Fantasy maps

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BigIdeasGuy
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby BigIdeasGuy » March 30th, 2016, 6:20 pm

I was looking at the SWLRT route the other day I realized that would be possible to create a "River South" extension across the Minnesota River and into Shakopee so I quickly drew out a potential route across the river ending at Canterbury Downs. The route basically spits off at Flying Cloud Drive and Eden Road then follows Flying Cloud Drive south until it reaches the airport where it crosses the river on a new bridge. It lands in the parking lot of Valleyfair then heads south crossing over to Canterbury using Valley Industrial Blvd, although that could be adjusted north if needed. It ends in the parking lot of Canturbury providing access to the track and the weekends and massive built in park and ride during the work week.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing

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Anondson
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby Anondson » March 30th, 2016, 6:32 pm

Neato. I'd want it to end in downtown Shakopee, personally. :) Get it to where more people live.

Very unlikely to happen, but a "commuter" LRT crossing the river like this is far likelier to happen than another highway bridge. Which is still a snowball in hell. ;)

mattaudio
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby mattaudio » March 30th, 2016, 7:54 pm

Here's my similar map from a while back. I generally use the existing HCRRA right of way to Chaska, with a branch on the 101 bridge to Downtown Shakopee. Much of these branches could be single tracked for cost savings.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... sp=sharing

I'd propose alternating services between Shakopee and Chaska, or maybe terminating every other or every third train at E.P... Chaska and Shakopee wouldn't need high headways, they are almost more of a regional connection.

This would be an opportunity to connect two historic and walkable downtowns, which also happen to be two of the county seats in our metro. We'd then have five of seven county seats connected (Anoka on Northstar barely counts, granted) with only Hastings and Stillwater left out of the loop. I'd much rather see us focus on connecting these existing walkable nodes, and they seem like natural terminii for a regional rail network. Bonus is the existing right of way that covers nearly all of the extension.

froggie
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby froggie » March 30th, 2016, 9:27 pm

I'm not convinced anymore that extending SWLRT to Chaska is the right idea. From a population and job density perspective, it would be more functional to extend it west to old Chanhassan.

Connecting Shakopee and Chaska to the rest of the Metro could be done via another means: commuter rail. If opposition to the Dan Patch line could ever be overcome, there are current and former rail corridors that could do the trick. There's a former rail grade between downtown Chaska and downtown Shakopee that could be restored (albeit would require a new bridge over the river), tying into the existing Union Pacific tracks just west of downtown Shakopee. A wye connector between the UP tracks and the Dan Patch line is doable, then restoring the St. Louis Park wye near Brunswick Ave, and you have a direct line right into downtown Minneapolis at the Interchange. Or, if desired (though I think Minneapolis is more likely), run it up the UP tracks to downtown St. Paul.

Shakopee might be real-world feasible at some point anyway, given that a regional route down to Mankato and points southwest is on the state rail plan.

BigIdeasGuy
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby BigIdeasGuy » April 1st, 2016, 10:52 am

It would be interesting to see what extension would have greater ridership. If/when SW gets off the ground I wouldn't be surprised if there was enough interest by the counties/cities and other parties to get a basic ridership and cost study put together. I understand the appeal the going to DT Chaska/Shakopee/Chanhassan but I would venture a guess that a "commuter" LRT would have better ridership in this case although I don't have anything to back to that up it's just a gut feeling.

After seeing what has happened to the Northstar line I thought the general consensus around commuter rail was that it wasn't going to work in this area. Or is the Northstar's lack of success mostly attributed to the failure to fully complete the line to St. Cloud?

acs
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby acs » April 1st, 2016, 11:08 am

I just don't get the point of commuter LRT, as in limited peak service electric trains. Sure, you get unlimited capacity during the rush hour without adding operating expense. That's been an issue for SWTransit, yes, but they have only added, what, two double decker buses to their fleet to address it? If it were that big a deal they would have been running them and articulated buses for a long time on all trips. Now, to further upgrade that to trains and keep the same schedule, you still have to spend multiple billions of dollars in capital costs just to lay new track, build an OMF and electrify it. Then your shiny new LRT vehicles are going to sit idle most of the day. At least when we're talking about commuter rail on freight corridors the capital costs are limited to new trainsets and stations, in the hundreds of millions not billions.

Rich
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby Rich » April 1st, 2016, 11:21 am

mattaudio wrote:Bonus is the existing right of way that covers nearly all of the extension.
Yes, but how receptive would all those Bearpath McMansion owners be to a commuter railroad rumbling through their backyard?

