A Line - Arterial Rapid Bus

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mamundsen
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mamundsen » November 15th, 2013, 3:47 pm

There will be if the huge development that is planned for the Ammunition land actually happens. Wasn't it goin to double the population of Arden Hills? All I remember is that they have a lot planned for that land now that the Vikings will not be coming.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mulad » November 15th, 2013, 4:02 pm

Not a particularly high bar. TCAAP is what, like 3 square miles or more? Arden Hills has a population around 9,000 today. There are individual, half-mile-square neighborhoods in Minneapolis on par with that.

Tom H.
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tom H. » November 15th, 2013, 4:33 pm

It would be nice to somehow get Northwestern and Bethel hooked up to useful transit somehow, but I can't think of a good way to do it given the way the campuses are oriented now. There's a pretty sizeable population of students living on-campus without cars, who rely on the campus shuttles to get them to Rosedale for their shopping (with something like ~1 hr frequencies most of the day).

Once they get to Rosedale, however, it's pretty easy to get connected into the transit system (and moreso once Snelling aBRT is online). Unfortunately, there was no education whatsoever to help students try to utilize the transit system, nor was there (to my knowledge) anything like a CollegePass offered. Most Bethel students are not accustomed to transit usage, so they're not likely to try it without some assistance.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » November 15th, 2013, 7:00 pm

Seems like there could be online stations with good connections to the campuses.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Mdcastle » November 15th, 2013, 9:42 pm

From what I remember of what my sister told me about living at Northwestern, virtually no one uses the bus apart from college and church shuttles (neither my sister nor any of her roomates did)- Usually if they want to go shopping or to the movies or to an off-campus party or whatever they join up with someone that has a car on campus. This are predominantly white middle upper class kids from the suburbs, so riding a city bus probably isn't something most of them are used to doing. Also, it's pretty insular- you're living with a bunch of people for company and you don't need to go out get groceries too much. Between classes and homework and studying and mandatory chapel there isn't much time to go romp around off-campus.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Silophant » November 16th, 2013, 1:54 am

Sure, but is that because they hate the bus, or because there's no buses that are actually useful for them? I'm tending to believe it's the latter.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tom H. » November 16th, 2013, 9:40 am

At Bethel, there was a phenomenon we liked to call the 'Bethel bubble' - where you'd think to yourself, 'Hey! I haven't been off-campus in 3 weeks!' It can get pretty isolated, and parking spots aren't available for most until junior year. I agree with the sentiment that, if some frequent transit were available (and students were educated about it), it would be used.

While I was at Bethel (2005-09), I remember looking up public transportation options once on a whim. There was one MetroTransit route that stopped on campus, but you had to call an 800 number to request that it come pick you up. It was just easier to ask a roommate for a ride somewhere.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mulad » November 16th, 2013, 11:18 am

Bethel has around 6,500 students, including undergrad, postgrad, and seminary (looks like some sources don't count the seminary students), while Northwestern has around 3,000. Bethel seems to be the more isolated of the two, though, as has been noted, they have their own shuttle. Their schedule claims that it takes 10 minutes from Bethel to Rosedale, and another 5 to the Roseville SuperTarget. It seems kind of strange that Bethel would operate a shuttle to that store rather than the one up near I-694 (Shoreview), but they also tout that stop as being close to HarMar.

Metro Transit's route 225 gets close enough to Northwestern that I think students could use that, but it has fairly limited hours of service. I imagine Northwestern students must walk or bike down Lincoln Drive to the Rosedale Square area fairly often (the shopping center with the Byerly's) but there isn't a whole lot of interesting stuff there (at least for me) -- a couple of restaurants and the grocery.

Looking at other routes in the general corridor, there's an express route 261 which touches the southeast corner of TCAAP today -- it largely runs along Lexington, but it skips past Rosedale and is peak-direction only. Route 227 is also in the general corridor, though it mostly runs even farther east along Victoria, but it ends up at the SuperTarget near I-694.

So, could those routes be consolidated in any meaningful way? If the Snelling enhanced bus route gets extended north, then should some routes be set up to be connecting routes only, and not go all the way to Rosedale themselves? Would it make sense to have east-west routes intersecting it, for instance?

