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

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

Postby woofner » August 26th, 2014, 8:19 pm

Can you provide the link?
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EOst
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby EOst » August 27th, 2014, 9:05 am

38th could be tricky due to those ramps just south. I don't doubt that it could be done, but it would be a tighter fit than the 46th station. Franklin would be much harder still.

Given I live a couple blocks from where the Franklin station could be, I'm disappointed that it isn't planned too. That said, by local bus this area is only about ten minutes from downtown, and I doubt a station here would spur significant redevelopment either.

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

Postby fehler » August 27th, 2014, 9:53 am

A station at Franklin would be more about opening access to suburban job centers for low-income neighborhood residents. As for 38th, not sure what ramps you are referring to. Do you mean the 35th/36th Street ramps (that'd be north). In any case, I can see Franklin and 38th Street added on when those bridges/interchanges are redone in time. 46th was the prototype, has it been successful?

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

Postby David Greene » August 27th, 2014, 9:58 am

fehler wrote:A station at Franklin would be more about opening access to suburban job centers for low-income neighborhood residents.
Bingo. I'm also hopeful that these missing stations will be added when the bridges are reconstructed. Unfortunately, once the service is in place, momentum will want to keep those stations out so as not to delay suburban commuters.

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

Postby mattaudio » August 27th, 2014, 9:59 am

I do like the idea of a center slip ramp up to Franklin from the HOT lanes, and then the BRT could run at surface from Franklin through downtown. Not sure how much that would slow down the service, but would be cheaper than an inline station.

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

Postby Tcmetro » August 27th, 2014, 10:13 am

I think a Franklin station is a lost cause at this point considering how far ahead planning is for reconstruction of that segment of 35W. I think that a 38th St station is wholly possible, and should be attempted.

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

Postby twincitizen » August 27th, 2014, 10:16 am

Agree that Franklin would be more about the reverse commute. That said, I just don't think the width exists at Franklin for a station. 35W is already split at this point into the downtown distributor (TH-65 or whatever people call it) and the 35W mainline. Theoretically, a station would slide in quite nicely on Franklin there, but keep in mind that the buses aren't stopping "in line" like a train does -- it would require the full crossover like 46th Street because we don't have a fleet of buses with doors on the left/wrong side. The issue is that there is definitely not room for a full crossover here, between the existing HOV lanes. I mean, it's probably not impossible, but it would cost a shitload of money to essentially rebuild the entire area, just to add a station here. 4th Ave S would definitely have to be narrowed, which isn't a big deal in itself, but again, we're talking about a massive project just to add a station at Franklin that would mostly serve outbound riders.

Regarding 38th, I think that entire situation is still up in the air. I don't think the current 35/36th ramp is a long-term situation. The weave created by the proximity of the 31st and 35th ramps is very dangerous. MNDOT will try to address this at some point. Honestly, I think a new diamond interchange (or better yet, something creative like a dogbone) has just as much chance at 36th as 38th. The neighborhood around 38th will fight tooth and nail to keep the exit from moving there, even though it is the ideal spacing.

IDEA: What about rebuilding the exit at 36th (not split 35th/36th) and then maybe adding the Orange Line station at 38th? Overall, I think the prospects of an additional station are very iffy. But this could be a good way to go about it. I do shudder at the thought of harming the rapidly improving 38th & Nicollet area by blasting it full of freeway congestion. It honestly might be better to keep it at 36th where it has been for decades, and connects all the way west to Calhoun (38th ends at Dupont). This would also reduce the weaving issues on 35W. On the downside, it would require removal of the bridge at 35th St. On the bright side, both 35th and 36th would be restored to two-way streets throughout. A bike/ped bridge could be added at 34th for better access and spacing.

EDIT: I see a few posts were added before I finished. With regards to Franklin, it's already a moot point...the bridge is being replaced. A station is not going to happen.

