Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Tcmetro
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Tcmetro » May 1st, 2021, 9:50 am

A presentation has been posted about the results of the Highway 36 Transit Study.

The recommendation for the short-term (0-2 years) is to study and contract an on-demand transit service in the Stillwater-Oak Park Heights-Bayport area and to continue transit, biking, and ped infrastructure in the corridor.

For the mid-term (3-5 years) the recommendation is to further scope transit improvements, identify funding, set up governance, and monitor needs for peak-period express service.

The mid-term recommendation is also to develop:
  • A high-frequency service (10-15 mins) between Downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and Maplewood Mall.
  • A lower frequency service (30 mins) between Maplewood Mall and the Stillwater-Oak Park Heights-Bayport area.
  • Continue to evaluate the needs for peak-period express service in the corridor.
There's a few things that jump out to me about the study:
  • The recommendation for the high-frequency service wholly lies within Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, even though the study was conducted by Washington County. It sounds like it is going to be dependent on those counties having interest in developing transit in the corridor.
  • Washington County should evaluate connecting the Stillwater area to the Gold Line. There isn't much transit in the county currently, so a broader analysis might find that different or additional connections should be added.
  • The study presentation (we don't have any detailed results yet) doesn't seem to show that Stillwater needs a direct bus connection to Minneapolis. I think that is already shown by the lack of an existing route and also the sheer distance between the two cities.
  • A Highway 36 BRT could take advantage of transit investments that are completed or underway. A BRT route that follows the recommended service between Minneapolis and Maplewood Mall could take advantage of bus lanes and stops in Downtown Minneapolis for the arterial BRT network, the Washington Ave LRT/Bus lanes, the U of M Transitway, the Rosedale Transit Center, the 36/Rice Park and Ride, and the Rush Line between English/36 and Maplewood Mall. The major investments would be in the additional buses (which may not be needed if peak service levels contract due to more working from home) and paying operational costs for additional service.
Here is the project webpage:
https://www.co.washington.mn.us/36transit

Here is the project presentation:
https://hw36transit.wpengine.com/

mamundsen
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby mamundsen » May 1st, 2021, 10:20 am

I’m questioning how this will be different from rt 270? Pre-Covid the schedule was 10-15 frequency during peak hours. As far as connecting to the U, I see the time loss to go down 280 and cut though the U as a big negative that will have Minneapolis riders upset. A transfer to the future E line will better serve those wanting to go to the U.

With this study and Rush line pointing at Maplewood Mall as a key point, I hope this drives mixed use redevelopment of the parking lots and vacant big box, a road diet on White Bear Ave, and better bike and ped connections to the neighborhoods. I live 1.1 mile from the transit center but in current conditions would NEVER walk or bike in this area.

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Tiller
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Tiller » May 1st, 2021, 2:36 pm

As of now the Park and Ride at the Maplewood Mall is basically empty. Express bus service ridership has cratered throughout the metro.

They're talking about a limited-stop service along highway 36 from the Maplewood Mall to Downtown Minneapolis. It basically sounds like what was studied (and was projected to have high ridership) in the original Highway Transitway Corridor Study, except it ends at the Maplewood Mall instead of Hadley Ave, and it gets downtown via the U of M campus.

None of this is final in any way though, because this project will require buy-in from local policy makers all along highway 36, including in Hennepin and Ramsey County. So expect lots of process.

Trademark
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Trademark » May 1st, 2021, 4:41 pm

I’m questioning how this will be different from rt 270? Pre-Covid the schedule was 10-15 frequency during peak hours. As far as connecting to the U, I see the time loss to go down 280 and cut though the U as a big negative that will have Minneapolis riders upset. A transfer to the future E line will better serve those wanting to go to the U.

