Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Multimodal
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Multimodal » June 23rd, 2018, 8:28 am

DanPatchToget wrote:Fun fact (or maybe more of a sad fact): On this day in 1954 was the last revenue run for streetcars in the Twin Cities.
Don’t make me cry.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » February 26th, 2020, 4:27 pm

I hear there may be more updates about this project within the next couple months, but I don't know the nature of the updates. Anyone else hearing new things about this streetcar plan?

CalMcKenney
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby CalMcKenney » February 27th, 2020, 9:26 am

That would be great for the city they are making slow progress on this. This paired with the Midtown LRT would go a long way in making our train system functional for residents of the city to get to the places they want to go, not just commuters from the suburbs.

amiller92
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby amiller92 » February 27th, 2020, 10:41 am

Completely uninformed opinion: no way will this get built as rail.

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Bob Stinson's Ghost
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Bob Stinson's Ghost » February 27th, 2020, 1:05 pm

amiller92 wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 10:41 am
Completely uninformed opinion: no way will this get built as rail.
Are you thinking we've passed "peak streetcar"? Or are you just thinking the projected ridership doesn't justify it?

bubzki2
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby bubzki2 » February 27th, 2020, 1:09 pm

I support this primarily because it would necessitate getting the diesel buses off the mall in doing so. I also think out-of-towners would ride it, and it might boost tourism. The fiscally-responsible alternative? BEV Buses.

Tcmetro
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Tcmetro » February 27th, 2020, 1:34 pm

I think they should really push for median lanes on Central and extensions north to Columbia Heights (or even 53rd Ave) and south to 46th St (maybe even 66th St).

We should try to treat the streetcar as much as a light rail line (e.g dedicated median lanes where possible) as we can, because this pretty much the only shot at getting a real urban transit line that is not arterial BRT.

alexschief
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby alexschief » February 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm

Nicollet-Central corridor should be served by aBRT. It'd be a much faster and much cheaper to implement, with basically the same frequency and capacity but none of the problems inherent to streetcars. If I made the rules, FTA would refuse to fund further rail projects that share lanes with vehicles. There is no justification for rail that does not have its own right-of-way, and any advocate for high-quality transit should ignore its siren song.

The rail focus for transit advocates in the city should be getting the Midtown corridor off the ground, and making sure that it is not a rinky dink one-car train stopping frequently at small platforms, when the density of activity in the corridor and dedicated ROW is suitable for light rail on par with the rest of the system.

HiawathaGuy
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby HiawathaGuy » February 27th, 2020, 5:38 pm

alexschief wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm
The rail focus for transit advocates in the city should be getting the Midtown corridor off the ground, and making sure that it is not a rinky dink one-car train stopping frequently at small platforms, when the density of activity in the corridor and dedicated ROW is suitable for light rail on par with the rest of the system.
For clarity, Minneapolis does not control the Midtown Greenway. Even though it is 100% within Minneapolis, it is owned by Hennepin County and rail would have to be approved via Met Council and run by Metro Transit, which is why it's such a convoluted mess - with regards to planning.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby DanPatchToget » February 27th, 2020, 9:12 pm

HiawathaGuy wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 5:38 pm
alexschief wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 4:50 pm
The rail focus for transit advocates in the city should be getting the Midtown corridor off the ground, and making sure that it is not a rinky dink one-car train stopping frequently at small platforms, when the density of activity in the corridor and dedicated ROW is suitable for light rail on par with the rest of the system.
For clarity, Minneapolis does not control the Midtown Greenway. Even though it is 100% within Minneapolis, it is owned by Hennepin County and rail would have to be approved via Met Council and run by Metro Transit, which is why it's such a convoluted mess - with regards to planning.
Isn't the locally preferred alternative light rail on the Midtown Greenway and ABRT on Lake Street?

As for Nicollet-Central Streetcar, I think ABRT makes more sense. I'm skeptical of any streetcar line bringing improvements to transit and not just being a way to attract development. Plus if this streetcar were to be extended to Columbia Heights it would need to be grade-separated crossing the Canadian Pacific tracks, but I don't know if there's already plans to grade-separate Central Avenue at that location.

CalMcKenney
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby CalMcKenney » February 28th, 2020, 9:38 am

I think I'm in the minority here, but I just don't think buses do a great job at getting car owners out of their cars - if that's one of our larger goals. aBRT is great to increase bus ridership among existing bus riders, but rail in any form does a good job of luring people out of their cars or from taking an Uber. I know this reasoning probably doesn't justify the additional expense, but my anecdotal experience tells me I cannot for the life of me get any of my friends (who are used to driving their own car or taking Ubers) to utilize the bus system to get around on the weekends or after work. They either drive or take an Uber everywhere. They seem like the exact market we are trying to lure out of their cars to decrease congestion and pollution. BUT those same people are always willing to take the LRT, if it's convenient to where we are going. If our main goal is to get cars off the street, rail seems like a good way to lure car owners into the transit system. Aren't there studies that say that improving a rail network lures people in and subsequently increases bus ridership as well? I may be totally off base on all of this and I'm more than open to being convinced otherwise on all this.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby DanPatchToget » February 28th, 2020, 10:26 am

From what I've seen around the country there have been only a few successful modern streetcar lines in terms of ridership. When it doesn't have signal preemption or priority and has to share the road with cars it's no faster than a bus besides easier boarding and off-fare payment; in the latter case you can still have that with ABRT. Plus there would be a learning curve for drivers and pedestrians along this streetcar line, and I can see collisions being common (people can feel free to prove me wrong, but I don't have much hope considering the number of accidents along the Green Line). Also road salt and other debris will quickly deteriorate the rails and that will be a maintenance nightmare. So even if (key word if) a streetcar line on Nicollet-Central had more ridership than ABRT would the transit experience be improved and would it be worth it? In my opinion no.