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » November 16th, 2013, 11:33 am

Snelling BRT to the Ammunition Plant is certainly a long shot. The 225 bus does a much better job of serving the retail areas. Additionally, Bethel and Northwestern aren't really in a good walking distance of Snelling. Additionally, we have to see what will materialize of the Ammunition plant. Will it be townhouses and big-box malls? Are those worthy of BRT service?

I think that maybe some expanded service on the 225 and 227 would be a good idea (i.e. evening and Sunday service), but I think Snelling BRT extension is a poor choice of expenditures.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Mdcastle » November 16th, 2013, 4:52 pm

I asked my sister about Byerlys, and she said that it's really farther than most of them wanted to walk especially in winter - the dorms are some distance from the building so they got a lot of walking on campus, so walking down to the store didn't seem like much fun especially if you were getting stuff to haul back, and that there weren't a lot of "sidewalk type" things. Like I said before, typically students would find someone with a car to go with if they didn't have one.

hoffm83n
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby hoffm83n » November 17th, 2013, 12:09 am

I know a lot of northwestern students and the vast majority wouldn't use an expanded bus route. The university doesn't try to integrate with minneapolis or roseville and is very insular and keeps its students busy, plus there are tons of cars on campus.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby pannierpacker » November 18th, 2013, 1:23 am

I can offer insight in regards to both of the universities:

1)
I was a Bethel student. When I attended there, I became very familiar with the term "Bethel Bubble". I was one of the freshman who found a way to keep his car near campus and not on campus. This was how I escaped the bubble. Today, it's very easy to have a car near campus if they can afford one. Flaherty's bowling alley offers cheap parking for Bethel students and is just on the other side of Snelling.

Most of my experiences travelling off campus as a freshman were related to finding fun things to do off campus. For those events, certain people had cars and we would utilize that the best we could. The shuttles which brought people to Target were also utilized by a decent number.

The biggest problem I see with connecting Bethel students to a Snelling BRT solution is the lack of a pedestrian friendly entrance on the east side of their campus. The main road into campus does not have a sidewalk and is an important connector for their RC building, their sophomore townhome housing, and the seminary. In addition to that, the east gate closes after dark because their is no guardshack on the east side of campus and Bethel is very concerned about security and controlled access to their campus after hours. Back when I went to school there, I would regularly get stopped by security for walking along the service road east of their Soho parking lot, near Snelling. Even if the security and street features were addressed, it still is a pretty good walk from the east gate to the main campus buildings. Many students would groan if they were commuting and had to park in the Soho lot due to all of the other spots being full.

Furthermore, how would students get off from or get onto a northbound bus with the existing highway layout? Currently, there is no pedestrian oriented crossing over Snelling at Bethel's east gate, which is the most logical location for an arterial BRT stop. Students can't walk south to the County Road E bridge because there is a railroad in the way. Speaking of which, some of them use the railroad bridge illegally to access their cars parked at Flahertys...

2)
I also currently work at Northwestern. I have taken the 225 into work and away from work before. The limited hours of the 225 are very frustrating. You can forget about taking the bus if you need to start work before 7:30am or leave work after 5:30pm. I can also agree with the comments made earlier about how windy the 225 is. All the circulators, (225,223,227) are very windy and will pull into neighborhoods to stop at apartments and businesses, which eats up a lot of time. Not to mention, it's a half mile walk from the 225 bus stop to the main part of campus. Granted there are Northwestern shuttles which run from the bus stops to and from the heart of campus, but they only run every 20 minutes, so typically it's just as fast to walk into campus.

There are also evening shuttles which bring students from campus to Rosedale mall, similar to what Bethel does. These services run about every 1.5 hours.

I don't know any other people who have taken the city bus into work at the university other than me. There are some workers who bike or walk into campus. I'm not too knowledge saavy on the student culture at Northwestern but I did read an article once in the school newspaper about transit. The article basically acknowledged that the transit access to Northwestern wasn't perfect but that if a student could make it to Rosedale they would be okay.

I think Northwestern's campus is slightly better setup for arterial BRT than Bethel's simply because of the stoplight which is already in existence at Lydia Ave. The access to campus from Snelling is much better provided the bus actually doesn't have to turn onto or off of Lydia Ave (a stoplight which sees horrid eastbound backups during PM rush hours). Their entrance that is oriented towards Snelling also has 24/7 access as long as you are a community member.

