Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
twincitizen
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » March 27th, 2021, 5:21 pm

Presentation for the 3/25 and 3/30 Townhall Meetings: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... nHall.aspx

EOst
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby EOst » March 29th, 2021, 10:05 am

Note this from slide 17: "To fit the LRT guideway, sidewalks, and two travel lanes about 75 feet of right of way is needed. When additional right of way is available other elements can be included: boulevards, bikeways or street parking."

I assume that is pretty bare-minimum sidewalks. Note too that leaves just 5' in Broadway's 80' ROW for boulevards, much less anything else.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Trademark » March 29th, 2021, 4:45 pm

Note this from slide 17: "To fit the LRT guideway, sidewalks, and two travel lanes about 75 feet of right of way is needed. When additional right of way is available other elements can be included: boulevards, bikeways or street parking."

I assume that is pretty bare-minimum sidewalks. Note too that leaves just 5' in Broadway's 80' ROW for boulevards, much less anything else.
We must contain our expectations. I still support Broadway.

Serve the Northside don't bypass it

twincitizen
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » March 30th, 2021, 11:00 am

Presentation for the 3/25 and 3/30 Townhall Meetings: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... nHall.aspx
Town halls today at Noon and 6pm: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... rials.aspx

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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby pannierpacker » April 3rd, 2021, 11:30 am

From the meeting, a map overview of the routes. They did say the red link would go at grade on 10th ave and washington ave.
I think we should all strongly advocate for the pink route over the blue route. On paper, blue appears more direct and thereby faster, but those stoplights (7th/Olson, 7th/I-94) could be absolutely brutal in terms of delays for the train, cars/buses, and make a bad biking situation even worse. Due to the vast width of the ROW on 7th, I can guarantee that Blue is a surface running route. The Pink route, by necessity, would be elevated departing Target Field Station, continuing elevated over the bus driveway at Heywood Garage, and diagonally over Metro Transit's surface parking lot at 5th St/8th Ave, before descending to a surface dedicated guideway running parallel to the I-94 viaducts. I think no matter which option you prefer beyond 10th Avenue North, the pink route should 100% be everyone's preference departing Target Field. Space willing, if they can someone squeeze an elevated guideway between the new MTPD building and Junction Flats apartments, that is absolutely the way to go. Aside from crossing Schafer-Richardson's surface parking lot there, that pink route is 100% Metro Transit and MnDOT property.

Personally, my preference departing Target Field Station is Pink to Red, and beyond that I am willing to listen and learn more about the tradeoffs between Green/Broadway and Orange/Lowry. That said, I am deeply skeptical about 10th Avenue N being wide enough to accommodate LRT (and cars, bike lanes and sidewalks). And because of the broken nature of the North Loop street grid, you can't easily say "just ban cars", because 10th is literally the only connection from one side of the viaducts to the other. We could potentially displace bikes to a new bikeway following an 8th Avenue alignment under the viaducts, which is something people have been pushing for anyways. I can buy that 10th Avenue could carry LRT for a short transitional section to cross under the I-94 viaducts, but I don't really buy that 10th can fit LRT from 4th St to Washington. It would seem easier to cross under the viaducts on 10th and then quickly turn northward up the east side of the viaducts ROW. Regardless of how the details are worked out, I am enamored with the idea of a station near Washington/10th/Plymouth (likely on Washington between 10th & Plymouth?), to serve the far northern reaches of the North Loop, as well as spurring development further north up Washington. I don't think it's crazy to imagine that a station at Washington/10th-Plymouth could have the highest ridership on the entire extension, due to the existing population and job density.
The idea of moving the bike connection from 10th over to 8th is flawed as 2nd Street is the official bicycle route in and out of the northside (when considering a parallel river route) and has a connection to 10th but not 8th. Thus a jog via Washington would required, but this is not desirable on a bicycle. I do like the idea of a bike facility on 8th Ave, crossing the viaduct, but I think this would more likely facilitate connections from the south to the north loop.

Also, agreed that 10th Ave feels like a small street. I've walked it from Washington to 7th. At night it feels lifeless, and putting a light rail line along it wouldn't help that unless there were a stop along there (which would be impossible to do with the existing ROW).

Also, love the idea of a station serving "greater north loop" and would even be supportive of a station at 17th. There are some cool old commercial buildings at Broadway/Washington that I think would be a great apartment conversion project. The station at 17th becomes feasible if the ramp could removed from there to give back more land to the west side of Washington Ave for redevelopment. I could totally see Washington Ave blossoming from the existing North Loop terminus all the way to Broadway but that's only going to happen if Washington returns to a street that has development on both sides.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Bakken2016 » April 8th, 2021, 4:13 pm

https://ccxmedia.org/news/two-hennepin- ... -jeopardy/

"Lunde says the changes outlined in the transportation omnibus bill would require counties to pay for the operation and maintenance costs of existing and future light rail lines, even though they are not owned or operated by the county and the county cannot make decisions about them."

