Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
twincitizen
Moderator
Posts: 6211
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 7:27 pm
Location: Standish-Ericsson

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby twincitizen » October 13th, 2014, 10:23 am

nate wrote:
grant1simons2 wrote:
-Nicollet could be a two-lane, instead of a three-lane street, with expanded sidewalks and no parking, in order to give the streetcar a dedicated lane.
-The stations could be built long enough to allow the streetcars to run as two-car trains.
No parking on Nicollet? Yeah good luck with that with it continuing to develop, even if you get rid of one side, you'd still have a large amount of complaints about parking spots.

Streetcars are supposed to be one car, if you want to run 2 car then you get more into an LRT line.

We actually are not 100% sure that buses will continue to run on Nicollet, they could be re-routed and that has not been decided yet
Businesses always want more, rather than less parking. That's what they do. I don't necessarily blame them.

The bigger picture is this: with less parking, the sidewalks can be much more generous, the streetcar can have its own lane and not block traffic (better travel time for trains and less frustration for drivers) and the platforms can be longer, (allowing two-car operations) I think that outweighs the loss of a few hundred parking stalls, even if I'm a business owner.

It is worth pushing for, IMO.
Not to mention Blaisdell and 1st Ave are lined with (free) on-street parking throughout Whittier. I think you could still find select locations along Nicollet to include on-street parking bays, where maybe the wider sidewalk isn't necessary, or where cars and streetcars could share a lane. Looking at exclusive ROW for the entire corridor is a non-starter, but I think picking up bits and pieces of exclusive ROW is paramount. I'd start by extending Nicollet Mall to 15th.

No matter what, as planning this major investment moves forward, we need to demand that the city look at things more holistically. I just foresee so many problems with laying track in the current 3-lane configuration in Whittier.

It's also looking like the budget is probably going to exceed $250MM, which would make it ineligible for Small Starts, so the starter line is going to have to be shortened even further. Part of me wishes they had chosen a starter segment that went from just north of I-94 (saving on a bridge deck replacement) to a further endpoint in NE. The Whittier portion really needs more comprehensive transportation planning, including what happens with Kmart, Blaisdell, 1st, 26th, 28th, etc. None of that is happening, and it really frustrates me.

Sidebar Q: how exactly does laying track down Blaisdell (29th to Lake) help reopen Nicollet??
A: It doesn't. (tho maybe we can eminent domain White Castle for an awesome transfer point / future redevelopment)

PhilmerPhil
Moderator
Posts: 1207
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 11:38 am
Location: SOUP: SOuth UPtown

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 13th, 2014, 10:28 am

I dunno, if we're going to suggest removal of parking on Eat Street, at that point, we might as well go all the way and push for Nicollet Mall to be extended south to Lake St.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7942
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » October 13th, 2014, 10:39 am

I'm game for that. Or maybe we can have center-running streetcar with woonerfs on the side on a block by block basis.

EOst
Capella Tower
Posts: 2316
Joined: March 19th, 2014, 8:05 pm
Location: North End, Saint Paul

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby EOst » October 13th, 2014, 11:28 am

Nick wrote:Well, if we're talking about unicorns, I'm pretty skeptical lately about the entire premise of TOD in the Twin Cities. This is a bad post, but it has some more thoughts. Are there 500 people in the Twin Cities who can afford market rate apartments who want to live at Lake and Nicollet? Because it looks like the market decided that that wasn't the case at Lake and Hiawatha, and while maybe a little dicier than Lake and Nicollet, that's a quicker transit ride into downtown. I guess Champions is gone now, so that might help. In light of the past decade of experience with the Blue Line, we maybe need to reconsider TOD as a reason to build things.
You're glossing over a really major point about Lake, though. Even setting aside the housing bubble and the Great Recession, which inhibited development for a long time, the station is placed adjacent to a highway and in Phillips, both of which significantly decrease the demand for development. What's more, it's on possibly the least walkable/urban section of Lake Street. The only thing really it has going for it is the fact that it's next to the station, and even with all those drawbacks it is seeing some development now.

I mean, ultimately you may be right that there isn't a lot of demand for "transit-oriented development" exclusively as such, especially when it's plopped down in the middle of nowhere in an undesirable part of town. I don't think there's a case to be made, however, that there isn't demand for new housing in Minneapolis in walkable urban areas. Even if those people end up still driving to work in Eden Prairie or somewhere like that, there's still a huge benefit to concentrating that growth along corridors like Nicollet.
The plans released the other day have the vehicles stopping just about as often as the current bus.
That's not true, though. The streetcar plan gets rid of a lot of stops, especially some of the most egregious ones (eg. the stops on the north side of the bridge over the Interstate). It's far from metro-distance stops, but I don't know that such distance would really be desirable for Eat Street anyway.
The vehicles are a bit larger than buses.
They're a bit larger than articulated buses, true, but articulated buses aren't used on Nicollet right now. They're much bigger than the buses currently in use.
I think if we assume something like 50% more riders due to rail bias, and, like I said, the thing is full the day it opens, we need to reevaluate whether or not this is worth it. I've been on Route 18 buses that run drop off only after passing Target HQ. If we blow $200 million dollars and that's still the case, that doesn't seem like a sound investment. Talking about subways in lieu of this is obviously magical crazy talk, but I mean we clearly will be seriously talking about it in 15 or 20 years, to open 10 years out from then--why not get started now? Meh.
Because everything's a process. We get the best we can get now, and then come back later asking for what we need then.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7942
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » October 13th, 2014, 12:00 pm

So why aren't we putting artics on Nicollet and reducing stops now? Regardless of whether or not we're getting a streetcar in 5-20 years?

