Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
amiller92
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby amiller92 » August 11th, 2017, 12:47 pm

Silophant wrote:
August 11th, 2017, 12:27 pm
Nitpick: the Mall goes all the way to Grant, and the Hyatt and Millennium hotels are on it, albeit on the southenmost block that isn't closed to cars.
My bad.

alexschief
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby alexschief » August 11th, 2017, 2:34 pm

I think Moose has the right idea about what Nicollet Mall ought to shoot for, but I share some of amiller92's pessimism about whether the street will achieve this.

I think a good comparison is Philadelphia, which has two primary retail streets in Center City. Walnut Street is a two-lane westbound street, and Chestnut Street is a two-lane eastbound street, two blocks to the north. For a couple decades, starting with the bicentennial in 1976, Chestnut Street was closed to car traffic and used as a dedicated transitway. As the parable goes, transit riders benefited, but businesses on the street did not, and Walnut Street came to dominate Center City retail while Chestnut Street withered. The transitway was removed in 1997, and Chestnut Street has gradually recovered, and now is as busy and trendy on some blocks as its southern neighbor.

Asked about the failure of the experiment, Ed Bacon (father of Kevin, and legendary Robert-Moses-esque Philly planner) said: "It got made into something that was not a pedestrian walkway and not a street."

I think the same can be said for Nicollet. The busway down the center makes it so that Nicollet is not a pedestrian boulevard in a European style, but the lack of car traffic makes it more difficult for retailers to attract the eye of wealthy suburban customers (who really should be looking at the road, but...). So you have this street which is a weird hybrid, and ends up serving neither role especially well. The biggest loss of this entire process might've been that a chance to completely rethink the mall was lost. Either it should've been opened up to cars again with aggressive calming, or it should've been made pedestrian only, and the temporary bus routes that everyone is suffering now could be made permanent. Alternately, it could've been decided that functioning essentially as short stretch of BRT for many bus routes is the best way to use the street (which is, I think, an argument you can make; Cleveland for instance is battling between a Mayor and a transit agency over whether to allow buses in a redeveloped square downtown, and the Mayor's anti-bus stance is a bit troubling for how it seems to prioritize appearances over real benefits to poorer transit riders), but then the money that was spent on Nicollet Mall's pedestrian amenities might've been better spread across the downtown, and the fiction of Nicollet Mall as an answer to La Rambla could've been dropped entirely.

I'm not sure there are good answers to the problem. If the bus rerouting were adequate, I'd have preferred the pedestrianization of the entire right-of-way, but from what I've heard, the bus rerouting has been a pain. Given that the design is nearly complete and the vehicle travel lane remains, I dunno if I'd copy Philly and suggest that Nicollet Mall be opened to cars, with the understanding that bus service may suffer. Sacrificing bus reliable bus service for the potential of creating a great, high end, downtown shopping street is not exactly a step forward in achieving social justice, even if it is a step forward in urban design. If I were king of Minneapolis, I'd probably order all the signals changed to prioritize the light rail and C and D line aBRT, and that might make me feel good enough to pedestrianize Nicollet Mall.

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Silophant » August 11th, 2017, 4:19 pm

To be honest, I'd prefer the buses to stay on Hennepin. While it was confusing at first, everyone's pretty used to it now, and the benefits of having all the N-S buses use the same street to ease transfers is useful. Though, I suppose suppose you could make the same argument for moving everything, including the 4 and the 6, back to Nicollet.

amiller92
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby amiller92 » August 11th, 2017, 8:02 pm

I think adding cars would only hurt. I think getting rid of buses would be nice, but not make a meaningful difference to retail. People downtown know what's there and will walk to it if it's worth walking to.

The problem is it's not and the buildings are an obstacle.

I'd like to move the buses too, but when I've tried it (rarely) Hennepin wasn't working well, with buses stacked on top of each other.


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DTSB
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby DTSB » August 20th, 2017, 11:41 am

Does anyone know why the rerouted buses are going down Hennepin instead of Marquette? Wasn't that the original plan? I agree that Hennepin is too busy with all of the buses routed there, so why aren't they using Marquette for the Nicollet buses??

Also, they say that Nicollet will be 'mostly complete' by this fall. Does that mean buses will be back at that time?

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Silophant » August 20th, 2017, 12:56 pm

Southbound Marquette is pretty much at capacity with express buses during rush hours, and I guess they didn't want to split it up with northbound locals on Marquette and southbound locals on 2nd. The original plan had buses that cross the 3rd Ave bridge (10, 11, etc) rerouted onto 3rd all the way through DT, but they got moved to Hennepin after a couple weeks.

Barring some major issue cropped up, the mall will be completely done and buses back this fall. The 'substantially complete' weasel wording on the banners this spring just meant that they might have to come back and plant the last few trees next spring, since they won't plant trees late enough in the fall that they're sure to die over the winter.

MSPtoMKE
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MSPtoMKE » August 20th, 2017, 1:48 pm

I don't think the reasoning was ever officially explained very well, but I don't think they would have been able to do one consistent detour route throughout the entirety of the construction project very easily. When buses were first rerouted to Marquette, 2nd, and 3rd, there was a resurfacing project happening on 11th and 12th, preventing the use of those streets to link Nicollet to Hennepin. Then, after the were rerouted to Hennepin, 3rd Ave. was resurfaced with buffered bike lanes, and construction on Washington started. I'm not sure whether it was always the plan to have two different detour routes, or whether it was a lack of coordination with construction projects that lead to the change. In any event, the passenger amenities at many of the stops along the original detour were nonexistent, which would have been harsh during the winter especially. Perhaps they could have added more shelters (they added a few), but some of the stops were on sidewalks not designed with bus stops in mind, and minimal room to add them.
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EOst
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby EOst » August 20th, 2017, 3:17 pm

Off-topic a bit, but: does anyone know how many express buses SWLRT/BLRT will replace? I seem to recall that many (most?) will continue, but it sure would be great if there were enough removed to open Marq2 for local buses.

intercomnut
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby intercomnut » August 20th, 2017, 11:16 pm

MSPtoMKE wrote:
August 20th, 2017, 1:48 pm
I don't think the reasoning was ever officially explained very well, but I don't think they would have been able to do one consistent detour route throughout the entirety of the construction project very easily. When buses were first rerouted to Marquette, 2nd, and 3rd, there was a resurfacing project happening on 11th and 12th, preventing the use of those streets to link Nicollet to Hennepin. Then, after the were rerouted to Hennepin, 3rd Ave. was resurfaced with buffered bike lanes, and construction on Washington started. I'm not sure whether it was always the plan to have two different detour routes, or whether it was a lack of coordination with construction projects that lead to the change. In any event, the passenger amenities at many of the stops along the original detour were nonexistent, which would have been harsh during the winter especially. Perhaps they could have added more shelters (they added a few), but some of the stops were on sidewalks not designed with bus stops in mind, and minimal room to add them.
The original detour was planned to be the only detour. But then Hodges added the 3rd Ave bike lane project after the detour had already started, forcing Metro Transit to revise the detour.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby mattaudio » August 22nd, 2017, 7:52 am

It seems like the real bus capacity solution for downtown would be moving more buses (express buses or routes that terminate downtown) to east-west corridors, since the capacity crunch is on north-south corridors. There is no reason why buses coming in on 394 or 94 from the north or west should use a north-south spine rather than an east-west spine.

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Silophant » August 22nd, 2017, 8:40 am

Good thing we're about to rebuild 4th Street without any consideration for that.

SurlyLHT
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby SurlyLHT » August 22nd, 2017, 8:57 am

Eventually, the potential streetcars may have an impact on the bus traffic. I'm not sure if it would be positive or negative however. I would also hope we'll at least have reduced express bus service reduced due to the SWLRT

Qhaberl
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Qhaberl » October 8th, 2017, 5:57 pm

Does anyone know when this will be opening up for buses?


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DTSB
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby DTSB » October 12th, 2017, 9:45 am

Qhaberl wrote:
October 8th, 2017, 5:57 pm
Does anyone know when this will be opening up for buses
I haven't heard when buses are returning, but the latest update for the project states that Metro Transit will begin shelter construction next week. Along with cleaning up and removing barriers from Grant to 8th.

SurlyLHT
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby SurlyLHT » October 13th, 2017, 6:19 am

Thanks for the update. It'll be nice to be able to bike along at least part of the Mall.

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seanrichardryan
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby seanrichardryan » October 13th, 2017, 8:14 am

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

SurlyLHT
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby SurlyLHT » October 13th, 2017, 8:50 am

I suspect there might be more of a story there with regards to their closing and reopening. There actually is decent foot traffic on their part of the wall. I'm glad they've reopened and I think I'll stop in just in case they close again....

Silophant
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Silophant » October 13th, 2017, 8:58 am

Oh good.

I had the same suspicions as SurlyLHT. Like, no doubt they lost business over the whole span of the project, but they've had their sidewalk seating back for months now, so why push through the crappy part only to throw in the towel once it's gotten better again?

Bakken2016
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby Bakken2016 » October 13th, 2017, 9:01 am

Qhaberl wrote:
October 8th, 2017, 5:57 pm
Does anyone know when this will be opening up for buses?


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Buses are returning on Dec 2nd 2017. Source: I work for Metro Transit.

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MNdible
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Re: Nicollet Mall Reconstruction Project

Postby MNdible » October 13th, 2017, 10:07 am

The Crepe guy has shown up in every single Nicollet Mall renovation story that's been published in the last three years. I suspect he was just starting to feel a little neglected by the media as things wound down.


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