Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Tcmetro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » December 10th, 2020, 11:27 am

There is a CMC meeting this afternoon at 1:30

https://metrocouncil.org/getdoc/82dcd49 ... genda.aspx

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Bakken2016
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 10th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Updated Draft Alignment Principles, did say with certain alignments certain cities could not be served(I'm assuming they are referring to Golden Valley)
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uptownbro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » December 10th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Would it be safe to assume then this would serve more of north Minneapolis? If so thats a huge win for the city and its north side residents. I cant see how that cant be the case if this no longer hits golden valley
Last edited by uptownbro on December 10th, 2020, 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bakken2016
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 10th, 2020, 2:20 pm

Would it be safe to assume then this would serve more of north Minneapolis? If so thats a huge win for the city and its north side residents.
It definitely seems to be the case!

uptownbro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » December 10th, 2020, 2:24 pm

Great news as I know where was talk in August when everything fully broke down of this possibly better serving the north side. Well maybe BFSN had the cities best interests all along! Mostly kidding.

From a story in august on this"Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris, who led the charge to keep negotiating with the railroad, albeit in a more-aggressive fashion, said he was disappointed with the vote."
Sounds like they knew if they ended talks this could be the result

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Bakken2016
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 10th, 2020, 2:28 pm

Great news as I know where was talk in August when everything fully broke down of this possibly better serving the north side. Well maybe BFSN had the cities best interests all along! Mostly kidding.

From a story in august on this"Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris, who led the charge to keep negotiating with the railroad, albeit in a more-aggressive fashion, said he was disappointed with the vote."
Sounds like they knew if they ended talks this could be the result
Yea.... it really never served Golden Valley anyways, terrible placement for stations.


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uptownbro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby uptownbro » December 10th, 2020, 2:36 pm

I agree and it didnt really serve the north side either but rather all of the worst parts of the SWLR just repeated.

SurlyLHT
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby SurlyLHT » December 10th, 2020, 3:09 pm

I would wait to make judgments until we get more information. The updated principles call the minimize and maximize conflicting goals. Where they see the compromise at is key.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 10th, 2020, 4:10 pm

I'll be more interested when they present alignments under consideration. I'm keeping my fingers crossed at least one alignment will involve tunneling under North Minneapolis with 3 underground stations. Definitely more expensive but less construction mess on the surface and not having to worry about conflicts between trains vs cars, bikers, and pedestrians.

talindsay
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » December 11th, 2020, 9:26 am

Don't hold your breath for a deep-bore tunnel - all the metrics used for "cost effectiveness" would point away from that, and there isn't enough broad-based buy-in for the notion that a specific social good is worth making "ineffective" investments for it to actually happen. It's hard enough to justify costs for cut-and-cover tunneling.

That's not to say that I don't think it's a good idea - I think it's a great idea and in the grand scheme of the useful life of a project like this the one-time cost of tunneling is a reasonable tradeoff for the increased accessibility, the reduced disruptions, and the more reliable operations that it would bring.

But when highways were allowed to be ripped through central cities it fundamentally changed the calculation of social good vs. economics vs. disruption in a way that leans so heavily toward the economic "effectiveness" that it will be hard to get any serious tunneling in a city with the density levels of Minneapolis.

If Hennepin County decided they were willing to go it alone on the entire cost of the project, and turn down the federal New Starts money - which is what St. Louis County in Missouri did when they decided to largely tunnel their second light rail line - then they can literally ignore all the cost-effectiveness standards. But while Hennepin County *is* pretty blue now, there's a lot of economically-conservative social liberals in the suburbs of the county who would agree with the access issues but balk at the costs enough that it would be a really difficult needle to thread politically. That's the only method I see as having any chance of actually tunneling it, and that seems pretty unlikely to me.

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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 11th, 2020, 10:58 am

Don't hold your breath for a deep-bore tunnel - all the metrics used for "cost effectiveness" would point away from that, and there isn't enough broad-based buy-in for the notion that a specific social good is worth making "ineffective" investments for it to actually happen. It's hard enough to justify costs for cut-and-cover tunneling.

