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

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
mattaudio
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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby mattaudio » March 30th, 2015, 8:32 am

David Greene wrote:
blobs wrote:Is there a reason why the lake & 35W exit constantly is really congested?
Stevens and Nicollet.
And single leftmost lane on northbound 2nd Ave that serves as LTL from northbound 35W to 31st St and to Lake Street.

It would almost work better if they moved the ramps to between 31st and Lake rather than 32nd and 31st. The stoplights at 31st & Stevens/2nd seem to interfere with freeway traffic more than they help disperse it. Converting 28th St to two-way would help as well.

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

Postby MNdible » March 30th, 2015, 8:39 am

[Probably not the right thread for this conversation.]

I've noticed that this offramp is now somewhat regularly backed all of the way out onto the freeway, even at non-rush hour times. Not sure if there was a signaling change, or if maybe a revitalizing Lake Street is driving more traffic, or...

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 30th, 2015, 8:57 am

When I commuted down I-35W years ago I also saw that backup. I think it's a fairly regular thing, and perhaps is enhanced as more and more college classes let up as well as snow birds flocking back to the area around this time of year. As a result, traffic congestion in the region seems to be the highest from April/May through November/December, and for whatever reason, Wednesdays and Thursdays during an average workweek.

David Greene
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Re: Uptown General Topics & Development Map

Postby David Greene » March 30th, 2015, 10:20 am

mattaudio wrote:The stoplights at 31st & Stevens/2nd seem to interfere with freeway traffic more than they help disperse it.
IME the bigger problem is backs-ups on Lake from people turning left on Stevens (presumably to get on 35 south) and again at Nicollet from a combination of ridiculous bus stop spacing and more left turners at Nicollet. There are turn lanes in both places but they don't seem to be adequate. Once you get on Lake it's still a bear to get through that area.

Making 28th two way might help a bit but again, IME the back-ups are caused by people heading south, not west. Once you get past Nicollet it's pretty clear sailing all the way to the Lagoon/Emerson CF.

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

Postby twincitizen » March 30th, 2015, 10:46 am

http://www.35lake.com/lake-street/

As proposed, the uber-widening of Lake Street beneath 35W should alleviate some of this congestion that David is referring to, by creating a full length left turn lane under the bridge (2nd to Stevens). Very, very unfortunate for pedestrians and transit users, but it ought to help somewhat with the peak-hour car congestion that exists today.

As an aside, per MNdible's comment about NB congestion backing up onto 35W, I have often pondered how much of the traffic that exits at 35th/36th is actually headed north of 31st Street, but chooses to exit "early" to avoid the whole Lake Street mess? I know I did when I lived at 28th & Grand. The congestion and daily headache of navigating this area during PM rush hour was a key factor in my decision to move further south (to 36th St; I work in southburb)

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

Postby twincitizen » March 30th, 2015, 10:53 am

As a separate traffic mitigation concept, I'd like the city to consider removing the stoplight at Lake & 1st Avenue (also 31st & 1st)

Stoplights are required at (heading westbound from 35W exit to Lake): 2nd Ave, Stevens, and Nicollet.
Stoplights are not required at 1st Avenue, BUT FOR the closure of Nicollet at Kmart.

If you could eliminate that stoplight at 1st Avenue, it would ensure proper stoplight spacing of no more than every 1/8th mile. Stoplights every 1/16th mile are no bueno. Traffic heading NB on 1st Avenue would basically be forced to turn right onto Lake Street, as it would be impossible to take a left or continue NB on 1st in heavy traffic. If that sounds weird, consider that is exactly how other minor streets like Pleasant, Garfield, etc. are handled in this area: crossing Lake or left-turning is permitted, but it is not given priority enough to stop traffic on Lake.

Obviously there's the issue of "1st Avenue as NB bicycle facility" that would need to be solved in order for this to happen, but there are many ways to crack that nut. [and let's not get into it here, because it gets away from the project area at hand]

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

Postby David Greene » March 30th, 2015, 10:57 am

twincitizen wrote:Stoplights are required at (heading westbound from 35W exit to Lake): 2nd Ave, Stevens, and Nicollet. Stoplights are not required at 1st Avenue, BUT FOR the closure of Nicollet at Kmart. If you could eliminate that stoplight at 1st Avenue, it would ensure proper stoplight spacing of no more than every 1/8th mile. Stoplights every 1/16th mile are no bueno. Traffic heading NB on 1st Avenue would basically be forced to turn right onto Lake Street, as it would be impossible to take a left or continue NB on 1st in heavy traffic. If that sounds weird, consider that is exactly how other minor streets like Pleasant, Garfield, etc. are handled in this area.
It's definitely worth considering but I've always assumed that Blaisdell/1st would remain one-way pairs to reduce some pressure on Nicollet even after it's opened at Lake. If you're on a one-way it would be surprising and frustrating to be diverted. Of course, 1st become two-way north of 28th, so...

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

Postby froggie » March 30th, 2015, 7:02 pm

mattaudio wrote:It would almost work better if they moved the ramps to between 31st and Lake rather than 32nd and 31st. The stoplights at 31st & Stevens/2nd seem to interfere with freeway traffic more than they help disperse it. Converting 28th St to two-way would help as well.
IIRC, we have discussed this before. To move the ramp as you suggest would require closing 31st St at 35W...the result of which would be a few thousand more cars per day on Lake and even further cementing the need (pun intended) for the "uber widening" of Lake St that twincitizen doesn't like.

A lower-cost solution for the backups mentioned would be to ban left turns from eastbound Lake onto 2nd Ave, thereby extending the westbound left turn lane to Stevens Ave for the full block. The turn lane approach could be extended another block to 3rd Ave by eliminating the half-block of eastbound on-street parking in front of the Roundup Beer Hall. The eastbound turn restriction would probably require adding an eastbound left turn lane at 4th Ave, taking out about a half-block or so of metered parking on both sides of Lake.

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

Postby BoredAgain » March 30th, 2015, 8:09 pm

I still think the entire lake underpass would work much better with a dogbone roundabout. Eliminate turn lanes completely. Considerations for pedestrian crossing would need to be considered, but avoiding turn lane backups would narrow crossings and improving the transit station to consider both sides of the street would eliminate some problems.

The intersections near lake would also need upgrades to avoid backups, but keeping the cars moving (while respecting pedestrians) would go a long way towards solving the problems.

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

Postby grant1simons2 » May 15th, 2015, 9:02 pm

Authorization for TIGER grant application is on the agenda for the next Transportation Committee meeting

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups ... 141469.pdf

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

Postby twincitizen » June 4th, 2015, 8:54 am


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

Postby intercomnut » June 15th, 2015, 11:04 pm

This month's CTIB meeting includes an update on the Orange Line.

Overall, it talks about scheduling and cost risks associated with the lines. The project is currently still on schedule.

It also has some plans for the Knox underpass, access into Downtown, and for the Burnsville Terminus.

This includes a mockup of what the Travellers Trail site will look like. It's set up in a two-lane loop from Travellers Trail, with parking on the north side of the site, and the station in the middle of the loop. There is a bus-only exit from Nicollet Ave, allowing the buses to pull into the station and then continue forward onto Travellers Trail to start the route again.

I also noticed there's plans included for a station on 35W at Burnsville Parkway. I'm guessing this is what will be implemented if/when the line is extended, but I sent an email to Christina Morrison asking about it anyways.

For the Knox alignment, they have the main option where the guideway goes essentially straight south from the Knox Park and Ride to Southtown. They also have alternate plans (likely to mullify concerns from Kraus Anderson) where, after crossing under 494, the guideway turns sharply east and then makes a big right turn to realign itself with Knox to curve around a potential hotel development.

As for Downtown Access, it looks like they will add an HOV flyover from the 12th St entrance to 35W that enters directly into the center HOT lane. Buses heading into downtown will take the 5th Ave exit and take a left on 10th St into a new contraflow lane. Unfortunately, that completely derails plans for a protected bikeway on 10th, so we'll see how that goes.

Here's a link to the document: http://www.mnrides.org/sites/default/fi ... packet.pdf

The part about the Orange Line starts on page 36.

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

Postby acs » June 16th, 2015, 1:06 pm

Note to the Gold Line planners: this is how you don't skimp on BRT and prioritize transit over cars at "pinch points".

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

Postby Mikey » June 16th, 2015, 4:29 pm

acs wrote:Note to the Gold Line planners: this is how you don't skimp on BRT and prioritize transit over cars at "pinch points".
I think I'd have less of a problem with the Gold Line (and the Red Line too...) if it was planned to continue straight to downtown Minneapolis rather than forcing a transfer to LRT. Maybe a median station at Snelling?
Urbanist in the north woods

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

Postby twincitizen » June 16th, 2015, 9:28 pm

Probably just merge the Gold Line with the Route 94 during peak hours

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

Postby froggie » June 17th, 2015, 8:35 am

Through running does have some benefit, so combining the Route 94 and the Gold Line may be worthwhile.

Regarding the Orange Line access to downtown, I have to wonder: instead of a contraflow lane on 10th, did they look at a flyover ramp from the northbound HO/T lane to 11th?

And on a related note, if they do implement a contraflow bus lane on 10th, would it be possible to get a contraflow bike lane on 9th?

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

Postby intercomnut » June 19th, 2015, 11:19 pm

Just found an Orange Line design update for the transportation committee:

http://www.metrocouncil.org/METC/files/ ... df2d61.pdf

The Knox Avenue part is mostly a repeat of what was presented to the CTIB (except it adds cross sections). As far as Downtown Access, it looks like they're actually considering 3 options: contraflow on 10th, transit lane on 9th, and contraflow lane on/2-way HOT ramp onto 12th. They emphasized that a transit lane on 9th would accommodate a protected bikeway.

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

Postby twincitizen » June 24th, 2015, 1:46 pm

June newsletter: http://createsend.com/t/r-BF5B711B853E1 ... 23F30FEDED

How do people here feel about the Burnsville terminal location: use existing Burnsville Transit Center or the Traveller's Trail site (SW corner of 13 & Nicollet)?

I'm leaning towards Burnsville Transit Center. The Traveller's Trail site has one single advantage: better walkability to Heart of the City. Attracting walk-up passengers (in the dozens?) from HotC just isn't enough to outweigh all of the inherent advantages of using the existing transit station. How many residential units would even be in walking distance of the TT site? What percentage of those residents are likely to be daily Orange Line riders? I just feel that the Traveller's Trail site is chasing too few riders, many of whom will probably still walk across 13 to the transit center (or take a local bus there). Using the existing Transit Center keeps all of the buses in the same spot, uses existing resources more efficiently, including the existing P&R for the vast majority of riders in this area. And it's still technically walkable for those riders that choose to or must walk to the Orange Line...it's just a little further and involves crossing 13. A bike/ped bridge or tunnel could be an option in the future.

In a perfect world, I'd simply suggest that the NB Orange Line run "local" service up Nicollet for a few blocks before swooping through the transit center and getting on 35W NB. Similar to how many express bus routes have local "tails" before they get on the freeway: http://www.metrotransit.org/Route/156


Separate hypothetical question: If the Orange Line were extended to Burnsville Center Mall (but not further south to Lakeville for the sake of this question), would you bother doubling back to get on 35W from the Nicollet/13 stop? Or would you just drive straight down Nicollet Ave, adding maybe an extra 2-3 minutes of run time in exchange for serving HotC directly? Travel distance is about 2.5 miles - 65MPH on the highway vs. 35-40MPH on Nicollet, only a few stoplights outside of HotC. Does your answer to this question help inform your answer to the above question about the Nicollet/13 station location?

For me it does, because I would most likely keep the bus on Nicollet rather than doubling back to the highway. If you're serving Nicollet (and HotC) directly, then the Traveller's Trail site is completely useless, and Burnsville Transit Center becomes the obvious choice.

PigsEye

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

Postby PigsEye » June 25th, 2015, 2:06 am

I would agree with ya a tunnel/bridge would be a great addition once the line is established and provided there is enough usage from riders south of Hwy 13. They should at least triple the existing crosswalk space that way it can allow for an oversize lane and a bike trail to cross too. Plus expanded medium space be a nice touch too. Would love to see that heart of burnsville extend northward as a mixed use space all the way to Walmart and the car dealerships north of that too. Though the area would obviously be less dense but it could be a pretty nice place in 20-30 years when a developer realises the potential with the nearby BRT stop.

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

Postby RailBaronYarr » June 25th, 2015, 10:13 am

My gut reaction was serving HoTC, since crossing Hwy 13 isn't exactly pleasant. But you're right, the park n ride is the major draw and a local tail south along Nicollet makes sense to serve other parts (I could even be convinced of doing this at opening day, not waiting for the mall as the end anchor).

I hate saying this, but Burnsville should push MnDOT to pursue dropping Hwy 13 below grade through here with a cap over it for air rights development to connect the area. Maybe from Pillsbury to the Meadowood. But that's a long-term vision.


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