Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

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DanPatchToget
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby DanPatchToget » March 10th, 2021, 10:15 am

Seems like how the US tried to take off the shelf EMUs and DMUs that are typical of Asian and European commuter rail operations but make them work under American specifications, which hasn't worked as well as planned. Portland's Westside Express Service DMUs and Hyundai Rotem's EMUs for Denver and Philadelphia being examples.

mulad
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby mulad » March 10th, 2021, 11:31 am

Possibly. I don't know how much the designs have needed to change to work with American regulations. I worry that some of this is due to the weight of the battery packs leading to other issues -- the rail vehicle crash regulations in the US caused equipment to be redesigned to be heavier, which would lead to problems like brake failures and cracks in the chassis and trucks/bogies. Our roads may also be shaking the electric buses to pieces.

If weight is the issue, then we really need to examine building trolleybus systems -- that technology is relatively well-proven, since it's been around for a century. Sadly, I think the bus makers have largely stopped building them, and it obviously takes a lot of investment in overhead wire infrastructure -- though it's not necessarily much more difficult than the need to set up on-route changing stations, which also need pretty hefty power infrastructure leading to them.

NickP
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby NickP » March 11th, 2021, 10:43 am

General Question about the public coordinate maps. Has anyone found a way to zoom out on them? Every time I zoom in to look at specific parts of the map, I have to reload the page to zoom back out again.

tmart
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby tmart » March 11th, 2021, 12:30 pm

General Question about the public coordinate maps. Has anyone found a way to zoom out on them? Every time I zoom in to look at specific parts of the map, I have to reload the page to zoom back out again.
Scrolling works for me. (Mac/Chrome)

Silophant
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby Silophant » March 12th, 2021, 9:25 am

Henry Pan live-tweeted the electric bus presentation that MT gave to the Met Council yesterday: Sounds like the C Line electric fleet is in even worse shape than I had thought - of the 631 days since the C Line opened, there have been a total of ten where all the buses and chargers were operational at the same time. The overall gist seems to be that no one makes a reliable 60' BEB at this point, so they're asking for one more round of diesels for the upcoming looong BRT routes and commuter expresses, so they can focus on 40' BEBs for the rest of the routes. As for hybrids, apparently they're not really that much more fuel-efficient than modern diesels, and were the previous record-holders for least reliable vehicle type in the fleet before the C Line electrics showed up.

I'd still like to know more about why they've had so much trouble with the depot chargers - industrial scale power delivery is not exactly a new technology - but I don't think they're lying about it either.

Tcmetro
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby Tcmetro » March 12th, 2021, 10:26 am

I see the issue with hybrids as they are quite dependent on stop-and-go traffic which the Twin Cities has relatively little of. Outside of a few major bus routes it seems most stops are skipped on an average run as well. Most cities have shyed away from hybrids already, but Seattle has an entirely hybrid or electric fleet now.

As for electrics, no US/Canadian transit authority has more than a handful. It's probably wise to hold out and see if another agency can pull it off first.

COLSLAW5
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby COLSLAW5 » March 19th, 2021, 9:32 am

Interesting video of how Edmonton is pushing ahead with electrifying their fleet.

https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/ ... buses.aspx

Even being the very far north they say the buses can run every one of their routes all year round.

Trademark
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby Trademark » March 29th, 2021, 4:41 pm

It's embarrassing that the city lacks a bold vision for transit. If it had plans on the table for midtown Greenway train. Northeast rail. Dan Patch Line. We could include that in the infrastructure bill. Now we must wait for another opportunity.

tmart
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby tmart » March 29th, 2021, 6:33 pm

It's embarrassing that the city lacks a bold vision for transit. If it had plans on the table for midtown Greenway train. Northeast rail. Dan Patch Line. We could include that in the infrastructure bill. Now we must wait for another opportunity.
A big problem with the Obama-era stimulus was that there just weren't that many projects ready to start construction. Stimulating the economy by buying a lot of steel and hiring a lot of construction workers can be fairly effective. Stimulating the economy by commissioning a bunch of Environmental Impact Reports...less so. They did include some cash for high-speed rail stuff, but it was small and almost all the money ended up going to California (since they were further along and *ahem* certain governors refused to accept any funding), and much of the actual construction activity happened (or more accurately, is happening!) years after the recession ended.

The lesson regions and states (and, hell, the USDOT) should've learned was that it's to your benefit to have some projects ready to go, even if you're not prepared to fund them right away, because you never know when the tap will get turned on. Sadly we don't really have much that fits the bill. It's a shame that we officially killed the work that was happening on HSR to Rochester instead of just quietly working on the engineering and "keeping it warm." Hopefully at the very least we can figure out how to get Northern Lights Express done, since all the paperwork is done on that one and it's just waiting for funding.