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby tmart » April 8th, 2021, 4:28 pm

https://ccxmedia.org/news/two-hennepin- ... -jeopardy/

"Lunde says the changes outlined in the transportation omnibus bill would require counties to pay for the operation and maintenance costs of existing and future light rail lines, even though they are not owned or operated by the county and the county cannot make decisions about them."
If we're gonna have this conversation, let's treat road and highway maintenance the same way. No reason to be inconsistent!

Somehow I don't think the Senate Transportation Committee would like the consequences of that, though. I think their interest in this new structure has to do with the fact that only 2 counties in the state have LRT and they don't personally represent those counties.

twincitizen
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » April 9th, 2021, 9:56 am

Presentation for the 3/25 and 3/30 Townhall Meetings: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... nHall.aspx
Town halls today at Noon and 6pm: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... rials.aspx
Just wanted to follow up on these town halls. Dan Soler, the project manager, stated unequivocally that there will be no underground stations. I want that to be abundantly clear to any of you holding out hope for some kind of Broadway tunnel. There could certainly be short elevated portions of the line as needed, but please have realistic expectations that this project is not going to include a tunnel segment with underground stations. They really want all stations to be at-grade. Even Southwest, with all of its expensive grade separation out in Minnetonka & Eden Prairie, all of the stations are still at-grade. The only ones that are not are the Minneapolis stations that are up on existing bridges over the RR corridor. Not at all the same thing as a true underground station in terms of cost.

For that reason, I think it's important not to preselect Broadway as the 'one true choice'. There is going to be a lot of small business and resident opposition to any surface alignment on Broadway (and certainly Lowry too, but I think the negative impacts of an LRT guideway are probably more acutely felt on Broadway). In yesterday's corridor management committee meeting, they shared that early feedback was split 55% Broadway, 22% Lowry, and 23% need more information before making a choice or have another preference. They also stressed that these numbers were early and they are expecting to receive many more responses through community partner organizations. Here's the meeting link: https://metrocouncil.org/getdoc/a619f7d ... genda.aspx (jump to 53:00 for the part covering feedback from the surveys and town halls so far).

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby DanPatchToget » April 9th, 2021, 10:05 am

Presentation for the 3/25 and 3/30 Townhall Meetings: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... nHall.aspx
Town halls today at Noon and 6pm: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... rials.aspx
Just wanted to follow up on these town halls. Dan Soler, the project manager, stated unequivocally that there will be no underground stations. I want that to be abundantly clear to any of you holding out hope for some kind of Broadway tunnel. There could certainly be short elevated portions of the line as needed, but please have realistic expectations that this project is not going to include a tunnel segment with underground stations. They really want all stations to be at-grade. Even Southwest, with all of its expensive grade separation out in Minnetonka & Eden Prairie, all of the suburban stations are still at-grade. The only ones that are not are the Minneapolis stations that are up on (existing) bridges over the RR corridor. Not really the same thing as a true underground station.

For that reason, I think it's important not to preselect Broadway. There is going to be a lot of small business and resident opposition to any surface alignment on Broadway (and certainly Lowry too, but I think the negative impacts of an LRT guideway are probably more acutely felt on Broadway). In yesterday's corridor management committee meeting, they shared that early feedback was split 55% Broadway, 22% Lowry, and 23% need more information before making a choice or have another preference. They also stressed that these numbers were early and they are expecting to receive many more responses through community partner organizations. Here's the meeting link: https://metrocouncil.org/getdoc/a619f7d ... genda.aspx (jump to 53:00 for the part covering feedback from the surveys and town halls so far).
A short tunnel segment with a few underground stations is realistic. We did it for the airport, and we're doing it to appease wealthy people in the Kenwood area (also let's not forget the Met Council was seriously considering having either a second tunnel or one long tunnel through the Kenwood area because people there couldn't wrap their minds around light rail trains using a railroad corridor). The double-standard is very obvious to me when they won't consider an underground segment that would make the light rail less of a barrier through North Minneapolis, allow street parking to remain (because most of us know how much businesses value those), and increase the speed and reliability of the Blue Line Extension.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Tyler » April 9th, 2021, 11:22 am

Not that it matters but the tunnel is not in Kenwood, nor is it adjacent to the most wealthy/valuable homes on the line-- not even close.
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby DanPatchToget » April 9th, 2021, 11:33 am

Not that it matters but the tunnel is not in Kenwood, nor is it adjacent to the most wealthy/valuable homes on the line-- not even close.
They were seriously considering a tunnel under the Cedar Lake Canal or a second tunnel, both of which would've been in Kenwood. While the under construction tunnel isn't in Kenwood, it's at the southwestern tip of that neighborhood. But yes it doesn't matter because that's beside the point that the Met Council was willing to build a tunnel for people who must have known that the Kenilworth Corridor was being considered for light rail for a long time (since the 1980s), yet they seem to only want to consider shoehorning the Blue Line Extension through a dense area of Minneapolis that will very likely result in a lot of car vs train and pedestrian vs train collisions among other issues with an at-grade alignment.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Tyler » April 9th, 2021, 11:37 am

It's not the southern tip of Kenwood. And the tunnel has zero to do with appeasing the wealthy. So Ill just be more direct and say your narrative is bogus.

Yeah, a tunnel through Kenwood would have been to appease the wealthy.

But.it.didn't.happen.
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twincitizen
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » April 9th, 2021, 11:40 am

^Ok let's chill out with all this Kenilworth sidebar. Not super relevant, honestly. None of the SWLRT tunnels (built or unbuilt) included stations, which is the bigger cost-driver than the tunnel itself. And since DPT did mention the airport tunnel upthread, there's literally no alternative for directly serving the main terminal, which clearly drives tons of ridership on the Blue Line. Serving the ~16th busiest airport in the country isn't really comparable with any other trip generator in the system. There's a reason it's our only deep bore tunnel - there weren't other choices.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » April 9th, 2021, 11:41 am

I think we all share a desire to see some grade separation along Broadway for anywhere from 1 mile (Lyndale to ~Newton, bare minimum) to 1.5 miles (Washington to Penn). I don't think the City of Minneapolis or a few train nerds online are going to magically force consideration of deep-bore tunneling and excavation of station boxes underground. I do think it's very reasonable that we demand to see cost estimates for: (1) an elevated guideway for that short section or (2) a very short section of cut & cover tunnel between ~Cub Foods and maybe Girard or Irving Avenue, likely with at-grade or open-cut stations at either end. I'm trying to keep these theoretical options as short and cost-effective as possible, because anything more is likely in the realm of fantasy.

This project has a federal cost-effectiveness rating to retain (and probably improve, honestly, to get a federal commitment), and HCRRA / Hennepin County don't have an unlimited pot of money to cover their 40-50% share of the costs. Unless we win the MN Senate next year, you cannot count on the legislature to fund a 10% share like the state did for Central Corridor (but did not for SWLRT). You've also got the state trying to push LRT operating costs onto the county as well. It is highly likely that Hennepin County and Met Council are doing everything possible to keep the budget more or less in line with the canceled RR alignment, which costs were already rocketing beyond $1.5Billion as of late 2018. I think there is an argument that the costs can and will increase somewhat, because this alignment ought to have higher projected ridership with well-located stations in the heart of Broadway and at North Memorial Hospital, not to mention the potential for a station around Washington/10th/Plymouth if they opt for the "pink link" sub-option for departing Target Field Station. But that doesn't mean the County (or FTA) is going to exceed $2 Billion for a line that is projected to have lower ridership (only 25k trips/day by 2035, mid-to-high teens upon opening) than Southwest or Central Corridor.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Tyler » April 9th, 2021, 11:54 am

lol twincitizen, modding your ass off.

It's not the reason not to do it, but how hilarious would it be to have underground stations on Broadway while our trains continue to putz through downtown on surface streets?

Your grade separation suggestions seem very reasonable, but also seem like the kind of thing that gets dropped once budgetary realities come into play. hope im wrong on that
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby DanPatchToget » April 9th, 2021, 12:00 pm

Yeah let's just keep moving the goal posts so an underground alignment through North Minneapolis looks like a crazy and impossible fantasy. :roll:

Regarding the airport, they could've routed the Blue Line around it along Highway 5 and had a station indirectly serving the terminal with a people mover or bus shuttle. That's what they did at SFO, LAX, and JFK, and those airports are far busier than MSP. Somehow an expensive but direct connection to the terminal won out over a cheaper but indirect connection to the terminal. Are the same people who chose an underground alignment for the airport also deciding that an underground section in a dense area of Minneapolis isn't worth it?

twincitizen
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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby twincitizen » April 9th, 2021, 12:09 pm

Bro, none of us are in charge of this project or actually working on it. I'll focus on making suggestions for things that might actually happen, while you do what you do with 90% of your posts, which is to live in a fantasy train brain world where budgetary constraints don't exist. At any rate, the survey is open until April 30, so have at it. They're pretty dead set on locking down an alignment before the end of 2021, to keep the project's place in the FTA queue, and to make sure it's shovel-ready as soon as possible in the event the Democrats get an infrastructure bill through in the near future.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby Tcmetro » April 9th, 2021, 12:12 pm

I believe MAC contributed to the airport tunnel costs as the light rail is also used as the connector between the two terminals.

