Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Bakken2016
Rice Park
Posts: 423
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 12:40 pm
Location: North Loop

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby Bakken2016 » November 2nd, 2020, 12:34 pm

There is the first policy advisory committee meeting for this project on Thursday. It is open to the public, and there is possibly a time for public comment. I'm definitely going to listen in, but I hope that some folks who actually might hold some sway will be inspired to call in and tell Ramsey County that this project will be a joke unless it gets the full LRT treatment.

Link here: https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/r ... ngs-events
Look at that I’m free during this meeting. I’ll make sure to make my opinion known that this should be full LRT.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

NickP
Rice Park
Posts: 428
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 5:00 pm

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby NickP » November 2nd, 2020, 5:37 pm

I will try and be there as well!

grant1simons2
IDS Center
Posts: 4251
Joined: February 8th, 2014, 11:33 pm
Location: Marcy-Holmes

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby grant1simons2 » November 5th, 2020, 12:25 pm

How'd it go??

Bakken2016
Rice Park
Posts: 423
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 12:40 pm
Location: North Loop

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby Bakken2016 » November 5th, 2020, 12:27 pm

How'd it go??
I forgot to attend 🙃

NickP
Rice Park
Posts: 428
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 5:00 pm

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby NickP » November 5th, 2020, 6:46 pm

Me too. Damnit lol

bubzki2
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 753
Joined: September 19th, 2012, 5:38 pm
Location: Snelling-Hamline

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby bubzki2 » November 9th, 2020, 4:21 pm

I attended. They are still keeping the bus option on the backburner! Someone did voice support of a more LRT-like arrangement with more dedicated ROW. Sounds very early yet in the process.

Bakken2016
Rice Park
Posts: 423
Joined: September 20th, 2017, 12:40 pm
Location: North Loop

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby Bakken2016 » November 9th, 2020, 4:24 pm

I attended. They are still keeping the bus option on the backburner! Someone did voice support of a more LRT-like arrangement with more dedicated ROW. Sounds very early yet in the process.
I just don’t see BRT as an actual improvement in this corridor, LRT with dedicated ROW should really only be the path forward.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1443
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby Tcmetro » November 9th, 2020, 4:44 pm

The original arterial BRT study that was done in 2012 said the 54 bus would see only a two minute improvement. Pretty much from going to all door boarding. The stops would be a lot nicer too, I suppose.

I'm not sure that the light rail will be materially faster than the bus, but it will allow St Paul to get to Fort Snelling and Terminal 2 directly by transit. Hoping the off-7th route ends up being preferred!

alexschief
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 681
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 11:35 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby alexschief » November 10th, 2020, 8:06 am

I think the average time is a poor measure. Like most streets, West 7th doesn't often traffic delays too often. But when it does, at rush hour and in bad weather, that's when transit should have a built-in advantage, and when it benefits society the most to have people riding transit. So building a big expensive train that gets stuck in traffic would defeat the point completely.

I remember a day a year or two ago when I went to the Keg and Case Market with a friend. It started snowing. It took almost 45 minutes to drive into downtown St. Paul because traffic was moving slowly and in single file down West 7th. After a little bit of time downtown, we took the Green Line to downtown Minneapolis. It took almost 45 minutes... because that's how long it takes. Was a perfect illustration of the importance of dedicated right-of-way.

I am hopeful that if we get a good USDOT secretary or FTA head, they will put an end to federal money for streetcar projects, which have been such a waste of money and time across this country.

mamundsen
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1130
Joined: November 15th, 2012, 10:01 am

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby mamundsen » November 10th, 2020, 10:33 am

I've always said the CP Spur is such a NO BRAINER, I am amazed that they are trying to squeeze this into W 7th.

If they chose to shift to the CP Spur and dedicated ROW for the river crossing, could we see this shift from "modern streetcar" to LRT?

alexschief
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 681
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 11:35 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby alexschief » November 10th, 2020, 11:13 am

If you believe that transit should go (1) where people live, (2) with as direct a route as possible, then West 7th is the route that makes sense.

