Orange Line / 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Southside
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Southside » June 18th, 2014, 3:41 pm

Here's the rundown of MetroTransit's choice of the Knox Ave. underpass with 2 stations rather than 1 on-line station at American Blvd:

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

Ultimately, if they built the American Blvd. station on-line and 66th Street off-line they would have a very difficult time weaving across the freeway to make both stations.

Choices like making 66th Street off-line make BRT implementations laughable and this corridor should have been LRT in the first place. I have never been able to find a LPA document recommending BRT over LRT. The BRT planning documents I have found place 2030 ridership around the same level as the Central Corridor and note local preference for LRT.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mattaudio » June 18th, 2014, 3:45 pm

The Orange Line is sort of a joke. Not as much of a joke as the red line. But I still cannot comprehend why we think Freeway BRT is the answer as evidenced by the recent Highway Transitway Corridor Study which just wrapped up. Even the title gets it wrong - highways and transitways are just plain incompatible.

Remember when we got that Urban Partnership Agreement from the feds that rehabbed/slightly expanded capacity on 35W, built park & rides, and rebuilt Marq2? What's it going to be - 15 years later by the time the Orange Line actually runs?

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Southside » June 18th, 2014, 3:56 pm

Marq2 & 35W are already over capacity. The 535 is already ridiculously unreliable during evening rush due to congestion on both.
It's nice watching traffic get gridlocked at Marquette and 9th while the police office ensures drivers can exit the Young and Quinlan Ramp.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of streets that could accommodate LRT on the Southside and subway or elevated is a non-starter around here. A LRT implemented like the O'Hare branch of Chicago's Blue Line, while not the most pedestrian friendly approach, could easily help out riders 11,18 and 5 plus serve as a feeder for dozens of express routes.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby ECtransplant » June 18th, 2014, 6:38 pm

Southside wrote:. . . and subway or elevated is a non-starter around here.
Only so long as we let them be

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby twincitizen » June 19th, 2014, 4:36 pm

twincitizen wrote:For the first time in over 19 months, there will be a public open house for the 35-Lake portion of the overall project.
http://www.35lake.com/

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE
Thursday, June 19, 2014
5:30 pm to 7:30pm
Whittier Recreation Center
425 - 26th Street West
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Reminder, this is happening now. See you there.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mister.shoes » June 20th, 2014, 1:51 pm

The problem with being an introvert online is that no one knows you're just hanging out and listening.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Mdcastle » June 20th, 2014, 7:30 pm

I sure hate this project. Close to 200,000 drivers a day are going to be stuck with substandard lane widths from Lake to 42nd for the next 60 years.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Southside » June 20th, 2014, 8:11 pm

...and substandard rapid transit options to avoid congestion.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mulad » June 20th, 2014, 8:22 pm

I was interested to see how this project gets rid of the braid -- looks like it has southbound I-35W in a tunnel, and both the link into downtown and the flyover to westbound I-94 go over the top of it. The I-94 connection has traffic entering on the left-hand side rather than mixing with the traffic coming from 4th Ave S and 16th Street or dumping it into the lane that leads to Lyndale and Hennepin. There will probably be a lot of furious lane-changing going on for people who really want to get off at Hennepin/Lyndale or be on the right-hand side of the freeway before/after the Lowry Hill Tunnel to get on I-394, but besides that, it should help balance the flow of traffic across the different lanes on I-94. It could also reduce southbound traffic on Hennepin and Lyndale a bit, since it makes it harder to get to those streets from I-35W. People will probably shift more toward using 35th/36th, 26th/28th, or other surface streets.

The 24th Street bike/ped bridge looks pretty nice. It doesn't have to be as high because the braid gets removed. They showed one side of the bridge having a ramp and a stairway, but I couldn't tell if it was the same on the other side or not.

The new exit for northbound traffic to 28th Street seems pretty redundant, though it's hard to justify removing the 31st Street exit because 28th is a one-way, making navigation especially confusing. But hey! We want 28th to become a two-way anyway, right? Doing that would allow the 31st Street ramp to be taken out, and there would be more room for traffic to mix north of the Street entrance.

