Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

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Tcmetro
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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Tcmetro » December 5th, 2016, 5:42 pm

Part of it is that the portion from MOA to 35E is high speed. IIRC, speed limits are mostly 40-55 mph, with just a few stops. From 35E to Kellogg, there are only four stops, and traffic is very light. Downtown already has bus lanes, and traffic is light there outside of rush hour. The big problem with LRT is that from Sibley Plaza to MOA, the train alignment is slower.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby RailBaronYarr » December 7th, 2016, 2:00 pm

So I (finally) went through the presentation.

Even with the potential for train alignments to add distance and require slower speeds on curves, the modeling seems... off. The Dedicated BRT/LRT rail running on W 7th/Hwy 5 follows the same path the No-Build/aBRT would (dedicated BRT follows the same high speed sections west/south of the river as the current 54 does). Yet the Dedicated BRT is 40 minutes vs No Build/aBRT in the low-30s. Am I missing something - fewer stops and (maybe this is where my assumption is faulty..) dedicated ROW - even if it doesn't get you much due to light traffic and existing bus lanes downtown - adds ~8 minutes to the trip time? It feels funky.

That said, even if there was some mistake or odd model assumption that brought down all the BRT/LRT travel times to whatever they'd be, I doubt the travel time savings would be very much. I'll jump on my hobby horse to say that a bigger investment would only be worth it if this project strung together a few additional nodes not currently served by the 54 or planned aBRT - like the Ford Site (and possible ability to cheaply tack on other services onto Riverview's infra, like a Midtown line as I've enumerated in the past). Even at the expense of end-to-end travel time which, if we're being serious, works better as an express bus, not unlike the 94 bus serving DT-DT trips better than the Green Line (and for those who really want to ride a train, the model in front of us says it would add 11 minutes from DTSP to MSP vs the same CP routing by train).

I'd love nothing more than to do that, or to complete the rail triangle with the more direct route via Hwy5. But building aBRT on this corridor with great stations, pre-payment, etc feels like a major win in the Costs vs Benefits fight. Especially if these travel time models are accurate - I can just hear the complaining now: "we're going to spend [$XXXM] for a [bus or light rail] that's slower than the current local bus by [10-20] minutes!?!?"

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » January 25th, 2017, 2:37 pm

Most Promising Alternatives Booklet: http://riverviewcorridor.com/wp-content ... .-2017.pdf

No new information here, but it is really cool to see every possible combination that still remains on the table. Kudos to whoever put this together.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Tiller » January 25th, 2017, 2:43 pm

The potential new shared Ft Snelling station and the new approach to the MoA (both for rail) are nice because they have the least-dumb geometry. Looks like the rest of the alternatives for entering the South Loop all weave around the existing interchange just north of the current Ft Snelling station.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby Silophant » January 25th, 2017, 3:21 pm

Yeah, what exactly is going on with that weird loop for (only southbound?) trains for the "reuse current Ft. Snelling Station" options? If you can split the northbound track off towards Hwy 5 in a sane manner, why can't the southbound track come with?

Also, neither of the LRT South Loop options show the Bloomington Central Station. Are they actually admitting that it's totally redundant, now that American Boulevard exists, and should go away and shave a couple minutes off each round trip?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mister.shoes » January 25th, 2017, 4:48 pm

That packet is great. My votes:

Rail
Alignment #4 or #10
7th/Smith pair or Smith Mall
Under 55 at Bloomington Ave w/ a new station (not sure what "Shared with Blue" implies. Do they move the existing tracks to swing east of that MNDOT building?)
82nd Street!
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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » January 26th, 2017, 8:53 am

Mostly same. We should all send in comments noting said preferences.

I want to know more about that potential new shared Ft. Snelling Station, as it would seem to require removing the current one and re-routing the Blue Line tracks a bit. Looks pretty feasible though, as the only thing in the way are parking lots. Looks like the new station would be just as close to the existing south P&R lot, but would put the north lot out of reasonable walking distance for daily commuters at >.5 mile (still could keep it for big event overflow, etc.) Which is considered the "primary" lot for commuters today? Or are they equally favored? I'd worry that MT would insist on keeping the existing station and having the Blue Line stop at both, which would be bad. If that were the case, I'd just as soon have them build a new separate platform for Riverview and have them be a short, well-marked walking distance apart. A shared station would obviously be ideal, but don't do something overly dumb/expensive to force it.

And yes, I want to know more about 82nd Street. I'd heard a rumor that some engineering folks at MT wanted to revisit that whole thing, rather than going forward with the currently planned MOA Station redesign, which keeps the same painfully slow LRT approach that we have today. Glad to hear it's an option, but I won't get my hopes up too much, as it would be pretty shocking to see them go back to the drawing board on the shovel-ready MOA Station rebuild, which has been designed for quite a while now. If someone at the project is going to push 82nd, they need to make a decision ASAP to delay the MOA Station rebuild.

As for Smith/7th pair or Smith transit mall, I think the hospital is (rightfully) going to wield a lot of influence over that decision. I don't know enough to have a preference either way. The Smith transit mall is likely cheaper, as you don't have to build separate stations on both streets, and you don't have to rebuild that section 7th as part of the project. An actual "transit mall" is not feasible, as every block has access to large parking garages/lots. At best it would function like 5th St in Minneapolis. Lots of emergency vehicles, lots of out-of-towners trying to get in those parking garages. Can't imagine there won't be a vehicle lane in each direction, signed "local/emergency traffic only". Maybe they could build it somewhat similar to the Wash Ave mall at the U, so emergency vehicles can drive on the tracks and not get stuck behind cars accessing the parking garages.

I'm impressed that they settled on a single downtown option for rail - 5th/6th pair to the existing Central Station & 4th St tracks. Sharp turn at Cedar & 6th for westbound trains though (and crosses over the EB Green Line track). Hope they can make it work, because this was the obvious choice all along, and doesn't require any new construction east of Cedar.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mattaudio » January 26th, 2017, 9:58 am

I'd rather see both directions on 5th St downtown as part of a larger undoing of the one-way couplet through downtown. This could actually simplify the street geometry around 7 Corners and Cleveland Circle too... Cleveland Circle could basically go away if there was a 5th St to Smith Ave LRT alignment.

Near the river, I think they need to be more deliberate about tying the alignment to the grade-imposed challenges of how to do the river crossing. Of course, I've suggested rebuilding/modifying the existing bridge to be two levels... A new upper deck could provide for LRT ROW and also regional trail connectivity that's at-grade to Fort Snelling and East River Road.

If that crossing was pursued, it then doesn't make sense to try and go below grade at Bloomington Road. Instead, stay elevated above the TH-55 (future US-212) freeway, around the federal building and with a wye tying into the existing Blue Line north of the Ft. Snelling Station. Even the grade of the Blue Line as it approaches the flyover would help allow for the construction of a flying junction here, so less switchwork and less crosslining in operation would be required (this is the fundamental difference between how trains crawl through DTE interlocking, but should be able to fly through the partially-built Target Field interlocking with its planned flying junction.

Some possibly relevant maps I've made over the years:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PFuAq ... sp=sharing (corridor concept incl above river alignment)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yeMe2 ... sp=sharing (downtown STP)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dGnTc ... sp=sharing (MN 55- MN 5 interchange modifications + LRT ROW)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WDky1 ... sp=sharing (5th St access inventory downtown STP)

Somewhat related:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=19D2Xl ... sp=sharing Existing flyover would allow for low cost flying junction at Lake Street station, improving Midtown LRT as a standalone service while also allowing for interlining of service via Blue Line from Lake to VA Medical Center... One seat ride from West Lake / Uptown to Downtown St. Paul

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1RIdKH ... sp=sharing Assuming LRT on upper deck of bridge, this plan could connect the bridge with Shepard Road taking advantage of Unisys/USBank site redevelopment. This would allow for an enhanced grid in this neighborhood, and Sibley Plaza redevelopment potential.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby EOst » January 26th, 2017, 10:10 am

twincitizen wrote:Can't imagine there won't be a vehicle lane in each direction, signed "local/emergency traffic only". Maybe they could build it somewhat similar to the Wash Ave mall at the U, so emergency vehicles can drive on the tracks and not get stuck behind cars accessing the parking garages.
Worth pointing out here that Smith Ave is on the bicycle plan also ("enhanced shared lanes"), as the link from Summit/the 35E trail to downtown. No obvious alternative to it either.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby fehler » January 26th, 2017, 10:12 am

Is station infrastructure so expensive that there couldn't be two Fort Snelling Stations, the Blue aligned north-south and the New aligned east-west, with a single bus turn-around and parking area for both?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mattaudio » January 26th, 2017, 10:13 am

It's probably more the operational inefficiency than the expense. Imagine you were at Ft. Snelling Station, going to airport or MOA. Which platform has your next train?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby MNdible » January 26th, 2017, 11:09 am

Whipple building is presumably a major driver of ridership at Fort Snelling, so not sure that it makes sense to move the station further away from it.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby kellonathan » January 26th, 2017, 1:25 pm

I'm still personally infatuated with Alignment #10---using CP spur is a no-brainer---higher potential for shorter travel time and higher reliability. (less grade-crossings/conflicts with vehicular traffic on 7th St, I assume.)

I wonder why we're still struggling between the Ford Spur alignments and MSP/MOA alignments, though. Has anyone considered a potential LRT branch line between 7th St and Ford site/Highland Pk? It shouldn't be that difficult in terms of operational difficulty?

Something like this?
RH : Riverview Mainline (dwtn St.P - MSP/MOA) every 10 mins, Riverview via Ford Branch (Highland Park - dwtn St.P) every 15 mins
NH : Riverview Mainline every 10-15 mins, Riverview Ford Branch shortline (Highland Park - 7th and Madison) every 20 mins
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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby mamundsen » January 26th, 2017, 4:05 pm

What do RH and NH stand for?