Let's be clear here, the issue isn't that West 7th is too narrow for transit. The issue is that West 7th is too narrow for transit without taking away some space from cars. The problem isn't technical, it's political. If Ramsey County were to actually prioritize the success of their $2B transit investment, instead of trying to please everyone by splitting the baby, then the answer to this difficulty would be clear.

seanrichardryan
Capella Tower
Posts: 3933
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 9:33 pm
Location: Merriam Park, St. Paul
Contact:

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby seanrichardryan » November 10th, 2020, 12:39 pm

Eh, W7th has some unique aspects in terms of block spacing and intersections due to the angle of the street that would really get mucked up with LRT down the middle. If we're looking to have a more pedestrian focused corridor, cutting off N-S access to residents isn't the way to do it.
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

alexschief
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 681
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 11:35 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby alexschief » November 10th, 2020, 12:58 pm

Sure, that's true. But those aren't the reason why the project study chose the modern streetcar over LRT, and those weren't fatal to the West 7th alignment in the project study.

We need to separate engineering challenges which can usually be overcome, from political challenges which actually drive the decisions on the project.

The project study chose the correct corridor, but let political objections about the alignment dictate the mode. The correct order is the reverse, the corridor dictates the mode, and the mode dictates the alignment.

BigIdeasGuy
Union Depot
Posts: 301
Joined: March 27th, 2013, 8:22 am

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby BigIdeasGuy » November 10th, 2020, 2:27 pm

I've also interrupted the the Committee using Streetcar vs LRT as solely political decision by the PAC compared to a technical one. All indications is that the corridor is going use all the same specs as the Blue & Green line, with the only modification being the number of cars per train. Quite frankly if it takes calling the project a streetcar vs LRT to get it built, I don't that matters in the slightest.

As for dedicated ROW the I think the only part of the where that should be an issue is between Smith and Toronto on W7. Using Smith Ave between the X and The Salvation Army building has always made the most sense to me. Plus it avoids the area where a shared ROW would have been the biggest pain just south of the X, especially post event. Then slip into CP Spur ROW at Toronto St. gets you all the way to St. Paul Ave/Davern area where you have options (maybe Stewart to Norfork?), cross the river on new bridge and tie into the Blue Line north of Fort Snelling.

alexschief
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 681
Joined: November 12th, 2015, 11:35 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby alexschief » November 10th, 2020, 2:55 pm

The primary differentiation between "modern streetcar" and "light rail" is the right-of-way. That they will use the same vehicle is expected. The Green Line uses a version of the Siemens S70 model, which is alternately billed as a streetcar or as light rail depending on who is buying it. The length of the trains is only a concern to the extent that the project may build shorter platforms that might make expansion more difficult.

But the right-of-way is really the essential factor. It's important not just for riders of this line, but for riders of the other two LRT lines, who may face delays if the Riverview line arrives at inconsistent times due to traffic delay, and causes cascading delays throughout the system. Again, we can all crayon in one complicated route or another, but the easiest solution is just to keep the train on West 7th and take away street parking. That's the simple solution. The reasons not to take that option are purely short-term political considerations.

uptownbro
Metrodome
Posts: 71
Joined: February 10th, 2020, 11:00 pm

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby uptownbro » November 10th, 2020, 3:11 pm

I will never understand the political push back to the words "light rail" but if calling it a street car means it passes and gets built I couldn't care less. Yes its not perfect but it will build a direct line from the airport to downtown st paul.

DanPatchToget
Foshay Tower
Posts: 808
Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby DanPatchToget » November 10th, 2020, 4:52 pm

I refuse to call it a streetcar because of the simple fact that only a short segment of the overall route is proposed to be mixed-traffic while the rest is dedicated ROW. Riverview is, and always will be (assuming it's built in the proposed form) a streetcar-light rail hybrid, and trying to use a different term for simplicity and/or political reasons is dangerous and can lead to confusion in my opinion. With that said I do believe it should be dedicated ROW for the whole route, or at the very least built in a way to easily convert the short mixed-traffic segment into dedicated ROW later on.

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1521
Joined: September 29th, 2012, 10:41 am

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby talindsay » November 11th, 2020, 11:41 am

To misquote Shakespeare, a streetcar by any other name would smell as sweet.