That's not to say that I don't think it's a good idea - I think it's a great idea and in the grand scheme of the useful life of a project like this the one-time cost of tunneling is a reasonable tradeoff for the increased accessibility, the reduced disruptions, and the more reliable operations that it would bring.

But when highways were allowed to be ripped through central cities it fundamentally changed the calculation of social good vs. economics vs. disruption in a way that leans so heavily toward the economic "effectiveness" that it will be hard to get any serious tunneling in a city with the density levels of Minneapolis.

If Hennepin County decided they were willing to go it alone on the entire cost of the project, and turn down the federal New Starts money - which is what St. Louis County in Missouri did when they decided to largely tunnel their second light rail line - then they can literally ignore all the cost-effectiveness standards. But while Hennepin County *is* pretty blue now, there's a lot of economically-conservative social liberals in the suburbs of the county who would agree with the access issues but balk at the costs enough that it would be a really difficult needle to thread politically. That's the only method I see as having any chance of actually tunneling it, and that seems pretty unlikely to me.
The cost-effectiveness criteria are a real bummer sometimes because they just instantly bias a lot of projects towards not grade-separating, or not choosing rail, even in cases where they'd provide obviously better service.

I'm curious if there are ways we could structure it differently to better meet those criteria. Could we just request matching for the non-tunnel parts of the line, and plan/pay for the tunnel as a "separate project" ourselves? And if so, could we also skip a bunch of process and get the urban part of the line up and running faster than the rest?

Or could we bring the cost-per-mile down by tacking on lots of extra low-cost miles on the suburban end? IIRC that was a big driver of why lots of cities were building highway-aligned LRT to nowhere, though it's possible the criteria were eventually changed as a result.

talindsay
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » December 11th, 2020, 11:50 am

One approach that was successfully deployed by some cities during the Bush era, and that I think was originally the plan in St Louis but ran aground for other reasons, is to build the non-"effective" parts entirely with local funds *first*, and then apply for a New Starts grant for the whole line *including* the parts that were already built, and count the entire local expenditure on that part as a local match. Basically, the Bush-era FTA allowed that because it showed such a strong local commitment, which was a valuable soft consideration in that period. There had been some discussions about building the UMN tunnel that way, but it never got very far because this was before the CTIB and a dedicated transit tax existed in the metro, so there was no funding mechanism to do it with.

It's hard to know whether a Biden administration will be interested in that kind of wrangling; but it would still require Hennepin County to commit to doing it. I suppose it's not entirely out of the question, as Hennepin County doesn't have other massive projects on the horizon to eat up transit tax revenues after this one, but they've been pretty careful about not overcommitting those funds up to now, so it seems like kind of a reach. It is a method with precedent, though.

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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 11th, 2020, 11:54 am

Don't hold your breath for a deep-bore tunnel - all the metrics used for "cost effectiveness" would point away from that, and there isn't enough broad-based buy-in for the notion that a specific social good is worth making "ineffective" investments for it to actually happen. It's hard enough to justify costs for cut-and-cover tunneling.

That's not to say that I don't think it's a good idea - I think it's a great idea and in the grand scheme of the useful life of a project like this the one-time cost of tunneling is a reasonable tradeoff for the increased accessibility, the reduced disruptions, and the more reliable operations that it would bring.

But when highways were allowed to be ripped through central cities it fundamentally changed the calculation of social good vs. economics vs. disruption in a way that leans so heavily toward the economic "effectiveness" that it will be hard to get any serious tunneling in a city with the density levels of Minneapolis.

If Hennepin County decided they were willing to go it alone on the entire cost of the project, and turn down the federal New Starts money - which is what St. Louis County in Missouri did when they decided to largely tunnel their second light rail line - then they can literally ignore all the cost-effectiveness standards. But while Hennepin County *is* pretty blue now, there's a lot of economically-conservative social liberals in the suburbs of the county who would agree with the access issues but balk at the costs enough that it would be a really difficult needle to thread politically. That's the only method I see as having any chance of actually tunneling it, and that seems pretty unlikely to me.
Are these cost effectiveness metrics the same ones that made us decide that Southwest LRT going through forests and gravel pits is better than tunneling under Uptown, and led us to a dead-end with trying to route Bottineau LRT along a railway through forest and parkland while almost completely avoiding North Minneapolis? Seems to me these metrics need to be thrown out and a new set of metrics that consider the long-term effectiveness of a chosen route need to be put in.

