Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby Viktor Vaughn » May 29th, 2014, 2:41 pm

There's a mismatch of priorities if we are willing to spend the $200M to put rails in the street, but not spend the political capital to give the streetcar its own right-of-way.

Look at how much of the aBRT network could be built out for the cost of one too-short streetcar line. Would it be nice to have a streetcar for tourists to ride on? Yes! Should a tourist streetcar be a spending priority over upgrading the bus system to really improve mobility in the region? That's a harder argument to make.

mulad
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mulad » May 29th, 2014, 3:17 pm

I don't really buy the argument that it would just be a tourist trolley. It may be a short route, but that doesn't mean it doesn't connect a lot of destinations. Don't think of it in terms of miles, think of it in terms of numbers of people and businesses along the route. Now, I will say that it wouldn't be very good if it has a crummy 20- or 30-minute frequency -- in that case, you really could walk to many places faster than the streetcar could get you there. If the frequency is high, the length doesn't matter as much, and it can be a start to a bigger system.

Much of Nicollet Avenue has about 80 feet of right-of-way from building face to building face. We can do something like this without much trouble, which is basically adding rails to the existing driving lanes:

http://streetmix.net/-/137536

But if we want to have dedicated right-of-way for surface rail, something needs to go, and I'm not sure what that would be. Get rid of parking? Get rid of the driving lanes entirely and make the whole thing a transit/bike/ped mall? Those are fine in my book, but a choice needs to be made.

I'm perfectly happy with the idea of building platforms for aBRT now, and then adding rails later, though it could make conversion to a transit/bike/ped mall a bit strange (maybe run bike lanes down the middle of the road rather than on the side as in most conventional layouts?). If we want to keep cars (parking, especially) on Nicollet, then a rail service needs to either be elevated or in a tunnel. I tend to lean in favor of the tunnel idea, though it does have the drawback of making stations less accessible/visible, and making it harder for passengers to know where they are and discover new things by looking out the windows.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » May 29th, 2014, 3:35 pm

Here's a streetmix I came up with a long time ago for the gauntlet track plan:
Gauntlet track: http://informationservices.homestead.we ... ctive.aspx
Center station: http://streetmix.net/MatthewSteele/2/80 ... d-stations

For a commercial corridor like this, I'd rather see it disconnected for automobiles between Lake and 29th along with other traffic calming... so average traffic speeds would be 20 MPH and it would be more of a commercial woonerf, with local bike/car/parking/access but not designed for driving/biking the whole corridor. It could be something like this, on both sides of the gauntlet track. Just think how that would enhance Eat Street even more...
Image

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » May 29th, 2014, 3:43 pm

For the sake of cost analysis, does anyone know the existing widths of the sidewalk, amenity zone, and parking lanes on Nicollet?

helsinki
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby helsinki » May 29th, 2014, 4:23 pm

mulad wrote:I don't really buy the argument that it would just be a tourist trolley. It may be a short route, but that doesn't mean it doesn't connect a lot of destinations. Don't think of it in terms of miles, think of it in terms of numbers of people and businesses along the route. Now, I will say that it wouldn't be very good if it has a crummy 20- or 30-minute frequency -- in that case, you really could walk to many places faster than the streetcar could get you there. If the frequency is high, the length doesn't matter as much, and it can be a start to a bigger system.

Much of Nicollet Avenue has about 80 feet of right-of-way from building face to building face. We can do something like this without much trouble, which is basically adding rails to the existing driving lanes:

http://streetmix.net/-/137536
In a nutshell, this is my thinking as well.

The opposition to automobiles and streetcars sharing space is a bit mystifying to me. It works just fine in many cities around the world. Presumably detractors of the idea imagine that cars or trucks will obstruct the ROW, thereby slowing the tram to a crawl. No evidence has ever been presented to justify this claim.

Labeling this project as a 'tourist attraction' has always mystified me also. Tram 28 in Lisbon is a tourist attraction. So to are those heritage trolleys or whatever they are that get built in sunbelt sprawl-scapes like Tampa and are then disingenuously trotted out in goofy research claiming to disprove the viability of streetcars as a transit mode (ie Florida State University professor Jeff Brown profiled 5/20 in Minnpost; seriously - any study of streetcars in North America that ignores Toronto or SF's Muni or SEPTA's surface trolley lines or Boston's Green Line is utterly irrelevant). The project proposed here is not conceived as a tourist attraction, nor will it function as such.

talindsay
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby talindsay » May 29th, 2014, 5:21 pm

helsinki wrote:
mulad wrote:I don't really buy the argument that it would just be a tourist trolley. It may be a short route, but that doesn't mean it doesn't connect a lot of destinations. Don't think of it in terms of miles, think of it in terms of numbers of people and businesses along the route. Now, I will say that it wouldn't be very good if it has a crummy 20- or 30-minute frequency -- in that case, you really could walk to many places faster than the streetcar could get you there. If the frequency is high, the length doesn't matter as much, and it can be a start to a bigger system.

Much of Nicollet Avenue has about 80 feet of right-of-way from building face to building face. We can do something like this without much trouble, which is basically adding rails to the existing driving lanes:

http://streetmix.net/-/137536
In a nutshell, this is my thinking as well.