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 27th, 2014, 10:29 am

Not that ramps can't be added to Franklin in the future - but the space is very tight with the upgrades (unbraiding) coming for the 2017-2019 timeframe.

Here's a shot of the proposed re-do as 35W approaches downtown and Franklin: https://i.imgur.com/1CDxYZ0.jpg
I zoomed in the image of the Franklin Ave bridge too: https://i.imgur.com/nPlaVKQ.jpg.
You can see that adding anything to 35W in this area, as planned, would be nearly impossible.

38th Street is far more feasible, as that bridge will not be rebuilt with the 35W changes during this time - meaning that when the money is available or political will, this bridge can be designed like 46th Street: https://i.imgur.com/Uodqg4l.jpg

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

Postby mattaudio » August 27th, 2014, 10:55 am

Disappointed in this newest plan.
- Doesn't eliminate the 94 > 35W > 94 weave
- Will cause weaving from 35W northbound to 394 westbound across 94 lanes near the tunnel.

Better flow with roughly the same scope of work:
- combine 94 E/W exits from 35W northbound. Connect to 94 E on the right, in the aux lane ending at Hiawatha.
- connect replacement flyover to 94 W at same point on right side of westbound 94, but slip an exit to Hennepin/Lyndale to the right to eliminate this existing weave. Give 35W>Tunnel a dedicated lane, and give 94 westbound a left lane drop somewhere between 65 and the tunnel.

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 27th, 2014, 1:33 pm

mattaudio wrote:Disappointed in this newest plan.
- Doesn't eliminate the 94 > 35W > 94 weave
- Will cause weaving from 35W northbound to 394 westbound across 94 lanes near the tunnel.

Better flow with roughly the same scope of work:
- combine 94 E/W exits from 35W northbound. Connect to 94 E on the right, in the aux lane ending at Hiawatha.
- connect replacement flyover to 94 W at same point on right side of westbound 94, but slip an exit to Hennepin/Lyndale to the right to eliminate this existing weave. Give 35W>Tunnel a dedicated lane, and give 94 westbound a left lane drop somewhere between 65 and the tunnel.
The 35W to 94 west discussion has been had in previous weeks - perhaps in this thread, not sure without digging.
Regardless, the reality of this whole junction is that it'll cost upwards of a $1 billion to 'fix'... and frankly, MNDOT does not have that. Either the Legislature and Governor need to put forth a far more comprehensive transportation package plan (assuming they (Gov & House) are still DFL controlled after November's elections), or this is the best way things happen in this state.

The Crosstown redo has left much to be desired on east and westbound 62, along with 35W actually backing up more commonly southbound through and after the commons than ever before the redo. That's just one example - I know there are many, many others.

The reality is we need to increase the revenue flowing into both the road & transit funding in the Metro. I hope that a plan comes together, that can hopefully get us into the 21st century with our road/transit budgets.

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

Postby mattaudio » August 27th, 2014, 1:46 pm

Regarding the initial criticism, my point was that we could be building a better design with roughly the same amount of bridge work and right of way.

Regarding Crosstown, it backs up because the interchange was built for a 6 lane 62, but right now it chokes down to four lanes at each end presenting problems at either end on 62. Is the solution more pavement, more lanes?

A 21st century transportation solution doesn't mean doubling down on the failures of the 20th century.

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 27th, 2014, 2:00 pm

mattaudio wrote:Regarding the initial criticism, my point was that we could be building a better design with roughly the same amount of bridge work and right of way.
I'm in full support of that - perhaps writing MNDOT and suggesting something their engineers may have missed wouldn't hurt.
mattaudio wrote:A 21st century transportation solution doesn't mean doubling down on the failures of the 20th century.

I'm a HUGE transit supporter. I just got back from Denver and am dismayed by what seems easy for other metro areas to do (build miles and miles of new rail), takes us decades. But just as I want more and more transit options (not just rail), the reality is people still drive their cars, and will do so. If another million people (which Met Council is planning for by 2030) all took transit and didn't drive (which is insanely impossible), we need to address our horrible roads & bridges. It's not like we can just build transit and leave our congested highways to crumble. We need a solid forward-thinking plan that allows more and more people who didn't think they could leave their vehicle, to do so.