The Kenilworth tunnel exists because the right-of-way is too constricted to accommodate freight, light rail, and bikes. Met Council tried to reroute the freight, but from my recollection they could not reach an agreement with the railroad.

A lot of the properties along Broadway are quite suburban in design and have parking lots that could be partially taken and added to the right of way. That would help to preserve street parking and turn lanes in selective places to facilitate the needs of cars.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby DanPatchToget » April 9th, 2021, 12:19 pm

Bro, none of us are in charge of this project or actually working on it. I'll focus on making suggestions for things that might actually happen, while you do what you do with 90% of your posts, which is to live in a fantasy train brain world where budgetary constraints don't exist. At any rate, the survey is open until April 30, so have at it. They're pretty dead set on locking down an alignment before the end of 2021, to keep the project's place in the FTA queue, and to make sure it's shovel-ready as soon as possible in the event the Democrats get an infrastructure bill through in the near future.
Oh give me a break. :roll: If 90% of my ideas are crazy fantasies then our region is doomed to fall behind other regions who are making serious efforts to transform their transit systems so they have an actual chance at reducing their contribution to climate change.

If I thought budgetary constraints didn't exist I would be proposing a massive subway system across the region that would make New York City jealous, but of course I know that's illogical. You know what is logical? Grade-separating a light rail line through a dense urban area.

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Re: Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

Postby tmart » April 9th, 2021, 12:41 pm

The idea that they've already ruled out any underground stations is disappointing, short-sighted, closed-minded, frustrating, and lots of other words I won't use on this forum. But at least they're being very unambiguous about it, so the question now is what's the best alignment that doesn't have an underground station, and is that alignment still worth building?
I think there is an argument that the costs can and will increase somewhat, because this alignment ought to have higher projected ridership with well-located stations in the heart of Broadway and at North Memorial Hospital, not to mention the potential for a station around Washington/10th/Plymouth if they opt for the "pink link" sub-option for departing Target Field Station.
This almost makes me wonder if a North Loop station is a fait accompli, simply because it will help pump up the ridership projections considerably. (It's a better approach than adding parking ramps in Woodbury, anyway...)
I think we all share a desire to see some grade separation along Broadway for anywhere from 1 mile (Lyndale to ~Newton, bare minimum) to 1.5 miles (Washington to Penn). I don't think the City of Minneapolis or a few train nerds online are going to magically force consideration of deep-bore tunneling and excavation of station boxes underground. I do think it's very reasonable that we demand to see cost estimates for: (1) an elevated guideway for that short section or (2) a very short section of cut & cover tunnel between ~Cub Foods and maybe Girard or Irving Avenue, likely with at-grade or open-cut stations at either end. I'm trying to keep these theoretical options as short and cost-effective as possible, because anything more is likely in the realm of fantasy.
One reason I like the idea of using the 94 ramp (the Navy alignment) is that you could maybe slot an open-air station in the highway ROW before any segment on/under Broadway. Also, though it's not explicitly drawn on the maps we've seen, I think the Navy and Pink alignments could be combined--essentially following the 94 ramp all the way from 10th to Broadway--into a fairly effective alignment that could benefit from a ridership boost on one end and a "spacious" station area on the other.

But the real sticking point for basically any Broadway alignment IMO is that a station at Emerson/Fremont is practically a must, and there's just not a lot of space there. A tunnel portal and station west of Girard, like you suggested, wouldn't offer a good transfer to the D Line. Maybe with a very creative, compact split station design (possibly expropriating parts of the adjacent surface parking lots) they could still preserve one car lane each way? Or maybe it would have to move to the outside lanes and do a streetcar-style curbside station there, but that creates its own traffic issues, especially if we want to keep the whole corridor in dedicated lanes, which we unequivocally do. Ugh. Putting even just that one station underground would've simplified a whole lot at street level.

Edit: Lowry is an option but the land use around the stations is just a lot less impressive, and with Lyndale out of consideration that ends up being a whole lot of service for Washington Ave industrial parks. I'm open to being convinced that it's still worth pursuing, especially if they have some creative ideas about improving land use along the whole route and on how to facilitate connections to/from the Broadway area. But I'm not there yet.


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