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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby SurlyLHT » December 11th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Not sure if it impacts this project, but the County has started rerouting traffic to begin replacing the W. Broadway Bridges from Mpls to Robbinsdale. Given that LRT would have to pass through here, I'm surprised no considerations were given to future LRT. Would they simply modify or build a new LRT bridge around them?
https://www.hennepin.us/westbroadwaybridges

Tcmetro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » December 11th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Not to bring up 3A/3C again (lol), I think that with respect to the Midtown Greenway/Nicollet alternative of the SWLRT, a lot of the stakeholders preferred the Kenilworth routing.

I think having a tunnel on Broadway would be the most ideal choice, but I feel like it's likely that the Olson-Penn option is in the discussion again.

On the suburban part of the line I would assume that the routing would be on CR 81? Somewhat unfortunate, as that road was completely reconstructed with the idea that light rail would be in the freight corridor.

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Bakken2016
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 11th, 2020, 12:58 pm

Not to bring up 3A/3C again (lol), I think that with respect to the Midtown Greenway/Nicollet alternative of the SWLRT, a lot of the stakeholders preferred the Kenilworth routing.

I think having a tunnel on Broadway would be the most ideal choice, but I feel like it's likely that the Olson-Penn option is in the discussion again.

On the suburban part of the line I would assume that the routing would be on CR 81? Somewhat unfortunate, as that road was completely reconstructed with the idea that light rail would be in the freight corridor.
So what do we do with the C Line if the Blue Line is built up Penn?


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Tcmetro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » December 11th, 2020, 1:14 pm

That's a good question. I would imagine the two would just jointly run on the ~1 mile of shared routing.

The reason I say that I think it will come back into discussion is that it was basically the runner-up to the rail corridor in the last EIS process. It would be a natural consideration. Additionally, any tunnel is likely going to come with skepticism because of cost and business impacts. Last time the Penn option was removed due to the impact of creating a one-way couplet system, but the city may be more amenable to the idea given how they have been aggressive in modifying traffic patterns lately .

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Bakken2016
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 11th, 2020, 1:21 pm

That's a good question. I would imagine the two would just jointly run on the ~1 mile of shared routing.

The reason I say that I think it will come back into discussion is that it was basically the runner-up to the rail corridor in the last EIS process. It would be a natural consideration. Additionally, any tunnel is likely going to come with skepticism because of cost and business impacts. Last time the Penn option was removed due to the impact of creating a one-way couplet system, but the city may be more amenable to the idea given how they have been aggressive in modifying traffic patterns lately .
Did the Penn alignment turn at Broadway then to serve North Memorial? It’s been so long since I’ve see that alignment Image


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Tcmetro
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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » December 11th, 2020, 1:48 pm

I believe so, yes.

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Re: Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 11th, 2020, 3:33 pm

Not to bring up 3A/3C again (lol), I think that with respect to the Midtown Greenway/Nicollet alternative of the SWLRT, a lot of the stakeholders preferred the Kenilworth routing.

I think having a tunnel on Broadway would be the most ideal choice, but I feel like it's likely that the Olson-Penn option is in the discussion again.

On the suburban part of the line I would assume that the routing would be on CR 81? Somewhat unfortunate, as that road was completely reconstructed with the idea that light rail would be in the freight corridor.
To be fair, I think the original concept for an Uptown alignment was a cut and cover tunnel from the Midtown Greenway to somewhere around Franklin and then at-grade into downtown. With that kind of construction impact it's not too surprising people in that area would want it somewhere else. If it were a deep bore tunnel all the way (like it should be for Bottineau through North Minneapolis) then they might've been singing a different tune. In addition there was the Bush era policy of making the trip for suburban commuters quick and picking the cheapest and easiest (in theory) route.


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