EOst
Capella Tower
Posts: 2316
Joined: March 19th, 2014, 8:05 pm
Location: North End, Saint Paul

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby EOst » October 13th, 2014, 12:10 pm

mattaudio wrote:So why aren't we putting artics on Nicollet and reducing stops now? Regardless of whether or not we're getting a streetcar in 5-20 years?
In general, it seems like they avoid running articulated buses down Nicollet Mall. I have no idea why. [edit: see Tcmetro's helpful comment below]

As for why we aren't reducing stops now, though, that should be obvious; politically, it's a lot easier to get rid of stops as part of a big disruption than as an everyday thing. With the streetcar, you aren't "taking away someone's stop," you're just creating a different type of service. But people feel like you're taking something away if you change an existing service like that.
Last edited by EOst on October 13th, 2014, 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tcmetro
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1354
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 8:02 pm
Location: Chicago (ex-Minneapolitan)

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Tcmetro » October 13th, 2014, 12:23 pm

Articulated buses used to operate on the mall, after the Marquette and 2nd Ave bus lanes opened a new policy was enacted to only hybrid buses on the mall. All of the hybrids in the fleet are of the standard 40 foot variety.

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4602
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby FISHMANPET » October 13th, 2014, 12:29 pm

New Flyer makes all our articulated buses (because Gillig doesn't make any) and New Flyer also has an amazing Hybrid product (and they have an Articulated model). And they're made here in the state!

New Flyer rules, Gillig drools!

User avatar
woofner
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1327
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:04 am

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby woofner » October 13th, 2014, 12:30 pm

twincitizen wrote: It's also looking like the budget is probably going to exceed $250MM, which would make it ineligible for Small Starts, so the starter line is going to have to be shortened even further.
Is there new information on this or is it your extrapolation from the recently-published street layout?
"Who rescued whom!"

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7942
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » October 13th, 2014, 1:22 pm

Just had a team lunch at Quang (office back in Mpls wut wut) and I was once again amazed at how calm the street is. Easy to jaywalk, and I think more people jaywalk than cross at corners. Very light on-street parking demand, at least south of 26th. The one good thing about a streetcar is that it shouldn't change the low-impact nature of the streetscape much.

User avatar
Nick
Capella Tower
Posts: 3007
Joined: May 30th, 2012, 9:33 pm
Location: Loring Park, Minneapolis

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Nick » October 13th, 2014, 5:13 pm

EOst wrote:You're glossing over a really major point about Lake, though. Even setting aside the housing bubble and the Great Recession, which inhibited development for a long time, the station is placed adjacent to a highway and in Phillips, both of which significantly decrease the demand for development. What's more, it's on possibly the least walkable/urban section of Lake Street. The only thing really it has going for it is the fact that it's next to the station, and even with all those drawbacks it is seeing some development now.

I mean, ultimately you may be right that there isn't a lot of demand for "transit-oriented development" exclusively as such, especially when it's plopped down in the middle of nowhere in an undesirable part of town. I don't think there's a case to be made, however, that there isn't demand for new housing in Minneapolis in walkable urban areas. Even if those people end up still driving to work in Eden Prairie or somewhere like that, there's still a huge benefit to concentrating that growth along corridors like Nicollet.
Yeah, but it's like that at basically all of the stations though. We built lots and lots of stuff all over the city from 2004 until today, including a ton since the recession ended. I mean, I'd like to live next to train station, but I can't quite afford new construction by myself.
EOst wrote:The streetcar plan gets rid of a lot of stops, especially some of the most egregious ones (eg. the stops on the north side of the bridge over the Interstate). It's far from metro-distance stops, but I don't know that such distance would really be desirable for Eat Street anyway. They're a bit larger than articulated buses, true, but articulated buses aren't used on Nicollet right now. They're much bigger than the buses currently in use.
Points taken. I use the bus stops on the north side of the bridge over I-94! I saw three 18s on two blocks at about Nicollet and 24th this afternoon.

nBode
Union Depot
Posts: 324
Joined: August 20th, 2013, 3:25 pm
Location: University of Minnesota

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby nBode » October 13th, 2014, 6:17 pm

I'd like to say that I think if we could somehow manage to have this line run below-grade through downtown it would be very forward-sighted and really open "Nicollet Mile" as the best downtown pedestrian experience in the country. If you've ever walked on a no-motor-vehicle-traffic street, you probably know what a joy it is.