With this study and Rush line pointing at Maplewood Mall as a key point, I hope this drives mixed use redevelopment of the parking lots and vacant big box, a road diet on White Bear Ave, and better bike and ped connections to the neighborhoods. I live 1.1 mile from the transit center but in current conditions would NEVER walk or bike in this area.
A station at University/4th street to connect to the E line and the Quarry on 35W would be nice to see. They could serve as future connections for 35W brt north too. (Although considering all the reconstruction happening now I'd have to say is doubtful happening)

DanPatchToget
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby DanPatchToget » May 1st, 2021, 6:48 pm

Scenario 2 is the best to me, though I prefer BRT being routed on 35W North and have an online station at University/4th like Trademark mentioned.

Considering how liberal our region is with using the term BRT, I'm skeptical this would be anything close to actual BRT instead of something like the Red Line.

Trademark
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Trademark » May 1st, 2021, 9:45 pm

If only there was a connection from 35W northbound to the 3rd Street mini freeway. 3rd Street and 4th Street would work really well for an East-West alternative to MARQ2. With two lanes of bus only traffic and a connection on the west side of town too to the freeway.

Tcmetro
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Tcmetro » May 2nd, 2021, 6:38 am

Isn't it simpler to continue to use the 3rd/Central to University/4th St routing? I imagine that it's pretty competitive to any east-west routing through downtown and eliminates the need for another freeway station.

Trademark
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby Trademark » May 2nd, 2021, 7:52 am

Isn't it simpler to continue to use the 3rd/Central to University/4th St routing? I imagine that it's pretty competitive to any east-west routing through downtown and eliminates the need for another freeway station.
It does limit people who want to go to downtown anywhere east of Hennepin though. I imagine more traffic wants to go there than to go in that part of Northeast. Plus being able to handle game day traffic from the US Bank stadium would be nice.

twincitizen
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Re: Highway Transitway Corridor Study

Postby twincitizen » May 3rd, 2021, 3:14 pm

Since we're now talking about the inner portion of a 35W/36 route, watch this link for updates on MnDOT's new "35W North Gateway" study from Park Ave. in Minneapolis to Co. Rd. C in Roseville. If there were ever an opportunity to have an early impact on where potential freeway BRT stations would be added to the corridor, it's probably through this public process. Obviously this is something that will take many years to plan, fund, and build, but with freeway-running BRT, station locations are pretty much limited to where you've already got bridges, connecting bus routes, etc. This MnDOT process won't identify a specific type of transit service or stations, but it will set the table for future decisions on lanes, bridge locations, etc. I don't expect that any freeway BRT on this route will have that many stations inside Mpls city limits (not including downtown terminus), so it's pretty important that they get the stations right. On a curvy, tightly constricted corridor like 35W through Northeast Mpls, I think we want to have a good idea pretty early on of where in-line BRT stations are / are not possible.


EDIT: Of course after typing all that I open the Washington County study to see that they propose to avoid 35W altogether by using 36>280>UMN Transitway>Green Line Transitway (Washington Ave SE) to get into downtown. That's different...but might be crazy enough to work(?) It doesn't address the need for all-day high-frequency transit between downtown>Quarry>Rosedale area, but it does a different thing seemingly very efficiently (and maybe with better ridership?) More ways to get people onto campus from different parts of the metro without their cars is always a good thing. The lesson learned from the Green Line is never underestimate the demand for transit service going through the heart of campus. Also, it makes sense to more fully utilize these transit corridors through campus. Another reason I don't hate it is that it could still interline with the Orange Line, if that's something Metro Transit wants to do. The Orange Line could turn right onto Washington (or reestablish transit lanes on 3rd/4th Streets), continuing on as this new line.

Final thought: this actually good BRT line is probably resigned to dying on the vine because it is basically 100% Ramsey County's baby now. While it would serve the U and downtown, it's basically using existing transitways in Minneapolis / Hennepin County. Maybe some new station platforms downtown; I could see this get extended up Washington Avenue and sharing platforms with the planned Route 3 aBRT. Why do I see this dying as a Ramsey project? Mainly because it would be taking a back seat to Riverview and Rush Line, and neither of those projects are far enough along that county commissioners will enthusiastically add another one to the queue.


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