B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

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Re: Calhoun Towers - 3430 List Place (295' - 24 stories)

Postby MNdible » October 31st, 2019, 10:07 am

And the interlining could presumably still happen to the west of the West Lake station -- it doesn't hurt anything to have split platforms at this location.

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Re: Calhoun Towers - 3430 List Place (295' - 24 stories)

Postby Silophant » October 31st, 2019, 1:31 pm

I can't imagine they'd build a separate OMF for the, what, maybe 12(?) LRVs that this line would use, so there would have to be a track connection to the other lines at at least one end, and an at-grade connection west of West Lake seems a lot more doable than tying into the Blue Line viaduct above the HiLake shopping center.

And, once you're running the vehicles out to the Shady Oak OMF anyway, why not have them stop at the rest of the stations in between?

Having a split platform isn't ideal, but it's less dumb than, say, the two separate platforms at Target Field that every train stops at both of.

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B Line / Midtown Rail

Postby jtoemke » October 31st, 2019, 1:36 pm

Having a split platform isn't ideal, but it's less dumb than, say, the two separate platforms at Target Field that every train stops at both of.
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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby Anondson » October 31st, 2019, 6:21 pm

My understanding was the Shady Oak OMF got downscaled from original proposal to do much less than an OMF.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby alexschief » November 1st, 2019, 7:52 am

My understanding was the Shady Oak OMF got downscaled from original proposal to do much less than an OMF.
I mean, in a world where Midtown Rail is a go, you'd need more capacity at the Shady Oak OMF, so maybe part of that hypothetical budget includes expanding the facility to the originally planned size.

Besides the actual geometry of the West Lake Station area, the rest is purely hypothetical.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby MNdible » November 1st, 2019, 1:12 pm

Also, heavy maintenance could still happen at the Hiawatha yard. You can get there from here, especially after hours for infrequent heavy maintenance.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby mattaudio » November 1st, 2019, 3:23 pm

MidtownConnection.jpg
If we do end up building the Midtown Corridor LRT/streetcar, I don't think it would be that complicated to connect it to the existing Blue Line viaduct and Lake Street station. I came up with this concept nearly a decade ago: https://drive.google.com/open?id=19D2Xl ... sp=sharing

Benefits:
- Same-platform transfers to the Blue Line.
- No new station infrastructure needed.
- Easy onward interlining (e.g. via Blue Line trackage to VA Medical Center then up West 7th for a single seat service from West Lake to Downtown St. Paul)
- Pocket track south of 32nd St for Midtown turnaround.
- HCRRA already owns this wye area (part of the former Milwaukee Road) immediately south of 28th St.
- Flying junction means that, within a certain approach window, eastbound Midtown trains could always hold short for southbound Blue Line trains to maintain schedule. Likewise, Midtown trains reversing in the pocket track could wait until immediately after a northbound Blue Line train before re-entering the station.
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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby DanPatchToget » November 15th, 2019, 3:30 pm

I emailed the people working on the B Line about extending the western terminus to Lake & France. They said that wasn’t considered because of their “station spacing guidelines” which requires stops every third- to half-mile (between France and West Lake Station is 0.2 miles). This is despite the fact that B Line buses will layover at that bus turnaround at Lake & France, so even though the buses are there I guess they won’t let people on. Seems silly to be strict on those guidelines when there’s a lot of development going on around there and walking along Lake Street on that particular segment isn’t exactly pleasant.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby Silophant » November 15th, 2019, 3:46 pm

You should ask how they're reconciling their station spacing guidelines with having three separate stops at Nicollet, 35W, and 4th Ave S. Nicollet and 35W are only an eighth of a mile apart!

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby DanPatchToget » November 15th, 2019, 3:58 pm

Also the A Line has several exceptions to that guideline. A couple station spacings are less than a third of a mile and quite a few are more than half a mile. I don’t see why Lake & France should get the double standard especially since B Line buses will be on layover there.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby Silophant » November 15th, 2019, 7:23 pm

Yeah, it's especially weird if the buses are going there anyway. Throw up a ticket machine and let people get on.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby DanPatchToget » April 23rd, 2020, 6:44 pm

Going off of what was said in the Nicollet-Central Streetcar thread, does the Midtown Greenway Coalition consist of anyone who is an expert in transportation? Why should a coalition that seems to be going for fashion over function (in this case a single-track trolley over a double-track light rail) get so much influence over what kind of transit will be in the Midtown Greenway trench? If they think a double-track light rail or busway would look horrible then they haven't seen what the trench looked like when freight trains still rumbled through there.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby talindsay » April 23rd, 2020, 8:16 pm

I mean, to be fair to them, those decisions were made more than twenty years ago, when the Greenway itself was a wild place with no legal use to speak of (and a track spur still present, though unused, to my understanding), and there was no passenger rail operating in the Twin Cities. I suspect that if it were reevaluated from scratch now they'd have different concerns.
BUT
The concerns have changed to more functional ones. In 1996-2001 they were thinking of keeping the "green" in the greenway. There actually isn't that much green any more, of course, largely because of the success of the bike road. That's now the main obstacle to transit - the MGC doesn't want to see high-use transit cutting in on the bicycle "right of way" (in quotes because it's actually legally transit right of way, intended for rail) - the interim use is so popular that they'd rather preserve that as it is than see its erstwhile primary function dominate. A single-track "trolley" a la the 2001 proposal wouldn't require much adjustment at all to the bicycle use, whereas a proper light rail set up would require significant changes to (but not elimination of) the bicycle use.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby alexschief » April 24th, 2020, 8:13 am

I think that the obvious end result is that the project encompass a rebuild of the entire floor of the trench, with an integrated design of rail, bicycle, and landscaping. Plenty of examples of this kind of idea out there (including a similar approach on Washington Ave through the University of Minnesota).

