Blue Line Extension - Bottineau LRT

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mattaudio
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » November 14th, 2012, 10:43 am

Or they could tunnel through near north... http://goo.gl/maps/GQFSr
Having been in Chicago and DC many times, it sure is nicer to be in neighborhoods that have subways versus elevated or street level lines... I know a noisy El isn't the same as street-running LRT like on Minnehaha Ave, but still I can understand some of the concerns with the Penn route.. So how much more expensive would it be to cut and cover up to Broadway?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby helsinki » November 14th, 2012, 11:39 am

Is such a red herring that I'm not sure why you'd bother bringing it up?

The reason that the route through the northside wasn't selected is that nobody can point to a good example of how this kind of infrastructure would work in that kind of a physical environment. We're talking about running three car LRT trains at in excess of 10 minute frequencies through a limited ROW along a low density residential neighborhood. Where has this been done before successfully (or at all)? It's a total mismatch in scale and intensity, and I don't blame people on the northside for balking about this.
I brought it up because it was a central part of the discussion in the Streets.mn podcast.

I was equally dismissive when the discussion got underway, but the interviewee does highlight some of the blithe assumptions accompanying the preference for the Golden Valley alignment.

The first half of the interview is an interesting conversation in it's own right, but unrelated to Bottineau.

It is also amusing to hear the discordant objections (not yours, MNdible) from different quarters. There are those who cry "transit racism" at proposals that the line bypass North Minneapolis (investment in predominantly white suburban commuters, not transit dependent populations who are more likely to be people of color, etc. etc. goes the charge). On the flipside, there are those who decry the racism inherent in disrupting minority communities and businesses with construction of a line that is ill suited to the density and land use patterns of the neighborhood through which it would pass.

Personally, I don't think there is any racism behind the planning. Rather, the problem is short-sightedness. Issues of ROW can be easily resolved. Running the line through Theodore Wirth Park, however, (talk about low density) is not a good solution. It involves moving the rail line already extant. It offers zero redevelopment opportunities. It sure is less of a hassle, though. But given that this infrastructure investment is bound to be around for a while, I am not entirely convinced that chosing the easier option is necessarily the wisest.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » November 14th, 2012, 2:08 pm

Or they could tunnel through near north... http://goo.gl/maps/GQFSr
Having been in Chicago and DC many times, it sure is nicer to be in neighborhoods that have subways versus elevated or street level lines... I know a noisy El isn't the same as street-running LRT like on Minnehaha Ave, but still I can understand some of the concerns with the Penn route.. So how much more expensive would it be to cut and cover up to Broadway?

Couldn't you also do this, with a lot less tunneling? (and no deep bore, just cut and cover)
Green is the only tunnel section. Everything else is street ROW.


min-chi-cbus
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby min-chi-cbus » November 15th, 2012, 9:06 am

Unfortunately we cannot see what is underneath the street. If cut-and-cover were an option I'm guessing it would have been brought up...

spearson
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby spearson » November 15th, 2012, 9:35 am

Unfortunately we cannot see what is underneath the street. If cut-and-cover were an option I'm guessing it would have been brought up...
See this post from the blog "Getting Around Minneapolis" and the letter he received towards the bottom of it.
http://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com/ ... h-part-ii/

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woofner
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » November 15th, 2012, 11:09 am

Tunneling is not being considered because they don't want to consider it.

Hennepin County pays Brent Rusco the big bucks to apply the tunneling costs for a street running through one of the densest parts of town to a low-density neighborhood littered with vacant lots. Most of the cost of cut-and-cover comes from construction mitigation and replacing utilities. Pick any spot in North Minneapolis and there are a dozen detour options. There are only a few parts of W Broadway where there would be trouble with utilities. On Penn it wouldn't even be a question.

As for the deep-bore option, the view from North Minneapolis is about as comparable to Seattle as is the complexity of tunneling. The same could be said for Manhattan. Minneapolis' subsurface geography is much closer to that of Paris (i.e. sandstone), where tunneling is half to a quarter of typical American tunneling costs, despite high labor costs.

That said, tunneling would certainly cost more than surface running, especially surface running through parkland as the LPA does. Since ridership barely justifies the line as-is, I doubt tunneling could be justified here (unlike, say, Central Corridor). I'd rather they cancel the project and instead build BRT along Bottineau to Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park and along Hwy 55 to Plymouth for the same cost as the LPA.
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MNdible
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » November 15th, 2012, 11:38 am

Just a quick note -- tunneling through sandstone is very affordable, but the stations are really going to get you. Just ballparking here, but I'd guess that track level will be about 60 feet below surface level (20' of top soil, 20' of limestone, 20' of sandstone). For each station you'll need the following, on top of what you'd need to provide at a standard station:

(1) fully excavated station area (as opposed to the small-bore tubes that the trains run through)
(1) set of emergency egress stairs
(2) elevators (assuming you provide escalators)
(1) smoke evacuation system
(1) fresh air supply system
(1) fire suppression system
(1+) surface level portals

In addition to that, you'd likely also need a a pair of extra-long escalators (extra-long = extra expensive) and an associated stairway. Lacking that, you'll need to provide another set of egress stairs.

Oh, and you'll be installing all of this work by lowering stuff down into a 60' deep hole in the ground.

While cut and cover is more complicated because of utility impacts, your stations are much cheaper because being 20' below the surface is a whole different game than being 60' below.