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

Postby mattaudio » August 27th, 2014, 2:15 pm

What exactly is horrible about our roads and bridges? Of course we shouldn't leave our highways to crumble, whether they are congested or not. Which is exactly why we shouldn't be expanding them. We should be fixing them first. We need to separate thinking about congestion vs thinking about maintenance of our roads. Congestion is not a problem, maintenance is. If we focus on congestion, we threaten proper maintenance.

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 27th, 2014, 2:24 pm

mattaudio wrote:What exactly is horrible about our roads and bridges?
Um, many of them are literally crumbling. They've had so many asphalt overlays that I'm pretty sure the concrete foundation beneath might possibly be considered historic at this point.

I agree that we can't build our way our of congestion - nor am I proposing that. But we have sections of our metro highways and freeways that need attention. First and foremost, replace/repair existing roads, with widening or expanding only in critical areas. Regardless, MNDOT doesn't have enough projected money for just road & bridge repair through 2030 - that's with ZERO expansions. That's insane and not good for the health of the state/metro/city. There needs to be a better source of funds for transit as well as roads. It can't be one or the other - not only is that not politically possible, it doesn't serve the mass populous as a whole well.

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

Postby twincitizen » August 27th, 2014, 2:30 pm

I'm gonna go ahead and cut you guys off there, because I know how this ends (i.e. it doesn't). Let's try to stay on topic of the Orange Line & Lake St Transit Access (including the 35W/TH65 changes too, I guess). There is also a dedicated thread for 35W, for more general comments about that highway.

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » August 27th, 2014, 2:43 pm

twincitizen wrote:I'm gonna go ahead and cut you guys off there, because I know how this ends (i.e. it doesn't). Let's try to stay on topic of the Orange Line & Lake St Transit Access (including the 35W/TH65 changes too, I guess). There is also a dedicated thread for 35W, for more general comments about that highway.
Feel free to move our conversation to that thread.

I'm hopeful that the 35W upgrades and Orange Line will be even better than proposed when they open!

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

Postby twincitizen » August 27th, 2014, 3:50 pm

I too am really optimistic about this line, especially considering the relatively low cost of the transit-specific elements (i.e. the stations). Most of what will eventually make the Orange Line possible is highway money. This is going to help move highway BRT forward in our region in a way that the Red Line or Gateway never will. There are immense possibilities for reverse commute from this line. I legitimately wonder if ridership at Lake Street will be higher for reverse commuters than traditional.

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

Postby EOst » August 27th, 2014, 5:29 pm

It wouldn't serve for connections as well, but what if there were a station at 22nd instead? It would be within easy walking distance of both Franklin and the MIA, and there's quite a bit of room to work with there. It would, of course, be more expensive than just putting it in an existing bridge rebutld, though since you could make it into a pedestrian-only bridge it would be less expensive than a new road bridge/station.

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

Postby froggie » August 27th, 2014, 7:40 pm

I'm assuming you're not disputing the need for a fast, limited stop transit service in the Nicollet corridor?
Not disputing that at all. What I am disputing is the need to add BRT stations along 35W at 38th and Franklin. As others have already noted, adding a BRT stop at Franklin would be very difficult if not impossible.
- Doesn't eliminate the 94 > 35W > 94 weave
Agreed. Was in a previous rendition of the plan. Not sure why it was dropped.
- Will cause weaving from 35W northbound to 394 westbound across 94 lanes near the tunnel.
True. However, this is much better than the current situation of 35W traffic trying to merge onto 94 for the tunnel against 94 traffic wanting to get off at Hennepin/Lyndale. The situation they propose, with 35W getting their own lane on the left and the right lane on 94 ending at Hennepin/Lyndale, is really a better situation than what you proposed later in your post.


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