The semantics are just that, semantics. Toronto has some "streetcars" that operate more effectively than our "light rail", with their own ROW and nice station amenities. Meanwhile, the St Louis "light rail" has drivers that interact with passengers and wait for people. In Brussels there's a "premetro" tunnel that has "streetcars" operating in a configuration that looks just like what we call a subway; Helsinki has "streetcars" that operate like buses. The Barcelona "trams" would definitely be called light rail here, as would the Amsterdam ones.

A distinction without difference is meaningless. The thing is that just like with bus service, rail service can operate anywhere from a fully grade-separated ultra-high-amenity "subway" to a stop-on-demand, no-amenity "trolley" and everything in between.

Our region has been so hung up on distinct classes of rail service that they've failed to adapt to specific situations and get things built. I've been excited about this proposal as proposed precisely because it breaks those unnecessary categorizations. A line that operates as what we call "light rail" for 90% of its length but runs in mixed traffic for 10% is totally reasonable for our population density patterns, and it makes a lot of sense in this corridor. Our light rail lines are made unnecessarily expensive by the way they package the language around them. Is it likely they'll ultimately want to make it 100% grade separated for service reliability? Of course. But get the tracks in the ground and get the service running sooner, and make those upgrades when use justifies it, and we'll have the benefit of the line's existence for all the years in between. This line has been missing for twenty years while people debated around specific levels of service. A 90% mixed-traffic "trolley" built 20 years ago would have been serving the public for the last twenty years.

DanPatchToget
Foshay Tower
Posts: 808
Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby DanPatchToget » November 11th, 2020, 11:48 am

Off topic, but I wonder if Siemens is developing or has developed a S70 model that can operate off-wire via batteries. I think it should be looked at for Riverview in which trains operate via overhead wires where they're already installed on the Blue and Green Line, and off-wire along West 7th. Less OCS to build and maintain, and in theory less cost.

tmart
Union Depot
Posts: 382
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Riverview Corridor Streetcar

Postby tmart » November 11th, 2020, 12:51 pm

With that said I do believe it should be dedicated ROW for the whole route, or at the very least built in a way to easily convert the short mixed-traffic segment into dedicated ROW later on.
This is where I am as well; I'll support this project if it meets that bar and oppose it otherwise. From now on I'm just going to call it a "tram" because I'm tired of trying to classify this project more specifically than that :P

So, to look more specifically at the corridor, my understanding is that the only really challenging segment to achieve this is 35E to Ann St; everything else has 2+ car lanes each way, sometimes even with parking. So from 35E to Ann we have 3 car lanes (1 each way + a two-way turn lane) plus parking on each side.

I guess there are some creative alternatives we could look into but in general I think we'd keep one car lane each way and so the big questions center on the impact on parking and the impact on left turns. With a center-running tramway, we could probably retain parking on one side, but left turns would have to be banned almost everywhere (except maybe at a few intersections with special signals). With trams in the outer lanes, we could keep left turns throughout the corridor but would have to remove parking entirely.

My preference is on center-running, first and foremost because it has the least interference from right turns/taxis/etc.

Given that parking is unmetered here, I don't see a really compelling case that we need two lanes of parking along the entire route. The demand just isn't high. I do think that keeping that space around on one side--using some combination of meters, a 15 min limit, a loading zone concept, etc--could be useful, so that's a point in favor of center-running.

As far as left turns go, it would be a culture change from "turn anywhere you want" to "here are the handful of places you can execute left turns", and we'd need left turn phases (separate from the tramway phases) at key intersections plus signage indicating additional spots where you can make a right then left (e.g., instead of a left from 7th onto Victoria, it would be a right onto Otto, then a left onto Victoria). But I think it could it could be workable. In terms of impact on traffic flow/throughput that would come from it (particularly if we have intersections with a green arrow but no left turn lane), it's a non-issue in this corridor IMO, since people on longer, higher-speed trips already have 35E and Shepherd as alternatives.
Off topic, but I wonder if Siemens is developing or has developed a S70 model that can operate off-wire via batteries. I think it should be looked at for Riverview in which trains operate via overhead wires where they're already installed on the Blue and Green Line, and off-wire along West 7th. Less OCS to build and maintain, and in theory less cost.
I think the downsides of this--incompatible vehicles with the rest of the network, possibly higher maintenance costs associated with battery lifespan, negative environmental impact--are real, and the cost of installing catenary for 6ish miles is pretty negligible in the bigger context of the project.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests