Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

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mulad
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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby mulad » February 11th, 2015, 2:58 pm

This data set has boardings and alightings data for bus stops and routes through the Twin Cities, though it lacks info on LRT and commuter rail. Be a little careful, though -- I was tripped up for a while before I realized each stop has individual entries for Weekday, Saturday, and Sunday service.

http://www.datafinder.org/metadata/Tran ... tings.html

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby nate » February 11th, 2015, 3:18 pm

xandrex wrote:I think it's going to be hard to have outsiders see this as anything but Minneapolis getting yet another rail line. Kind of makes me wonder if extending it out to anywhere else (St. Louis Park? St. Paul?) would help pick up constituencies at all.


It seems like it would be relatively easy to interline a Midtown LRT with either Blue or Green Lines to make some really useful regional connections that skip DT Minneapolis.

-West Lake to MOA via Midtown and Blue Line.
-West Lake to DT St Paul via Green Line
-Golden Triangle to Midtown via Lake Street.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby grant1simons2 » February 11th, 2015, 3:29 pm

With the amount of apartments going up along the Greenway I would also think it's an easy sell. Easy way to either get to Lake St station or West Lake depending on where your apartment is.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby acs » February 11th, 2015, 3:41 pm

Let's not forget about the connection to the orange line at 35W/Nicollet. Yet another N/S connection into downtown that's arguably better than the Nicollet streetcar.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 11th, 2015, 3:43 pm

David Greene wrote:
twincitizen wrote:Selling this line to existing transit riders and advocates should, in theory, be easy: "Holy shit the 21 is a busy route, especially considering it doesn't go downtown, and it serves a lot of poor, transit-dependent folks!"
Does anyone have information about current 21 ridership? How many trips are within the Uptown to Hiawatha corridor and how many of those are by transit-dependent people? I know a lot of transit-dependent riders ride all the way to St. Paul and for them the aBRT would be a better fit.

It would help us when talking about Midtown as an equity-building service. This city council was elected on an equity platform.

This is something we could ask for in a meeting with Metro Transit (Brian Lamb, etc.).
http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... pdf#page=9

PDF page 9 has corridor breakdown. pdf pg 11 has transit-reliant ridership numbers.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby EOst » February 11th, 2015, 4:04 pm

David Greene wrote:Does anyone have information about current 21 ridership? How many trips are within the Uptown to Hiawatha corridor and how many of those are by transit-dependent people? I know a lot of transit-dependent riders ride all the way to St. Paul and for them the aBRT would be a better fit.
Lake aBRT won't go to downtown St. Paul (it stops at the Snelling and University instead), so its utility for those people probably isn't super high either.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 11th, 2015, 4:10 pm

Ugh, I didn't make a comment on my post. I think the relatively low trips originating and ending within the Midtown corridor masks the importance of this line. Trips that begin, or end outside the corridor would still see huge improvements in travel time with this project. 68% of trips on current routes are entirely within the corridor or use the Midtown corridor via a transfer. That's, well, a lot. The 21 takes 25 minutes to go from Hiawatha to W Lake. One could assume a trip within the corridor saves 5-7 minutes right away. People making transfers to the Orange Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Chicago-Fremont aBRT, and thinking long-range the Hennepin aBRT double up on the savings with improved travel times at those key transfer points.

Side note, what if the Hennepin aBRT were extended to include crossing into NE and up Central assuming Nic-Central isn't hashed out any time soon? That would provide a much-needed improvement.

I wonder why they looked at terminating an eastward extension at Snelling/Univ rather than running down 94 into downtown. Could have every other aBRT be downtown-bound to save on operating expenses, but open up the Uptown-SP express market all day at reasonable frequencies.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby froggie » February 11th, 2015, 4:28 pm

This data set has boardings and alightings data for bus stops and routes through the Twin Cities, though it lacks info on LRT and commuter rail. Be a little careful, though -- I was tripped up for a while before I realized each stop has individual entries for Weekday, Saturday, and Sunday service.

http://www.datafinder.org/metadata/Tran ... tings.html
I've been working with this dataset for a couple weeks for another project. It's an average of the ridership from early September to early November, 2013. I sent MetroTransit an E-mail asking about the LRT ridership numbers, but have not received a reply.

The numbers don't completely match up for a given route (in that the number of boardings don't equal the number of alightings in a given direction on a given day), so it can't be used as gospel for ridership along a given route segment, though you can at least get a rough idea if you want to do all the stop-to-stop calculations. You can see this in Table 6 on page 7 of the PDF that Alex posted.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby mulad » February 11th, 2015, 10:27 pm

I keep having a thought that this should be built for use with DMU vehicles or in some other hybrid fashion that would let trains here run onto mainline freight tracks, since that would make it much easier to extend the line east out to St. Paul, as well as west to various destinations. There are only a couple of vehicles that could really be considered for this today, like the Stadler GTW or the Colorador Railcar/US Railcar units, if they ever start manufacturing again. It would still be a complex problem to get across Hiawatha Avenue between the 29th Street trench, but it opens up a ton of possibilities for using the existing rail network -- spot-adding short new rail segments here and there or improving signaling to add capacity to existing lines rather than building entire new ones.

Ideally the main lines would eventually be electrified to handle some sort of high-speed rail service between the Twin Cities and other metro areas -- there are some European services that run on mainline 25kV AC power, then switch to 750V DC power in the city (I'm guessing the bridge clearances in the Midtown corridor are probably a bit too tight for the high-voltage power -- if there's ever anything on the west side of the Twin Cities using high power, they should probably route through downtown Minneapolis).

