Fantasy maps

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
SurlyLHT
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby SurlyLHT » October 10th, 2019, 2:08 pm

It'll be interesting if one of these routes could work. Did the Northstar have a circulating bus? Second scooters and bikes provide competition of the year. I noticed a lady taking a scooter to hear car near the Metro Transit garage on 7th yesterday.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » October 10th, 2019, 3:10 pm

It'll be interesting if one of these routes could work. Did the Northstar have a circulating bus? Second scooters and bikes provide competition of the year. I noticed a lady taking a scooter to hear car near the Metro Transit garage on 7th yesterday.
The Northstar had Route 20, which was discontinued recently.

CalMcKenney
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby CalMcKenney » October 10th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Yes exactly the sorts of routes I was thinking about. Your map does a great job of showing the complexity of an idea like this though there's so many places that should be hit including St. Anthony Main area which I'm just realizing now. Also the need to use existing infrastructure to save on costs seems like a great idea just not the ideal route I had in mind for one main loop. Definitely in terms of ideal route was thinking of some combination of the maroon and green routes you have there.

gopherfan
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby gopherfan » October 10th, 2019, 9:49 pm

All great points! I keep thinking that Route 2 acts like a loop bus for the U of M area. It works about perfect, since if you were to get off at Coffman I don't think you could walk faster to where it loops back at 15th - meaning it makes more sense to just remain on the bus and take the loop. Portland and their streetcars do an excellent job at being loop routes and hence how I build the map. Ideally blue + purple to North Loop might actually be the best route using their logic.

CalMcKenney
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby CalMcKenney » October 11th, 2019, 8:27 am

Yes I just graduated from the U and loved our bus system. One bus route to get you basically everywhere you needed. Not just to class, but to the bars and sporting events too. Loved how simple it was for everyone to understand and use. Definitely looking for something like that to be implemented downtown. Agreed with you for the need to use the existing blue and purple BRT routes and bus stop infastructure, then extend the route down Washington into North Loop, loop around and go down into Downtown East then go down Chicago or Park to connect back to the existing infrastructure. Definitely would require some new development, bu could make use of existing stops and routes to cut some costs.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » October 12th, 2019, 4:03 am

Map of options for realigned regional rail routes through Minneapolis and stations. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TMfRW ... sp=sharing

tmart
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby tmart » October 15th, 2019, 3:23 pm

Map of options for realigned regional rail routes through Minneapolis and stations. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TMfRW ... sp=sharing
Interesting! Re: the max build option, I think if we were gonna open up the tunneling options I'd prefer to use the time and money on transit spines (moving Blue & Green lines underground, creating a rail or bus tunnel to replace 2nd/Marq) than on regional rail. Reasons being higher frequencies and ridership, but also the fact that having lots of destinations within (say) 15 minutes of the station benefits regional rail riders too.

I wonder if there has ever been any serious thought given to a proper intermodal station at/near Target Field. There's a lot of parking, viaducts, urban interstates, etc. nearby that are starting to look out-of-step with future needs and priorities, but even then I don't know if you can cobble together an appropriate footprint.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby mattaudio » October 15th, 2019, 8:56 pm

^which is why I've proposed many times over the years that we eventually create a double-level east-west tunnel under 5th or 6th Streets... One level as a grade-separation of the Blue and Green lines, and a second level as a regional/commuter heavy rail connection between NP #9 bridge and Target Field Station with through routing via the BNSF Wayzata Sub or the old NP passenger lead.

alexschief
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby alexschief » October 16th, 2019, 7:42 am

For fun and since it's in the news, I made a MSP Regional Rail fantasy map. As always with these things, the line between what looks plausible and what looks like total nonsense is different for everyone. I navigated that divide by drawing four lines that would not require significant land acquisition or tunneling. The (still significant) costs of a build-out like this would be track, centenary, rolling stock, and station platforms. I've also added a speculative HSR route.

Image

One final note; I also looked up the combined population for each town served by a station. In order:

R1 (Granite Line): 242,596
R2 (Prairie Line): 240,295
R3 (River Line): 130,199
R4 (Superior Line): 211,964

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » October 16th, 2019, 11:45 am

Map of options for realigned regional rail routes through Minneapolis and stations. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TMfRW ... sp=sharing
Interesting! Re: the max build option, I think if we were gonna open up the tunneling options I'd prefer to use the time and money on transit spines (moving Blue & Green lines underground, creating a rail or bus tunnel to replace 2nd/Marq) than on regional rail. Reasons being higher frequencies and ridership, but also the fact that having lots of destinations within (say) 15 minutes of the station benefits regional rail riders too.

