Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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uptownbro
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » July 9th, 2020, 3:48 pm

No way will people take it to the Xcel energy center from EP as it will just be too long of a ride for peoples taste. But I could see people doing a park and ride in St Louis Park for a United game or even a Saints/Wild game. Growing up we often did it for twins and Vikings games at MOA.

mamundsen
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby mamundsen » July 9th, 2020, 10:32 pm

Isn’t that almost a 2 hour ride? I’ve tried to use Green Line from events in Minneapolis over to the capital then transfer to a bus or Uber. It’s insanely long and slow.

Mdcastle
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Mdcastle » July 10th, 2020, 8:01 am

Well, I rode it from 24th Ave station to downtown St. Paul for Union Depot's train days. Part of it was to show my sister the light rail, but I'd consider doing it for a Wild Game rather than having to pay event parking rates in downtown St. Paul.

uptownbro
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » July 10th, 2020, 8:34 am

Fair, I will park on a side street by the U and take the green line for united and wild games as it’s just less of a pain vs sitting in a ramp for an hour waiting to leave. Also event prices are not bad if you’re willing to walk a block or three or just use a parking app which even for events is not bad.
Either way it will give people more options on how they want to come into Minneapolis and St Paul.

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Tiller
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tiller » July 10th, 2020, 1:59 pm

It would be nice if one day our METRO system also had express tracks (and full grade separation). I'll gladly accept high frequency light rail transit (or BRT) in the meantime, though.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » July 10th, 2020, 3:43 pm

Are there any places in the U.S. with express LRT? San Jose had it but it was only 3 trips during peak hour, and that was cut a couple years ago due to low ridership.

Tcmetro
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » July 10th, 2020, 6:44 pm

There's pretty extensive grade separation on the SW LRT line. Removing the rest probably wouldn't have significant impacts on the operations of the lines.

The other lines would benefit from some grade separation though. I think the 46th/Hiawatha and the University/Snelling intersections would be nice to have a depressed station. Exits could be provided on both sides of the street which would really improve access. 38th/Hiawatha could be another good one.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » July 12th, 2020, 10:21 am

The current Green Line is great for connecting people to destinations like the U and Midway, but it doesn't effectively solve the problem of a fast trip between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and that in turn really diminishes the value of treating SWLRT as an extension.

There are lots of great ideas for improving what we've already got and shaving time off the Target Field-Union Depot segment. Downtown tunnels get thrown around as an idea a lot, and this is where we'd really start to see the value in that idea (or, conversely, you could say we're now paying for the cost savings we enjoyed when we built the lines).

But even short of that there are more incremental ideas that would make a big difference. A straighter alignment through Downtown St. Paul (say, taking Robert St. the whole way, or at least following Cedar all the way up to the Capitol) could eliminate a bunch of turns and get speeds up. Similarly, that dumb detour it takes through the Stadium Village parking lots should be eliminated (so it would turn directly from University onto Washington). Part or all of the University Ave segment would be a great candidate to be elevated. Barring that, even in-place improvements could be done with minimal cost or disruption: signal preemption, eliminating left turns, turning some of the intersections with smaller side streets into right-turn-only, etc.

Ultimately this is all kind of academic because I really don't think capital improvements to existing LRT are even remotely politically feasible right now. But it's a shame, because that really holds back the value of a lot of our other investments. I really can't see anyone taking LRT in its current form to St. Paul from the burbs. I think Hopkins-Midway or EP-UMN are probably the absolute limits on how much the SWLRT and Central Corridor usage will overlap. Cutting the TF-SPUD trip times from 45 minutes to 30 minutes would be a good target to make it a much more viable option. Similarly I think all the work poured into Union Depot is kind of wasted. Yes, a lot of projects that would've served it got canned, but also it's just a hard sell to have an eastside transit hub where getting to Minneapolis is still 45 minutes away after your transfer.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby alexschief » July 12th, 2020, 11:02 am

I'm sure there are some longer multi-stop transit lines in the world where a significant number of trips are end-to-end, but it's extremely rare. People choose to work close to where they live, and they choose to live close to where they work. People who work in downtown St. Paul are unlikely to live in the SWLRT catchment area. To the extent that people in the SW suburbs ride through downtown, their most likely destination is the University of Minnesota. To the extent that people in St. Paul ride through downtown, their most likely destination is one of the many firms that are located along the SWLRT route, and not its terminus.

This is a reprise of the arguments about the original Green Line alignment; too many people are focused on end-to-end routes, when the bulk of trips for virtually every transit line in the world is within the route, and not end-to-end. Best practice is for transit routes to overshoot major nodes and terminate at minor ones.

Mdcastle
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Mdcastle » July 13th, 2020, 7:52 pm

^^^ I think that's really the gist of it. I can see someone from Eden Prairie taking the Green Line once in a while to a Wild game. I don't see a lot of people taking it to their job in downtown St. Paul because you would have had to have been a masochist to live in Eden Prairie and take a job in St. Paul. I think that's really the issue with NorthStar too in that you had to have been a masochist to live in Big Lake and take a job in downtown Minneapolis. Most of them probably work at Medtronic or Target or someplace in the northern suburbs not accessible from Northstar without, heaven forbid, transferring to a bus.

DThompson
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DThompson » July 14th, 2020, 11:33 am

^^^ I think that's really the gist of it. I can see someone from Eden Prairie taking the Green Line once in a while to a Wild game. I don't see a lot of people taking it to their job in downtown St. Paul because you would have had to have been a masochist to live in Eden Prairie and take a job in St. Paul. I think that's really the issue with NorthStar too in that you had to have been a masochist to live in Big Lake and take a job in downtown Minneapolis. Most of them probably work at Medtronic or Target or someplace in the northern suburbs not accessible from Northstar without, heaven forbid, transferring to a bus.
Maybe my workplace is an outlier but my office in downtown St Paul has plenty of people that live in the west metro. I think they are crazy but there are a lot of them. I think the bigger issue is people who choose to live in a place like Big Lake and work in Minneapolis aren't the type of people who are going to take public transit and especially aren't going to take it if they have to drive to it anyway.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » July 14th, 2020, 1:29 pm

One person's crazy commute is another person's normal commute. I considered my commute from West Bloomington to just south of Downtown Minneapolis to be long while coworkers were driving in from White Bear Lake and even Elko New Market. I don't know if they enjoyed it, were neutral, or hated it, but some people don't mind long commutes even if they're driving the whole time.

I wonder if SouthWest Transit has ever looked at express service between their territory and Downtown St. Paul. Seems like there would be demand for at least a few peak commute trips.

candycaneforestelf
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby candycaneforestelf » July 15th, 2020, 8:15 am

For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.

And sometimes if it's none of these it's just the place that was the first to offer after a long period of unemployment or underemployment. This last category is probably the most likely group that would be going end-to-end on the Green line.

Mdcastle
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Mdcastle » July 15th, 2020, 9:14 am

Yes, and I'd add "being able to get a house instead of an condo" would be a big one to add. Although I guess some people might like the act of commuting for most people I'd say it's a means to an end, generally being able to afford more desirable housing.

I'v always taken jobs in the south suburbs to keep my commute under control, but if I had a chance to end a long period of unemployment I would obviously take a job downtown or where-ever, and probably ride light rail if I could.

amiller92
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby amiller92 » July 15th, 2020, 9:18 am

For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.

And sometimes if it's none of these it's just the place that was the first to offer after a long period of unemployment or underemployment. This last category is probably the most likely group that would be going end-to-end on the Green line.
You can't have this discussion without thinking about the fact that the externalities of the long commute are not priced and, in fact, the long commute is subsidized.

