Hennepin Avenue Reconstruction (Douglas to Lake St)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
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FISHMANPET
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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby FISHMANPET » April 21st, 2014, 9:32 am

I think a good start would be to figure out where the traffic is coming from. If people are using it as a through route, that should be discouraged somehow. If people are driving from downtown to uptown or vice-versa, then improving transit could do a really good job of pulling those people off the road.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » April 21st, 2014, 9:36 am

So we cannot build our way out of congestion, but David's concern is valid: Congestion on urban streets causes pollution that affects neighbors. Any ideas out there to solve it? I guess removing cars altogether would solve it (and I have that idea) but it's not politically feasible to remove through-traffic from Hennepin. Congestion pricing on a city street would be much tougher to implement than on freeways. What other options are there?
This is a great question. I personally wouldn't really care about massive congestion on Hennepin except for the pollution issue. Although I think that kind of congestion would hurt local businesses and the general attractiveness of the area for shoppers and diners.

It will be interesting to see if EVs take off. I believe they will have to at some point but that point is probably much further out than we'd like.

Getting an idea of where people are going from Hennepin is going to be critical. We need to design transit around those usage patterns. The fact that Hennepin south of Lake is much less congested and that such horrible backups resulted from removing one of two right turn lanes onto Lagoon, I suspect that at least during peak most people are going to southwest Minneapolis, east St. Louis Park and maybe northeast Edina. Better service on the 6 would help a lot (more frequency during peak, please!) and maybe running separate lines down Xerxes and France would be better than splitting the 6 and effectively halving its frequency as a result. Possibly some kind of limited-stop service along the route of the six is in order.

The 17 and 12 should serve SLP pretty well but again maybe frequency could use a bump. I don't think there's a line that really goes into Edina. Is there?

Have any studies on Hennepin/Lyndale aBRT been done yet? On the map they look like pretty short lines. I'll bet we'll want to extend those south (southwest) some.

I wonder how many people are coming from the CIDNA/West Lake station area? How about the 21st St. station area? The latter would mostly contribute to congestion at the bottleneck, not on Hennepin south of Franklin.

Hmm. Would a park & ride at West Lake make some sense?

LakeCharles
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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby LakeCharles » April 21st, 2014, 9:57 am

I don't think there's a line that really goes into Edina. Is there?
The only one that goes through Uptown to Edina is a the 6. Otherwise they have the express buses 568, 578, 587. And the 46 which you could take any express to the 46th st stop on 35W and hop on.

anders
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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby anders » April 21st, 2014, 10:08 am

No, it wouldn't. Hennepin is actually pretty good for pedestrians.
Wha? I used to walk to/from work on Hennepin (Lake to 24th) and man it was a nightmare in the afternoon/evening. Lots of sketchy left-turns without looking for pedestrians, plus the curb cuts at places like Roat Osha, Green Mill, Kowalski's, etc. And of course, crossing at Lake or Lagoon can be terrifying if you aren't there at the very beginning of the cycle.

I wrote something before about some of that Hennepin traffic being commuters to the closer-in SW burbs. I do think there's some of that, especially for people who want to stop at Calhoun Village/Commons/whatever on the way through. Also the hospital/Midtown traffic from SLP and nearby -- I can imagine plenty of cars doing Lake-28th or 26th-Lagoon with Hennepin as the bridge. Traffic on Hennepin peaks around 28th, which would be somewhat consistent with that theory. Would be interesting to do a closer study of course.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby anders » April 21st, 2014, 10:14 am

Hmm. Would a park & ride at West Lake make some sense?
No. I believe City of Minneapolis policy is flat-out "no" to P&R, and rightfully so. What a thumb in the eye it would be to the tens of thousands of people riding transit in Uptown, Whittier, etc. that they get unreliable and often packed-to-the-rafters buses while SLP residents get to park for free and ride a train through the forest to work downtown. Though that would be quite consistent with what our regional leaders seem to envision for a "21st century" transit system.

mattaudio
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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby mattaudio » April 21st, 2014, 10:21 am

Hmm. Would a park & ride at West Lake make some sense?
No. I believe City of Minneapolis policy is flat-out "no" to P&R, and rightfully so..
Not unless it came with:
-Closure of Hennepin to thru-traffic between Franklin and 26th.
-Major traffic calming of Lake between Calhoun and Isles and the Excelsior/Lake split
-Major traffic calming and rework of the Virginia Triangle
-Greenway streetcar
-Hennepin streetcar (at grade in dedicated ROW) preferably extended south beyond Lake.

But in the absence of all of that, you're totally right about the P&R.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » April 21st, 2014, 10:33 am

It's a good point about 26th/28th and Lake. The Midtown LRT should help with that.

I do agree that turns without looking for peds are a problem. That problem isn't limited to Hennepin, however. I really haven't found the curb cuts to be that bad. I think it's because the sidewalks are wider. The area around Holiday/Kowalski's is indeed bad. I'll agree with you there. The area around Green Mill is less than optimal due to the way FirstTech's building addresses the street, I think. Those exits from the parking lot are blind. The same problem exists along 28th at The Beat (and I have in fact been hit there).

As for park & rides, I guess we have to decide whether we want to reduce congestion on Hennepin or not. If a P&R gets a bunch of commuters off Hennepin making the buses run better, isn't that a win? Sure, in my ideal world we'd run bus service in such a way that those people could take a bus to the West Lake station and transfer. I wonder if we could run buses to enough places to make that work. Perhaps we can. I hope so!
Last edited by David Greene on April 21st, 2014, 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby PhilmerPhil » April 21st, 2014, 10:39 am

Set up a tolling station between Calhoun and Isles?

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » April 21st, 2014, 10:49 am

Set up a tolling station between Calhoun and Isles?
Not a tolling station but congestion pricing. As Matt says, it's more complicated on city streets but for isolated cases like Hennepin perhaps it's worth it. The point would be to keep buses moving on Hennepin. I could get on board with congestion pricing between the lakes. We'd probably want to do it from the Excelsior/Lake intersection to Knox or so, to prevent people from using the lake parkways as a pass-through. There aren't too many intersection in that stretch that would need sensors or whatever they use to track cars and toll them. Make it one price to enter that corridor, no discounts for getting off on Dean Pkwy and the like. Maybe CIDNA/ECCO/West Calhoun residents could get a special transponder so they aren't tolled.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » April 21st, 2014, 11:05 am

Getting an idea of where people are going from Hennepin is going to be critical. We need to design transit around those usage patterns. The fact that Hennepin south of Lake is much less congested and that such horrible backups resulted from removing one of two right turn lanes onto Lagoon, I suspect that at least during peak most people are going to southwest Minneapolis, east St. Louis Park and maybe northeast Edina.
Something else just popped into my brain. At least during PM peak, the congestion on Lake west of West Calhoun Pkwy is much worse than the congestion on Excelsior. That could be due to signal timing on Lake or maybe it's due to people trying to get on CR-25/MN-7. We've talked about calming that bit of stroad before. People may be heading to MN-100 and using Hennepin as an I-394 bypass since that freeway is so bad during PM peak.

If this is the case it would argue even more for congestion pricing between the lakes and maybe some kind of rapid bus along CR-25/MN-7 to link up at West Lake. We're doing a lot of work on grade separation along that route. Why not maximize it with rapid bus?

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 21st, 2014, 11:40 am

Re: congestion = pollution: what's worse, 25k cars moving at an average speed of 17 mph, or 14k cars "stuck idling," and polluting slightly more per mile? The "idling cars produce pollution so we need that road capacity (or extra capacity)" argument is a major red flag for good intentions that have terrible results.

Feeling unsafe while driving next to a bus or truck is exactly what this city needs - it slows people down and forces them to be more aware of their surroundings. That should be a feature of lane narrowing, not a bug.

Re: where the traffic is coming from.. Mpls traffic data's site shows EB AM peak hour counts at Lake and Hennepin as 500 people turning left onto Hennepin NB, with 937 vehicles in the stream after that. In PM peak hours, 496 of 968 vehicles heading south on Hennepin turn WB onto Lagoon. Of course, this tells us only a part of the story of how many of those cars make it to the Bottleneck, and what fraction of total Hennepin traffic comes from beyond Calhoun. But up at 24th, AM Hennepin NB traffic counts are only 1,100-1,200 (same year, 2011). Very few cars peel off onto cross-streets (single to low-double digits during peak hours). So I think we can probably estimate that between 94 and Lake, ~1/3+ of total commuting traffic comes from west of Calhoun. Are the SLP/Edina/Hopkins folks, or Mpls residents from CIDNA and Linden Hills? I don't know. Either way, a large chunk of the rest of the traffic on Hennepin could easily be pulled by better transit service and (safe, attractive, non sharrow) biking facilities.

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby dingo » April 23rd, 2014, 9:59 am

Wouldnt it be nice, if the congestion on Hennepin could be looked at in conjunction with the SW light rail? Imagine if freight were moved from the Kenilworth corridor and replaced with a parkway/bike trail/light rail combination from W Lake st running down to Dunwoody Blvd.

How many cars going from DT to/from Edina/SLP would take that route, instead of going through Hennipen [sic]?

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Re: Hennepin Avenue

Postby David Greene » April 23rd, 2014, 10:01 am

Wouldnt it be nice, if the congestion on Hennepin could be looked at in conjunction with the SW light rail? Imagine if freight were moved from the Kenilworth corridor and replaced with a parkway/bike trail/light rail combination from W Lake st running down to Dunwoody Blvd.

