Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
ECtransplant
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby ECtransplant » March 28th, 2013, 1:59 pm

When the heck is the prime but neglected transit corridor from uptown to downtown along Hennepin going to get some improvements?

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » March 28th, 2013, 2:03 pm

As soon as we elect a councilmember who cares passionately about improving transit between Uptown and Downtown. Lisa Bender has specifically stated that she will be an advocate for Hennepin. If you live in Ward 10, I urge you to join several other UrbanMSP'ers in supporting her campaign by participating in the DFL caucus and telling your friends in the ward. http://www.votelisabender.com/

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby MNdible » March 28th, 2013, 2:46 pm

Because everybody knows that regional transit decisions and priorities are decided upon by the Ward 10 City Councilor.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » March 28th, 2013, 5:36 pm

Because everybody knows that Metro Transit can't do squat without buy-in from the local community. For Hennepin to have seriously improved transit, there will be impacts to on-street parking AND traffic flow. That will require the support of a councilmember that is on board and understands the importance of improving transit service in this corridor.
Last edited by twincitizen on March 29th, 2013, 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby seanrichardryan » March 28th, 2013, 5:52 pm

But Lisa bender is a single family home sympathizer. Besides, transit can go over to Lyndale, it's obvious Hennepin is too congested and should be closed to transit.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mulad » March 28th, 2013, 5:53 pm

Snarktacular.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 28th, 2013, 8:50 pm

What's wrong with SFHs? If uptown were a maze of SFHs on 20 foot wide lots and corner business district every 4 blocks I don't think anyone would be complaining!

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » March 29th, 2013, 10:31 am

In an attempt to get this bus back on schedule, and for those who aren't nerdy enough to read through those Met Council documents, I clipped the relevant portion of the CMAQ aBRT grants. Note: this doesn't mean that those aBRT lines will begin operation in 2015 & 2016, just that the funds will be allocated. It's going to be a hurried planning & construction effort just to get Snelling up and running in 2015. It would be great to see both West 7th and Chicago open in 2016. West 7th should be easy, as the service is already operating, they just need the new buses and fancy stations with ticket machines. Portland Avenue from 67th St to 494 will be fully reconstructed in 2015 to a 2-lane road with medians, turn lanes, proper sidewalks, and rapid bus facilities. I hope Richfield, Hennepin County, and Metro Transit are closely collaborating on that effort to get it right. I'd guess they're shooting for 2017 with East 7th.

The reason for the slow rollout is that we're shooting for the "super deluxe" package of aBRT with regards to station amenities and new buses. Personally, I'd be just fine with the barebones bus system we have now, but changing the stop spacing to 1/4-mile rather than the current 1/8-mile (1/16th in some cases!) After eliminating about half the stops, Metro Transit might actually have a fighting chance to keep up with proper maintenance of the shelters we have currently.
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FISHMANPET
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby FISHMANPET » March 29th, 2013, 11:40 am

What kind of new buses will we be getting?

For what it's worth, Metro Transit already buys the Gillig "BRT" model rather than the standard low floor.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » March 29th, 2013, 12:20 pm

That's true. I don't ride the 54 or 84, so I have no idea what the current ridership on those routes is like. For some reason, I've always pictured aBRT as articulated buses, but with 10-minute headways and improved on-time performance, that probably isn't necessary unless we see massive ridership growth. The Route 5 however, already uses articulated buses for certain trips, including the extra Minneapolis Public Schools' trips and on Saturdays when the artics aren't needed for express service. Considering the future interlining of the Emerson-Fremont portion, I could see this line using artics.

This is super uninteresting to most, but I suspect all 3 of these aBRT lines (if you count E & W 7th as one) will operate out of South Garage. That's probably a good thing for driver training, consistency, etc.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mulad » March 29th, 2013, 2:02 pm

I wonder if they'll shoot for the New Flyer Xcelsior super-hybrid. Some Van Hool buses like what the University of Minnesota has might be nice, simply because they have 3 sets of doors on the 40-footers and 4 sets on the articulated units (the latter may have been a special request, judging by the models listed on their website). The wraparound view for riders is also nice, since the engine is side-mounted, but that position also makes the center area of the bus noisier. Unfortunately I believe they're still made overseas and would be rejected for funding under federal Buy America rules.

