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

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

Postby BoredAgain » January 24th, 2018, 10:38 am

tmart wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 10:24 am
Yeah, an infill station at 38th, and ideally another infill station somewhere north of Lake St., like Franklin, would go a long way toward convincing me this is an actual Metro service that's serving the community it runs through.
I agree that we want a transit route to serve the community it runs through, and think that 38th is an obvious candidate for an infill station, but I disagree about Franklin.

If you are going from Franklin to Downtown, there are already several bus routes with "high" frequency that do this, including the 11 two blocks east and the 5 four blocks west. Also, with the mess of highway tangle going on underneath Franklin, placing a large on-line bus stop in this location would be extremely costly and require freeway widening that would eliminate many older streetcar era buildings that are still in use.

If you need to go south from Franklin, then an Orange stop would be more useful, but the freeway widening problems still exist.

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

Postby tmart » January 24th, 2018, 10:48 am

Point taken. I think in a vacuum it would be a valuable stop. From a design perspective, it makes a ton of sense that a METRO line that's (at least in theory) supposed to be the highest-priority, highest-frequency, highest-amenity transit spine for the central neighborhoods of South should stop somewhere north of Lake St., and I think Franklin is the most obvious choice. But it's true that this stretch of 35W is an utter nightmare of complexity, and the disruption to the neighborhood caused by accommodating that in a station design might not be worth its utility.

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

Postby BoredAgain » January 24th, 2018, 11:11 am

I agree that it would be faster and more direct, but adding the 60 feet of ROW in the middle (based on the room needed for the 46th st station) would mean tearing down lots of buildings. At least with the new freeway braid arrangement the northbound part into downtown and the southbound section out of downtown are adjacent in the center. With the old arrangement (soon to be replaced) you would need two separate vertical bus terminals for the single stop.

On the plus side, the planned aBRT routes to both east and west should improve local service.

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

Postby Tcmetro » January 24th, 2018, 12:08 pm

What could happen is convert a lane in each direction to bus only and raise it to street level, for an at-grade stop at Franklin. There are a few bus stops like this in the Seattle area (Totem Lake on 405 comes to mind)

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

Postby tmart » January 24th, 2018, 12:35 pm

This one?

Something like that would potentially solve the width problem, but taking a lane to bus-only in the middle of that busy interchange would be...controversial. I'm not sure if it would give them enough distance to get back to grade on the 94 side, either.

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

Postby jw138 » January 26th, 2018, 12:37 pm

The 38th St redecking is expected to extend its life 30 years so its doubtful we'll see an infill station there any time soon. They did consider that before deciding on redecking instead.

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

Postby tmart » January 26th, 2018, 1:06 pm

Sidebar, but does anyone know how this project came to be? I can find documents going back a decade-plus describing planning for the BRT line, but they all act under the assumption that BRT was already chosen. As far as I can tell, the broad strokes of this project were handed down by fiat in a bonding bill. In contrast to the years and years we spend on alternatives analyses for all the other projects, I can't find a single planning document explaining why we chose bus in mostly non-dedicated lanes as the mode for this project.

Even setting aside the poor stop coverage in Minneapolis, I have real doubts that this project is going to be much of an improvement to transit time or reliability for suburban commuters. I'd really like to better understand why they made the choices and trade-offs they did.

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

Postby Tcmetro » January 26th, 2018, 5:01 pm

I'm not sure about the history of the New Starts program (FTA Sec. 5309 grant) to go into detail about the process, which currently requires that some projects (i.e. those over some value) go through a process which requires mode selection to be a consideration. I do know that some small value projects and some bus rapid transit projects do not need to go through the mode selection process.

As for the history of the corridor:

The first subway study in the late 60s and early 70s assumed lines to the southwest (near Hennepin), and south (following Chicago, 12th, and Bloomington roughly). MTC (predecessor to Metro Transit) was created by state legislature in 1967, and acquired a number of private bus companies between ~1967 and 1973. MTC quickly developed an express bus system, especially focused on the 35W South corridor. I believe that the bus stop at 35W&Lake was opened in the early 1970s, more or less the same time that the freeway opened. HOV lanes were eventually added in the early 1990s, from 494 to Hwy 13.

