A Line - Arterial Rapid Bus

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Mdcastle
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Mdcastle » January 15th, 2014, 10:09 am

Midway books (and Ax-Man) are the only reasons I go to St. Paul. Do you know something I don't?

With double left turn lanes, if the cars get stuck in traffic on the ramp meter or the freeway so be it, but at least they're not impacting traffic making other movements on the intersection. With far side bus stops I can see traffic backing up into the intersection, but on the other hand traffic on the near side wanting to turn could reach the intersection, so I guess there's trade-offs. With double lefts too there's a trade-off in that if it's not metered a flood of traffic tries to merge all at the same time.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby kbee » January 15th, 2014, 1:59 pm

The Governor's bonding recommendations include $10 million for Snelling BRT (A Line), which is enough to fully fund the project. This is some very good news in a bonding proposal that is otherwise pretty lame on transit (it also included $7 million to continue work on the Lake St Orange Line Station). Here's hoping it stays in the final budget!

Southside
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Southside » January 24th, 2014, 10:53 pm

Extending the Snelling BRT westward along 42nd/46th and creating a connection between the Blue and Orange Lines and future Nicollet Street Car makes a lot more sense to me than heading northward to hinterlands.

If the Orange Line were LRT, I bet the original A-Line plans would included the connection between the two METRO services.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby VAStationDude » January 24th, 2014, 11:01 pm

The ridership mismatch between the 84 and 46 might not be conducive to interlining. However, Orange to Green makes more sense than combining two already long local routes like 70 & 23.

Tcmetro
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » January 25th, 2014, 5:09 am

Additionally, 46th St. needs a strong local service to move neighborhood riders to Orange and Blue lines. Arterial BRT doesn't fit the market for the demand (local feeder) and would likely be underused.

Ridership mismatch is certainly an issue. Service on Route 46 operates every 30 minutes, and is fairly underutilized. Metro Transit believes that Snelling is deserving of 10 minute frequencies on the A line and 30 minute service on the Route 84 local overlay.

Another concern is reliability. Routes that are too long (IMO, run times over 1 hour) are prone to bunching and lateness. A Snelling/46 St. Line would be too long and the service would suffer.

My main belief is that the 46 bus should be improved to 15 minute service in 2019 when the Orange Line opens, and extended to OPUS Station on the Green Line when that opens.

Hopefully Snelling BRT can get a median busway eventually. There is more than enough room for one.

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woofner
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby woofner » January 29th, 2014, 3:21 pm

The 23 is not that long, I think it could take over the 70's route west of Downtown St Paul without reliability issues. There is a bit of a demand mismatch there too but some branches could terminate at Highland Park. Then the 70 east of Downtown St Paul could be extended east into the Valley Creek area of Woodbury, which I think may be grown up enough to handle some all-day local service. Not my ideal configuration but I think it could work.
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » January 29th, 2014, 9:11 pm

The problem with the 70 on St. Clair is that it will need a significant improvement in service levels to keep it's walk-shed from defecting to the nearby 63 (improving to 20 minutes all day soon) and the 74 (improving to 15 minute service soon), which are both less than a half-mile away. Considering that service runs from 6 am to 7 pm, weekdays only, at 30-minute service during peak hours and 60-minute service off-peak, it should probably just be cancelled with resources reallocated. The east end of the 70 has a lot of potential, IMO, and should definitely see some improvements.

--

In Snelling BRT news, an open house was held on the 23rd; however, Metro Transit has yet to upload the materials to the web for public viewing. I would imagine that construction on the line will launch in the summer or fall.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby twincitizen » January 29th, 2014, 9:42 pm

I completely agree, the western leg of the 70 could be a candidate for removal if the resources were redirected to the 74 and 63. It will be interesting to see if ridership shifts with the bump in frequencies on the 63 and 74.

Also, the current routing of the 70 on Cretin for a stretch is beyond ridiculous. No one living between Cretin and the river is riding the bus. That leg should be moved to Cleveland Ave immediately to concentrate frequency and ridership there with the 74 and 87.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mulad » January 29th, 2014, 10:21 pm

I went to the meeting on the 23rd -- there didn't seem to be much new information compared to previous meetings. Their presentation boards still implied that the Go-To readers will be at doors on the buses rather than having pedestals at stations. I still think the pedestal readers are the right thing to do to make the experience as LRT-like as possible. (I'm a little curious what the relative lifespans are for stationary readers, which have to deal with big heating/cooling cycles and getting wet, and the on-board readers, which have to withstand constant vibration.)

There were a couple of people talking about adding a stop somewhere between Como and Larpenteur, which is the biggest gap along the whole route (1 mile). Arlington is halfway, but there isn't a sidewalk on the west side. I'm sure one could fit, though it would require getting the State Fair to move their fences and maybe lose a few trees. Metro Transit and MnDOT probably still wouldn't like the idea of a crossing there, since there isn't a stop light and the speed limit is 40 mph (a 3/4-mile-long stretch between two 45-mph zones). There's room for a median pedestrian refuge on the south side of the intersection, though (nobody going northbound needs to turn left), and the speed limit should probably be reduced along there too (regardless of the presence of a transit stop or not).

So that's what I'd go for, though a long-needed sidewalk shouldn't come from this project's funding pot. Of course, the area will get the 83 on the east side of the neighborhood soon, along Hamline (assuming it continues operating in the future), but that'll only be half-hourly.