How many cars going from DT to/from Edina/SLP would take that route, instead of going through Hennipen [sic] [sic]?
Gah! Even *I* would oppose something like that. No way we should put cars in Kenilworth.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby anders » December 6th, 2016, 11:33 pm

Is this really a common argument? That calming doesn't need to occur because the area is successful already?
I don't think it would be expressed in that way, but sure: "don't fix what isn't broken."
Sort of related: when I was on the ECCO board many years ago, there was a moment that really stuck with me. We were discussing transportation in the area and I was pushing for the board to be more assertive in advocating for LRT or other transit improvements in the area. One of the 'long-time resident' board members, who was (and presumably still is) very active in the organization, pointed out that he had recently taken the 6 downtown and it "worked pretty good" for him. I definitely believe that attitude is common.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby David Greene » December 7th, 2016, 11:59 pm

ne of the 'long-time resident' board members, who was (and presumably still is) very active in the organization, pointed out that he had recently taken the 6 downtown and it "worked pretty good" for him. I definitely believe that attitude is common.
I mean, it does work pretty good. I rarely have a major slowdown from Lake to Franklin, even during rush hour. I can't speak to the bottleneck or downtown since I rarely go that way during peak, but off-peak it seems to work fine.

Sure, a dedicated transit lane would make things a bit zippier, but to me it's really not the highest priority in our system. Getting the 53 to run all day or getting the Midtown line built would have a much bigger impact.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby VAStationDude » December 8th, 2016, 6:37 am

Abrt articulated buses would be a massive improvement and would work better than lrt for more people.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby thatchio » December 10th, 2016, 11:14 am

David, it's been a while since I've taken the 6, but I used to hit huge slowdowns on Hennepin in Downtown near MCTC, the lead up to Franklin, and then parts of Hennepin near 26th and 28th. It was especially bad in rain and snow, as well as nice summer days in the PM peak.

As an aside, I remember a time during a hot summer day around 4:30pm when I just missed the 12 at Dean Parkway and Lake Street so I grabbed the NiceRide and biked around part of Isles and parked it at Chipotle. I was in biz clothes so I didn't bike that fast. I caught up to the 12 with a couple of minutes to spare.

Hennepin, Lake Street, and plenty of other streets around the region could use some focused transit priority efforts at major choke points. That should include leading transit signals at intersections and a few bypass lanes.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby Minneboy » December 10th, 2016, 3:21 pm

David, it's been a while since I've taken the 6, but I used to hit huge slowdowns on Hennepin in Downtown near MCTC, the lead up to Franklin, and then parts of Hennepin near 26th and 28th. It was especially bad in rain and snow, as well as nice summer days in the PM peak.

As an aside, I remember a time during a hot summer day around 4:30pm when I just missed the 12 at Dean Parkway and Lake Street so I grabbed the NiceRide and biked around part of Isles and parked it at Chipotle. I was in biz clothes so I didn't bike that fast. I caught up to the 12 with a couple of minutes to spare.

Hennepin, Lake Street, and plenty of other streets around the region could use some focused transit priority efforts at major choke points. That should include leading transit signals at intersections and a few bypass lanes.
When I didn't ride my bike I used to take the bus to downtown where I worked at City Hall and because it took nearly 45 minutes to get back in mid afternoon (1430 hrs) I found that walking home only took me 15 minutes later and it was much more enjoyable and I got my exercise.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby anders » December 11th, 2016, 9:30 am

ne of the 'long-time resident' board members, who was (and presumably still is) very active in the organization, pointed out that he had recently taken the 6 downtown and it "worked pretty good" for him. I definitely believe that attitude is common.
I mean, it does work pretty good. I rarely have a major slowdown from Lake to Franklin, even during rush hour. I can't speak to the bottleneck or downtown since I rarely go that way during peak, but off-peak it seems to work fine.

Sure, a dedicated transit lane would make things a bit zippier, but to me it's really not the highest priority in our system. Getting the 53 to run all day or getting the Midtown line built would have a much bigger impact.
a) Naturally, I have anecdotal evidence to counter your anecdotal evidence. Full buses turning people away, buses bunching, and so on. Improvements to reliability, frequency, comfort, etc. would provide a big benefit to existing riders and presumably attract new riders as well.

b) Why create a false choice between improvements to Hennepin (/Lyndale) bus service and capital or operational investments in the Midtown corridor? Both can and should be addressed quickly and relatively affordably (well, maybe not the streetcar). One aBRT line every few years is pretty pathetic for a thriving city in an industrialized country.

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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby David Greene » December 11th, 2016, 4:34 pm

David, it's been a while since I've taken the 6, but I used to hit huge slowdowns on Hennepin in Downtown near MCTC, the lead up to Franklin, and then parts of Hennepin near 26th and 28th. It was especially bad in rain and snow, as well as nice summer days in the PM peak.
It's definitely bad during snow. Not much to be done about that. Even dedicated lanes would be clogged.

It's good to know about the experience north of Franklin. Like I said, I just don't go there much during peak.


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