Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Silophant » August 13th, 2020, 8:22 pm

I wonder how the table in slide 14 is ordered - I hope that's not the preliminary ranking. It would make sense to have Central and Como/Maryland near the top, but after 63rd Ave/Zane? Of course, I think the 724 is one of the highest performing suburban routes, and there's a case to be made for regional balance, especially with BBLRT probably several years out yet.

Kinda funny to see West 7th back in the mix, nearly five years after St. Paul/Ramsey County threw it away for the promise of LRT in 2028.

Surprising that the 2 didn't make the cut, especially with the upcoming reconstruction of Franklin. I wonder if the 2 is up for reconfiguration in the 2021 portion of the plan?

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Tcmetro » August 13th, 2020, 8:33 pm

I am actually interested in how the 63 on Grand made the cut but the 2 didn't. Both are part of the "Better Bus Routes" program which is basically the light version of the BRT program.

I would imagine there is some analysis on average trip distance in the corridor, which may better explain why the 2 or the 23 didn't make it. (I suspect both routes carry people shorter distances on average compared to routes focused on downtown or malls)

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby DanPatchToget » August 13th, 2020, 8:42 pm

In previous BRT analysis and still in the running:
  • Nicollet - Downtown Minneapolis to American Blvd (#18)
  • Central-University - Downtown Minneapolis to Northtown (#10)
  • W Broadway-Cedar - Robbinsdale to 38th St Blue Line (#14/#22) - extended south along Cedar compared to old plan
  • W 7th-White Bear - MOA to Maplewood Mall (#54) - W 7th St segment restored after previously being removed
  • Robert-Rice - Robert/Mendota to Little Canada (#62/68) - extended north along Rice
New BRT corridors:
  • 63rd/Zane - Brooklyn Center to Starlite (#724)
  • Lowry - Robbinsdale to Rosedale (#32)
  • Johnson-Lyndale-Penn - Silver Lake Village to American/Knox (#4)
  • Como-Maryland - Downtown Minneapolis to Sun Ray (#3 with extension to Eastside of St Paul)
  • Grand - Westgate Station to Downtown St Paul (#63)
  • Randolph-E 7th - Highland Park to Sun Ray (#74)
BRT corridors in previous plans, now removed:
  • American Blvd (#542)
  • Snelling - northern extension to Ammunition Plant (#225)
New BRT corridors considered, but not recommended:
  • 2nd Ave NE (#11)
  • Franklin/University (#2)
  • E Hennepin/Larpenteur to White Bear (#61)
  • 38th St to Highland Park (#23)
  • 66th St to MOA via 12th Ave (#515)
  • Century to Woodbury (#219)
Thoughts on BRT corridors still in the running:
-Hopefully Nicollet and Central are combined.
-I was hoping a Cedar Avenue aBRT would go south to at least 66th in Richfield.
-I'm concerned that they're bringing back aBRT on West 7th. Is this a sign that Riverview will be cancelled, or is it just a backup in case that falls through?
-Robert/Rice is a solid pick. Should do well and I hope it's high on the priority list.

Thoughts on new BRT corridors:
-63rd/Zane is kind of an odd choice to me. Would it be an extension of the C or D Line? If it somehow gets through it would be nice if it was extended to Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. Though even just extending the 724 to Maple Grove would be nice since the current transit service in Maple Grove is a joke if you're trying to get anywhere besides Downtown Minneapolis.
-I kind of considered Lowry a possibility but I always figured the ridership was too low.
-Also saw Route 4 as a possibility for aBRT and I'm glad it's now under consideration, especially since it would be on the entire route between Bloomington and New Brighton.
-Also glad they're considering Route 3 for aBRT, though I'm unsure about skipping Downtown St. Paul. Also what would happen to the branch of Route 3 that goes by Bandana Square?
-Would be nice to have the Grand Avenue aBRT go to U of M St. Paul Campus instead of Westgate, but if the E Line goes all the way to Westgate then it's a missed opportunity for transfers between the two routes.
-Isn't ridership on the 74 pretty low west of Downtown St. Paul?