I wonder if there has ever been any serious thought given to a proper intermodal station at/near Target Field. There's a lot of parking, viaducts, urban interstates, etc. nearby that are starting to look out-of-step with future needs and priorities, but even then I don't know if you can cobble together an appropriate footprint.
While the regional rail routes may seem low frequency as most if not all would have half hourly to hourly service, once they all merge together in the urban core it becomes very high frequency with a lot of people coming and going during rush hour. Having all of those trains squeezed into the downtown trench and Target Field Station, plus sharing tracks with freight trains definitely wouldn’t work well.

I do think we need a light rail tunnel too, especially if/when we want to build a third light rail line serving Minneapolis.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » November 19th, 2019, 3:24 pm

I don't know where to put this so I'll just put it here.

Awhile back I asked about the ability of regional trains to share track with Southwest LRT trains. Besides needing clearance from the FRA and railroads (and FTA?) what infrastructure would be required?

I'm thinking a tram-train operation from Chanhassen or further west on the existing TC&W tracks and then switching to LRT tracks to serve some or all stations in Hopkins and St. Louis Park. In addition to that, a tram-train operation from Carver (and perhaps further southwest to Mankato or New Ulm) that connects with the light rail tracks in Eden Prairie. For the latter operation I'm thinking regional trains have their own station at Southwest Station and connect with the light rail tracks along Highway 212. Since the curve would be too tight for regional trains at Shady Oak Station, a new connecting track would need to be built from the light rail tracks to the TC&W tracks just south of Shady Oak Station. Besides that I don't know what infrastructure changes would be required.

For the regional trains let's assume they're single-deck and can run partially or completely on electricity, and maximum frequency of the regional service is every half hour in both directions for each route.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby mattaudio » November 19th, 2019, 3:52 pm

Since we're in fantasy mode...

What if we extended Southwest LRT via existing HCRRA/MnDOT rights-of-way (mostly the old railroad grade to Chaska) with split service to Downtown Chaska and Downtown Shakopee? Those two downtowns are two of the seven county seats in our metro area, and they could relatively easily be served by a SWLRT extension, single-tracked past the split. A split service would connect each of these destinations every 20-30 minutes.

Considering where a Shakopee downtown station would be, it would make a great interchange with any sort of commuter or regional rail on the Union Pacific line to Mankato and beyond. Then invite major employers/nodes such as Amazon and Shutterfly to run private shuttles from this downtown transit hub to their exurban employment centers, something far more financially viable than MVTA running reverse commute services.
swlrt_extension.jpg
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kellonathan
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby kellonathan » November 19th, 2019, 5:23 pm

I don't know where to put this so I'll just put it here.

Awhile back I asked about the ability of regional trains to share track with Southwest LRT trains. Besides needing clearance from the FRA and railroads (and FTA?) what infrastructure would be required?
As much as I would love to see this concept implemented myself, the US regulations are not really tram-train friendly, as safety is mostly regulated by (i) temporal and spatial separation between FRA-compliant equipment and non-compliant ones, and by (ii) equipment crashworthiness standards. That means, either you need to seriously "beef up" the LRT cars to be FRA-compliant, or get an exemption from FRA.

Nonetheless, it is possible. If you're interested, check out NJ Transit's River Line service as an example.
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Korh
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby Korh » November 24th, 2019, 7:21 pm

Since we're in fantasy mode...

What if we extended Southwest LRT via existing HCRRA/MnDOT rights-of-way (mostly the old railroad grade to Chaska) with split service to Downtown Chaska and Downtown Shakopee? Those two downtowns are two of the seven county seats in our metro area, and they could relatively easily be served by a SWLRT extension, single-tracked past the split. A split service would connect each of these destinations every 20-30 minutes.

Considering where a Shakopee downtown station would be, it would make a great interchange with any sort of commuter or regional rail on the Union Pacific line to Mankato and beyond. Then invite major employers/nodes such as Amazon and Shutterfly to run private shuttles from this downtown transit hub to their exurban employment centers, something far more financially viable than MVTA running reverse commute services.

swlrt_extension.jpg
You know I wonder if it would be worth considering an extension into Valley Fair similar to how other theme park around the world have some sort of rail connection but I'm hesitant to suggest it even for a fantasy map since VF is a lot smaller than the aforementioned other theme parks and unless they where to add something for winter activities, an extension would be pretty much useless half of the year (might be better to run shuttles like amazon or shutterfly)

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby VacantLuxuries » November 24th, 2019, 10:49 pm

Sadly, considering how VF is one of the lowest priority parks for Cedar Fair in terms of expansion and development, it's unlikely that a direct rail connection would ever be worth the effort.