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woofner
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » November 15th, 2012, 12:22 pm

Your point about stations is valid, and is why the decision to tunnelize Central Corridor would have been more complicated than I like to present (if it had been contemplated, which is all I ask). But I don't think it would have been as much of a factor for Bottineau because there really was only a short segment that needed to be bridged by a tunnel (so to speak). The length of the corridors Twincitizen and Mattaudio propose tunneling is less than a mile, with only one station required in each. The MSP LRT tunnel that I never get tired of citing included one station and cost $120m in 2004, so it's hard to imagine it would significantly increase the cost of the line, let alone more than double it, as Brent Rusco disingenuously speculates.

And again, your point about stations is valid and worth considering, although it's also true that most subway lines are now deep-bore tunneled rather than cut-and-cover, so apparently it makes up the cost.
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Andrew_F » November 15th, 2012, 12:46 pm

While it would be really nice to see cost estimates for some tunnel options (including a dreamy diagonal deep-bore from 7th/Van White to Broadway/26th), I'm not convinced that surface-running on Penn is really all that bad.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby helsinki » November 22nd, 2012, 12:37 am

The D2 option seems like a no-brainer to me. D1 is effectively an electrified commuter rail line (and still a boon to the city); it would be a missed opportunity, I think.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » December 4th, 2012, 9:40 pm

"missed opportunity"

I think that was the original name for CTIB

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby stp1980 » December 18th, 2012, 4:28 pm

Hopefully this headline works out as is. This would allow the blue line extension to go forward.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... ail-route/

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » December 18th, 2012, 4:58 pm

This is only good news if you're the sort of person who settles for the good over the perfect. Haven't you read this thread? Better to kill this now with the hope that someday we'll tunnel under north Minneapolis.

Sorry in advance for my snark.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » December 18th, 2012, 9:53 pm

Hopefully this headline works out as is. This would allow the blue line extension to go forward.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... il-reoute/
Head the version of this before the vote. I was particularly struck by the quote from Golden Valley resident Debra Schumacher:
Yes, houses would be displaced, but there are more houses. But there isn't more parkland to be taken up.


Almost unbelieveable. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » December 18th, 2012, 9:57 pm

Just came from a meeting where a Northsider asked why this isn't running on Broadway. He meant ALL the way down Broadway, not down Penn.

Yes, I had the same question a year ago. The answer I got from Hennepin county was, "it's too slow."

Bollocks. This thing should go down Broadway and Washington to downtown.

But still, the BNSF alignment is good, though not perfect. I'm certainly supportive, though a Broadway streetcar should be developed in parallel or even before the LRT.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby seanrichardryan » December 19th, 2012, 12:19 am

Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Paula Pentel » December 19th, 2012, 8:42 am

Hello-
Do you know me? Do you believe all you read in the Strib? If you would like to HEAR what I said at the meeting last night please take the time to watch the streaming video - you can link to it from this page and then click right on the "old Business" portion of our meeting last night:
http://www.nwsccc.org/golden_valley.aspx

mattaudio
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 19th, 2012, 9:17 am

I don't think her concerns are out of nimbyism:
https://streets.mn/2012/11/13/podcast-1 ... la-pentel/

Edit: Owned! Didn't see the most recent post by Paula! Welcome to the forum.

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woofner
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » December 19th, 2012, 10:30 am

This is only good news if you're the sort of person who settles for the good over the perfect.
If you think that building three miles of rail through parkland is good, then I have a great deal for you on real estate in Florida. And I don't agree that light rail would be do significant damage to the park's ecosystem or user experience - Wirth Pkwy, Golden Valley Rd and Olson Hwy are already far more disrupting than LRT would be - but the issue for me is that you're spending $200m on a medium-capacity transit facility in a place that is guaranteed to never attract decent ridership.
Better to kill this now with the hope that someday we'll tunnel under north Minneapolis.
Assuming this was directed at me, I should clarify that I don't think Bottineau should be stopped until they're willing to build a subway. Rather I think that the inclusion of several batshit alternatives while simultaneously failing to include a tunnel alternative (despite the fact that the Twin Cities have experience with cost-effective urban transit tunneling) was a significant flaw of the AA process.

But not the only significant flaw - despite pushing on the scales to make BRT seem less cost-effective that it would be (by assuming a much longer travel time than would be realistic), the AA still consistently found BRT would be more cost-effective than LRT (for example, the BRT version of the LPA was estimated to cost about half of what the LRT version would cost to build, but the projected ridership was more than half that of LRT). Yet somehow the conclusion ended up recommending LRT, for which I've never been able to find any quantitative basis.

So, to rehash, I think Bottineau should be halted because it's a very risky prospect as LRT (seemingly banking on massive job sprawl in Brooklyn Park), and because BRT would be a safer bet. But if you're offering to build that Northside tunnel, that sounds good too.
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mattaudio
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 19th, 2012, 11:03 am

The reason why the BRT effort was abandoned is because nobody wants BRT. Our metro is proving it again with the Red Line, which is discussed elsewhere... but I think Yonah or Jarrett or someone said, "BRT is nice in theory and sucks in reality." BRT has rarely been built in a way that actually resembles the service quality of LRT, and to do so would require nearly the expense of LRT anyways (dedicated ROW, etc). So not really sure why BRT should even be looked at here.

You make an excellent point about the AA flaws WRT tunneling. Honestly I think that's part of what Paula Pentel was alluding to last night in a general sense, since she knows how these lines progress through the political hurdles. Most "studies" are just ways of justifying the assumed outcome, so the alternatives are all framed and scored in a way that makes the assumed outcome look like the only obvious solution. Unfortunately we need to do a better job of separating out the political process of weighting criteria and selecting a choice with the technocratic process of accurately defining and scoring alternatives.


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