Thoughts on BRT corridors now removed:
-Though the 494 Corridor between Mall of America and Eden Prairie does need better transit, I don't think American Blvd aBRT would've delivered.
-A little disappointed but not too surprised the northern extension of the A Line is out.

Thoughts on new BRT corridors considered but not recommended:
-Would've been nice to have, but as an alternative I'd like the entire Route 11 upgraded to high frequency service.
-Disappointed and surprised Route 2 wasn't recommended for the aBRT upgrade, though I suppose if Route 2 is extended to connect with Southwest LRT it would be a big upgrade to aBRT for an area with very little ridership.
-Not too surprised. Hopefully Route 61 can eventually get higher frequency.
-Would've been nice, but hopefully Route 23 becomes part of the High Frequency Network.
-I wonder what the reasons were for not considering Route 515?
-How did Route 219 end up getting considered? Isn't that a pretty low ridership suburban local route? This is anecdotal but the one time I used it only 4 other people at most got on.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Tcmetro » August 13th, 2020, 9:25 pm

The 724 is a pretty busy line. It serves a bunch of apartment complexes on Zane which is the main source of ridership.

The Brooklyn Center Transit Center feels like a weird forced transfer. Before the mid/late 90s the 721/2/3/4 were all branches of the 5, the 801 didn't exist, the 717 was a branch of the 14, and the 19 didn't run to Brookdale. The 22 was the other route (besides the 5 and 14) that went to Brookdale. The Brooklyn Center routes were changed to shuttles because the 5 is really long and unreliable and because it was an opportunity to lower costs by using contractors. I think the Zane/63rd BRT would be an excellent extension of the C Line.

Not sure why the 54 came back on W 7th. I suppose they will probably remove it from the plan again if Riverview happens.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Silophant » August 14th, 2020, 7:00 am

Looks like adding the 63rd/Zane corridor to the C Line would make it ~14.5 miles long, which is still not quite as long as the almost 18 miles of the D Line. That does seem like a better choice than a forced transfer at BCTC, though I wonder how it would affect the charging situation for the electric buses, since a recharging layover mid-route is obviously not a great idea. Maybe additional chargers would be added at Starlite? The D Line would presumably still use the BCTC chargers, along with any eventual electric local buses.

Has anyone heard anything about how the electric buses are doing? I'm seeing them pretty frequently now downtown, but I'm also still seeing the cosplay C Line buses (standard artics with BRT livery) every so often, so I'm curious what's up with that, and if they're still planning to use them on the D Line when we eventually figure out how to fund it.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby mattaudio » August 14th, 2020, 11:05 am

Submitted this:
Members and staff of the Transportation Committee and TAB and representatives of the Cedar Ave corridor,

First, thank you for the work you are doing to plan the future of our transit network. I am enthusiastic about this work, particularly the benefit of increasing Arterial BRT corridors in our region.

I am reviewing the slides for the upcoming Network Next TAB update, and I am curious to understand the methodology to determine suitable BRT corridors for study. Specifically, I am curious why Cedar Avenue was not considered for study south of 35th Street.

The Cedar Avenue corridor south of 35th St is a prime candidate for ABRT for the following reasons among many others:

-The corridor serves transit-dependent populations in Phillips, Powderhorn, and Nokomis communities of Minneapolis.
-South of Lake Street, the Cedar Avenue corridor would provide substantial coverage of a "dead zone" of high-frequency transit coverage between the Blue Line and future D Line.
-This also aligns with Minneapolis Transportation Plan's first transit strategy: "Increase transit coverage so that 75% of city residents are located within a quarter mile and 90% of residents are located within a half mile to high frequency transit corridors."
-This corridor is also specifically noted in the Minneapolis TAP Action 1.6.
-The corridor would connect Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park, a regional destination, to the transit system.
-Cedar Avenue as a corridor has transit-supportive land uses south of 38th St, from countless naturally-occurring affordable apartments to a new 150-unit market rate building above a grocery store.
-Between the south edge of Minneapolis and MOA Transit Station, the corridor could serve Richfield's Cedar Point redevelopment district and their ongoing plans to redevelop the Richfield Parkway corridor.

Will there be a path to include the Cedar Avenue corridor south of 35th St for consideration in Arterial BRT and Network Next planning? I hope this study is reflective of the full universe of alternatives and investments available for consideration.

Respectfully,
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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Tiller » August 14th, 2020, 1:37 pm

I'm pretty sure the 54 bus/W 7th aBRT corridor is going to stay, and it's not because Riverview is canceled.

Towards the end of the Riverview alternatives analysis process, they had basically settled on needing 2 transit services in the corridor. One direct connection between downtown and the airport (LRT/Streetcar), while the other would serve the Ford Site (54 Bus/aBRT - probably terminating at 46th St Station).

Sorta how like the C Line was built on Olson (highway 55) with plans to relocate a couple stations to Glenwood if/when the Blue Line Extension got built.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby DanPatchToget » August 14th, 2020, 3:18 pm

I'm pretty sure the 54 bus/W 7th aBRT corridor is going to stay, and it's not because Riverview is canceled.

Towards the end of the Riverview alternatives analysis process, they had basically settled on needing 2 transit services in the corridor. One direct connection between downtown and the airport (LRT/Streetcar), while the other would serve the Ford Site (54 Bus/aBRT - probably terminating at 46th St Station).

Sorta how like the C Line was built on Olson (highway 55) with plans to relocate a couple stations to Glenwood if/when the Blue Line Extension got built.
That makes sense, and I think this is a suitable compromise for those who wanted Riverview routed through the Ford Site.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby alexschief » August 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm

I'm probably on the record on what I'd like to see from a full aBRT network more than most, but my first thoughts on this are mostly positive. I am glad overall that Metro Transit and the Met Council are really pushing forward the idea of a network of aBRT.

Five comments:

1. Nicollet and Central should be one route. I don't quite get the agency's continued reticence to establish this. Should be the next top priority, make it the F Line.

2. The C Line should be extended down Cedar. If the Blue Line Extension process chooses a new alignment down Broadway, this is pretty easily fixed. Just split the current Broadway/Cedar route, eliminate the Broadway section, and attach the Cedar section to the C Line.

3. The new proposed map still does not address the missing transit links between NE Minneapolis and Western St. Paul (or as I call it, "The Brasa-To-Brasa Gap"). I've written about the route that would fill in that missing piece, and I would like the Met Council to study it!

4. The 63rd Ave/Zane route makes no sense to me. There's transit demand in that area, and a link between the Brooklyn Center Transit Center and the future Bottineau LRT does make sense, but aBRT routes should be as direct and legible as possible, not a squiggly line.

5. The West 7th to WBA route, complete with loop-de-loop, is really a weird idea, again it violates a test of legibility. It also raises some odd questions about the Riverview process, besides the obvious "why the hell was the B Line cancelled???" question.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Silophant » September 2nd, 2020, 2:12 pm

Here's another Network Next aBRT update presentation, with a few more details this time. It confirms that the Rts 2 and 11 were removed from consideration due to their indirect route designs and, in the case of the Rt 2, limited potential to speed service, which I assume means that there's nothing they can really do about congestion when the road isn't wide enough for dedicated bus lanes. It also includes a ranking of corridors via their screening process:

1. Nicollet (Rt 18)
2. Franklin (Rt 2) (excluded)
3. Central (Rt 10)
4. W. Broadway/Cedar (Rt 22/14)
5. Como/Maryland (Rt 3/64?/80?)
6. 7th St (Rt. 54)
7. Randolph/7th (Rt. 74)
8. Johnson/Lyndale/Penn (Rt 4)
9. 2nd St NE (Rt 11) (excluded)
10. 63rd/Zane (Rt. 724)
11. Rice/Robert (Rt 62/68)
12. Grand (Rt 63)
13. Lowry (Rt 32)
14. 66th St (Rt 515)
15. 38th/Ford (Rt 23)
16. Hennepin/Larpenteur (Rt 61)
17. Century (Rt 219)
18. American (Rt 542)
19. Snelling/Lexington (Rt 225)


Unfortunately, there's no insight as to how they decided which existing routes to combine and which to leave as-is. Combining the 10 and 18 is the obvious no-brainer, but I also think they should look at the possibility of a Franklin aBRT that continues on Franklin across the river to University (maybe interlining with the Grand Ave/Rt 63 BRT?) and leaving the rump Rt 2 to run from the Franklin Ave LRT station to Old St Anthony as it is.

Looks like the intent of this current process is to select the F, G, and H lines. Since Minneapolis wound up with 3.5 of the first five lines, I suspect Regional Equity concerns will lead to two of these next three being primarily in St. Paul. Rice/Robert seemed most likely to me, but since it scored notably down the list, here's my prediction:

F Line - Como-Maryland
G Line - Nicollet-Central (if they continue to insist that these remain split, just Central, since South Minneapolis is chock-full of transit investments and NE has nothing)
H Line - Randolph/E 7th, unless Riverview looks imperiled for some reason.

We'll see!

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby trkaiser » September 2nd, 2020, 3:12 pm

Thank you for posting all that!

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby alexschief » September 2nd, 2020, 3:30 pm

I think Nicollet and Central are being split because the route envisioned for Central goes all the way up to the Canadian border.

A simple remedy for that would be to break it up. Run aBRT from American to the Columbia Heights Transit Center. Run a rump #10 bus from the CHTC to the Northtown Transit Center. Run a rump #18 bus from American to Burnsville Heart of the City Station. I think the travel and operational benefits from through-running Nicollet/Central aBRT (a route about the length of the D Line) really exceed the benefits from extending the aBRT routes to these further-flung destinations.

I'm a bit baffled by why the #2 route was eliminated but the 63rd Ave/Zane route was kept in. I am disappointed that the #11 route was not re-evaluated as a NE Mpls to a W St. Paul route, and no, I will not stop writing about this. I'm also surprised by the poor equity score for Rice/Robert. Rice Street is basically the only ACP not served by high capacity transit in the Twin Cities. I wouldn't mind it if political considerations won out and promoted that route.

If I were making the decisions:

F Line - Nicollet/Central
G Line - Robert/Rice
H Line - Randolph/E 7th (why wouldn't this connect to the 46th Street Station?)
...
J Line - Lyndale/Johnson
K Line - Lowry
L Line - Grand (why not tack on Arcade or Payne to this?)

I expect West Broadway and West 7th to be covered by LRT. I'm not super convinced that Como/Maryland is a high priority corridor, because the bulk of that route's existing ridership is accumulated close to the University and traveling small distances, and so the case for aBRT upgrades is not tremendously strong.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby MNdible » September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 am

What if the operational benefits of splitting the long aBRT pairs you all keep pushing for outweigh the benefits to the very small number of people who would actually continue along these routes, as opposed to the large majority having downtown as their destination or making a transfer to a different route?

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby alexschief » September 3rd, 2020, 9:51 am

What operational benefits do you have in mind?

Through-running is generally far more efficient operationally, because you cut in half the number of route ends, move them out of expensive or congested areas, and stop duplicating service downtown (which is not a single point, but an area with multiple stops and multiple destinations).

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Bakken2016 » September 3rd, 2020, 10:04 am

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/futurebu ... B7IAj9VwlQ

Metro Transit has posted a survey monkey for feedback on these new aBRT routes

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby MNdible » September 3rd, 2020, 10:50 am

One benefit is that small delays don't ripple into giant delays by the end of the route, with all of the bunching and other problems associated with it. It's also much easier to handle driver layovers, etc.

You can also respond to asymmetrical demand on the two routes (in both frequency and equipment deployed).

It also allows you to "double-up" service on the overlapping part of the two routes where demand is going to be heaviest.

The benefits of combining routes is that a very small number of people get single-seat rides, and it looks cooler on a map.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby alexschief » September 3rd, 2020, 11:24 am

One benefit is that small delays don't ripple into giant delays by the end of the route, with all of the bunching and other problems associated with it. It's also much easier to handle driver layovers, etc.

You can also respond to asymmetrical demand on the two routes (in both frequency and equipment deployed).

It also allows you to "double-up" service on the overlapping part of the two routes where demand is going to be heaviest.

