Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Bakken2016
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Bakken2016 » May 21st, 2021, 2:58 pm

Recommended Connecting Plan has been posted.

https://www.metrotransit.org/metro-oran ... us-service

DanPatchToget
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby DanPatchToget » May 21st, 2021, 4:45 pm

My thoughts:

501/515-I like the new simplified routing of the 515, and I'm glad they kept service to the air cargo facilities at the airport.

534-I know it would be pushing the limits of how far urban local routes can go, but I still believe just extending the Route 4 branches down Lyndale and Penn would be better. Long time ago the 539 served Poplar Bridge Road and that didn't work out, so we'll see if the 534 has better luck. Should've just made the 534 a circulator with buses continuing on 98th from Normandale College to South Bloomington TC so then getting to/from Normandale College via the Orange Line should be really easy.

537-Glad they're bringing this back, though I would've preferred a branch of Route 6 being extended into Bloomington. I hope eventually this gets boosted to 30 minute frequency and weekend service.

539/546-I like the simplified route of the 539 and its frequency improvements, though I wish it kept going to Normandale Village. I assume the 546 is mainly intended as an additional service for students getting between Normandale College and South Bloomington TC, but it would've been nice to have it go all the way to MOA via the 539's routing or somewhere beyond South Bloomington TC.

540/542-I like the simplified routings, but I really don't see 542 service west of Bush Lake Road staying long-term. Great job by SouthWest Transit for gatekeeping, you really showed Metro Transit who's boss. :roll: And before anyone mentions SouthWest's service along 494, it's $4-6 on SouthWest versus $2-2.50 on Metro Transit's local service. Likely not a huge difference if you're a choice rider, but if you're on low-income and/or transit dependent then it can be a big difference.

547/548-Good luck convincing former 597 riders to use this and a transfer to the Orange Line.

tmart
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby tmart » May 21st, 2021, 8:45 pm

I remain very skeptical that either walk-ups or local (low-frequency) bus transfers will be a significant source of ridership, so it's not a great sign that there's only one high-frequency route on that entire map. But to clarify, I'm not criticizing the plan or the planners; I'm not sure I could come up with a better plan without a jump in funding.

The 515 connection might make this the fastest way to get Downtown from Southdale or certain nodes in Richfield, so that's a start, anyway. And I guess the 21/future B Line aren't pictured, so that's two stations with effective feeders.

Bakken2016
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Bakken2016 » May 21st, 2021, 11:06 pm

We really need the 542 to extend into EP to SWS. It’s only a matter of time before the LRT starts operating in their zone, and MT already operates in MVTA’s zone. We need to move to a regional outlook on these things. Fine, keep the opt outs, but the opt outs need to cooperate with MT.


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Tcmetro
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Tcmetro » May 22nd, 2021, 8:13 am

The new plan is much better than the old one. A lot of the routes have added frequency, and the new 534/537/539/546 network serves Bloomington a lot better than the old 534/536/539 concept.
  • The concept plan 534 has been extended along American to Penn to serve the west side of Bloomington, then going on 90th and Poplar Bridge, ending at Normandale Community College.
  • The concept plan 536 is replaced by the new 546, which is functionally the SW portion of the current 539. The concept plan brought those riders up Penn to the American Blvd Orange Line, while the new plan takes riders to the 98th St Orange Line.
  • The new 7 replaces the 515E to the VA by sending peak hour trips from 66th to the VA then back on 62 to 34th Ave. It's quite a strange operation but keeps the VA riders without affecting too many riders.
  • The new 501 is interesting as well. MT used to have #14 service to the air cargo terminals at shift change times (including an owl trip) but it was cut very quickly. MT notes that the owl shift change won't be served due to a lack of connecting service, but other shifts will be. One of the struggles of providing infrequent fixed-route service to these types of facilities is the variable shift end times. If work gets out early, one might have to sit around for an hour or two waiting for the bus, and if work gets out late, you're walking. The benefit of this service is that it is really cheap to operate, and I wouldn't be surprised if it uses buses that would otherwise deadhead to/from MOA and South Garage.
  • 515 is being restored to 15-minute frequency, instead of the 20-minute frequency mentioned in the concept plan.
  • The new 534 has weekend service and a better span of service compared to the concept 534/536.
  • 537 is restored instead of remaining suspended.
  • 538 is improved to 30 min midday compared to the current/concept 30-60 min schedule.
  • 540 is improved to 30 min Saturday compared to the current 90 min and concept 30-60 min.
  • 542 is rerouted to 84th St between France and Stanley and midday service is added, every 30 min.

Hero
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Hero » May 23rd, 2021, 11:05 pm

I wish they would have done more for south Minneapolis. A stop at Franklin or 38th would have been nice or even increased frequency on route 46. I think the Orange line could have been better.

Bakken2016
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Bakken2016 » May 23rd, 2021, 11:09 pm

I wish they would have done more for south Minneapolis. A stop at Franklin or 38th would have been nice or even increased frequency on route 46. I think the Orange line could have been better.
Before Covid happened the 46 was part of the upgrades, it got cut unfortunately. At one point there were talked of a 38th Station, but it got NIMBYIED out.