Of course, the downside is that, until some sort of electrification scheme could be worked out, this would add some (modestly sized) rumbling diesel engines to the Midtown corridor. I'm not sure it would be a significant enough noise to be a big problem, though. (A bigger problem would probably be horn blasts from the train at whatever grade crossings exist.)

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby FISHMANPET » February 11th, 2015, 10:44 pm

I don't think the Stadler unit is FRA compliant. It looks like those Texas examples are separated from the freight rail network, and the New Jersey example is on the network but it's temporally separated.

Odds are good we'd use whatever vehicles we're getting for the blue and green extensions, and when the time comes to do something more ambitous we could get DMUs (hoping FRA requirements will be relaxed by then) and re purpose the LRVs onto Blue and Green service.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby mulad » February 11th, 2015, 10:54 pm

Yeah, I think you're right about the Stadlers, though I've looked up their specs and they are significantly heavier than their European versions, implying that they're still engineered to handle the types of crashes the FRA is so worried about. US Railcar claims that their vehicles are FRA compliant, but I just think they're butt ugly (hard to say if that's easily fixable for any future product or not).

I haven't followed the processes closely enough, but at least some of the three routes that the Stadlers currently run on had tried to get FRA waivers -- I think that remains a possibility, even if there haven't been any clear successes yet.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby FISHMANPET » February 11th, 2015, 11:08 pm

The Austin route runs on the former Austin and Northwestern Railroad, which was abandoned by Southern Pacific. Though there's freight run on it now, it's still owned by Capital Metro so my bet is that the passenger line is physicall separated from the freight line. You may know enough to look that up though.

As best as I can tell the A-train runs on former Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad lines, but it sounds like all that's left is the passenger rail and some trails.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby mulad » February 12th, 2015, 12:00 am

I think the story with Austin's line may be that they started out with temporal separation, but eventually were allowed to mix traffic. I know they started out with just a morning/afternoon rush schedule kind of like Northstar, but then were able to add midday trains. I'll have to dig into it later.

Along this same line of thought, I'm curious if the Bombardier BiLevel cars of Northstar could squeeze through this corridor or not. But their locomotives are seriously noisy and the cars have brakes that scream like banshees. It wouldn't be appropriate for stopping every quarter- or half-mile, but it would be interesting to have the ability to run traffic through the corridor from say, Hopkins to St. Paul.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby HiawathaGuy » February 12th, 2015, 9:47 am

mulad wrote:Along this same line of thought, I'm curious if the Bombardier BiLevel cars of Northstar could squeeze through this corridor or not. But their locomotives are seriously noisy and the cars have brakes that scream like banshees. It wouldn't be appropriate for stopping every quarter- or half-mile, but it would be interesting to have the ability to run traffic through the corridor from say, Hopkins to St. Paul.
Let's not forget that the Midtown Corridor opposed running hybrid buses through here... I highly doubt they'd ever be interested in anything that produces noise/exhaust like a diesel locomotive would.

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Re: Midtown Corridor

Postby masstrlk67 » February 12th, 2015, 10:11 am

My understanding (from a presentation given by someone from the Greenway Coalition a year and half ago) was that turf track and electrification were necessary for their support of this project. Personally, I don't think DMU's down there would bother me too much.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT

Postby RailBaronYarr » September 18th, 2015, 1:06 pm

Continuing this discussion from the Uptown Retail thread: https://forum.streets.mn/viewtopic.php?f ... 900#p98764

I agree, all the way from EP never made much sense, but Hopkins or somewhere in SLP (maybe skipping a station and acting as a P&R express to save time & ops costs) would make sense.

Really, there needs to be a better transit strategy on giving folks in SLP & Edina access to Uptown & beyond (as well as downtown) given the huge bottleneck of the lakes. Midtown LRT as a streetcar down Excelsior to 100 (yes, would require a bridge to get onto France just west of Minikahda), the Hennepin aBRT line kissing West Lake Station via Abbot/31st/Chowen/32nd then continuing on Excelsior and then down France to Centennial Lakes, extending the 21 or future Lake St aBRT further west along Minnetonka Blvd and actually staying on it (while reducing/eliminating the 17 in lieu of better frequencies on the core 6/18 lines on those arterials). I dunno. This whole West Lake & Lagoon/Lake/Hennepin thing is a nightmare right now. Given SWLRT and hopefully Midtown (.....) on the horizon it shouldn't take much extra to really make them more pleasant with less cut-through traffic.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT

Postby xandrex » September 24th, 2015, 3:23 pm

^RBY, your ideas all seem pretty solid and a lot of it makes too much sense (so much so that of course it will never be implemented ;) ), though I would quibble with one part - don't kill/reduce the 17, at least from West Lake to downtown. Partially selfish on my part, as I live right on its route, but also because it acts as both a reliever for the 6 and 18, but also greatly improves the middle of Whittier's transit accessibility. My bus is packed every morning and based on what I've seen, the majority of that crowd is Wedge and Whittier residents.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT

Postby trigonalmayhem » September 24th, 2015, 8:40 pm

I'll echo the sentiment about the 17 being an important route. The area is has better transit access than most parts of town, but it's still not really adequate. Removing the 17 is taking an important east west link out because of the vaguely diagonal path it takes. I kind of wish we had an equivalent one that went from over by Hennepin and Franklin towards Nicollet or 4th ave as it got near lake. If 24th or 25th street actually crossed the highway it would be a great street to run a crosstown route on between the 2 and 21, both of which are overcrowded.

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Re: Midtown Greenway

Postby twincitizen » December 6th, 2018, 2:35 pm


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Re: Midtown Greenway

Postby grant1simons2 » December 6th, 2018, 2:50 pm

Sweet! Full replacement accommodates for future transit improvements along the greenway!


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