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Nick
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Nick » July 15th, 2020, 12:28 pm

For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.
I’d add a fifth group that’s never really even consciously thought about it that hard. I know some people anecdotally in not particularly special jobs, in not particularly nice housing, on not particularly nice land, in not particularly nice areas, who just sorta have an hour commute because (?)

candycaneforestelf
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby candycaneforestelf » July 15th, 2020, 12:40 pm

For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.
I’d add a fifth group that’s never really even consciously thought about it that hard. I know some people anecdotally in not particularly special jobs, in not particularly nice housing, on not particularly nice land, in not particularly nice areas, who just sorta have an hour commute because (?)
I kinda added that group with my second paragraph. In my experience, the people with those commutes end up with them because it's just what work they could find, and they don't want to move closer.


For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.

And sometimes if it's none of these it's just the place that was the first to offer after a long period of unemployment or underemployment. This last category is probably the most likely group that would be going end-to-end on the Green line.
You can't have this discussion without thinking about the fact that the externalities of the long commute are not priced and, in fact, the long commute is subsidized.
They're obviously not. But we're talking about the reasons people arrive at these longer commutes, and how it impacts others who do not live in their household is not a common factor in anyone's commute decisions, including whether or not it's subsidized. People care way more about whether someone else's commute is subsidized, especially for a method they don't use.

Tcmetro
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » July 15th, 2020, 2:18 pm

Generally people are willing to commute up to 30 minutes for work. People usually will commute longer if the pay is good or if they don't have to make the commute everyday. Generally lower paid jobs mean people will not commute as far, but low-income transit commuters often have lengthy commutes. Transit really only works when commuting downtown, where it's time-competitive generally, and almost always cost-competitive.

There's always exceptions, but we really shouldn't try to make the transportation system prioritize those that commute an hour over those that commute a half-hour or less.

DThompson
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DThompson » July 16th, 2020, 10:53 am

For those with long commutes, the drive is worth it for one of 4 things typically: the pay of the job, the size of the house they have, the amount of land they have, or the location of the land. Driving further to have land in the country with a decent size house on it is worth it for some.
I’d add a fifth group that’s never really even consciously thought about it that hard. I know some people anecdotally in not particularly special jobs, in not particularly nice housing, on not particularly nice land, in not particularly nice areas, who just sorta have an hour commute because (?)
I kinda added that group with my second paragraph. In my experience, the people with those commutes end up with them because it's just what work they could find, and they don't want to move closer.
I wonder if it is more of a cultural thing? This is all anecdotal of course but I work with lots of people who have stable jobs with good pay but still choose to live in far flung exurbs. They have a good enough income to afford a generic home in pretty much any suburb in the metro. Then why live in a generic subdivision in St Michael when you have worked in St Paul for decades and there are plenty of generic subdivisions close to St Paul? I think it mostly comes down to cultural reasons. This particular coworker grew up in small town Northern Minnesota and I would imagine St Michael is a lot less cosmopolitan than even suburban St Paul. Same reason I assume some people live in subdivisions on the fringes of Stillwater and work downtown Minneapolis. You can pretend you live in a small farm town while working in the center of a large metro area.

Which is why transit in the suburbs is extra difficult. Some people that work downtown Minneapolis make the calculation to live in Eden Prairie rather than Minneapolis because they can buy a bigger home or they like the schools better, but there are a lot of people that work downtown Minneapolis that would never consider living in the city even if they could afford it. They wouldn't take the train even if it was more convenient because public transit is something poor city people do or you do during sporting events.

At my office there are talks about more work from home even after covid and of course that turned into a big discussion about paying for parking if you only come into the office once or twice a week. I suggested people take the bus and people looked at me like I was weird.

uptownbro
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » July 16th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Yes and no, urban living isn’t for everyone and they are willing to drive 40 min if it means a nice home and a lot of land and just don’t like to deal with the traffic, noise and such of a city. I know people who drove from southern MN (south of Lakeville) into downtown as they just don’t like cities but they love their job.
As for transit it’s not even "poor people". It’s the idea of having some level of control over how and when you get in and leave. Some people in my office loved when they used to work downtown but hated that if an emergency happened they didn’t have their car and were depended on when and where the transit system took them. What is a 15 min drive can be 45-60 min on the bus. There kid missed the school bus home they can be at school in 15 min to pick them up.


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