In the early to mid 1990s, MnDot conducted a study that would completely reconstruct the freeway with a light-rail line running down the center from Downtown to 95th or 98th St. I think they were considering a co-location with the SW Line under Nicollet Ave north of Lake St. MnDot eventually canceled the plan, because I believe they couldn't materialize funding for either the freeway construction or light-rail line.

In the early 2000s, MnDot conducted a study to expand the HOV lanes north from 494 to Minneapolis. MnDot also contemplated a BRT service using median stations and the HOV lanes. Also at the same time, Metro Transit launched the Central-South restructuring study which created the 535 line, stopping at interchanges along 35W. The 2005 BRT study is at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/projects/brt/

Since the BRT study, Met Council/Metro Transit organized the transitway system and gave the 35W BRT line the Orange Line name. Also, Metro Transit has worked with MnDot to secure funding for the station improvements as the reconstruction projects have advanced.

It's good to note that the Orange Line isn't a singular cohesive project. The downtown stations and the 46th St station were built as separate projects. The Lake St station and the 12th St ramp are another separate project. The Knox underpass will likely tie in with a 494 project, and the other stations at 66th, 98th, and Burnsville happen to be low-cost projects that can be done at the same time to try to link everything together into the Orange Line.

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

Postby thatchio » January 27th, 2018, 11:46 pm

The 12th Street ramp is probably my favorite part of this project, as it will serve hundreds of buses and not just the Orange Line. The Lake Street station also has a lot of potential. With the high frequency 515 along 66th, the Orange Line has potential, depending on where you're going, to be a nice mid-day connection to Richfield. Service frequency will make or break this, as people have to choose, for example, whether to take the Orange Line or take the 18 from Nicollet/Lake area.

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

Postby ko123 » January 28th, 2018, 10:20 am

For a regular rider of the 156 express, the disruption leaving downtown this last week has been a scary preview of the next 4 years once stage 2 starts and access to downtown via 65 will be closed. The re-routing of buses to Park into downtown and Portland out of downtown will render the express routes useless. Anyone taking the 156/554/558 will be better off taking the 4 or 6. It was a 60 minute bus ride Friday afternoon on the 4L to go about 7 miles. A job in the SW burbs is looking pretty good right now.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby twincitizen » January 28th, 2018, 2:56 pm

Good recap TCmetro!
I had to go back about 5 years in this thread to find it, but here’s an awesome window into the conversation 25 years ago:
mattaudio wrote:
November 30th, 2012, 4:03 pm
Interesting to see how little has changed over 20 years...
http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/c ... opup=yes#0

Also interesting to see certain people like Jean Wagenius and Peter McLaughlin who are sort of the same spots they were that long ago.

tmart
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby tmart » January 29th, 2018, 11:59 am

twincitizen wrote:
January 28th, 2018, 2:56 pm
Good recap TCmetro!
I had to go back about 5 years in this thread to find it, but here’s an awesome window into the conversation 25 years ago:
mattaudio wrote:
November 30th, 2012, 4:03 pm
Interesting to see how little has changed over 20 years...
http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/c ... opup=yes#0

Also interesting to see certain people like Jean Wagenius and Peter McLaughlin who are sort of the same spots they were that long ago.
Man, it's also amazing to see how the political opposition hasn't shifted at all--even after actually opening two LRT lines! You hear people hitting all the same beats: the suburban Republican (err, Independent-Republican) saying it's an evil scheme to make life hell for innocent commuters, that same congressperson then turning around and complaining that it doesn't extend far enough to reach her district, the Very Concerned Taxpayer on the street asking if they could just triple bus service instead, etc.

The big difference I can see is that back then the local opposition was less "there might be vibrations under the park next to my condo" and more "please don't tear down my house."

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

Postby sdho » January 29th, 2018, 12:18 pm

I think if a 38th St aBRT station is added, it should be done in conjunction with relocating the 35th/36th St freeway access to 38th, as envisioned in the earlier (2000ish?) Lake St access plan. The 4-block spacing to 31st St is unacceptable, and I'm appalled that that is being rebuilt as is during this project. I realize some on 38th may not want to see the freeway access point move there -- but a careful design that calms traffic coming off the freeway, and adding the bus station, could mitigate negative traffic impacts.