User avatar
Nathan
IDS Center
Posts: 4003
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:42 am

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Nathan » October 13th, 2014, 7:38 pm

grant1simons2 wrote:
-Nicollet could be a two-lane, instead of a three-lane street, with expanded sidewalks and no parking, in order to give the streetcar a dedicated lane.
-The stations could be built long enough to allow the streetcars to run as two-car trains.
No parking on Nicollet? Yeah good luck with that with it continuing to develop, even if you get rid of one side, you'd still have a large amount of complaints about parking spots.

Streetcars are supposed to be one car, if you want to run 2 car then you get more into an LRT line.

We actually are not 100% sure that buses will continue to run on Nicollet, they could be re-routed and that has not been decided yet
City officials stated that taking current bus traffic off of Nicollet was not an option at the Nicollet Mile redesign presentation. It's been stated many times that the other n/s streets are at a capacity that it wouldn't be possible to re-route busses there *dead horse

Matt
Metrodome
Posts: 74
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 7:02 pm

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Matt » October 13th, 2014, 10:51 pm

grant1simons2 wrote: Streetcars are supposed to be one car, if you want to run 2 car then you get more into an LRT line.
You can definitely run streetcars as 2 car operations. The N-Judah in San Francisco runs as light rail in the subway downtown but turns into a streetcar for most of the route and generally runs as two cars. They also hook up "trailer cars" to streetcars in Vienna (and likely other places) as seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tramw ... inzing.jpg

gopherfan
Metrodome
Posts: 84
Joined: January 15th, 2013, 5:09 pm

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby gopherfan » October 14th, 2014, 1:02 am

Check out the new Support Minneapolis Streetcar Page! https://www.facebook.com/supportminneapolisstreetcar

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1560
Joined: September 29th, 2012, 10:41 am

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby talindsay » October 14th, 2014, 7:00 am

I know i point it out often but "streetcars" and "light rail" are both called trams in Europe and the distinctions we make between the two are arbitrary. Of course you can run two car streetcars; heck you could run five car streetcars. Realistically there are good reasons this isn't common in the US - most notably, longer vehicles make shared lanes difficult and we have a pretty car centered design. But there is no technical or legal reason why we couldn't run three type II LRVs in a train down the middle of Nicollet and call it a "streetcar".

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
Posts: 2702
Joined: September 16th, 2012, 4:31 pm

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 14th, 2014, 11:32 am

Nathan wrote:City officials stated that taking current bus traffic off of Nicollet was not an option at the Nicollet Mile redesign presentation. It's been stated many times that the other n/s streets are at a capacity that it wouldn't be possible to re-route busses there *dead horse
I mean, only at capacity for like 2 hours a day. There are many things city officials could do to reduce the demand for driving at peak hours (ex. pricing their parking ramps higher) to say nothing of the natural shift in when traffic would enter downtown. 21.5% of people working downtown (including North Loop, Loring Park, DTE, but not across the river) live in Minneapolis. I would wager a solid chunk of those are currently choosing to drive, at peak times. Those folks have viable alternatives they're not exploring today.

User avatar
Nathan
IDS Center
Posts: 4003
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:42 am

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Nathan » October 14th, 2014, 11:52 am

RailBaronYarr wrote:
Nathan wrote:City officials stated that taking current bus traffic off of Nicollet was not an option at the Nicollet Mile redesign presentation. It's been stated many times that the other n/s streets are at a capacity that it wouldn't be possible to re-route busses there *dead horse
I mean, only at capacity for like 2 hours a day. There are many things city officials could do to reduce the demand for driving at peak hours (ex. pricing their parking ramps higher) to say nothing of the natural shift in when traffic would enter downtown. 21.5% of people working downtown (including North Loop, Loring Park, DTE, but not across the river) live in Minneapolis. I would wager a solid chunk of those are currently choosing to drive, at peak times. Those folks have viable alternatives they're not exploring today.
I don't disagree, I wasn't referring to vehicle traffic though. During rush hour Marq2 is a capacity with commuter bus traffic and anything further south/east wouldn't be that productive or serve the core as well, Hennepin already has a quite a few routes as well as heavy vehicle traffic, and 1st ave is getting a little far out of the core and doesn't have as good of connectivity to the rest of downtown. So what they've said is they don't really have a place to run the other routes running down Nic. I'm no expert, but what the city has studied and said time and again is that they have no good alternative for the routes running down nic.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
Posts: 7942
Joined: June 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm
Location: NORI: NOrth of RIchfield

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » October 14th, 2014, 12:40 pm

They just need to move more peak buses to east-west streets downtown, and free up capacity on Marq2- seems like a no brainer to me. Anyone know why express routes approaching downtown via 35W from the north or 394 from the west can't use an east-west spine?

twincitizen
Moderator
Posts: 6211
Joined: May 31st, 2012, 7:27 pm
Location: Standish-Ericsson

Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby twincitizen » October 14th, 2014, 12:46 pm

Because we haven't built one? ;)


Return to “Transportation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests