Rush Line Corridor BRT

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Vagueperson
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Vagueperson » November 11th, 2014, 9:34 pm

As much as I want to boost Payne Avenue and think it's the only real walkable neighborhood on the East Side, I think its only rail option would have to be shared lane (i.e. streetcars). According to Reuben Collins, it's only about 45ft wide - too narrow for parking, bike lanes, and traffic lanes according to him. If we can't add bike lanes we certainly can't add trains without removing all parking, which I'm only for at the point when we can sustain businesses (even then I'm not sure how comfortable pedestrians would feel without some sort of barrier).

This is why I'm hoping for an LRT alignment that would stop at Phalen Blvd and Payne. A streetcar that fed into the LRT would be nice.

Vagueperson
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Vagueperson » January 14th, 2015, 4:10 pm

New documents on the rushline.org webpage to see further alternatives being analyzed. I'm going to one of the open houses tonight to promote the East Side as a destination rather than a through-way.

acs
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby acs » January 14th, 2015, 5:03 pm

From the documents it seems like they really have no clue about an alignment or mode and have opened it up to the whims of local groups. I really would urge you to push for high-quality LRT service within the corridor of White Bear Lake and St. Paul over the stupid "BRT express" to the far flung exurbs. However I'm pretty pessimistic that NIMBY opposition will derail this or dilute it to the point of uselessness.

Tcmetro
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Tcmetro » January 14th, 2015, 6:05 pm

This is standard practice, where they have a bunch of corridors on the map early on, but over the next few months slowly it will get whittled down to 2 or 3 good options.

Silophant
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Silophant » January 14th, 2015, 6:32 pm

Well, its encouraging that DMUs are under consideration, I guess. Also, how exactly does "BRT Express" differ from normal express buses? Just the fancy paint?

Tcmetro
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Tcmetro » January 14th, 2015, 7:20 pm

I believe that the distinction between "Highway BRT" (i.e. METRO Red/Orange lines) and "BRT Express" is that the latter refers to a service that operates peak-hours only, generally along the corresponding "Highway BRT" line (not sure on the guidelines), and is therefore eligible for CTIB funding. Generally speaking, "BRT Express" routes look and function the same as any regular bus route.

There are a few examples of "BRT Express" in operation already;
- Route 467, from Lakeville 167/Kenrick to Downtown Minneapolis on the future Orange Line
- Certain trips on Route 475, between U of M, Downtown Minneapolis, and Cedar Grove Transit Station. IIRC, the extension from Cedar Grove to Apple Valley is funded by MVTA as opposed to CTIB funds.
- 4 round-trip extensions of Route 477 (Downtown Minneapolis-Apple Valley) from Apple Valley to Lakeville Cedar Park and Ride.

I believe that these operations are only eligible for 50% operations funding from CTIB, similar to the other annual operational grants.

masstrlk67
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby masstrlk67 » January 16th, 2015, 10:30 am

I went to last night's open house in Maplewood. It sounds like they are really looking for input so I would recommend submitting comments online to help push them toward a rapid transit outcome rather than fancier express buses to P&R's (unless that's what you want). I put my destination stickers on Payne-Phalen and downtown White Bear Lake. It is criminal that downtown White Bear Lake has nothing but a few express buses currently.

Also, I am new to this forum so hello, everyone.

mattaudio
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mattaudio » January 16th, 2015, 10:56 am

Welcome. Yes, if they're able to use existing RR ROW, I bet they could do a good urban alignment, then zoom it up to walkable DT WBL for relatively low cost. The only problem is that the RR ROW would bypass most of the Maplewood Mall area, which is probably a good trip generator despite being a land use that's hostile to transit.

Southside
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Southside » January 21st, 2015, 10:49 am

Missing the Maplewood Mall Park & Ride by a few blocks isn't too bad. Most of the buses leaving that Park & Ride are destined for Downtown Minneapolis (Route 270). These riders certainly have no interest in going to St. Paul. Anyway, all of the services could easily stop at both. Also, a station along the ROW at Beam Ave. could easily connect to St. John's Hospital, which I am sure would be a large trip generator.

Vagueperson
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Vagueperson » January 22nd, 2015, 6:48 am

I wouldn't anticipate many mall users as transit riders. But mall employees, yes. I think you're right that the land use in the area is not the kind that is currently built to accommodate transit, nor is it the type that would easily change.

froggie
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby froggie » January 22nd, 2015, 8:48 am

It's possible to have successful urban shopping malls along rail transit lines. Arlington County, VA has two examples on the DC Metro system.

Provided the Rush Line gets built as LRT and not BRT, it then becomes possible (and perhaps enticing) for a developer to redevelop part of Maplewood Mall should the line pass through the mall area.

It's theoretically possible to route such a line to connect through the mall area then continue to WBL. From the old rail ROW, it could head east along Beam Ave, then north up White Bear Ave. North of I-694, White Bear Ave is mostly less than 10,000 vpd on 4 lanes, so it should be easy to repurpose 2 lanes for LRT without adversely affecting traffic.

WAngell
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby WAngell » January 25th, 2015, 9:08 am

Another option would be to utilize some Niceride stations for transport between an LRT station and the mall.

Related to this, what impact will the various alignments have on bicycle routes?

Vagueperson
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Vagueperson » January 29th, 2015, 8:59 pm

It's unknown. They've promised to co-locate or relocate the Bruce Vento Trail should it be built along the RR ROW, but there have never been any drawings or suggestions as to where it would go. This is a major problem with it using the ROW through Swede Hollow because this is a key connection from the East Side to Lowertown.

masstrlk67
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby masstrlk67 » January 30th, 2015, 10:34 am

Do we know that it would be impossible to co-locate the trail and light rail in Swede Hollow? According to Google Earth, the Hiawatha trail and light rail takes up less than 50' underneath I-94 (measuring from edge of trail to edge of railbed). This would seem to fit in the ROW that the county owns (>65' according to Map Ramsey), but I don't know how much of that is actually clear/flat.

I don't want to see this do to Vento what I-35E did to Gateway, but it's hard to turn down a county-owned, grade-separated right-of-way that could actually serve a lot of people rather than bypassing them.

acs
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby acs » January 30th, 2015, 10:43 am

It's interesting to see that Ramsey County and St. Paul are perfectly willing to move a bike trail for transit use, which is the original reason this ROW was railbanked. Meanwhile in Hennepin County and Minneapolis we seem to require $200 million tunneling solutions.

David Greene
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby David Greene » January 30th, 2015, 1:57 pm

acs wrote:It's interesting to see that Ramsey County and St. Paul are perfectly willing to move a bike trail for transit use, which is the original reason this ROW was railbanked. Meanwhile in Hennepin County and Minneapolis we seem to require $200 million tunneling solutions.
The East Side ain't got money.

twincitizen
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » January 30th, 2015, 2:12 pm

I think it's way too early in the process to make any claims about what Ramsey County will or will not do, or what influence the residents directly abutting the ROW will have on the decision making process.

Remember, Hennepin County punted on the SW co-locate/relocate thing. The county technically chose/preferred freight rail relocation to St. Louis Park, but they definitely left the door wide open to co-location. It wasn't until after the project was handed over to the Met Council that it was finally decided that relocation of freight wasn't going to happen. Only then did it become a "should we move the bike trail" thing, to make at-grade co-location possible. I thought it was pretty well accepted theory around here that it was never about the bike trail anyways. Plenty of bike advocates were saying "move the trail, spend the money elsewhere!" It was always about ROW-adjacent folks not wanting LRT and freight to be co-located at grade. It is still all about that, as evidenced by the Park Board's ongoing actions. SWLRT's controversy was never reallyabout the bike trail.

Let's not get our stories confused here.

mulad
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mulad » January 30th, 2015, 4:20 pm

I don't think running through Swede Hollow is a very good idea. The south end has the NRHP-listed 7th Street Improvement Arches and some fairly tight constraints for getting through a tangle of freeways and rail lines.

The Bruce Vento Trail almost meets East 7th at Earl Street, so it probably makes more sense to jump over the freight tracks somewhere near there to take 7th most/all of the way to downtown or go down Payne (which also meets 7th) instead of running through the Swede Hollow trench.

Vagueperson
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Vagueperson » January 31st, 2015, 10:51 pm

I've been voting for Payne Ave, but I think this means having the train share a lane with cars unless we really tear up the neighborhood. The 7th St Improvement arches are pretty big. On our walking tour, the Rush Line rep was saying they might have to add infill to raise all of the ROW to the same level and make it usable. The more complicated part was going under I-94 and over the railroad tracks by the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Lowertown (don't know the name).

As far as having bike trail and two train tracks together, I may just have a poor imagination but it looks tight to me. The tight areas, however, may only require minor fixes.

mulad
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Re: Rush Line Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mulad » February 20th, 2015, 9:58 am

Minnesota Commercial is reporting that they aren't making profit on the tracks to Hugo. Apparently the track itself is still owned by BNSF.

http://www.presspubs.com/citizen/news/a ... ec4ba.html


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