Does somebody have that plan? They had a really cool design for 38th. It was somewhat similar to 46th, but used two parallel bridges that formed a roundabout over the freeway and the bus station.

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

Postby mattaudio » January 29th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Yeah, no. While I agree the ramp spacing needs to be addressed, moving the car sewer ramps to 38th St will destroy a corridor on the brink of thriving. Also, BRT stops should generally not be located at the same crossing as interchanges - 46th St is a disastrous example of this. Pedestrians need to cross freeway ramps with freeway-mindset motorists to get to the transit station.

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

Postby twincitizen » January 29th, 2018, 4:27 pm

Agreed. Consolidate the freeway access at 36th, at least the problematic ramps move a block further south. Put a station at 38th when replacing that bridge. Still safe to say that none of this will be happening for 15-20 years at a minimum, given that we’re about to reconstruct/redeck these bridges as part of the current project.

I’m with mattaudio that introducing freeway traffic to 38th would have drastic negative impacts on 38th & Nicollet

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

Postby billhelm » January 31st, 2018, 8:54 am

ko123 wrote:
January 28th, 2018, 10:20 am
For a regular rider of the 156 express, the disruption leaving downtown this last week has been a scary preview of the next 4 years once stage 2 starts and access to downtown via 65 will be closed. The re-routing of buses to Park into downtown and Portland out of downtown will render the express routes useless. Anyone taking the 156/554/558 will be better off taking the 4 or 6. It was a 60 minute bus ride Friday afternoon on the 4L to go about 7 miles. A job in the SW burbs is looking pretty good right now.
I live in South Minneapolis on the east side of 35W near Chicago. Previously worked downtown and rode the 133 on a regular basis. I just took a new job in the burbs in the opposite direction of the 35W project where I can also work from home more often. While it wasn't a primary consideration, not having to deal with this for the next 4 years was in my mind while I was looking (that said, I would've taken a new job downtown still). Even last fall, the southbound entrance ramp closure at 31st caused huge backups at the 35th/36th exit and turned a 25 minute ride into a 40-60 minute ride for a few months (til that ramp reopened).

With all the snow and superbowl madness I found it faster to take the 46 to the light rail. Timed right, it's a 30-40 minute trip with much more consistency. The problem that I had was the timing at the 46th S Station can be a challenge, especially when busses are late.

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

Postby LakeCharles » January 31st, 2018, 9:49 am

Why not just take the 11, 5 or 14, depending on where you live? One seat ride, 30 minutes, consistent, frequent (the 5 comes every 6 minutes), and relatively unaffected by the construction.

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

Postby amiller92 » January 31st, 2018, 11:15 am

Yes, I don't understand why anyone trying to get to South Minneapolis attempts the freeway in rush hour, driving or on a bus.

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

Postby billhelm » January 31st, 2018, 11:18 am

The 5 may be a half hour on paper but in my experience never was at rush hour times (as long as an hour, as short as 35-40 minutes). I did start taking the 14 in the fall when 35W was a mess.

In "normal" times, the 133 was at least 10-15 minutes faster than the local routes. It adds up.

The D line may be a solution to this as it won't suffer from the service delays of the 5 nearly as much.

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

Postby sdho » February 1st, 2018, 10:46 pm

amiller92 wrote:
January 31st, 2018, 11:15 am
Yes, I don't understand why anyone trying to get to South Minneapolis attempts the freeway in rush hour, driving or on a bus.
Really depends on where you're going -- and from how far south. I get 35W right at the Mpls/Richfield border at Portland & Crosstown. Maybe a few days of a year -- like a big snow storm -- that the fastest alternative (Portland/Park) is better. Even in heavily congested conditions, averaging 25 mph on the freeway will still save you a lot of time over a surface street.

Even coming from 35th St, it's probably going to be faster if going for the downtown exits at almost any time. The queue to proceed on 35W through the 94 commons is much worse. In that case, it probably is faster to take local streets to the 5th & Franklin slip ramp (when it reopens).


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