QuietBlue
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby QuietBlue » November 25th, 2019, 8:36 am

It doesn't seem like there's much room to expand VF beyond where it already is, with the highway to the south and the river to the north, unless they repurpose some of the parking lot or something.

I wish we had a larger, more modern amusement park, but I don't see us ever getting one.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby VacantLuxuries » November 25th, 2019, 9:26 am

If there was regional demand to support expansion, they'd do it. Cedar Fair has found ways to reconfigure existing space in their other parks to optimize the amount of coasters they can cram in.

It's more that many of their parks have the potential to draw guests from multiple metro regions (Cedar Point from all of Ohio's metros, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, Carowinds draws from all the metros in the Carolinas and Kentucky, King's Dominion from DC and Baltimore, etc.) and Valleyfair can only draw from one metro area, leaving it's attendance potential much lower and not making it attractive to invest in.

And that's on top of the whole seasonal operation issue.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby QuietBlue » November 25th, 2019, 10:19 am

It's more that many of their parks have the potential to draw guests from multiple metro regions (Cedar Point from all of Ohio's metros, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, Carowinds draws from all the metros in the Carolinas and Kentucky, King's Dominion from DC and Baltimore, etc.) and Valleyfair can only draw from one metro area, leaving it's attendance potential much lower and not making it attractive to invest in.

And that's on top of the whole seasonal operation issue.
Yeah, I understand why it's not being expanded further. Ohio's a good example of that -- even though the Twin Cities metro is a little larger than the Cleveland metro (at least by the most generous definition), Ohio also has four metros with a 1M+ population, to our one.

I also think the culture of summer outdoor recreation here makes a difference too -- all the people going to cabins or camping means fewer attendees for amusement parks.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby tmart » November 25th, 2019, 2:50 pm

As much as I would love to see this concept implemented myself, the US regulations are not really tram-train friendly, as safety is mostly regulated by (i) temporal and spatial separation between FRA-compliant equipment and non-compliant ones, and by (ii) equipment crashworthiness standards. That means, either you need to seriously "beef up" the LRT cars to be FRA-compliant, or get an exemption from FRA.

Nonetheless, it is possible. If you're interested, check out NJ Transit's River Line service as an example.
IIRC the FRA recently changed some of its overly-strict standards, but maybe that was around high-speed rail crashworthiness and not around trams. If they're still strictly restricting tram/regional rail interlining that way, that seems like an important place for transit advocates to push for reform. The tram-train model works in Europe, and powered the former interurban lines in the US as well, and it would open up a whole world of regional and commuter service possibilities without the need for lots of redundant infrastructure in the expensive urban core areas.
Since we're in fantasy mode...

What if we extended Southwest LRT via existing HCRRA/MnDOT rights-of-way (mostly the old railroad grade to Chaska) with split service to Downtown Chaska and Downtown Shakopee? Those two downtowns are two of the seven county seats in our metro area, and they could relatively easily be served by a SWLRT extension, single-tracked past the split. A split service would connect each of these destinations every 20-30 minutes.

Considering where a Shakopee downtown station would be, it would make a great interchange with any sort of commuter or regional rail on the Union Pacific line to Mankato and beyond. Then invite major employers/nodes such as Amazon and Shutterfly to run private shuttles from this downtown transit hub to their exurban employment centers, something far more financially viable than MVTA running reverse commute services.

swlrt_extension.jpg
You know I wonder if it would be worth considering an extension into Valley Fair similar to how other theme park around the world have some sort of rail connection but I'm hesitant to suggest it even for a fantasy map since VF is a lot smaller than the aforementioned other theme parks and unless they where to add something for winter activities, an extension would be pretty much useless half of the year (might be better to run shuttles like amazon or shutterfly)
One thought I had was that a future Dan Patch Line revival could branch in Savage just after crossing the River, and have stops at Valleyfair (with a transit hub for shuttles operated by Amazon, Canterbury, and other major employers) and Downtown Shakopee, maybe with the possibility of lower-frequency trips eventually serving other places along the Minnesota River up to and including Mankato. I don't know anything about the track conditions; I suspect it's pretty busy freight-wise around Valleyfair and might need some extra track or bypasses but the ROWs for the railroad and 101 are pretty generous.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » November 25th, 2019, 6:59 pm

Regarding tram-trains, I wonder if the light rail infrastructure (switches, station platforms, the trains themselves, etc.) would need to be modified to accommodate regional trains (by regional trains I mean self-propelled rolling stock that you commonly see in Europe, not giant diesel locomotives with double-decker coaches). Hopefully the cost of modifying any infrastructure wouldn't be more expensive than building entirely new infrastructure for regional trains.


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