I don't recall specific construction periods being discussed. The most recent info I've seen was in the November 2013 TAC presentation, which seemed to say a February 2015 through September 2015 construction window for the A Line. There is supposed to be construction this summer for the prototype station at 7th & Olson in Minneapolis. I'm not sure what the intermediate "Arterial BRT Station Shelter" item means, though. Maybe some of the existing stops that don't need to move will see upgrades sooner?

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mplsjaromir » January 30th, 2014, 9:01 am

Not having off board Go-To readers is indicative of how easily BRT projects are watered down. I wish it wasn't this way but I support all rail transit even if BRT or aBRT makes more sense.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » January 30th, 2014, 9:24 am

Although this is aBRT not "LRT on wheels" - I think it gets down to the identity of our services. We need to define levels and characteristics of service and then let engineers and communities match that, rather than focusing on technology. In this case, aBRT is "enhanced bus." I do think it should have off-board fare payment. But it's not like this will be another Red Line.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby talindsay » January 30th, 2014, 9:44 am

mplsjaromir wrote:Not having off board Go-To readers is indicative of how easily BRT projects are watered down. I wish it wasn't this way but I support all rail transit even if BRT or aBRT makes more sense.
Yup.
mattaudio wrote:We need to define levels and characteristics of service and then let engineers and communities match that, rather than focusing on technology.
You're right of course, but until dispassionate technocrats rule in an absence of all the other influences on governance, this won't happen. Anything "BRT" will evolve downward towards a regular city bus because each step is small and incremental, and each reduction saves a little money.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » January 30th, 2014, 10:02 am

talindsay wrote: You're right of course, but until dispassionate technocrats rule in an absence of all the other influences on governance, this won't happen. Anything "BRT" will evolve downward towards a regular city bus because each step is small and incremental, and each reduction saves a little money.
That is the reason why, for now, I do support rail when buses could technically do. The political reality is that corners will be cut to the point of uselessness. But the Snelling BRT is a slightly different beast... I think it should be setting the standard for primary urban bus routes. Maybe it would be better if we had a term other than Arterial BRT since that conjures up different things to different people.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 30th, 2014, 10:55 am

mattaudio wrote:Maybe it would be better if we had a term other than Arterial BRT since that conjures up different things to different people.
Don't we already? These are major arterial corridors, but really they should be calling it "Enhanced Bus" as the technical choice. Elements of local bus mixed with elements of BRT. Using aBRT tries to make it sound better than the likely end result will be (ie closer to local bus than BRT, IMO). Enhanced Bus calls it what it is, really, and allows the wiggle room in the end product that will be inherent, even between the "aBRT" lines under consideration (ie I don't think any of them will have the exact same amenities, completely dependent upon funding/political arena at the time of construction).

And yes, I agree with a heavy heart that this is why I, too, support rail whenever possible. It'd be great to go the extra mile on streetcars and just give them dedicated ROW and turn them into trams.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Tcmetro » February 1st, 2014, 9:30 am

Ah, thanks for the update, mulad.

I think that the best location for a station between Como and Larpenteur is at Midway Parkway. The stop is already popular during the State Fair, and providing an Arterial BRT station right at the front door could help promote transit to visitors.

The advantage of a stop at Arlington is the expanded access to the Job Corps. site. Certainly they could make good use of a stop.

Shame about the GoTo validators. I wonder if they are still planning to put ticket machines at the stops, or will they move cash payment onto the buses?

My interpretation of the "Arterial BRT Station Shelter" on the timeline is that it is a separate project to design the BRT stations and build them at the stops. The "A Line" project must refer to the TSP, buses, and other associated works. But, it does seem to suggest that there will be a few Arterial BRT stops built in August and September of this year for the Snelling project. Perhaps it could be something as simple as building electric and heat hook-ups to the station locations, in anticipation of the shelters being built the following year.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby mattaudio » February 3rd, 2014, 9:15 am

Any more cuts and this will devolve into a Red Line-esque outcome... interesting looking vehicles and shelters are less important than quality service, reliability, and ride comfort.

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby twincitizen » February 3rd, 2014, 10:29 am

The funding for the stations is coming from MNDOT, and was secured earlier than the rest. Metro Transit chose Snelling and West 7th for many reasons; a big factor was MNDOT paying for the stations since they will be located on state highways.

I wouldn't assume just because the GoTo readers (the blue football) will still be located on the bus that TVMs are disappearing from the stations. In fact I'd count on TVMs at the stations until you specifically hear otherwise. The project managers at Metro Transit are very wary of letting this new "brand" get watered down before it even debuts.

Edit: TVM = Ticket Vending Machine

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby kellonathan » February 3rd, 2014, 11:27 am

I am fine with tagging at the doors as long as we can do all-door boarding.

You can buy tickets at a TVM before boarding if paying with cash, or validate Go-To cards at doors when boarding.
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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby Silophant » February 3rd, 2014, 11:36 am

I don't know... I feel like its going to be overly confusing to have some people pay on-board and some off-board. Is that how the Red Line does it?

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Re: Snelling BRT/enhanced bus

Postby David Greene » February 3rd, 2014, 12:33 pm

I am getting less and less enthusiastic about this line by the minute.


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