Trademark
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby Trademark » March 29th, 2021, 10:16 pm

It's embarrassing that the city lacks a bold vision for transit. If it had plans on the table for midtown Greenway train. Northeast rail. Dan Patch Line. We could include that in the infrastructure bill. Now we must wait for another opportunity.
A big problem with the Obama-era stimulus was that there just weren't that many projects ready to start construction. Stimulating the economy by buying a lot of steel and hiring a lot of construction workers can be fairly effective. Stimulating the economy by commissioning a bunch of Environmental Impact Reports...less so. They did include some cash for high-speed rail stuff, but it was small and almost all the money ended up going to California (since they were further along and *ahem* certain governors refused to accept any funding), and much of the actual construction activity happened (or more accurately, is happening!) years after the recession ended.

The lesson regions and states (and, hell, the USDOT) should've learned was that it's to your benefit to have some projects ready to go, even if you're not prepared to fund them right away, because you never know when the tap will get turned on. Sadly we don't really have much that fits the bill. It's a shame that we officially killed the work that was happening on HSR to Rochester instead of just quietly working on the engineering and "keeping it warm." Hopefully at the very least we can figure out how to get Northern Lights Express done, since all the paperwork is done on that one and it's just waiting for funding.
We need to organize as a transit union to propose real bold solutions. I think as a region in the next 30 years in addition to all the proposed projects we could support another 40-50 miles of light rail and a few BRT projects. If we focused this improvements in the city and a few core suburbs we could do so much to change the culture of this city.

alexschief
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby alexschief » March 30th, 2021, 8:15 am

I get the frustration, but at the same time I think it's important to remember that MSP does have a bunch of projects in the hopper.

One LRT line is being built and another is well-advanced in planning and engineering. There's one BRT line that's almost complete, one BRT line that's approaching engineering, and one that is being planned. There's one arterial bus line that's about to start construction, two arterial bus lines that are in planning, and three more arterial bus corridors identified.

Outside of Seattle and Los Angeles, there's no American city that is moving forward with so much rail and bus at once. Bemoaning that MSP didn't somehow blitz planning and engineering in the past year and had Midtown Rail, or the Dan Patch line (which I'm sorry but nobody has seriously discussed for decades) shovel-ready isn't a realistic expectation.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby DanPatchToget » March 30th, 2021, 9:01 am

I get the frustration, but at the same time I think it's important to remember that MSP does have a bunch of projects in the hopper.

One LRT line is being built and another is well-advanced in planning and engineering. There's one BRT line that's almost complete, one BRT line that's approaching engineering, and one that is being planned. There's one arterial bus line that's about to start construction, two arterial bus lines that are in planning, and three more arterial bus corridors identified.

Outside of Seattle and Los Angeles, there's no American city that is moving forward with so much rail and bus at once. Bemoaning that MSP didn't somehow blitz planning and engineering in the past year and had Midtown Rail, or the Dan Patch line (which I'm sorry but nobody has seriously discussed for decades) shovel-ready isn't a realistic expectation.
It's pretty easy to plan a route, but based on our track record it takes way too long to go from planning to actually building these routes. In the case of the one BRT line that's almost complete (the Orange Line) and the one BRT line that's approaching engineering (I assume you're referring to the Gold Line) I'm not too optimistic that they will perform well, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

Also let's not ignore Denver's fast pace with building light rail and commuter rail lines. Granted these have questionable ridership performance like our operating and planned Highway BRT lines, but imagine how much could be done with the amount of money Denver spent and apply it to LRT, BRT, and aBRT routes in the Twin Cities that are virtually guaranteed to be successful.

I disagree with your view that nobody has seriously discussed the Dan Patch Line in decades. The reason there hasn't been serious study of it is the fact that a NIMBY-sponsored gag order passed in 2002 still hasn't been repealed, but there have been serious attempts to repeal that unnecessary law.

tmart
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby tmart » March 30th, 2021, 9:30 am

Heh, it would be pretty funny in a twisted way if LA just completely leapfrogged the rest of the country in the next decade, just by being the only ones ready to accept billions in federal cash. But setting aside regional comparisons for a moment, this discussion has made me curious how an infrastructure bill might be written to work around the reality that there just aren't that many things that could enter construction in a 1-2 year timeframe regardless of how much money Washington throws at it.

It would be interesting, for example, if the feds put up a couple billion dollars for aBRT-style bus improvement projects, with a requirement that construction start by EOY 2022. That's a program that obviously Metro Transit would be very well-positioned to take advantage of, but I also imagine lots of other transit providers around the country could cobble some compliant projects in short order.

