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

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

Postby mulad » August 7th, 2012, 5:31 pm

Mod note: I merged two topics (Orange Line & 35-Lake Transit Access) since much of the discussion overlaps, as do the projects.
If you're looking for a general 35W thread to talk about things that aren't related to the Orange Line or Lake St/Transit Access project, it can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1480
There's another thread to specifically discuss the 94/35W commons area: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=939


I think some money needed for Red Line (Cedar Ave BRT) buses came from a diversion away from the 35W corridor, so it's getting delayed even further. The Lake Street station planning seems to be moving along as Mn/DOT trudges forward on the widening of I-35W in the area (the I-35W Transit/Access Project). Kind of staggering to think that the Interstate will get an additional 15 acres of paved surface as part of that particular project as we debate the future of about 12 acres at the Kmart site (though the image in a streets.mn article today shows that Minneapolis is thinking a bit more broadly).

tabletop
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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby tabletop » August 7th, 2012, 5:41 pm

There was also a good article on gettingaroundmpls a while back on the project http://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com/ ... hi-buffet/

And it looks like they're going to have to do an expensive upgrade to the storm water runoff system to handle all the extra water runoff from the 15 acres of fresh concrete...
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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » August 7th, 2012, 5:44 pm

Currently the focus is on advancing the 35W & Lake St Station. The current recommendation is for a Concrete Box Girder bridge, costing appx. $19 million, with a construction schedule of 34 months (nearly 3 years.) I am unsure what the funding situation is on the entire project (all the other ramps, bridges, and the walkway to the Midtown Greenway), but it seems to me that the various parties want to get this project off the ground soon. I would imagine that partial construction could start in a year or two.

Some new presentations were posted to the 35/Lake Reconstruction webpage recently: http://www.35lake.com/presentations-pac/

The next station in planning is the American Bl Station. The current concepts would involve an offset platform because the bridge at American Bl was not designed with BRT in mind, and is too new for replacement. IIRC, a new ramp from 35W to 494 will require replacement of the Knox Ave Park and Ride, and Metro Transit is looking at options near the new station.

MnDot has put up a webpage about 35W/494 improvements: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projec ... index.html

Last year and in previous years, Metro Transit was looking at bus stop improvements 82nd and 98th, but declined a grant for construction, because there was not enough money available for operations of BRT service and a lack of cooperation between Metro Transit and MVTA about service plans as well as concerns about traffic congestion at the existing northbound stop at Lake St. Metro Transit postponed the beginning of BRT service to 2016.

Another report, produced quite a while ago, about reconstruction of 35W and 13 lays out an idea for "T" ramps from the HO/T lanes to the Burnsville Transit Station.

That report is available here:http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projec ... report.pdf

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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby fehler » August 8th, 2012, 9:40 am

Anyone know if the 35W/Lake project would extend all the way south to 38th street? I remember rumors that if Lake was opened up, they would close the 35/36th exit and open the exit/entrance at 38th street.

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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby mattaudio » August 8th, 2012, 9:44 am

I know that has long been in the plan, but somehow I feel like MnDOT has been aggressively cutting project scope in recent years. Yet the weaving between 35th and 31st creates a significant amount of the congestion so hopefully it could be moved to 38th.

Long ago I had thought about how some caps could really enhance the connection between the east and west sides of the highway, and possibly open up room for development: http://goo.gl/maps/Epv7I

Finally, I haven't heard much recently, but it sounds like the 35W/Lake BRT stop would still have side platforms, meaning two platforms would be needed. I don't understand this strategy... double the expense for vertical circulation, less safety due to people split between platforms, less chance for operational efficiencies/cross platform transfers in the future (although I can't think of how this would be needed).

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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby MSPtoMKE » August 8th, 2012, 10:14 am

Yes, I think moving the interchange from 35th/36th to 38th has been removed from the scope of what they are hoping to begin construction on relatively soon, although I would assume it is still planned at some point. I believe the full interchange at Lake St. is still part of this project, as well as reconstructing the "braid bridge" north of there.

As I recall, at least part of the reason that they want to have side platforms here is that the volume of buses is proposed to be much higher at peak times than at 46th St. I believe virtually all express buses on I-35W will stop at Lake along with the future BRT route, while 46th St. only sees select routes stopping there. I believe they were concerned with the volume of buses needing to cross over each other in a center platform layout. In the presentation Tcmetro posted, the platform length of 46th is 80 ft., while it is 140 ft. at Lake. Yes it will be more expensive to build it this way, but I don't see it being a big deal for ease of use. The only people I could possibly see transferring at freeway level here would be an inbound express bus (that doesn't stop at 46th) to an outbound Orange Line bus or vice versa. This very small group of people would have to switch platforms, but I don't think many people would do this as it would be a lot of backtracking.