I agree, this should be option 10. slam dunk. Then it does feel like a wasted opportunity to connect the Ford Site. Would they ever do just a tram circulator from Madison to Ford on a loop? Rather than having different branches all the way to dwtn St P?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby kellonathan » January 27th, 2017, 10:01 am

mamundsen wrote:What do RH and NH stand for?
Sorry, I usually am not a fan of people throwing initialism/acronyms around, but I made that mistake myself.
RH = Rush Hour. NH = Normal Hour (Non-rush)
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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 27th, 2017, 12:21 pm

Yeah while I'm not hopeful for the line to cross the river and hook up to the Blue Line, serving the Ford Site just seems like too big an opportunity to miss. You've got the dedicated ROW, you've got the site in a perfect place to add transit through it now (much more expensive, potentially politically difficult later), you've got near-guaranteed demand via redevelopment (even if literally nothing gets built due to some massive market crash you still have pretty decent trip generators at 4 of the 5 proposed stations - heck, you could even defer Ford Parkway to keep infrastructure simple for now). You've got rail/stations being built all the way from Madison to Downtown with likely day 1 capacity to power 3-car trains every 5 minutes. The biggest challenge in adding service beyond 10 minute headways on this line would be handling the trains in DT St Paul. The branch concept allows us to really maximize the very expensive rail infrastructure from the get go. (to say nothing of making the Midtown connection easier down the line).

Did anyone ever hear anything about the travel time models I asked about upthread?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby MattW » January 27th, 2017, 1:57 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:Yeah while I'm not hopeful for the line to cross the river and hook up to the Blue Line, serving the Ford Site just seems like too big an opportunity to miss. You've got the dedicated ROW, you've got the site in a perfect place to add transit through it now (much more expensive, potentially politically difficult later), you've got near-guaranteed demand via redevelopment (even if literally nothing gets built due to some massive market crash you still have pretty decent trip generators at 4 of the 5 proposed stations - heck, you could even defer Ford Parkway to keep infrastructure simple for now). You've got rail/stations being built all the way from Madison to Downtown with likely day 1 capacity to power 3-car trains every 5 minutes. The biggest challenge in adding service beyond 10 minute headways on this line would be handling the trains in DT St Paul. The branch concept allows us to really maximize the very expensive rail infrastructure from the get go. (to say nothing of making the Midtown connection easier down the line).

Did anyone ever hear anything about the travel time models I asked about upthread?

RBY, I don't disagree with what you're saying. I feel, however, adding branch lines on the light rail with another river crossing is a pipe dream. A much more feasible option, imo, would be to create a branch line of the A line and have that run south of Highland Golf Course and link at the future Montreal station.

I know that'd screw up headways on the A line... so maybe create a new ABRT line that goes down Ford and keeps heading east-west?

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby DanPatchToget » January 27th, 2017, 2:11 pm

46th Street ABRT between Edina and West 7th going through the Ford Site sounds like a better option than making a big detour for Riverview through the Ford Site and making travel time to the airport and MOA longer.

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby twincitizen » January 27th, 2017, 2:21 pm

Also, the Ford Site already has really strong bus service on Ford Parkway already. The A Line (and the 23 and 46 and 74) all get you over to the Blue Line 46th St station in a snap. Yes, it's all on Ford Parkway, but that's also where the heaviest commercial development of the site and most jobs will be. Everything more than 2 blocks south of Cleveland is all planned as residential. Running rail transit through the Ford site would allow for stations serving that residential development too far from Ford Pkwy to walk, but I really don't think that outweighs everything that is lost by not maintaining that fast MSP/MOA connection. And it doesn't really improve transit much for those on/near Ford Pkwy, who have the above mentioned routes that zip them over to 46th St Station, as well as the 134 express to downtown Mpls and the 70 & 74 to downtown St. Paul (as well as A-Line to Green, of course)

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Re: Riverview Corridor (Alternatives Analysis)

Postby kellonathan » January 27th, 2017, 2:25 pm

Agreed. Riverview Branch Line can (or maybe "should", considering the cost-effectiveness concerns) terminate at Ford & Woodlawn, facilitating easy transfers btwn Riverview LRT and A Line aBRT. If through-routing the branch line trains to dwtn St. Paul is too hard, considering interline schedules and track capacity, I think the branch line should work fine as a shuttle between the Ford Site/Highland Park and 7th & Madison, as long as the LRT transfer at 7th & Madison is well-timed and well-designed.

Ford Site can be one of the most well-connected transit haven neighborhoods, still a rare kind in the Twin Cities area, but I still doubt the usefulness of interlining Riverview LRT with Hiawatha LRT, especially for the trips originating from Ford Site/Highland Park. Considering the travel demand in the area (albeit I'm just guessing---I've not seen or worked with any travel demand models around here), I bet it's more much meaningful to serve dwtn St. Paul with rail, whilst travel demands to dwtn Mpls and MSP/MOA can be covered by A Line and a quick transfer at 46th St.
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