A lot of negotiation between Met Council and the boards of both universities needs to be done to ensure that such a transit solution is desirable and that it is appropriately integrated into the existing campus system.
Last edited by pannierpacker on November 18th, 2013, 1:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

pannierpacker
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby pannierpacker » November 18th, 2013, 1:40 am

Lastly,
I just wanted to say that I think arterial BRT extension up Snelling/Hwy51 is an excellent idea, even with the challenges at integrating with both universities. I think that the cost wouldn't be very much in the long run and that other places would benefit as well. In Arden Hills at Connelly Ave, there is a great opportunity to perform a quick bus turnaround with the existing street layout. This would provide access to many businesses in Arden Hills. Furthermore, if the bus continued up Hamline to 96 to access TCAAP there would be more opportunities at County Road F to capture commuters heading to/from Boston Scientific and Land-O-Lakes. I realize that the 261 performs some of this work already, but the Snelling BRT solution would be much faster, more direct, could run more often, and run at an extended hour range during the day.

What transit organizations don't realize about universities and mega-sized businesses, is that they can be work environments which sometimes require someone to arrive pretty early or leave pretty late. Sometimes they require long days, and the only way an employee is going to feel comfortable using a system like this is if there is flexibility that allows them to use it in the early morning and evenings. The same can be said for students, which many times will take evening classes.

Tcmetro
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » December 20th, 2013, 10:40 am


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woofner
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby woofner » December 20th, 2013, 11:18 am

It's pretty cool that they're doing a test station at 7th & Olson. Too bad though that they're not relocating the NB stop to the near side of Olson on 7th so the 5 & 19 could be consolidated, though maybe that's considered unacceptable for 19 operations (I kind of doubt that queues of more than 200' are common here however).

The station diagram is interesting in that it indicates that they plan to raise a substantial clear zone in to boarding level rather than just the station area. Or maybe they plan to raise the entire sidewalk? How would that work with existing structures though? I don't remember seeing that sort of thing in other systems but maybe they feel like they have a ton of ROW to work with on Snelling (they do).
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mattaudio
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » December 20th, 2013, 11:31 am

I hope the 7th/Olson station is truly just a prototype and something they'll be okay throwing away. That intersection is awful and the area is ripe for reconfiguration.

Also, add it to my dream of interlining (46+74, 23+70) --- combine this with the 515 for full-on mall to mall connection.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mulad » December 20th, 2013, 12:39 pm

Oof, those stops at Snelling and Roselawn only average 4-5 riders daily. Yeah, seems about right. I'm surprised that there are also so few boardings at Ford and Fairview, but that stretch of road probably sees people divide up their boardings among the stops that are just one block apart.

Interesting that they're now pushing for either curb extensions or continuing to use existing in-lane stops everywhere (except for the more highway-ish segments from Como and northward). I'm not quite sure how to parse the note about "No change in LOS but increased delay of >5 seconds/vehicle" for the stops at Snelling/Dayton and the northbound stop at Snelling/University. And they're looking at having a curb extension for that crappy stop by the bookstore! I'd been expecting them to settle for using the stop one block south at Spruce Tree Ave, but if it appears that they can maintain sufficient level of service while basically taking a lane right at University Avenue, I'm happy to go along with that!

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woofner
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby woofner » December 20th, 2013, 12:45 pm

Imagine how pissed the racist that owns Midway Books will be! I can't wait to read what clever epithet for enhanced bus he pastes all over his windows!

More seriously, I wonder how well the LOS models account for post-intersection congestion. Presumably someone thinks that far-side congestion is better than near-side congestion and that's why you see all those lanes that end right after the intersection.
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mattaudio
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » December 20th, 2013, 1:05 pm

It's the same principle as to why there are so many double left turns onto freeway ramps. The thinking must be to try and move more cars through a shorter signal phase even if there's congestion past the signal.

Tcmetro
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » January 14th, 2014, 11:04 pm

Snelling BRT open house:

Thursday, January 23, 6 to 8 p.m.
Roseville Library, Community Room
2180 Hamline Avenue North, Roseville


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