alexschief
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby alexschief » February 28th, 2020, 11:01 am

CalMcKenney wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 9:38 am
I think I'm in the minority here, but I just don't think buses do a great job at getting car owners out of their cars - if that's one of our larger goals. aBRT is great to increase bus ridership among existing bus riders, but rail in any form does a good job of luring people out of their cars or from taking an Uber. I know this reasoning probably doesn't justify the additional expense, but my anecdotal experience tells me I cannot for the life of me get any of my friends (who are used to driving their own car or taking Ubers) to utilize the bus system to get around on the weekends or after work. They either drive or take an Uber everywhere. They seem like the exact market we are trying to lure out of their cars to decrease congestion and pollution. BUT those same people are always willing to take the LRT, if it's convenient to where we are going. If our main goal is to get cars off the street, rail seems like a good way to lure car owners into the transit system. Aren't there studies that say that improving a rail network lures people in and subsequently increases bus ridership as well? I may be totally off base on all of this and I'm more than open to being convinced otherwise on all this.
There's a phrase for this that was in vogue about ten years ago, and it's "rail bias."

The reason it's no longer in vogue is because it was used to justify the building of a handful of streetcar projects cumulatively costing hundreds of millions of dollars across the US, and virtually all of them have been massive failures. Bummer that your friends are so stubborn, but the best way to shift the public overall from driving to transit is to provide superlative transit service, not to cater to yuppie aesthetic preferences with a train that gets stuck in traffic.

MNdible
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby MNdible » February 28th, 2020, 12:38 pm

But those were failures because they were built in areas with poor ridership -- this would be overlaid on a very popular existing transit service. You can argue whether or not it's worth spending the money on this project, but it's disingenuous to compare this project to something like Tampa.

BigIdeasGuy
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby BigIdeasGuy » February 28th, 2020, 12:47 pm

Couldn't you make the cost argument about basically every rail project in America? LRT vs BRT and Streetcar vs aBRT

amiller92
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby amiller92 » February 28th, 2020, 1:42 pm

To my mind, the difference in service/quality/capacity between aBRT and streetcar just doesn't seem very big, while the price difference is. Not so with LRT vs BRT, where the trains can be bigger, faster and smoother riding than buses can really achieve.

Mdcastle
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Mdcastle » February 28th, 2020, 1:57 pm

alexschief wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 11:01 am
The reason it's no longer in vogue is because it was used to justify the building of a handful of streetcar projects cumulatively costing hundreds of millions of dollars across the US, and virtually all of them have been massive failures. Bummer that your friends are so stubborn, but the best way to shift the public overall from driving to transit is to provide superlative transit service, not to cater to yuppie aesthetic preferences with a train that gets stuck in traffic.
It's not just "Yuppies" that refuse to ride any bus, anywhere except maybe once a year to the fair. Of the hundred of people I know of all age and demographic I can only think of one or two that ride buses, but quite a few ride light rail, despite how well publicized the crime and disorderly behavior have been lately in what seems to be an increasing problem. Myself, the 535 stops two houses down from me. But if I'm going downtown I either drive my car there or 5 miles out of my way to go to the light rail station rather than ride a bus.

alexschief
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby alexschief » February 28th, 2020, 2:21 pm

MNdible wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 12:38 pm
But those were failures because they were built in areas with poor ridership -- this would be overlaid on a very popular existing transit service. You can argue whether or not it's worth spending the money on this project, but it's disingenuous to compare this project to something like Tampa.
Nope, completely incorrect. I was not referring to Heritage Streetcar projects like Tampa (or Little Rock, Memphis, El Paso), which are truly tourist attractions, but to Modern Streetcar projects like Portland, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, Tucson, Cincinnati, and a few others, which have all been built in downtowns and high ridership areas. Only in Portland can the streetcar have been said to have had some success, and even then, the ridership per mile is low for the route.
Mdcastle wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 1:57 pm
It's not just "Yuppies" that refuse to ride any bus, anywhere except maybe once a year to the fair. Of the hundred of people I know of all age and demographic I can only think of one or two that ride buses, but quite a few ride light rail, despite how well publicized the crime and disorderly behavior have been lately in what seems to be an increasing problem. Myself, the 535 stops two houses down from me. But if I'm going downtown I either drive my car there or 5 miles out of my way to go to the light rail station rather than ride a bus.
I'd propose to you that a significant reason for this because the bus service sucks, and the light rail service is good. The 535 runs a few hours of peak 15 minute frequency. The LRT runs 10 minute frequency all day. If the frequencies were reversed and the 535 was constantly arriving all day while the light rail came infrequently, your attitude towards it might be very different.

atburns
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby atburns » February 28th, 2020, 2:41 pm

I actually like this project. Rail bias among casual transit riders is real and this corridor is much better suited for frequent transit than the oft-mentioned failed streetcars in other cities.

The draft transportation action plan is set to release soon and I'd guess it will shed light on whether or not the Nicollet streetcar remains in the city's plans.

NickP
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby NickP » February 28th, 2020, 2:51 pm

I agree with Cincinnati, Dallas, Tucson, and Atlanta, but I was under the impression that the KC Streetcar was a success. Based on the wikipedia link you gave, it has a higher average daily boardings per mile than a lot of LRT systems. That being said, I am comparing them to other systems on that list, not to systems in other parts of the world.


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