Image

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby talindsay » April 24th, 2020, 8:27 am

Yes, and there's plenty of study demonstrating that there's enough space for that too. The MGC seems to let themselves get sidetracked by the most mundane details of the Greenway as-is: I know there's been opposition to removing the sloping sides and replacing them with retaining walls to better accommodate the two uses. You can imagine a better experience for all, along with a huge improvement in the regional rail network, if the kinds of big dollars that transit brings were to be brought to bear on the Greenway, but it would require people to accept significant changes.

I think your comparison to Washington Ave on campus is extremely apt: the University fought like mad to keep the current setup from happening, because they believed that the Met Council (and the Bush Administration) should fund the tunnel that would allow them to not change the area. At the time I went to the meetings and argued that Washington Ave was a car sewer that was dangerous for students and damaged the campus environment, and that the transit mall idea was actually a big improvement. Of course, they ultimately relented - not to me, but to the Met Council (and ironically, to the Bush administration). I can't imagine *anybody* thinks the arrangement now isn't a huge improvement over the mess that was the old Washington Ave. But it was hard for people then to imagine that - they would spend lots of money and waste lots of time to try and preserve it because it was familiar.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby DanPatchToget » April 24th, 2020, 9:16 am

Yes, and there's plenty of study demonstrating that there's enough space for that too. The MGC seems to let themselves get sidetracked by the most mundane details of the Greenway as-is: I know there's been opposition to removing the sloping sides and replacing them with retaining walls to better accommodate the two uses. You can imagine a better experience for all, along with a huge improvement in the regional rail network, if the kinds of big dollars that transit brings were to be brought to bear on the Greenway, but it would require people to accept significant changes.

I think your comparison to Washington Ave on campus is extremely apt: the University fought like mad to keep the current setup from happening, because they believed that the Met Council (and the Bush Administration) should fund the tunnel that would allow them to not change the area. At the time I went to the meetings and argued that Washington Ave was a car sewer that was dangerous for students and damaged the campus environment, and that the transit mall idea was actually a big improvement. Of course, they ultimately relented - not to me, but to the Met Council (and ironically, to the Bush administration). I can't imagine *anybody* thinks the arrangement now isn't a huge improvement over the mess that was the old Washington Ave. But it was hard for people then to imagine that - they would spend lots of money and waste lots of time to try and preserve it because it was familiar.
Oh there's people who think the current setup on Washington Avenue is a mess, but they're out-of-towners driving into the city for a Gophers game or something like that. Besides them I think most of the rest us can agree that the transit mall is a huge improvement. I don't remember the old Washington Avenue but based on Street View images from before the Green Line was built it was indeed an awful car sewer and I don't know how students and staff put up with it.

Besides a double-track light rail (that could have turf track to appease the Greenway Coalition), I think it's worth looking at a busway. Not like the U of M Transitway where it's a wide asphalt road with diesel buses, but a turfed busway with all-electric buses.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby EOst » April 24th, 2020, 9:18 am

Removing the sloped green sides of the Greenway and replacing them with retaining walls would be a crime. Functional concerns are not the only concerns worth paying attention to.

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby amiller92 » April 24th, 2020, 9:31 am

Removing the sloped green sides of the Greenway and replacing them with retaining walls would be a crime. Functional concerns are not the only concerns worth paying attention to.
Why?

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby tmart » April 24th, 2020, 11:00 am

My 2¢: I think our collective vocabulary around historical preservation is pretty lacking and it shows in discussions like this one. Our laws and processes and organizations are very good at protecting specific structures and encasing them in amber. They're much worse and finding graceful ways for neighborhoods to adapt and change without losing their character or unique aesthetics.

I think too much of the conversation around the Greenway is focused on specific structures like sloped walls or individual bridges or chokepoints. The value of the Greenway is that it's a critical infrastructure asset and recreational space with a unique aesthetic. We can and should work to find creative ways to improve the functional side that are consistent with the feel, if not every particular detail, of the existing space.

I think some trade-offs in favor of functionality that would be reasonable would include:
* Switching to retaining walls for more width (double-tracking + generous ped/bike facilities)
* Retrofitting or rebuilding bridges where they cause width constraints
* Bollards or barriers separating transit and non-transit facilities

Some tradeoffs the other way, or conditions that I think would help protect the feel and history of the space:
* Requiring changed structures (new walls/bridges/etc, plus new buildings adjacent to the Greenway) to use materials and architectural forms consistent with the post-industrial feel, such as brick, stone, exposed concrete, and iron
* Requiring lots of trees and plants, including native/wild/overgrown plants and extensive use of ivy/climbing plants and green surfaces
* Turfed tracks
* Lots of access points and integrations with surrounding streets and buildings (i.e., more than just stairs and ramps at transit stops)

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Re: B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Postby alexschief » April 25th, 2020, 2:18 pm

I'm sorry, but the notion that the sloped wall on the south side of the Midtown trench is somehow sacrosanct makes a parody of historic preservation.

Just because something is old does not give it intrinsic veto power over any subsequent improvement.


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