehren, Mayo Clinic spokeswoman

Olmsted County Commissioner and West Center Resident Laurel Podulke-Smith has other alternatives for the clinic.

“Use the commercial zoned through fairs of 11th Avenue, Civic Center Drive, and 16th Avenue as a turnaround instead of using west center street our little Kutzky Park neighborhood,” Laurel Podulke-Smith.

The neighbors have even gone as far to time out alternate routes for the shuttles and said it will only take two extra minutes to avoid residential streets. The neighbors said they understand the employees need to get to work, but they wish Mayo Clinic, would find another route.