They also really should have looked at converting 36th to a two-way, and just having the north side ramps connect there instead of 35th, increasing the area where traffic can mix after the southbound onramp from 31st. twincitizen and I talked a bit there, and he suggested a dogbone interchange -- it would require property takings, but not very many. The combined AADT on 35th and 36th at I-35W is about 25,000, though a lot of local/"crosstown" traffic would probably stay on 35th to avoid congestion near the highway entrance/exit. I think a dogbone can work with that, though it probably requires two lanes throughout (not so fun for pedestrians, but at least it can be set up so they only need to deal with 2 lanes at a time).

The new layout is kind of begging for implementing the Orange Line as LRT, though -- this makes the centerline HOV lane continuous, so why not just replace it with tracks? Running LRT down I-35W makes a bit more sense than on I-94, since I-35W is half as far away from Nicollet as I-94 is from University (and only twice as far as the Greenway is from Lake -- okay, 2.5x). As with the Greenway and Lake, if we can't tunnel under Nicollet, using the nearest grade-separated facility makes sense.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Suburban Outcast » June 21st, 2014, 6:01 am

The problem though is how far would we really want to put the LRT? I doubt that LRT will go ever down 35W given they already spent hundreds of millions in reconstruction from Burnsville to Downtown within the past few years and seem pretty fond of their BRT planning. They probably don't want to tear up the roads again unless for something like Lake St. since it will bring the number of lanes from 9 (since there are only 4 lanes southbound until 46th) to an even 10. I'm guessing thats somewhat why that there is the streetcar planned on Nicollet to still allow rail transit to and from the dense city neighborhoods in that area, while both suburban and city commuters who want a quicker travel time to downtown or Lake St. can use the BRT and other bus routes along the Orange Line/35W.

About the narrow lanes, I don't think the lane widths will be a big deal given the freeway will have 5 lanes on both sides now, it's either that or 4 really wide lanes given I think they have it set up like that due to the older bridges being too narrow for 10-lanes with a standard width.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Mdcastle » June 21st, 2014, 8:14 am

I just hope they're not using 60 year concrete for the substandard sections. Maybe it never will be politically possible to get 10 feet closer to those cute houses, but south of there the old narrow overpasses won't last forever. I do wish they'd put I-94 back to before they restriped it after the I-35W bridge collapse. Besides being narrow the new lanes don't line up with the concrete grooves so it looks like a mess.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Tcmetro » June 21st, 2014, 8:54 am

LRT was studied (and I believe also recommended) along 35W to County Road 42 in a mid-1990s EIS. Considering all of the reconstruction that has already happened, as well as all of the upcoming road work (35/Lake, 494, Minnesota River bridge) it's a sadly missed opportunity to bring rapid transit along one of the better used suburban transit corridors. I believe that there was also a sub-option of using the RR ROW along Pleasant Ave from 60th St. down to 96th/35W. I think that the rail corridor could be useful as a busway as well at times, at least for access to the HUB (huge redevelopment possibility).

Here is the excerpt from the project website about 32nd St-42nd St:
I-35W Gap Project (42nd Street to 32nd Street)

There is a short section of the freeway between the Crosstown Commons area and the Transit/Access project (approximately 42nd Street to 32nd Street) that is not planned for reconstruction. MnDOT is planning to do pavement replacement and other rehabilitation work in this area, commonly referred to as the “Gap Project”, at the same time that the Transit/Access project is constructed. A southbound MnPASS lane will be incorporated into the design to complement the existing transit station at 46th Street and the proposed station at Lake Street. No bridges will be replaced in this section and full reconstruction is not planned.
In any case, I think the narrower lanes help curb excessive speeding. The section south of 46th feels safe to drive at 65-70 mph, while the segment north of 46th feels safe to drive in the 55-60 mph range. For the record, the entire stretch is signed at 55.

The updated Orange Line plan mentions that the 35W Minnesota River bridge replacement has been bumped up to 2017.

It also mentions how there aren't any bus shoulders from 82nd St to the Minnesota River, so transit improvements in that stretch would have to wait for reconstruction. Hopefully this means that a station at 98th and direct access ramps at 82nd can be built sooner than later.

http://www.metrocouncil.org/Council-Mee ... ,-Mor.aspx

The public comment report for the Orange Line is also available:
http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... mments.pdf

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby Mdcastle » June 21st, 2014, 9:46 am

At least it'll be better than my experience on the Goethals Bridge, with 10 foot lanes with no shoulders and the steel structure immediately to my right and semi-trucks to the left, that I paid something like $10.00 for the privilege of crossing. They say "pavement replacement" but not "reconstruction". To me that's what reconstruction is.