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Hero
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Hero » May 23rd, 2021, 11:21 pm

I have a friend who lives near 35W and 38th who was disappointing he wasn't going to have a station nearby. I wonder if a station at 38th would pass today.

tmart
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby tmart » May 24th, 2021, 12:04 am

I have a friend who lives near 35W and 38th who was disappointing he wasn't going to have a station nearby. I wonder if a station at 38th would pass today.
The Orange Line is a bit of an unusual beast. It's been in the works in some form or another for over 15 years; the planning was done by MNDot (i.e., highway builders), not Metro Transit, the Met Council, or Hennepin County; the mode (BRT instead of LRT) was dictated by the State Legislature before any study was actually undertaken; and so on.

I'd like to imagine we learned some lessons in the last 15 years and would have built a better, more inclusive project if we were planning it from scratch today. OTOH, I won't be that surprised if the upcoming "Rethinking I-94" project just ends up being something eerily similar: a full reconstruction of the highway, an added toll lane, an inline bus station at Snelling Ave, and maybe one new pedestrian bridge, but otherwise really nothing changing between the Downtowns.

Trademark
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Trademark » May 24th, 2021, 12:34 am

I have a friend who lives near 35W and 38th who was disappointing he wasn't going to have a station nearby. I wonder if a station at 38th would pass today.
The Orange Line is a bit of an unusual beast. It's been in the works in some form or another for over 15 years; the planning was done by MNDot (i.e., highway builders), not Metro Transit, the Met Council, or Hennepin County; the mode (BRT instead of LRT) was dictated by the State Legislature before any study was actually undertaken; and so on.

I'd like to imagine we learned some lessons in the last 15 years and would have built a better, more inclusive project if we were planning it from scratch today. OTOH, I won't be that surprised if the upcoming "Rethinking I-94" project just ends up being something eerily similar: a full reconstruction of the highway, an added toll lane, an inline bus station at Snelling Ave, and maybe one new pedestrian bridge, but otherwise really nothing changing between the Downtowns.
At least public transit wise I don't think a brt between the downtowns needs more than that. Although an online station needs to be a thing not jus an online station. If it goes in new MnPass lanes and has all day frequency without the express rate it will make crosstown transit so much better. I still hope it can interline with the Gold line

Hero
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Hero » May 24th, 2021, 11:32 pm

Maybe if the Orange line is extended north we can build some more south Minneapolis stations.

BoredAgain
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby BoredAgain » May 25th, 2021, 1:56 pm

I have a friend who lives near 35W and 38th who was disappointing he wasn't going to have a station nearby. I wonder if a station at 38th would pass today.
I live about equidistant from the Lake Street stop and a hypothetical 38th street stop. Personally, I would have used the 38th Street stop almost all of the time. 38th doesn't have freeway ramps, so the street is much more pleasant and lower traffic than Lake, but it is still an important East/West thoroughfare with a bus line and lots of businesses. It would have been a great location. Maybe someday.

MNdible
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby MNdible » May 25th, 2021, 2:23 pm

FWIW, the original plan to add 38th Street as a BRT stop also included shifting the freeway ramps from 35th/36th to 38th.

Oreos&Milk
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Oreos&Milk » May 25th, 2021, 2:30 pm

I have a friend who lives near 35W and 38th who was disappointing he wasn't going to have a station nearby. I wonder if a station at 38th would pass today.
The Orange Line is a bit of an unusual beast. It's been in the works in some form or another for over 15 years; the planning was done by MNDot (i.e., highway builders), not Metro Transit, the Met Council, or Hennepin County; the mode (BRT instead of LRT) was dictated by the State Legislature before any study was actually undertaken; and so on.

I'd like to imagine we learned some lessons in the last 15 years and would have built a better, more inclusive project if we were planning it from scratch today. OTOH, I won't be that surprised if the upcoming "Rethinking I-94" project just ends up being something eerily similar: a full reconstruction of the highway, an added toll lane, an inline bus station at Snelling Ave, and maybe one new pedestrian bridge, but otherwise really nothing changing between the Downtowns.
Instead of a Snelling station wouldn’t Pascal st. Station hold more value? The roadway is less car focused and has bike lanes already. Plus more redevelopment opportunities closer to the station

I remember walking south on Snelling from the green line station and feeling like I was walking on the shoulder instead of an actual sidewalk. I doubt many transfers would exist here but have a nice wide trail/sidewalk around the stadium would be a much better experience even if it was a few more steps.

I just think that cub would be itching to be part of a redevelopment to get a new urban redesign plus a whole lot of residents upstairs who are easy to make them brand loyal due to location and a fresh design alone.

