CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
tmart
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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby tmart » February 25th, 2018, 9:51 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 9:35 pm
mamundsen wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 8:38 pm
This could all be moved to Fantasy transit. They will not be putting transit on CP spur. Highland will be served by A Line and Riverview. No way they add a 3rd.
There are plenty of posts in other threads that "could" be moved to fantasy, but unless we're talking about something ridiculous like maglev or HSR on the Ford Spur, I think we're fine. And unless you're psychic, you don't know what's going to happen to the Ford Spur. Wild card event is CP doesn't abandon it and a few industries are still served (highly doubtful, but they still own it so there's a chance).
Heck, I'll go beyond "who knows" and say that one way or another there will be meaningful decisions made about this land in the next 5 years or so. St. Paul is currently studying what to do with this, and at the very least it will be relevant as a pedestrian and bicycle facility. Beyond that, their initial concepts mostly (all?) include either transit ROW or enough space to build it later. It's the long-term future but that doesn't mean it's fantasy.

mattaudio
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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby mattaudio » February 26th, 2018, 9:07 am

Again, more reason why West 7th should be getting B-Line Arterial BRT right now rather than street-running LRT in some mystical future.

And it's crazy to think we will be having rail service in mixed traffic rather than the rational idea of using the CP Ford Spur from at least Sibley Plaza (St. Paul Ave) to Schmidt Complex / Randolph area regardless of if that service would extend up the hill to the Ford Site or cross the Fort Road Bridge to Fort Snelling.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby EOst » February 26th, 2018, 9:09 am

alexschief wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 6:33 pm
I feel like these projects are so far in the future right now that it's not much of a point to say it's fantasy. Everything we're discussing right now falls into that category.

As for Riverview, I'm very much on the record as saying that the mixed traffic Riverview section is a joke. Since the project is still a long time away, I'd hope that awful decision would be reconsidered. But my understanding is also that the mixed traffic portion is only a fragment of the route, much closer in to downtown. Two trains in each direction every ten minutes would be tight, but I don't see why it would not be doable.
If you look at the preliminary concepts booklet, you can see the options for mixed vs. dedicated. My sense given the options under consideration and their respective trade-offs is that dedicated ROW is extremely unlikely north of 35E (section D) and only somewhat more likely in the St. Paul Ave-35E portion (section E).
alexschief wrote:I'm not sure why it would be an issue to build longer stations in the greenway trench. Why wouldn't they do that from the start? Given the density and growth of the Midtown area, any Midtown line probably should be running two to three car trains from the start regardless.
They wouldn't (or at least, aren't planning it) because it would mean much more significant impacts to the trench's historic bridges and slope. Check out the alignment concept to see what I'm talking about, and note that the station layouts there aren't even for single LRT vehicles but for somewhat-shorter streetcars. That plan also presumes a long section of single-tracking in the narrowest part of the corridor east of Bloomington, and even that leads to some pretty significant retaining walls.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby mattaudio » February 26th, 2018, 9:15 am

Yeah, we need to de-list the Greenway from the historic register. Nobody is going to propose filling in the greenway trench, and at this point the historic status is significantly interfering with the best possible use of this trench amenity. That includes the lost opportunity to use new development for vertical circulation easements since the slope is protected.

tmart
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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby tmart » February 26th, 2018, 9:27 am

mattaudio wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:15 am
Yeah, we need to de-list the Greenway from the historic register. Nobody is going to propose filling in the greenway trench, and at this point the historic status is significantly interfering with the best possible use of this trench amenity. That includes the lost opportunity to use new development for vertical circulation easements since the slope is protected.
I'm going to sound like a broken record after the SWLRT thread, but the fact that abandoned railroads can receive historical designations at all utterly baffles me.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby DanPatchToget » February 26th, 2018, 9:48 am

Historical designation? As a railroad buff I say take a bunch of pictures of the rail corridor and protect the right-of-way for future transportation use (trail, freight rail, passenger rail, etc.), just make sure development isn't too close and we end up with another LRT vs freight vs trail vs development debacle. As for impacting retaining walls or moving some dirt around I don't care. Do people really care that much about a bunch of old retaining walls? Take pictures of them and archive them if you care that much.

