West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » June 23rd, 2015, 7:42 am

froggie wrote:As proposed, would aBRT qualify for Federal Small Starts funding? If not, then if you're going to gauge the difference in what you can build, you should go off what the local contribution to a streetcar would be. That said, it would likely be more than just one line.
No Small Starts for aBRT...I think it's too "small". The A-Line only cost $27MM, and I believe the on-hold B-Line was projected about the same, though I could see other lines being more expensive.

I'm not 100% sure on the funding schemes, but I believe they were cobbled together from every nook & cranny of transportation funding. Bus purchases with federal CMAQ grants, state bonding money, MNDOT money (since Snelling & W 7th are state routes), Met Council money, etc.

I'm hopeful that once the A-Line is running and is a smashing success, we'll be able to get future state bonding money more easily. Or if the transit sales tax increase ever happens, funding the aBRT system is an absolute given.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mattaudio » June 23rd, 2015, 8:23 am

Any chance we could bundle some of these projects together for Small Starts or even New Starts funding?

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » June 23rd, 2015, 2:25 pm

That's a good question for someone at Met Council or in the Metro Transit Small Starts/aBRT project office, but I believe the answer is no. That doesn't mean there aren't other funding avenues, but I don't believe there's a federal funding program for building out rapid bus "networks". There certainly should be though! That's worthy of a streets.mn post, after doing the appropriate research, etc. I just don't know enough about the current federal programs to answer that completely. In a way it would be an appropriate response from the FTA after the overfunding/overbuilding of short, slow, mostly useless streetcar lines around the country over the past 5 or so years. The backlash against these "dumb" mixed-traffic streetcar projects has already begun. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some pullback from the FTA or at least a tightening of the rules to ensure that local agencies have enough operating dollars to run them at reasonable frequencies.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby woofner » June 23rd, 2015, 6:48 pm

There are currently many aBRT lines being built across the country using Small Starts funding:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/12304_16264.html

Fixed guideway is not a requirement of the program, and I see at least one project under $25m (Jacksonville). It looks like there was/is a requirement that capital costs should be between $25m & $75m, and maybe Jacksonville got an exception or grandfathered in. Or maybe someone from the FTA or some consultant told Metro Transit that the aBRT lines wouldn't qualify, or maybe they naively thought they could build lines faster without it. But any reasonable analysis would find no significant differences between the aBRT lines and many of the projects funded under small starts, so if they made a stink or got creative there's no question they'd be awarded Small Starts money. The estimate of additional riders from building aBRT is higher on some lines than the Jacksonville project's total ridership (!).

Also, the FTA will continue to fund streetcars as long as Anthony Foxx is head of DOT, since he's a big streetcar booster.

Back to West Broadway: this project seems confused to me (at least I think it's the project that's confused, not me). Why wouldn't aBRT run on Bottineau Blvd in Robbinsdale? Wouldn't that be much faster and less disruptive than the tangle of surface streets they propose? Similarly, but more absurdly, why 2nd St? If aBRT were to run on 2nd St the North Loop would maybe be the nation's premier example of duplicative, tangled bus routings, and more importantly, it would lead to the local being faster than the "Rapid" in that stretch.
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby alleycat » June 23rd, 2015, 11:00 pm

I think there's an argument to be made for running aBRT down Bottineau, but Oakdale/France/West Broadway will serve a lot more population and retail nodes. Not sure what you mean my 2nd Street in the North Loop. The line will run down Washington in the North Loop and then move to 2nd Street north of Plymouth, which is Near North. The thought is there is more redevelopment potential on that stretch since Washington fronts 94. That seems iffy to me.
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mattaudio » June 24th, 2015, 8:22 am

I'd love to see some incentives for air-rights developments over 94 near Broadway, to build stronger connections between the north side and the riverfront. But for now 2nd St works well.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby alleycat » June 24th, 2015, 8:39 am

If the 4th Street Viaduct, and its giant off-ramp, is ever removed there might be a bunch of developable land on the west side of Washington. In its current state I'm not sure what would fit in the green buffer that exists or who would want to locate there. 2nd St will do.

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9959808 ... a=!3m1!1e3
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby froggie » June 24th, 2015, 8:47 am

The ramps from 94 to Washington/Broadway would be in the way of what you're thinking, alleycat. But along the lines of Matt's comment, air-rights development above the northbound on-ramp from 3rd and 7th might be possible.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby woofner » June 24th, 2015, 11:23 am

alleycat wrote:I think there's an argument to be made for running aBRT down Bottineau, but Oakdale/France/West Broadway will serve a lot more population and retail nodes.
Have you seen a GIS analysis indicating that Oakdale/France/WBroadway serves significantly more population and retail? For most of this corridor, Bottineau is about 330' away from the proposed location, so it seems unlikely to me that there can be much of a difference. Remember, the distances need to be measured from potential station locations, not just the roads where the buses would run. Additionally, Bottineau runs closer to Minneapolis, and there is a rail corridor on the western edge of the area, limiting the advantage of a more westerly route.

As for the Near North neighborhood (you are right, obviously that area is more appropriately identified with the Near North neighborhood than the North Loop), 2nd St requires 3 turns, while Washington requires 1. Even if 10 highrises are built because it runs on 2nd instead of Washington, the local bus will still be faster. That is an absurd outcome for a transit project.
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby alleycat » June 24th, 2015, 5:09 pm

I don't have strong preference for either Oakdale/France/WBroadway or Bottineau, but the consultants believed there was more redevelopment opportunity along the arterials. I don't have the data, but there is more density south of Bottineau and quite a bit of nothing north including Crystal Lake. This is also aBRT for what that counts, but I could definitely see a hybrid aBRT/highway BRT working in Robbinsdale. WBrodway has the density (many apartments before you get to downtown) and commercial nodes that are more amiable to aBRT and Oakdale serves the hospital much better. Having said all this, I could see a major shift in land use along Bottineau if that was an option. It isn't. I brought it up in the past.