I also will say that I think the arched canopy option for the station would look pretty impressive.
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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby mattaudio » August 8th, 2012, 10:34 am

It seems strange they cut that scope, the 35th/36th/38th/42nd bridges are still original and will likely need replacement in the next 10-15 years. Additionally without the new bridges it might create some awkward lane squish underneath the old bridges.

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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby woofner » August 8th, 2012, 11:29 am

I've complained about this before, but it always amazes me, considering how much we spend on transit planning in this region, that there hasn't been a detailed study of the possibilities for Freeway BRT along I-35W. The guidance in the 2030 Transportation Policy Plan is amazingly vague - it just mentions that there are a bunch of park-and-rides along 35W.

I asked CM Glidden about the 38th St BRT station a few years ago, and she said that the City was still supportive of constructing one there. I imagine that the current leaders would use the same municipal consent process as they used for 46th to force MnDot to build a station if they're replacing the 38th St overpass. But I'm not aware of any policy support behind this besides a vague commitment to multimodalism, so if a new class of leaders were elected they could return to the same old 'ignore transit' position that existed for the entire post-war period until the 2000s.

Basically, I'm saying we should cough up a million bucks and pay Nelson/Nygaard or somebody to figure what kind of station spacing and park-and-rides should be associated with Freeway BRT. I'll point out that the 2030 TPP "calls for two additional highway bus rapid transitways beyond Cedar and I-35W to be implemented between 2008 and 2020 and two additional highway BRTs between 2020 and 2030." It mentions three possible corridors:

I-35W north of downtown Minneapolis
Trunk Highway 36 / NE Corridor
Gateway Corridor (I-94 East) linking Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Western Wisconsin

I'm not aware of any effort to determine these corridors outside of the Gateway planning process. The study that locks down needed upgrades to make an Orange Line that's actually rapid transit instead of a weird express bus hybrid could also lock down the next few Freeway BRT lines. It will also help resolve the configuration issues that has eaten up a bunch of time on the Lake St project.
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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby Uptown46 » August 8th, 2012, 5:34 pm

What you're calling for sounds a lot like the 2005 MNDOT 35W BRT Planning Study http://www.dot.state.mn.us/projects/brt/

It looked at a phased approach to BRT implementation on 35W from downtown to Lakeville. It includes station locations and some review of the operations of a potential line and how station-to-station service would interface with express service. This study clearly didn't resolve the center platform/side platform issue at Lake though- station designs were only conceptual in the study.

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Re: 35W Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

Postby woofner » August 11th, 2012, 4:54 pm

Thanks for that link - I'm happy to see that the initial step has in fact been taken. The study itself is not so pleasing - it seems to have been pasted together from a number of different individual plans and studies with little attempt to make it consistent. They do appear to have done a demand forecast specifically for this study, but forgot to specify which of the assorted individual improvements discussed in the study were assumed for the forecast - they present results for "with BRT" and "without BRT", but don't specify which of the three phases presented later in the study were assumed to have been completed.

This is important, because after 100 pages you still have no idea why they chose the improvements that are included in the study. Why do they mention a station at 98th St but not at Burnsville Center? Why do they recommend center BRT/HOV lanes for most of the transitway but bus-only shoulders between Hwy 13 and Dakota Cty Rd 46? If an improvement isn't in the plan (a station at 76th St, for example), does that mean it shouldn't be done or just that they didn't think of it?

But at the very least it is a decent basis on which to make MnDot carry out these improvements when they're doing work on 35W. I still think there should be a more comprehensive and more generally applicable Freeway BRT study, though.
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby Tcmetro » September 6th, 2012, 8:00 am

If you look at the Executive Summary, all of the service recommendations are complete or in progress. The study recommends; four new stations: Lake, 46th, "in the vicinity of 494", and County Road 46; three potential future stations: 38th, 98th, and Burnsville Center; and one existing station: Burnsville Transit Station.

A few years ago, MVTA was considering a side station at 42 with a bus loop in the SW corner of 42 and 35W, with a pedestrian connection routed along the existing sidewalk on the south side of 42 to the NB station, and a new connection to the mall. I'm pretty sure this has been shelved until Phase 2 (post-2016). Oddly, the Burnsville Center station is not placed on all of the maps, and is not mentioned in the document itself. Also, HOT lanes have been extended to CR 42, requiring a potential change in the placement of a proposed station.

The study fails to consider connections for the BRT buses outside of the freeway ROW. How are buses supposed to travel between Marquette and 2nd Streets and 35W? Between 35W and the Burnsville Transit Station? Where should buses layover in downtown? The study doesn't fully determine the future of the BRT service.

As to my knowledge it appears Metro Transit is following the recommendations of the study, with the exception of using regular buses for station-to-station service. Additionally, the CR 46 station is located on the side with direct access to/from the shoulder lanes, further presenting the influence of the report on station construction.

---

Some further updates on the Lake St Station, including a more defined design:

http://www.35lake.com/presentations-pac/

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby mattaudio » September 6th, 2012, 8:20 am

I'm also a little surprised the Crosstown project didn't make any future provisions for a direct connection between 35W center HOT lanes and 62/77 for Cedar BRT.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby mattaudio » September 24th, 2012, 12:24 pm

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/171004551.html
Under pressure to spend a federal earmark, the city of Minneapolis will choose a plan Tuesday that would dramatically expand access between Lake Street and Interstate 35W.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby UptownSport » October 5th, 2012, 6:34 pm

Great!!!! Not entirely sure I understand drawings;
first seems to show lake passing over 35, and some funky brown semi-circles on North/South side-
caption reads, connection to Green way "in Green", brown path area looks like a meandering goat trail :
Image

Another shows what looks to be a bridge with glass elevators or stairwells going down:
Image

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby mulad » October 5th, 2012, 7:02 pm

Looks like there will be semi-separate bike and pedestrian paths near the Greenway, or at for about half the distance. It seems that there's a darker gray bike path, plus a meandering and much more curvy walkway. I don't like it when walkways curve too much, though -- a lot of people might end up walking on the somewhat straighter walkway.

Yeah, that whole area will still be underneath I-35W.

In the second image, that only represents what will probably be one bridge out of three at the elevated freeway level.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby tabletop » October 6th, 2012, 7:45 am

I like how they incorporate the posts at the base of the archways in the rendering to reassure us this will not be used as an amazing jump for city buses or people people fleeing the police.

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby woofner » October 6th, 2012, 11:16 am

Not sure I understand the Greenway connection - presumably they're leaving enough room for doubletracked rail on the south (left in the drawing) side. Wouldn't the depicted ramp be extremely steep then? I always assumed they'd have to bridge the greenway and have the entrance approach from the north. Maybe they're assuming a station there, and they'll reconfigure to have the entrance go through the station?

That little tab of green extending under Stevens seems like render-fantasy. You can see the ghost image of an exit ramp coming off of sb 35W and shading the part of the "crescent" closest to the greenway. Maybe this is what Mulad meant by "Yeah, that whole area will still be underneath I-35W", but you can see that the paths will begin to descend below the grade of Stevens at about mid-block - considering 35W is above grade anything north of this point will be in permanent darkness, which usually makes for sad grass. Probably smarter to hardscape and plant trees where possible.
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby seanrichardryan » October 6th, 2012, 1:54 pm

I don't think that is a recent rendering, or at least it makes absolutely no sense to my eyes. It recalls the 'Great Turtle' round-a-bout of the early planning stages.
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby Lancestar2 » October 6th, 2012, 2:41 pm

from a rendering a curved walking path really does look neat!

from a pedestrian perspective it's just complete was of time and is completely annoying. IMO looks like somebody just graduated from "city planning sidewalk rendering 101" class :lol: I mean why stop there! Why not make all of the greenway curved walking spaces full of unique shapes that we can only appreciate from a google map viewpoint :mrgreen:

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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT)

Postby Wedgeguy » October 6th, 2012, 6:19 pm

Lancestar2 wrote:from a rendering a curved walking path really does look neat!

from a pedestrian perspective it's just complete was of time and is completely annoying. IMO looks like somebody just graduated from "city planning sidewalk rendering 101" class :lol: I mean why stop there! Why not make all of the greenway curved walking spaces full of unique shapes that we can only appreciate from a google map viewpoint :mrgreen:
It maybe curving to help allow for more length to let the grade go up at a more gentle slope. Like in the mountain?


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