I agree with you regarding articulated vs. standard buses on the 54 and 84 corridors. Standard-length buses will likely be enough, but that's good since they're faster/more maneuverable anyway.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby Snelbian » March 29th, 2013, 2:28 pm

The 84 is almost exclusively standard buses, and they're usually around 2/3 full until 9 pm or so in my experience. I think part of the enthusiasm for a Snelling BRT (which will, oddly, NOT be replacing the 84) is based on expected density increases at University and, to a lesser extent, Selby. And once the Green Line opens Snelling is the obvious connecting route for students at Macalester and Hamline.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby VAStationDude » March 29th, 2013, 2:58 pm

The 54 is pretty crowded most of the time but peak frequency is only every fifteen minutes. Bumping that up to every ten minutes should take of the crowding, unless better service on West 7th and in Saint Paul increases ridership...

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mattaudio » March 29th, 2013, 3:03 pm

I've always wondered why it's 15 minute peak frequency on the 54. It seems to always be full.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby MSPtoMKE » March 29th, 2013, 3:34 pm

One problem with having articulated buses on these arterial BRT routes is that you would want them to be busy enough to justify the added capacity for a significant part if the day, not just at peak. It isnt really possible to switch to using articulated buses only when needed, since they will be a dedicated fleet and would just sit around at other times. I dont see Snelling needing articulated buses if it is going to run every 10 minutes, perhaps West 7th or Chicago could need them at some point.

Might they consider ordering more Nova buses like the ones for the Red Line? Those are availible in both 40' and 60' models.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby VAStationDude » March 29th, 2013, 4:32 pm

Starting with Snelling will help planners make more accurate ridership projections going forward. If Snelling smashes projections like Hiawatha the smaller buses won't be overwhelmed but it will put bigger buses in the mix for future lines.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » March 29th, 2013, 5:17 pm

I agree that Snelling is a great candidate for the first aBRT route. The 84 will likely see a bump in ridership in the first year of Green Line service anyways. Planners will then be able to compare that with the increase in ridership from moving to aBRT in 2015.

As a rider, I'd take increased frequency over increased vehicle capacity any day. Of course, with funding constraints that isn't always possible. It's almost certainly cheaper to run an artic every 10 minutes than a 40-footer every 7.5 minutes, since driver labor is the #1 expense.

An argument against using artics for aBRT is that they are slower. A longer vehicle means it takes more time for exiting passengers to reach the doors. They are a bit slower to accelerate and a little tougher to navigate through traffic, especially around corners.

Hybrids may not be the best fit for aBRT either, since those buses still cost significantly more than standard models and produce the most benefit on slower routes that stop frequently. Hybrid models currently feature regenerative braking and in the future there's potential for all-electric operation while stopped and at very low speeds. If streetcar doesn't come through for Nicollet Mall, I'd love to see buses that can operate in all-electric mode for a mile, or the length of the mall.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby woofner » April 5th, 2013, 1:44 pm

If the goal in developing aBRT service is building ridership, I can see how articulated buses could be justified. The new riders are more likely to enjoy the experience if they have more personal space. I recently rode San Antonio's pretend BRT service (Primo) and they are all artics - they have room for three bikes inside, or, as one fellow rider brought on board when I was riding this weekend, a food vending cart. I'm not sure the benefit is in fact worth the expense, but I can see how it could be convincingly portrayed as such.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » April 12th, 2013, 3:02 pm

If any of y'all live in the vicinity of the Snelling BRT, on either side of the river, and you care about this project, you should apply to be on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), and do it soon: http://metrotransit.org/snelling-brt-committees#cac

They start meeting in May.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby Tcmetro » May 15th, 2013, 8:51 pm

MT has announced the committees, see the above link.

Considering that the streetcar is likely to run only from E Hennepin to Lake St, it seems that the Rapid Bus program needs a boost. Nicollet, Central, Hennepin, W Broadway, Snelling, W 7th, E 7th, Penn, Chicago, and Fremont should all be running by 2025. If we set a target of 1 line per year it should be possible.


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