Second street is less busy, doesn't have multiple signalized intersections and is closer to the river. This study is as much about economic development as rapid transit. That's probably why 2nd Street and the Robbisdale arterials were chosen.
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby woofner » June 24th, 2015, 8:34 pm

Right, but remember how West Broadway is 330' away from Bottineau? I would challenge anyone to prove that a site that is conducive to TOD will no longer be conducive if the station is 330' away. Or are they claiming that the TOD for this project will only spring up immediately adjacent to the station?

In that vein, you may want to mention that another advantage to building it on Bottineau is that the pedestrian infrastructure there will be improved, which will help the overall image of Robbinsdale and increase the chances of TOD being built in a town that is split by a highway.

Re: 2nd St, I would guess from my experience (over a year ago now) that its intersection with Broadway has more delay that Washington's. Also, there are two additional signals on a 2nd Street route. On top of that, aBRT on 2nd would likely conflict with the bike lanes there.
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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Tcmetro » July 17th, 2015, 10:27 am

This little pdf has maps with station locations for the BRT and streetcar alternatives.

http://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meeting ... Study.aspx

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 17th, 2015, 2:50 pm

Okay don't crucify me, but now that I'm looking at this thing with a much clearer highlight of the future lines it interacts with... I think an aBRT line would actually make a whole lot of sense if it continued east along Broadway. It would already connect with not one, or two, but THREE rapid transit lines that head downtown (yes, obviously the Blue Line isn't really a connection since the Broadway bus terminates at a station). But connections from N Mpls (and it's not alone in this) to other parts of town are pretty bad.

Obviously, the benefit of the proposed alignment is that it improves North Loop transit. To that end, I'd almost like the see the D Line continue down Washington to Chicago to provide a better grid of bus service downtown. Having 3 aBRT lines run along 7th/8th Streets seems like quite a lot.

Anyway, continuing east on Broadway into NE, maybe dropping down to Hennepin via Stinson & going a bit further east for a while, provides a better single transfer transit experience for those looking for jobs over that way (and vice versa!), while still making meaningful connections to downtown via C & D Lines.

EDIT: To tack on to that thought process, I'd say do one of two things: just keep on Henn/Larpenteur, turn south on Cleveland to hit the UMN St Paul Campus (jobs/students), or continue to Snelling and go south, terminating at the Green Line and using existing A Line stops (free!). Yes, I know, this will cost more than a route that ends downtown.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby grant1simons2 » October 14th, 2015, 12:53 pm

http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... eeting.pdf

PAC meeting from Sept. 25 compares impact of BRT and streetcar in relation to development.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Silophant » October 14th, 2015, 1:18 pm

Spending extra $190M in capital costs in hopes of generating an extra $200M in residential value? Not super convinced.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby HiawathaGuy » October 14th, 2015, 2:04 pm

Silophant wrote:Spending extra $190M in capital costs in hopes of generating an extra $200M in residential value? Not super convinced.
Of course, you used the lowest estimates for your argument. I'm not saying I don't agree with you - but it's pretty easy to see how that ROI could be a lot higher for this location - especially given the very real rail bias in the region.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 14th, 2015, 2:52 pm

Okay, $200-250M. I know this is mattaudio's thing, but that isn't a full ROI calculation. It's not just property taxes (and those don't pay back Metro Transit or Met Council directly, anyway). We'd have to calculate all the marginal regional sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc (things that pay back the funding sources for the project) over a 30+ year lifetime to see if it would break even. And I say regional because, if we're being honest, most of those incremental jobs and houses and commercial spaces will end up somewhere in MSP (with their own cost to serve with roads/sewers/utilities, which should also be known and presented as a win for either transit option). That's difficult to do. So shorthand/gut guess, I'd say the $40M aBRT has a much higher shot at a >1 ROI than a $230M streetcar. And before we all start, let's please not make this a general streetcar v bus thread.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby David Greene » October 14th, 2015, 7:41 pm

But we don't build transit to make a profit. It's nice if we do but it's a dangerous road to go down to frame transit investment this way.

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby grant1simons2 » October 14th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Even if it's profit that largely benefits the neighborhood?

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Re: West Broadway Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby alleycat » October 14th, 2015, 8:05 pm

I'd say economic development is the main motivator for this project for better or worse. With the C-Line, D-Line and Bottineau this is just icing on the cake over north. Beyond taking you directly down a currently depressed commercial corridor (to thriving Washington Avenue), what transit need does the West Broadway Corridor serve for northside residents that the others won't?

We're not only comparing two different modes of transit, but also different termini. The incremental real estate gain is at least $200 million greater for a line that terminates 1.6 miles shorter. Streetcar's extra real estate value could net as much as $460 million more value than aBRT. But if you look at the document the increased development is heavily skewed toward the North Loop. I'd like to see what those numbers look like if the streetcar went all the way to Robbinsdale Transit Center or a newly minted 36th Avenue N LRT stop.

One thing that we started to discuss at the end of last month's CAC meeting was the possibility of all electric vehicles for aBRT. If that was a guarantee I find it hard for me to cheerlead streetcar. The difference in environmental benefit would be negligible. Economic development and rail bias would be the only real reasons to pick streetcar.
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