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

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

Postby mattaudio » June 25th, 2015, 10:29 am

Google Map Mobile in the bus-only line at BVTS... https://goo.gl/maps/ejOzy

Yes, the reason why Nicollet backs up so much is because of the stoplight at Nicollet/13. Grade separation would really be a benefit here, allowing HOC to expand northward (if the intersection was done right) and providing strong connectivity to BVTS. With less stacking space needed northbound towards 13, maybe the right lanes of Nicollet could become bus/bike to provide transit advantage. Then run the bus straight down Nicollet, possibly with a new bridge from Nicollet Ct over 35W straight into a new Burnsville Mall TS. Local stops at Fairview Dr/Cobblestone, McAndrews, 134th or Civic Center Dr, and Burnsville Pkwy.

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

Postby froggie » June 25th, 2015, 3:33 pm

Because of the elevation of the water table (as evidenced by the retention pond in the SE corner of the 13/Nicollet intersection), a tunnel or underpass is probably out of the question. You'd have to bridge one over the other, and given the distances to adjacent plats/intersections/facilities, the likelihood is that 13 would be bridged over Nicollet.

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

Postby Mikey » June 25th, 2015, 4:18 pm

HotC is up on a ridge from 13, so it could be possible to keep Nicollet at that elevation over 13 - you might have to depress 13 a little bit. The only real impacts would be the Holiday driveway and the bus exit directly off of Nicollet. Perhaps an offset single point to make the interchange a little more ped friendly, and plan for any future parking ramps to be built over 13

In a ideal world, we would also extend Pillsbury north over 13 and current River Ridge Blvd to Cliff Rd
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby twincitizen » July 27th, 2015, 5:14 pm


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jw138
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby jw138 » July 28th, 2015, 7:50 am

After initial construction is complete, it seems like a no-brainer to shoot for future stops at Franklin, 38th, and possibly 54th/Diamond Lake. Is there any chance some of these might happen within a decade after completion or would a 46th St type station construction have to coincide with bridge replacement to minimize costs (which could push it out decades into the future)?

38th and 54th/Diamond Lake seem pretty straight forward to build. Franklin looks a bit more difficult due to its proximity to the 35W/94 mess. I hope the rebuild of 35W/94 will take into account a future center-median Orange Line stop at Franklin. Or maybe that might be part of the project...

Adding extra stops along the line shouldn't cause people to freak out about end-to-end transit times. You simply run a local bus that stops at every stop and a limited access bus that stops at a smaller set of high-ridership stops. That's one of the big advantages of BRT over LRT/streetcar (as they're currently being built/planned).

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

Postby PigsEye » July 28th, 2015, 10:06 am

Let's keep in mind we will be running a Nicollet Ave Streetcar/BRT line that will connect most parts of south Minneapolis with a higher amount of stops, and slower service. The benefit of the Orange line is fast transit from the burbs to downtown. In theory anyone wanting more direct stops could transfer at American Blvd to the BRT line to the Nicollet Streetcar/BRT line up. Also at 46th they would have to walk 2 blocks.

Maybe the better idea would be to have the Nicollet line terminate at one of the two Orange line station around American BLVD? Instead of just at Nicollet and American Blvd.

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

Postby mattaudio » July 28th, 2015, 10:30 am

PigsEye wrote:The benefit of the Orange line is fast transit from the burbs to downtown.
I hope it's more than just that... we already have plenty of fast transit from (expensive) suburban transit stations to downtown. The one value add I see to Freeway BRT is that you can connect a string of transit stations with all day (off-peak) service to compliment the express bus service.

But I'm also more bullish on the value of services like the Orange Line within the core cities. As someone heavily involved with 46th Street planning, I hear from plenty of folks who use the current 535 as a fast way to get downtown. We already have the freeway slicing through our neighborhoods -- we might as well get transit benefit out of it.

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

Postby woofner » July 28th, 2015, 12:17 pm

I think that when last we discussed this, the plans for reconstructing 35W between 26th & I-94 did not allow for an Orange Line station at Franklin. Last I heard the reconstruction was scheduled for 2018, but I can't find a project page. If you're curious, you could email scott.pedersen@state.mn.us and ask; this is the most recent project contact I can find.

From what I've seen, MnDot is opposed to transit where it impacts freeway operation. Minneapolis had to withhold municipal consent on the Crosstown Commons in order to get them to begin Orange Line planning, which they promptly did with a minimum of public input and a minimum of transit in the corridor. Few Orange Line vision documents even mention a 38th St station anymore, and I don't know that Franklin was ever seriously brought up.