For those that don't recall the history, LRT was part of a $1 Billion plan in early 1990s dollars to completely replace the pavement from Burnsville to Minneapolis and take out a row of houses in Minneapolis and build LRT down the middle. The HOT lanes in Bloomington were supposed to be temporary until LRT was built (and Minneapolis fought and lost to keep them from being built), so were just built by blacktopping the median without rebuilding the mainline. Then the segment in Richfield was reconstructed with 60 year concrete after LRT was officially dropped and before the Orange Line really started being talked about.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby MNdible » June 22nd, 2014, 2:35 pm

mulad wrote:The I-94 connection has traffic entering on the left-hand side rather than mixing with the traffic coming from 4th Ave S and 16th Street or dumping it into the lane that leads to Lyndale and Hennepin. There will probably be a lot of furious lane-changing going on for people who really want to get off at Hennepin/Lyndale...
Probably just because this is a route that I often take (NB 35W to WB 94 to Henn/Lyndale) and it seems fairly common, I wonder if it would be justifiable to split the flyover such that traffic really wanting to stay on 94 could merge on the left as shown in the new layout, and Henn/Lyndale traffic could stay roughly in its current configuration.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby twincitizen » June 26th, 2014, 1:24 pm

http://finance-commerce.com/2014/06/ora ... rks-owner/
Kraus-Anderson (Southtown Mall owners) is griping about the Knox Avenue alignment. I'm sure they'll be justly compensated, but I hope it doesn't blow the project budget too badly.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mattaudio » June 26th, 2014, 1:29 pm

Can we charge them for the value added to their property by an adjacent BRT stop?

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby twincitizen » June 26th, 2014, 2:46 pm

I just read the full article...wow they are full of shit.

K-A owns the Mitsu dealership property east of Knox Ave. As we already know, the Knox Ave alignment on the Bloomington side is private property. The street was never platted. So about 2 acres of property will have to be purchased from K-A to build the Knox Ave transitway. K-A considers that small quadrant of land east of Knox to be "part of Southtown". When the Mitsubishi dealership leaves this site for Richfield later this year (they're joining Honda on 77th), K-A intends to develop that eastern parcel as a single story commercial building. K-A goes even further to insult Bloomington's plans from Penn-American, calling them unrealistic. Both Metro Transit and Bloomington would like to partner with K-A, co-developing that eastern quadrant, including a park & ride facility integrated into the development. The K-A rep sounds very focused on the here and now, not the long term view, calling Bloomington's expectations for development of the site unrealistic in the next 10-15 years. The Orange Line won't even be open until 2019, so this K-A rep really needs to check himself. I mean, yeah it is their private property here, but the government is actively trying to enrich K-A, not rip them off. Can K-A please get someone with vision in charge of Southtown redevelopment please?

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby HiawathaGuy » June 26th, 2014, 3:07 pm

Perhaps K-A needs to hear from people like us, who believe in the future of transit. I think I'm going to write to them.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby twincitizen » June 26th, 2014, 4:46 pm

I sort of feel compelled to write as well. When I get back to work on Monday, I'll put some actual quotes from the article so we can accurately portray their position. I think the part that irritated me the most was the statement that Bloomington's crazy plans for denser development were "10-15 years in the future", as if that is some distant incomprehensible future, especially when the Orange Line won't open for at least 5 years into that timeframe. Not to mention that Bloomington already has accomplished the first phase of the Penn-American plan, including an 8-story building. Phase two is already on the way with a hotel and grocery store.

The other thing that frustrates me is that Kraus-Anderson presumably bought Southtown to redevelop the valuable land underneath it, not keep it in situ for eternity. Now Bloomington's vision for denser development is too wild for them? A plan that would permit K-A to redevelop at a density/intensity not typically seen in the suburbs and attain a much higher land value is just too crazy for them? They're mad because losing the strip of land for the Knox Transitway is going to split their "campus" and mess up their plan to construct a single-story retail building? Complete lack of vision. Kind of like their full block of surface parking planned for downtown, with the new HQ's entrance facing the interior of the block, rather than a corner. "Sure, yeah, we totally intend to develop the rest of the block someday...trust us"

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mattaudio » June 26th, 2014, 6:16 pm

It's almost like they don't want to make money here. Same goes for the entrenchment of their surface lot on their downtown block. Old thinkers need to go before they take the company down with them.


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