Should we make the long wooden trestle on the Ford Spur a historic designation? Absolutely not. Then we couldn't double track for transit or if the corridor is turned into a trail we get to smell sweet creosote on our walk or bike ride.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby alexschief » February 26th, 2018, 9:51 am

EOst wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:09 am
alexschief wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 6:33 pm
I feel like these projects are so far in the future right now that it's not much of a point to say it's fantasy. Everything we're discussing right now falls into that category.

As for Riverview, I'm very much on the record as saying that the mixed traffic Riverview section is a joke. Since the project is still a long time away, I'd hope that awful decision would be reconsidered. But my understanding is also that the mixed traffic portion is only a fragment of the route, much closer in to downtown. Two trains in each direction every ten minutes would be tight, but I don't see why it would not be doable.
If you look at the preliminary concepts booklet, you can see the options for mixed vs. dedicated. My sense given the options under consideration and their respective trade-offs is that dedicated ROW is extremely unlikely north of 35E (section D) and only somewhat more likely in the St. Paul Ave-35E portion (section E).
I thought I had seen otherwise, but I can't find an alternative source, so I'll accept yours.

I can't say it enough, it really is infuriating how little that study process cared about anyone who rides transit.
EOst wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:09 am
alexschief wrote:I'm not sure why it would be an issue to build longer stations in the greenway trench. Why wouldn't they do that from the start? Given the density and growth of the Midtown area, any Midtown line probably should be running two to three car trains from the start regardless.
They wouldn't (or at least, aren't planning it) because it would mean much more significant impacts to the trench's historic bridges and slope. Check out the alignment concept to see what I'm talking about, and note that the station layouts there aren't even for single LRT vehicles but for somewhat-shorter streetcars. That plan also presumes a long section of single-tracking in the narrowest part of the corridor east of Bloomington, and even that leads to some pretty significant retaining walls.
I'm hoping that in the future we can all agree how dumb that sounds. Matt said it well, but the idea that we'd kneecap a transit service through the second densest part of the metro because we want to preserve the slope and old bridges on an abandoned rail corridor is an almost comical perversion of priorities.

In all of these discussions, to some extent, I'm relying on the fact that these projects are a long ways out to hand wave away some of the goofy flaws of these studies.
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 8:02 pm
The station platforms are 290 feet away from the intersection. You need to get two LRT tracks over or under Hiawatha and back to at-grade at 46th. You need four tracks coming out of 46th Street Station to the south (two Blue Line, two Midtown), you definitely need grade separation across Hiawatha, and you need to somehow retain pedestrian access to the station on the south end and pedestrian access across Hiawatha. We could debate for hours if this is or isn't complicated, so I'll let an engineer weigh in if there are any on this forum.
I don't accept that grade separation is necessary across Hiawatha. The existing METRO lines already make at-grade crossings of busier and comparable streets. The 46th and Hiawatha intersection is already signalized. A rail crossing would certainly complicate those signals, and would require some redesign of the intersection, including probably eliminating the SB right slip lane. But that's far from impossible.
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 8:02 pm
As for Lake Street, either way we're building more structure; your plan requires a bridge and an interlocking approaching the station, my plan requires an underpass for going east. As I see it people would have to walk 0.13 miles (700 feet) between platforms, so not a huge deal as long as the path is well lit and marked. Going east the tracks would go under Hiawatha Avenue. As for operations, trains would not be backing up. Coming from west going east, trains would turn into the at-grade Lake Street Station, the driver goes to the other end of the train, and then turns east. Adds a little bit of time, but not terrible.
I guess this brings up a larger question, which other people have basically alluded to: what are our priorities when building and designing transit? I guess my baseline is different than yours. To me, the idea of a 700 foot gap between platforms that are ostensibly the same station is really unacceptable. The thing that should be sacrosanct is the usefulness of the service as it is intended to be used. It immediately makes that transfer impossible or extremely inconvenient for the elderly, or people with disabilities, or just ordinary people in winter. If people are going to be expected to transfer between lines, I'd hold a pretty firm line that they both lines serve the same platform (the one exception could be trains serving upper and lower levels of Target Field Station).

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby DanPatchToget » February 26th, 2018, 9:58 am

alexschief wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:51 am
EOst wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:09 am
alexschief wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 6:33 pm
I feel like these projects are so far in the future right now that it's not much of a point to say it's fantasy. Everything we're discussing right now falls into that category.

As for Riverview, I'm very much on the record as saying that the mixed traffic Riverview section is a joke. Since the project is still a long time away, I'd hope that awful decision would be reconsidered. But my understanding is also that the mixed traffic portion is only a fragment of the route, much closer in to downtown. Two trains in each direction every ten minutes would be tight, but I don't see why it would not be doable.
If you look at the preliminary concepts booklet, you can see the options for mixed vs. dedicated. My sense given the options under consideration and their respective trade-offs is that dedicated ROW is extremely unlikely north of 35E (section D) and only somewhat more likely in the St. Paul Ave-35E portion (section E).
I thought I had seen otherwise, but I can't find an alternative source, so I'll accept yours.

I can't say it enough, it really is infuriating how little that study process cared about anyone who rides transit.
EOst wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:09 am
alexschief wrote:I'm not sure why it would be an issue to build longer stations in the greenway trench. Why wouldn't they do that from the start? Given the density and growth of the Midtown area, any Midtown line probably should be running two to three car trains from the start regardless.
They wouldn't (or at least, aren't planning it) because it would mean much more significant impacts to the trench's historic bridges and slope. Check out the alignment concept to see what I'm talking about, and note that the station layouts there aren't even for single LRT vehicles but for somewhat-shorter streetcars. That plan also presumes a long section of single-tracking in the narrowest part of the corridor east of Bloomington, and even that leads to some pretty significant retaining walls.
I'm hoping that in the future we can all agree how dumb that sounds. Matt said it more artfully, but the idea that we'd kneecap a transit service through the second densest part of the metro because we want to preserve the slope and old bridges over the rail corridor is an almost comical perversion of priorities.

In all of these discussions, to some extent, I'm relying on the fact that these projects are a long ways out to hand wave away some of the goofy flaws of these studies.
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 8:02 pm
The station platforms are 290 feet away from the intersection. You need to get two LRT tracks over or under Hiawatha and back to at-grade at 46th. You need four tracks coming out of 46th Street Station to the south (two Blue Line, two Midtown), you definitely need grade separation across Hiawatha, and you need to somehow retain pedestrian access to the station on the south end and pedestrian access across Hiawatha. We could debate for hours if this is or isn't complicated, so I'll let an engineer weigh in if there are any on this forum.
I don't accept that grade separation is necessary across Hiawatha. The existing METRO lines already make at-grade crossings of busier and comparable streets. The 46th and Hiawatha intersection is already signalized. A rail crossing would certainly complicate those signals, and would require some redesign of the intersection, including probably eliminating the SB right slip lane. But that's far from impossible.
DanPatchToget wrote:
February 25th, 2018, 8:02 pm
As for Lake Street, either way we're building more structure; your plan requires a bridge and an interlocking approaching the station, my plan requires an underpass for going east. As I see it people would have to walk 0.13 miles (700 feet) between platforms, so not a huge deal as long as the path is well lit and marked. Going east the tracks would go under Hiawatha Avenue. As for operations, trains would not be backing up. Coming from west going east, trains would turn into the at-grade Lake Street Station, the driver goes to the other end of the train, and then turns east. Adds a little bit of time, but not terrible.
I guess this brings up a larger question, which other people have basically alluded to: what are our priorities when building and designing transit? I guess my baseline is different than yours. To me, the idea of a 700 foot gap between platforms that are ostensibly the same station is really unacceptable. The thing that should be sacrosanct is the usefulness of the service as it is intended to be used. It immediately makes that transfer impossible or extremely inconvenient for the elderly, or people with disabilities, or just ordinary people in winter. If people are going to be expected to transfer between lines, I'd hold a pretty firm line that they both lines serve the same platform (the one exception could be trains serving upper and lower levels of Target Field Station).
Do you have traffic data to show that the light rail lines cross busier intersections at-grade than 46th & Hiawatha? And just because we do doesn't mean we should do it for more. Would Hennepin County accept an at-grade crossing of LRT at Hiawatha?

We can't have all transit lines serving the same platform. How are you going to have Orange Line and Midtown LRT right next to each other and at the same time directly serve Nicollet? That's just one example of where we have to accept that people have to go a short distance to transfer. Perhaps as a compromise have a skyway between the Blue Line Lake Street Station and the Midtown LRT Lake Street Station.

mattaudio
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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby mattaudio » February 26th, 2018, 10:15 am

DanPatchToget wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:58 am
We can't have all transit lines serving the same platform.
But why not, when it's easier and cheaper than building separate platforms? I made this concept back in 2013:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=19D2Xl ... sp=sharing

tmart
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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby tmart » February 26th, 2018, 10:24 am

DanPatchToget wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 9:48 am
Historical designation? As a railroad buff I say take a bunch of pictures of the rail corridor and protect the right-of-way for future transportation use (trail, freight rail, passenger rail, etc.), just make sure development isn't too close and we end up with another LRT vs freight vs trail vs development debacle. As for impacting retaining walls or moving some dirt around I don't care. Do people really care that much about a bunch of old retaining walls? Take pictures of them and archive them if you care that much.

Should we make the long wooden trestle on the Ford Spur a historic designation? Absolutely not. Then we couldn't double track for transit or if the corridor is turned into a trail we get to smell sweet creosote on our walk or bike ride.
I feel like a great compromise would be to introduce a "protected corridor" designation that's more of a cultural designation around usage rather than a tangible designation around artifacts. It would prohibit any development that could inhibit current and future pedestrian/bike/transit usage, but not any physical elements like bridges and walls and tracks.

Of course, that would involve the obstructionist legislature. Would be good policy in a universe where good policy was something they actually cared about though.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby Silophant » February 26th, 2018, 10:36 am

MnDOT's AADT counts map shows 17,400 trips for Hiawatha at 46th. Busier at-grade intersections include:
Hennepin (21,300 AADT)
Huron (18,300 AADT)
Snelling (30,500(!) AADT)
Lexington (29,000(!) AADT)
Dale (19,900 AADT)

I understand the political reasons why we didn't, but it's absolutely insane that elevating at least the Midway section of the Green Line was apparently not even considered.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby tmart » February 26th, 2018, 10:47 am

Silophant wrote:
February 26th, 2018, 10:36 am
MnDOT's AADT counts map shows 17,400 trips for Hiawatha at 46th. Busier at-grade intersections include:
Hennepin (21,300 AADT)
Huron (18,300 AADT)
Snelling (30,500(!) AADT)
Lexington (29,000(!) AADT)
Dale (19,900 AADT)

I understand the political reasons why we didn't, but it's absolutely insane that elevating at least the Midway section of the Green Line was apparently not even considered.
The double-edged sword of building your most important corridors first is that you're building them before there's the political will to do things right. Now that we see the awesome ridership for the Green Line, we could make a strong case for an elevated train. (I'd go even further and say it should be underground; that corridor is absolutely comparable to areas served by subway in other cities.) Now that the Blue and Green lines are extending, and other lines that could potentially interface with it are being considered, it seems pretty obvious that at least the downtown spine should have been a subway. But the fact that the Blue Line exists at all is kind of a miracle, and we'd be sitting here with a fancy bus or nothing at all if we had demanded a subway back then. Now that we have the justification to make a major, transformative investment like that, we don't have the opportunity anymore.

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Re: CP Ford Spur to Highland Park

Postby mattaudio » February 26th, 2018, 11:00 am

Since this thread is evolving into fantasy speculation about Riverview, then Midtown, now Blue Line improvements (which is great)...

I'd be curious to see the long term cost implications of doing grade separations for the Blue Line vs building a new high speed downtown to downtown line along a parallel corridor such as the BNSF, CP Merriam Park Sub, or even Interstate 94.


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