Or what about a pot of money to accelerate street-level improvements? Federal programs for adding protected bike lanes, intersection reconfigurations, bus improvements (lanes, signals, etc), particularly for streets that may be far from their anticipated reconstruction dates but performing badly on safety? They're not sexy, but they have a big impact in people's neighborhoods, and my understanding is a lot of them are just kinda paused until a predetermined end-of-service date.

We really have no clue what's going to be in this mysterious funding bill or if it will pass (Happy Infrastructure Week, everybody!) but given how much of the Biden administration also served under Obama, I hope and expect the "shovel-readiness" issue is something they'll be planning for this time.

alexschief
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby alexschief » March 30th, 2021, 11:47 am

It's pretty easy to plan a route, but based on our track record it takes way too long to go from planning to actually building these routes. In the case of the one BRT line that's almost complete (the Orange Line) and the one BRT line that's approaching engineering (I assume you're referring to the Gold Line) I'm not too optimistic that they will perform well, but I'd like to be proven wrong.
The Gold Line is in the FTA's CIG program. They need to bolster their rating a bit, but they are already deep into the progress, and it's more likely than not that the project is constructed. Whether or not they perform well is a different question, I think there are reasons for optimism and pessimism.

The Blue Line Ext. is also in the CIG program, but I'm not totally sure about the status. They were supposed to get their FFGA this month, based on the original timeline. Obviously that's not happening, but it wouldn't surprise me if they've been granted an extension or else FTA has just determined that progress is still being made. I'm not an expert in the FTA process, but again, it's a serious project that is still likely to be built.
Also let's not ignore Denver's fast pace with building light rail and commuter rail lines. Granted these have questionable ridership performance like our operating and planned Highway BRT lines, but imagine how much could be done with the amount of money Denver spent and apply it to LRT, BRT, and aBRT routes in the Twin Cities that are virtually guaranteed to be successful.
Denver has spent a ton on transit since the FasTracks referendum, but they are not expanding their transit as much as MSP currently. Really only Seattle and LA have as many irons in the fire as the Twin Cities does, although New York City, for instance, has more expensive and impactful projects planned.

StandishGuy
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby StandishGuy » March 30th, 2021, 4:05 pm

The recent Star Tribune article about the "infrastructure bill" reported that MoveMN is advocating for buildout of multiple ABRT lines within a decade. Imagine a 30% ridership increase for the 10 most popular bus routes and what an improvement that would make to the network.. and the metro mode share. Seems like a more cost effective plan.

I'm excited about the Northern Lights Express possibly moving forward, as well as a realigned Blue Line Extension. Did everyone just give up on the MSP to Chicago high speed rail after Scott Walker cancelled it? It seems that the route from Madison to Chicago could be revived since it as so close to getting constructed back in 2016. Then, they could start working on the connection from Madison to St. Paul.

The Gold and Rush (Purple?) seem unlikely to make much of a difference in the metro's transit mode share, and I hope they get cancelled or significantly reworked following what I expect will be an Orange Line flop. Please Biden don't include park & ride lots in the infrastructure bill! St. Paul deserves high quality transit, but the lack of dedicated right-of-way on the proposed Riverview Corridor route keeps that one near the bottom of my list too.

I agree with the point above that MSP's planned transit network doesn't seem likely to move many people out of their cars despite a multi-billion dollar price tag. It's the problem with so many U.S. transit systems such as Denver and LA where billions in rail has led to medocre results. Either put the money into transit or expanding highways, but most cities continue to do both making sure transit doesn't compete...

Trademark
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby Trademark » March 30th, 2021, 5:02 pm

I know only Seattle and LA are making great progress right now. But we are not that much smaller then Seattle. Minneapolis 2040 is one of the most ambitious land use policies and we need to be equally ambitious in our transit planning otherwise the gains in relation to emissions will be minimal. aBRT is a stop gap but we need more. Rice/Robert LRT, Midtown Greenway train including extension into st paul, Northeast rail, Downtown transit tunnels. Maybe even long term conversion of A line to train. I'm not saying build an unrealistic amount of lines. But I think that as a region we can support another 40-50 miles of track and I want to see that happen in my lifetime.

It is necessary to meet transit goals. A network oriented mindset will be the only way to induce modal share

twincitizen
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Re: Public Transit News / Current Events (MN only)

Postby twincitizen » May 3rd, 2021, 3:59 pm

Mod note: I moved an interesting discussion over to the Met Council thread: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3306&start=140#p159854


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