The benefits of combining routes is that a very small number of people get single-seat rides, and it looks cooler on a map.
Delays are not a unique function of through-running, they are a function of route length and congestion. They're best fixed with bus lanes, transit priority signals, and the kind of boarding efficiencies and Real Time information sharing that the aBRT model includes. I'm confused by the idea that hub-and-spoke routes are better for driver layovers. I don't want to say never, but usually the worst place to layover drivers is in a CBD, where street space and real estate are both in short supply.

Asymmetrical demand is an issue that does cut against through-running, but it is not a factor in the Nicollet/Central discussion. If I were proposing a pairing of Nicollet and West River Road N, then yes, that would be a problem.

The issue of "doubling up" actually works against your argument here, because the issue in downtown Minneapolis is bus congestion, not a lack of buses. If I want to take a bus down Nicollet from the Central Library to Peavey Plaza at normal hours, a bus comes every minute that makes that trip, but it's going to be a slow trip, because my bus might have to wait behind several other buses. There's no need to duplicate that service with both the #10 and the #18. That duplicate service is an efficiency that can be trimmed to save money and reduce delays on Nicollet Mall, not a feature that must be closely guarded.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby Tcmetro » September 3rd, 2020, 11:53 am

Metro Transit has broken up routes in the past because length affects reliability. Most recently, the #4 trips were separated at rush hour to begin and end downtown. Since Covid happened, that practice has stopped.

Other routes have been trimmed in the past. Route 10 used to operate along Nicollet and Grand to 46th. Route 18 used to operate along 2nd St NE to Columbia Heights.

The general pattern is that thru-routes are used to reduce operational needs, but that Metro Transit has attempted to shift high-volume routes away from thru-routing.

A good example of thru-routing only serving operational needs is the #5. The majority of the time I've taken it, everyone gets off at Nicollet Mall and new riders get on.

Thru-routing will never serve a significant amount of trips because the chances of needing to go from one corridor to another on the other side of the city are low. Most trips are local in a neighborhood unless it's a work/school/shopping mall trip.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby alexschief » September 3rd, 2020, 4:16 pm

Thru-routing will never serve a significant amount of trips because the chances of needing to go from one corridor to another on the other side of the city are low. Most trips are local in a neighborhood unless it's a work/school/shopping mall trip.
Of the post above, this is my only point of disagreement.

With railroad operations, where the case for through-running is especially strong, many cities have found that there is meaningful travel demand between locations that are not in the city core. Obviously this is particularly the case in truly polycentric cities like Paris, but I wouldn't see why it would not be present to some degree in Minneapolis as well.

The problem is that Metro Transit's bus system is not obviously not on the same plain as the RER. aBRT doesn't close that gap, but it certainly provides a significantly higher quality of service that would open up a great number of trips that previously weren't convenient.

For instance, a resident of North Minneapolis who catches the #5 bus at Lowry would sit on that bus for well over an hour to reach a job at the Mall of America, and actually may get there faster if they transfer to the Blue Line. With travel time savings of 20%, that trip direct on the D Line would be cut to just under an hour. Potential trips that are shorter than that (say, a nurse in North Minneapolis who works at Abbott Hospital), also benefit. I have a hard time saying "thru-routing will never serve a significant amount of trips..." because the system as it is today is simply does not operate for it to be convenient, so there's no surprise that few benefits are realized.

The system also isn't designed for it. If I lived along Central, for instance, I would have no easy access to Lake Street. Just to pick two points out, if I wanted to travel from 612 Brewing to Merlin's Rest bar, it would take me three vehicles and nearly an hour. These trips simply aren't being made by transit today, because the system serves downtown trips to the exclusion of anything else. Is that exact trip a common trip being made in the city? Of course not. But the majority of trips are everywhere-to-everywhere trips, and without building a grid of routes, you'll never, ever capture them.

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Re: Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Postby DanPatchToget » September 3rd, 2020, 9:29 pm

Is it really a deal breaker for a Nicollet-Central aBRT to be a couple miles longer than the D Line? My main concern with this route is the Central Avenue segment where it crosses the Canadian Pacific tracks at-grade. Just one train could really screw up the schedule, and there's no plans for grade-separation.


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