It's a shame, but unless MnDot gets a serious shake-up (and neither Tom Sorel nor Charlie Zelle seem to have done it), there will never be more than token transit along 35W (or any freeway).
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woofner
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby woofner » July 28th, 2015, 11:26 pm

I got sucked into an Orange Line rabbit hole tonight as a result of wondering how the transit station component of the 35W/Lake St project will cost $40m.* I came across more details of what 35W will look like after it's rebuilt between 26th St & I-94.

On page 6 of this pdf you can get a general layout of the project:

http://www.35lake.com/presentations-pac ... %20152.pdf

And here you get more details about the new Franklin bridge layout:

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

As you can see, no room for a BRT station. One of the big problems here is that the outside segments (the actual continuation of 35W towards the NE) are at lower elevations. It seems possible to me that there would be room to squeeze each of these sections closer to the edge of the ROW to create room for a station in the center (between the segments of what is known as MN-65, or the 35W downtown exits), although that would likely increase the total cost at least by adding additional retaining wall segments. Because of the obscurity of the project, it's hard to say for sure whether those elements could be moved. It is certain, though, that this rebuild will be phenomenally expensive. The line item for it in the draft STIP comes in at $253m, although that includes other elements, including the transit station itself. If the rebuild of 35W between 26th & I-94 will cost between $100m & $210m, it's hard to imagine that accommodating a future Franklin BRT station would be more than a rounding error in the project budget. But they don't appear to have considered it.

I wonder if there has been a project as big as the rebuild of 35W between 26th & I-94 in Minnesota during the internet age that hasn't had a project page. Have they had any public meetings? The STIP says that construction will start in 2017 or 2018, and they must be in a fairly advanced stage of engineering if they're in the STIP. I don't think that Franklin is as clear a case for a station as, say, 77th St, but if it wouldn't add significant cost to the project to allow for the possibility of a station here, then it would be a wise investment to make.






*It's hard to tell for sure, but I think a big part of the cost of the station is its sheer size. The volume of buses (90-100 per rush hour) requires that the platform be much longer than most BRT stations. Also it looks like four sets of vertical circulation (that's four escalators and four elevators). I was initially worried that the greater cost of the Orange Line compared to the other Freeway BRT concepts meant that those would inflate too as designs finalized. However, this particular station is almost a third of the Orange Line budget, and most Freeway BRT lines won't have a comparable station, so I don't think that the cost of this line means much for the cost of the others.
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby David Greene » July 28th, 2015, 11:47 pm

Those links aren't working for me.

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

Postby acs » July 29th, 2015, 12:13 pm

So, to steer this marginally back on topic, if not at Franklin Ave, what other infill stations would be viable and useful along this line? I know they plan to make 66th an online station whenever that bridge is rebuilt, but how realistic would it be to have a station paralleling each of the ones along the blue line or at least somewhere around the 1~ mile stop spacing of the metro system?

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

Postby intercomnut » July 29th, 2015, 12:33 pm

I asked the lead planner, Christina Morrison, about additional stations at Franklin and 38th awhile back and this is what she said:

"I am the planner working on the Orange Line, and this good question stumped me, too – these discussions predate my time at Metro Transit. But I have been doing a little digging among folks who have been working in the corridor for much longer than I have.

When commuter bus service was first introduced around 1968, the intent was to have no stations in Minneapolis outside of downtown. At some point, the Lake Street shoulder stops were added as an afterthought (sadly still evident) because of major employers located there. During MnDOT’s Access Project (precursor of the 35/Lake Transit Access project) sometime in the early 2000s, there was a proposal to move the 35th and 36th Street access points to 38th, and to build a two-story median BRT station there. It sounds like it got as far as some preliminary design drawings and public meetings. However, there was a strong division among the adjacent neighborhoods about this proposal, and the Access Project went into hiatus around 2005.

The Crosstown Project was underway in the same era, and its northern construction limits reached to roughly to 42th Street. Knowing that there was a lack of community consensus at 38th, MnDOT and the City pursued a transit station at 46th instead, and this is reflected in (what is now considered) the defining BRT plan for the corridor, MnDOT’s 35W BRT Study. Much of our Orange Line work is based on finishing the project MnDOT began in 2005.

I couldn’t find anyone who remembered a Franklin Station ever being discussed. Some speculated that there was already too much congestion and merging happening in this area with the 94 Commons, while others thought maybe the close proximity to downtown was better served on more easily accessible local bus trips. There doesn’t appear to have been any significant public discussion or interest.