The opposition to automobiles and streetcars sharing space is a bit mystifying to me. It works just fine in many cities around the world. Presumably detractors of the idea imagine that cars or trucks will obstruct the ROW, thereby slowing the tram to a crawl. No evidence has ever been presented to justify this claim.

Labeling this project as a 'tourist attraction' has always mystified me also. Tram 28 in Lisbon is a tourist attraction. So to are those heritage trolleys or whatever they are that get built in sunbelt sprawl-scapes like Tampa and are then disingenuously trotted out in goofy research claiming to disprove the viability of streetcars as a transit mode (ie Florida State University professor Jeff Brown profiled 5/20 in Minnpost; seriously - any study of streetcars in North America that ignores Toronto or SF's Muni or SEPTA's surface trolley lines or Boston's Green Line is utterly irrelevant). The project proposed here is not conceived as a tourist attraction, nor will it function as such.
I've been struggling to shape my reaction to the odd negativity of this thread, but as has often been the case, you've summed up my thoughts well. I'll agree with you and add that improvements in amenity quality are nice for *everyone*, not just tourists, and the segment of the line that they're planning to build was chosen precisely because it has such high ridership currently, with a large percentage of total corridor trips both starting and ending within this segment.

Trying to make transit all about speed over distances is a great way to get lowest-common-denominator service - because in a city with low density and ample parking no transit can match the speed of an automobile when you factor in the waits for transit, the walks to and from stations, etc. Transit will win for convenience, comfort, and ease of use; speed only has to be good enough to keep it from being *so* slow that it introduces unacceptable delay vs. its benefits. Streetcar in shared ROW accomplishes all these goals, producing an easy to understand, comfortable ride in a (relatively) dense corridor.

robotlollipop
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby robotlollipop » May 29th, 2014, 6:40 pm

I worry that the city will want to make the mall look complete by the time the Super Bowl rolls around, making it much more expensive and difficult to fit in a street car.

go4guy
Foshay Tower
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby go4guy » June 12th, 2014, 4:02 pm

What is the projected timeline for this line? Havent heard a thing on it for a long time. For cost saving measures, you would think they would HAVE to build this at the same time of the Mall Reconstruction project. No?

Tcmetro
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » June 16th, 2014, 12:14 pm

If this line goes through, hopefully we get streetcars like the new ones in Toronto.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kobScpQ ... e=youtu.be

HoratioRincewind
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby HoratioRincewind » June 16th, 2014, 5:43 pm

go4guy wrote:What is the projected timeline for this line? Havent heard a thing on it for a long time. For cost saving measures, you would think they would HAVE to build this at the same time of the Mall Reconstruction project. No?
This isn't in the MetCouncil TPP. So it's timeline is 'the future'. Not being in the TPP means that the line cannot apply for federal funding, and cannot be added to the operational portfolio of MetroTransit.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby mattaudio » June 16th, 2014, 6:46 pm

Speaking of, the TPP is being revised this summer.

grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby grant1simons2 » June 16th, 2014, 7:03 pm

Stuff being taken off or added?

Tcmetro
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Tcmetro » June 16th, 2014, 8:39 pm

An entire rewriting, as the current TPP was adopted c. 2004.

EOst
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby EOst » July 26th, 2014, 9:36 am

From an article on the Mall redesign: http://www.startribune.com/blogs/268633302.html

"Why can't buses go away on the Mall? Snow said discussions are ongoing to minimize bus traffic on the Mall, especially if streetcars come into play. Transit shelters will serve both bus and streetcar users."

Significantly reducing the number of buses on the Mall would go a long way to making that part of the route faster and more pleasant.

Tcmetro
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby Tcmetro » July 26th, 2014, 11:29 am

The buses bring a lot of people to Nicollet, especially during the dead hours such as a late Sunday afternoon.

I think getting rid of the buses would remove a lot of people from Nicollet, and potentially make it feel a lot less safe.

EOst
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby EOst » July 26th, 2014, 11:36 am

I don't think this really entails getting rid of all the buses on the street--there are plenty that wouldn't make a lot of sense to move (especially whatever remains of the 18). But with a streetcar running at 7-10 minute frequencies all day, every day, I think you could redirect some of the less legible routes and still keep up activity on the street.

grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby grant1simons2 » July 26th, 2014, 5:17 pm

I was bored today so here you go. Ignore the names

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit? ... JP74Mpq9NE

EOst
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby EOst » July 26th, 2014, 9:14 pm

Don't forget the -Central part. ;)

grant1simons2
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby grant1simons2 » July 26th, 2014, 9:42 pm

I caught onto this project a bit late. I didn't know they already had stations in the planning. I'll revamp the map tonight and it'll be golden for tomorrow. A.k.a: dead sunday, cause this forum is dead silent

orangevening
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Postby orangevening » July 27th, 2014, 12:03 pm

EOst wrote:I don't think this really entails getting rid of all the buses on the street--there are plenty that wouldn't make a lot of sense to move (especially whatever remains of the 18). But with a streetcar running at 7-10 minute frequencies all day, every day, I think you could redirect some of the less legible routes and still keep up activity on the street.
I think a bigger issue for the streetcar is vehicles parked on the mall (see post-farmers market Thursdays). Buses can go around, when they can. Streetcars not so much.


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