Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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TroyGBiv
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby TroyGBiv » December 5th, 2018, 3:06 pm

"That would be great if true, but there's not much there at a lot of stations - Bassett Creek Valley (old Royalston), 21st St, Beltline, Louisiana, Golden Triangle in particular don't have much for destinations. And that's being pretty generous to the rest, most of which have either housing or places of work, but no other draw."

This is a great point... I hadn't thought about this but this is the first line that is suburban commuting vs. inter urban...

thatchio
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby thatchio » December 5th, 2018, 3:35 pm

One thing to keep in mind about SWLRT is that the cities along the line have put in considerable effort in thinking about how to shape station area development and support TOD. While folks can go on and on about whether they like this line, it appears to be happening now and there is a lot of opportunity along the line. When I was at the county, I got to work with the cities along the line and was very impressed by the level of collaboration between their staff. The county's Southwest Community Works project set a table for corridor-level collaboration and thinking about how development could be supported.

Examples of what has happened, though some of this is likely out dated due to my relocation out of state and are heavily skewed towards Hopkins, though each city was taking action.
- The City of Hopkins identified 8th Avenue as a key link between the light rail and downtown, as well as a connection between the two regional bike trails.
- The City of Hopkins, with support of Hennepin County, facilitated the redevelopment of a bank building on 8th Avenue into Gallery Flats through a strategic acquisition and then resale. That project supported future ridership, improved the streetscape, etc.
- The City of Hopkins envisioned and created, with support from Hennepin County, Three Rivers Parks, and Metropolitan Council, the Artery project along 8th Avenue, making it a pedestrian-"seductive" street with bike facilities.
- The City of Hopkins vacated a side-street that paralleled Excelsior Boulevard at 8th Ave to enable the redevelopment of a former warehouse structure along 8th Avenue that acted as the gateway between the future light rail and downtown.
- The City of Eden Prairie was looking at regional stormwater management to allow for higher densities to be achieved at its future Town Center station. The city also had recent development projects at 80 units/acre and were evaluating strategies to encourage TOD in future station areas.
- The City of St. Louis Park was actively reviewing strategies to support redevelopment in the Belt Line Station area, including playing an active role in the redevelopment of the former coffee site and considering access improvements between that site and the station.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 5th, 2018, 4:27 pm

TroyGBiv wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 3:06 pm
This is a great point... I hadn't thought about this but this is the first line that is suburban commuting vs. inter urban...
"Urban" is a pretty generous description of South Minneapolis. A lot of the Hiawatha Line runs through places we'd think of as streetcar suburbs if they weren't inside the Minneapolis city limits. St. Louis Park and Hopkins are certainly much more similar to Longfellow than they are to Eden Prairie. I actually see this project a lot like the Hiawatha Line, except instead of going through streetcar suburbs then tacking on a stretch to get to the Airport and the MOA, we go through streetcar suburbs then tack on a stretch to get to some reasonably large office parks and a P&R.

That's not to say it's a slam dunk; there are legitimate concerns about some of the station areas being fairly far from the actual centers of activity that these cities do have. But I don't think that makes the project fundamentally different; just a slightly worse version of a very similar project.

I think there's good long-term potential for some of the sites around the stations. I could see the area between 7 and the railroad eventually becoming less industrial and redeveloping into some of those mega-developer mixed-use sites we seem to love. I'm curious what will happen south of Beltline and Wooddale stations, because there's stuff on/near Excelsior Boulevard that would be a destination, but it's not a super friendly connection to the station (and the area is commercial but needlessly auto-oriented right now). Louisiana Station is pretty much just access to Methodist Hospital, but that's reasonable because it's massive and important.

Multimodal
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Multimodal » December 5th, 2018, 11:02 pm

tmart wrote:… there's stuff on/near Excelsior Boulevard that would be a destination, but it's not a super friendly connection to the station (and the area is commercial but needlessly auto-oriented right now). Louisiana Station is pretty much just access to Methodist Hospital, but that's reasonable because it's massive and important.
SLP’s “Connect the Park” initiative, over the next few years, will sport bike & sidewalk paths connecting Belt Line Station & Wooddale Station north to “old downtown” and south to Wolfe Park and Excelsior Blvd (continuing south & east to Minnikahda Vista, Edina, & Mpls).

Yes, that whole stretch of industrial properties in SLP & Hopkins along the rail line will eventually all redevelop into denser land uses. Steel Toe Brewery is already there, and the new restaurant coming on Walker next year.

These industrial areas to be redeveloped include Louisiana Station, which has seemingly low value land around it which could be redeveloped into uses with higher tax value, including the old Sam’s Club to the north.

Look at Hopkins’ & SLP’s Bike & ped plans and transit station area plans to see how innovative they are. (Also, see the post above yours).

People complaining about SWLRT today are mired in the past. What cities are *now* planning to do with it (TOD, walkability, etc.) is very modern and very unlike how it was originally planned (commuter rail sort of thing).

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Multimodal » December 6th, 2018, 9:04 am

I should say that the first ring suburbs are doing the right kind of development. Not sure about Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, as I don’t know their plans as well.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 6th, 2018, 9:07 am

Is the giant park & ride at Beltline Station still a part of the plan? https://streets.mn/2014/07/28/swlrtbeltline/
And that's the first station out of Minneapolis, in relatively-urban high-potential St. Louis Park.

In a way, this is our metro's firsts truly suburban light rail corridor. The Blue Line mostly connected existing urban neighborhoods other than the MOA and Airport. Yet American Boulevard and Bloomington Central Station are not really urban a decade and a half after the line opened. And then light rail came into its own with the Green Line, where every station connects existing walkable, urban destinations - many of which can be incrementally intensified. There's a reason why our rail system has BY FAR the highest ridership-per-mile of any system built in the modern era (though Seattle has caught up largely by following our model and extending it with significant grade separation) https://streets.mn/2018/11/29/chart-of- ... -per-mile/

The Green Line Extension is a departure from our model of success. With only a couple exceptions like Hopkins and West Lake, do we really expect these station areas to look substantially different in 2030, 2040, or beyond? That's hard to fathom.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby alexschief » December 6th, 2018, 9:21 am

SWLRT's best comparisons are to the RER in Paris, Germany's S-Bahn systems, or Vancouver's Skytrain. It connects suburban areas with weak but legible centers to the region's urban core, and with frequency and capacity that is similar to regular urban service. Like in Vancouver, its long-term success depends heavily on TOD.

As I wrote a few days ago in this thread, the line serves a few different constituencies, with some reasons to be optimistic and pessimistic about how well it will attract each group. But the most optimistic front is probably TOD, where as others have mentioned, the towns along the route have really leaned in to the idea. Especially in the stretch between West Lake and Shady Oak, there is a ton of TOD potential and seemingly some real political enthusiasm for the idea.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Silophant » December 6th, 2018, 9:33 am

Wow, I don't think I had realized that 8 of 11 non-Minneapolis stations had a park and ride lot (9 of11 if you count the fivish spots at the DT Hopkins drop-off area). I don't know, I guess the only comfort I can take is that they're all lots, not structured parking (except the existing ramp at SW Station), and will thus be a little easier to get rid of? We managed to dump the Lake St Park and Ride lot a couple years ago. Though, obviously, Hi-Lake/Midtown is a whole different type of neighborhood than whatever that area of SLP is called.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 6th, 2018, 9:40 am

I thought the plan was for structured parking at Blake Road, since the Met Council's Transportation Advisory Board redirected $7 million towards Blake Road parking ramp that was originally destined for the D Line Arterial BRT on Chicago Avenue (which still isn't funded).

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby xandrex » December 6th, 2018, 9:48 am

tmart wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 4:27 pm
"Urban" is a pretty generous description of South Minneapolis. A lot of the Hiawatha Line runs through places we'd think of as streetcar suburbs if they weren't inside the Minneapolis city limits. St. Louis Park and Hopkins are certainly much more similar to Longfellow than they are to Eden Prairie. I actually see this project a lot like the Hiawatha Line, except instead of going through streetcar suburbs then tacking on a stretch to get to the Airport and the MOA, we go through streetcar suburbs then tack on a stretch to get to some reasonably large office parks and a P&R.
Agreed. The Blue Line really is built kind of as a commuter/suburban line that happens to have major destinations tacked on at the end. It's wedged along a highway and half of its walk shed is affected by said highway plus industrial areas to the east. And yet it's a remarkably successful line.

The Green Line as it exists today is a great urban train, but its track record for development outside of downtown Minneapolis (where tracks already existed) and the U of M (where it has likely guided already existing demand) is...probably worse than the Blue Line? At least for buildings not seeking subsidies of some kind.

Of course, the Blue Line has some stinker stations – American and Bloomington Central are just...not great. Similarly, there are some SWLRT stations that are not great. But even if the money could be better spent elsewhere, I would be very surprised if this extension doesn't have impressive numbers and significant redevelopment potential at all but a few stations. The Red Line this is not.

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Anondson
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » December 6th, 2018, 9:51 am

mattaudio wrote:Is the giant park & ride at Beltline Station still a part of the plan?
It is. But like the park and ride already built at the Downtown Hopkins station (it is inside The Moline) it is being designed to not just be single use. This park and ride and at The Moline are to also serve as parking for the area almost as a district parking. For the people taking LRT and for the people who will work or shop at the businesses in the station areas but don’t arrive to the station area businesses by LRT.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby amiller92 » December 6th, 2018, 10:06 am

Multimodal wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 11:02 pm
People complaining about SWLRT today are mired in the past. What cities are *now* planning to do with it (TOD, walkability, etc.) is very modern and very unlike how it was originally planned (commuter rail sort of thing).
The flip side of "nothing there" is potential for redevelopment, of course. We'll have to see.

But I'm not complaining. I'm just skeptical that the ridership will be heavily intra-line rather than primarily commuting into downtown. I don't see the in-between destinations to drive that in the near future.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » December 6th, 2018, 10:24 am

An advantage of this being a commuter LRT is a reduced demand for land use downtown be reserved for workday car storage. That high priced land can be a higher use while the workday car storage land use is relocated out to the cheaper suburbs.

In theory.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 6th, 2018, 10:39 am

Seems like raising the price of parking downtown including 1. not assessing surface lots as "vacant commercial" and 2. not subsidizing new parking ramps with city funds, state bonding, federal CMAQ dollars, etc... would go a long ways towards reducing the amount of downtown car storage.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » December 6th, 2018, 11:49 am

Is that something covered in Minneapolis’ Transportation Action Plan that follows the Comp 2040?

What process needs to happen to get the urban core to start valuing surface parking like the equivalent of the vacant big box store? I’m sure it isn’t like a switch that can just get flipped with one council vote.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby nstudenski » December 10th, 2018, 4:05 pm

amiller92 wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 10:06 am
I'm just skeptical that the ridership will be heavily intra-line rather than primarily commuting into downtown. I don't see the in-between destinations to drive that in the near future.
I share this skepticism. I don't think you can compare SW to the blue line on the lack of 'stuff' at stop locations. The immediate vicinity of many blue line stations was empty but -fairly- development ready. The street grid along most of the line is intact, and most of the stops are at street level. The land in the immediate proximity of the blue line might not have had much walkable development in 2004, but a lot of the land was pretty well-suited to denser development.

In contrast, many of the stops along the SW extension surrounded by streets and physical geography that are not at all accommodating to denser development. Several of the SW stations are located in a ravine, or against an embankment or in a weird triangle of land between three corporate driveways that completely eliminates the potential of development near or even access to the station from 180 degrees.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Multimodal » December 10th, 2018, 6:28 pm

What’s more likely to happen—

The downtown Mpls parking ramps (A, B, C) get torn down or reused, due to SWLRT being a commuter line?

Or

The huge swaths of tired, old, industrial land surrounding each stop in SLP & Hopkins being redeveloped into walkable, mixed-use commercial & multifamily housing, due to SWLRT having destination nodes?

Or will both happen?

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » December 10th, 2018, 10:36 pm

I think it would be great if the A, B, and C ramps were gone (Gateway and Leamington, too!) but sadly I think the downtown council and the city would probably be less supportive.

As the high-quality transit system develops, the justification for downtown parking goes away. I hope that the parking conversation is a big part of the city's new transportation plan.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Multimodal » December 10th, 2018, 11:24 pm

Is something akin to the scale of the A/B/C ramps a necessary evil (consolidated paid parking) for a region to get denser before/while transit is developed for the area?

What if the Greater Southdale District banned surface lots and instead had consolidated municipal parking until transit were developed?

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 10th, 2018, 11:46 pm

I think a great transit solution for the 394 corridor is a prerequisite to getting rid of the ABC ramps. (Maybe they're even mutually inclusive.) For better or worse, the main artery into downtown from the West is pretty slickly integrated into those ramps.

In terms of land use and redevelopment, I think they're very different from the parcels along SWLRT. There's still a big stigma for a lot of people about living Downtown, and first-ring suburbs, especially those in the West Metro, still carry a ton of cachet. There are already successful redevelopments in the burbs, even in the absence of high-quality transit, and I expect those to shift, if not accelerate, to the station areas.


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