I agree with you about spacing. It’s very different to LRT. However, it is consistent with our regional transitway guidelines, which require highway BRT to have 2 mile average stop spacing and stations at least 1 mile outside the last downtown stop to emphasize speed and reliability. Part of the challenge for this corridor will be to provide a balanced family of services – on 35W, Chicago, 4th, and Nicollet – to provide great service to our customers in South Minneapolis. I also hope that the concept of a Nicollet streetcar and Arterial BRT on both Nicollet and Chicago will complement Orange Line in this segment by improving options in these two neighborhoods. I’d encourage you to continue to be part of the conversation as Orange Line, ABRT, and streetcar work progresses. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with."

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jw138
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby jw138 » July 29th, 2015, 12:41 pm

Would it be absurd to forget BRT/Streetcar on Nicollet south of Lake and instead shoot for Orange line stations at most 35W overpasses (about every 4 blocks)? BRT/Streetcar on Nicollet still makes sense north of Lake because of the density and the fact that 35W jogs eastward starting around Lake. South of Lake, why have two systems compete for funding and cannibalize ridership from each other? They'd only be two blocks apart. At the Greenway, the Nicollet BRT/Streetcar could even turn westwards towards the future West Lake Green Line Station.

As for the requirement to have "highway BRT to have 2 mile average stop spacing", this can still happen with stations much closer to each other. Every BRT bus doesn't have to stop at every BRT station, especially the ones originating in the suburbs.

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

Postby acs » July 29th, 2015, 12:44 pm

jw138 wrote:As for the requirement to have "highway BRT to have 2 mile average stop spacing", this can still happen with stations much closer to each other. Every BRT bus doesn't have to stop at every BRT station, especially the ones originating in the suburbs.
I'm more wondering why that is a requirement at all and who came up with it. Especially since dedicated ROW BRT is supposed to be of the same brand caliber as LRT which has ~1 mile spacing or less.

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

Postby woofner » July 29th, 2015, 1:20 pm

The answer is that the 2 mile stop spacing was made up out of whole cloth. It's not based on any demonstrated system, but rather was invented without any clear rationale during the opaque Regional Transitway Guidelines process, which were quietly passed with minimal public input in 2012:

http://metrocouncil.org/Transportation/ ... lines.aspx

The nice thing is that Christina mischaracterizes them as requirements, when in fact they are guidelines. The 2005 35W BRT study she mentions plans for a future 38th St station, and I haven't seen any policy document that has invalidated that (though it has mysteriously dropped out of project planning, while the future Lakeville extension pops up here and there). If the city pushed for it, I'm sure it would happen. You should, however, email Elizabeth Glidden and Betsey Hodges and let them know that you support a station there. Do it now and do it when they start talking about 35W at 38th St again.
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mattaudio
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby mattaudio » July 29th, 2015, 1:35 pm

As these stations become used for bi-directional all-day service instead of merely directional peak service, urban stations are critical for equity. They'd afford service workers from the suburbs to have transit-accessible commutes to a variety of urban-but-not-downtown jobs, and (more importantly) vice versa.

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jw138
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Re: Orange Line (35W BRT) & Lake St Transit Access Project

Postby jw138 » July 29th, 2015, 3:00 pm

woofner wrote:You should, however, email Elizabeth Glidden and Betsey Hodges and let them know that you support a station there. Do it now and do it when they start talking about 35W at 38th St again.
Done. This could really help accelerate the positive trajectory that this area of South Minneapolis is currently on.

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

Postby amiller92 » July 29th, 2015, 4:00 pm

MNdible wrote:This sounds SHOCKING until you realize that there is and will be a bike bridge at 24th
Is there a plan to replace the steps on the east side of this bridge with a ramp?

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

Postby HiawathaGuy » July 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

amiller92 wrote:
MNdible wrote:This sounds SHOCKING until you realize that there is and will be a bike bridge at 24th
Is there a plan to replace the steps on the east side of this bridge with a ramp?
The new bridge will have both ramps and stairs, from what I recall.

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

Postby Mikey » July 29th, 2015, 6:49 pm

HiawathaGuy wrote:
amiller92 wrote:
MNdible wrote:This sounds SHOCKING until you realize that there is and will be a bike bridge at 24th
Is there a plan to replace the steps on the east side of this bridge with a ramp?
The new bridge will have both ramps and stairs, from what I recall.
Why can't they just sink 35W down a little further and run the bridge level like at Franklin - 2 blocks away? Do they need that much slope for drainage? Or is it another case of "Well, that's just the way it's always been"
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