Mdcastle
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby Mdcastle » May 25th, 2021, 9:08 pm

MnDOT may have dictated the BRT choice, but what other options did they have? After the 1980s Billion dollars I-35E to Washington Ave reconstruction of I-35W with light rail was scuttled, the highway still needed reconstruction so they started doing pieces as they had money available. 76th to north of 66th including the 66th street overpass was cemented in with 60 year concrete by the time the idea of transit on I-35W was being talked about again, and the 66th to 46th section was in the design phase and there wasn't political appetite for delaying it again to see if we might want to build light rail instead of the HOT lanes someday.

I do agree that an added HOT lane is the likely outcome for I-94, probably with some added caps. Right now I-94 is mostly three through lanes with some very, very long (the entire corridor except for under Snelling and parts of the Minneapolis end) auxiliary lanes. If they stitch together the pieces as a fourth, continuous outside lane to offset converting the inside lane to HOT, they can talk out both sides of their mouth, saying they're not (really) expanding the highway, and the political firestorm that would result. And they're not (really) taking away lanes from people driving solo, and the political firestorm that would result.

tmart
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby tmart » May 25th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Instead of a Snelling station wouldn’t Pascal st. Station hold more value? The roadway is less car focused and has bike lanes already. Plus more redevelopment opportunities closer to the station

I remember walking south on Snelling from the green line station and feeling like I was walking on the shoulder instead of an actual sidewalk. I doubt many transfers would exist here but have a nice wide trail/sidewalk around the stadium would be a much better experience even if it was a few more steps.
Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have taken official positions supporting a station on Snelling with a transfer to the A Line. I think sidewalk improvements (to the bridge and the surrounding street) would be important to bringing in (non-transfer) riders, and it's at least consistent with the principles MnDOT laid out for "rethinking" I-94. But it would also be a big departure from what we got around the Orange Line stations.

alexschief
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby alexschief » May 26th, 2021, 8:28 am

Snelling is super unpleasant for a pedestrian, but it's where the greatest travel demand is and is likely to be in the future, and stopping there would make a METRO-to-METRO connection with the A Line.

twincitizen
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby twincitizen » May 26th, 2021, 1:09 pm

Replying to some thoughts upthread about why a 38th St station wasn't considered in the current* 35W/OL project, and how that might relate to planning for a 94 BRT between the downtowns.

One of the reasons (if not THE reason), is because our (Met Council's) transportation policy plan used to say that ideal freeway BRT station spacing is every 2 miles. That language has since been updated to say 1/2 mile to 2 miles (LRT is 1/2 mile to 1 mile, FWIW). Now, with I-94 between the downtowns, it seems likely to stop only at Snelling and no other intermediate stops, even though that would clearly exceed the 2-mile spacing standards. With the Green Line running just a 1/4 mile to the north of the corridor, that seems fine. If you need local stops, the Green Line is there. If you need a super quick ride between the downtowns, the BRT will do that, with a quick stop at Snelling to hit that A Line transfer (and hopefully, tons of development within walking distance of either side of 94).

*MNdible and Bakken are correct that once upon a time there was a plan to consolidate the 35th/36th ramps at 38th, along with a BRT station, and it did face substantial neighborhood opposition. But that was in the early 2000s, during what was technically a totally separate planning process. Planning for the "current" project picked up again around 2010-2011, and the planning effort was led by Hennepin County rather than MnDOT. The current project never even considered a station at 38th, nor moving the ramps away from 35th/36th. I can only speculate, but I'm guessing that was a combination of cost-cutting and not wanting to pick at a then-somewhat fresh wound at 38th from the previous round of planning. Another piece that was dropped in the name of cost savings was a northbound 35W entrance ramp from Lake St. I believe the current project is being built in such a way that it could still be added someday. That said, I believe there won't be any appetite to touch this segment of 35W for at least 15-20 years. Since they just redid all of the bridges and ramps at 35th/36th, that goes for any hopes of a station at 38th as well. I wouldn't hold my breath.

fehler
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby fehler » May 26th, 2021, 1:27 pm

I can't see a downtown/downtown BRT not having stops at both Snelling and Huron, at least.

twincitizen
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Re: Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Postby twincitizen » May 26th, 2021, 1:46 pm

While Huron is attractive for obvious reasons, keep in mind that BRT will be operating in center HOT lanes on 94, not shoulders, and for that reason won't be stopping anywhere that there isn't an online station like 46th on the Orange Line. ROW in the 94 corridor is pretty tight, and there's a lot of political pressure to not "expand" the freeway.

So with the Snelling bridge over 94 being so new, I assume it will not be replaced again anytime soon. Is it actually feasible to plug-in a 46th-like station to the existing bridge, without it being planned explicitly for that? I don’t recall hearing anything about it being built “BRT-ready” or whatever. Is the 94 BRT going to be damned to exit the highway, as Route 94 does today and the Orange Line will at 66th St? Because that would be really unfortunate, especially since the bus would have to weave from the HOT lanes to exit. Sure hope it’s the former and not the latter.

Also, we have an I-94 thread viewtopic.php?f=18&t=84. Might move these posts over there since we've kinda moved beyond talking about the Orange Line.


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