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby David Greene » April 1st, 2016, 11:26 am

acs wrote:Now, to further upgrade that to trains and keep the same schedule, you still have to spend multiple billions of dollars in capital costs just to lay new track, build an OMF and electrify it.
That's just a wee bit of hyperbole there, isn't it?

acs
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby acs » April 1st, 2016, 11:52 am

David Greene wrote:
acs wrote:Now, to further upgrade that to trains and keep the same schedule, you still have to spend multiple billions of dollars in capital costs just to lay new track, build an OMF and electrify it.
That's just a wee bit of hyperbole there, isn't it?
Not really? I mean, we're talking about building track all the way to Shakopee and Mound, each over 25 miles from downtown. That's significantly longer than SWLRT, who's capital cost would be north of $2b if stations and overall length weren't cut. Now, how much of that was for purchasing enough LRV's which that could be scaled back if you ran limited service? You'd save 4m per vehicle, yes, but there are only 40 or so needed to run all-day service on a 12 mile line. Knocking off $80 million from a likely 2.5 billion capital cost isn't really going to help.

mattaudio
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby mattaudio » April 1st, 2016, 12:36 pm

BigIdeasGuy wrote:After seeing what has happened to the Northstar line I thought the general consensus around commuter rail was that it wasn't going to work in this area. Or is the Northstar's lack of success mostly attributed to the failure to fully complete the line to St. Cloud?
How to NotBeNorthstar:
- Serve walkable places rather than cornfields-turned-park&rides
- Provide all-day service, rather than just a handful of peak rush hour frequencies. Doesn't have to be every 10 minutes, but even every 40-60 minutes would make the service much more usable.
- End somewhere meaningful. St. Cloud is an obvious choice. I think downtown Chaska and/or Shakopee would be a reasonable choice given the length of the route relative to the length of Northstar.

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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby MNdible » April 1st, 2016, 12:56 pm

Looking at this list of commuter rail lines, I'd say that your best bet at not being Northstar is to go back in time and build your commuter rail in a pre-automobile timeframe and then have communities build up around your station locations.

In lieu of that, yeah, park-and-rides.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby VacantLuxuries » April 1st, 2016, 1:04 pm

Or at the very least, don't build half of something and expect it to perform at full ridership in order to complete it.

MNdible
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby MNdible » April 1st, 2016, 1:07 pm

Dead horse, but the romantic notion that extending Northstar to St. Cloud will fix everything/anything is... romantic.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby VacantLuxuries » April 1st, 2016, 1:16 pm

It won't fix anything now. But it wouldn't have become a rallying cry for less transit investment if it had been built correctly the first time. But that would involve your time machine.

thatchio
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby thatchio » April 12th, 2016, 11:27 pm

Midtown rail alignment that interlines with SWLRT and runs to Hopkins or splits and terminates at Excelsior and Grand area serving the medical center and the redevelopment taking place in that area, though E&G has terrible bus service now. On the east side, it should run down East Lake/Marshall once past Hiawatha with stops around 36th, Cleveland, Fairview, Snelling and then turn north on Hamline with a stop just north of Cleveland and then terminate at the Green Line. Could use Pascal instead of Hamline but I'm assuming better on Hamline and would take some of the adjacent land for ROW, as it appears one could do it without taking down many buildings.

For it to likely justify extension east of Hiawatha, would want to see some modest upzonings near stations, though it would be serving UST, A-Line, Concordia, and Central High all within very short walks.

Curious as to how the ridership projections would work out. Similar to Route 21 routing with likely faster service that is more dependable.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » April 13th, 2016, 3:06 am

https://www.flickr.com/photos/141802592 ... res/2349oz

I also have concept maps of the Metro and Metro Arterial system, but those are currently in progress. Here is a suburban regional rail system that would be similar to Germany's S-Bahn with all day service in each direction. Highest frequency would be every half hour.

The twelve routes are:

Dan Patch Corridor-Between Minneapolis and Northfield

Spine Line-Between St. Paul and Northfield. This would be routed on Progressive Rail's Eagandale Line and abandoned Milwaukee Road right-of-way in Eagan and Mendota Heights. There would be a station in Mendota with a transfer to some sort of shuttle to both airport terminals.

Olivia's Corridor-The name refers to a town along the route, though not part of the suburban railway system. Between Minneapolis and Clover Field in Chanhassen. This route would either use the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis (because I'm sure the residents in that area want even more trains than what is currently proposed) or the abandoned BN Hopkins Spur.

Minnesota Valley Line North-Between Minneapolis and Carver. Again, would either be routed on the Kenilworth Corridor or Hopkins Spur.

Minnesota Valley Line South-Between St. Paul and Shakopee. Note that this would branch off Union Pacific's Mankato Subdivision between Savage and Eagan and run along Highway 13. Just like the Spine Line there would be a station in Mendota with a transfer available to an airport shuttle service.

Minnesota Prairie Line-Between Minneapolis and Waconia. A new rail connection would be built in the Minnetonka Mills area connecting the partially abandoned Chicago & Northwestern Morton Subdivision and BNSF's Wayzata Subdivision.

Dakota Rail Corridor-Between Minneapolis and St. Bonifacius.

Red Rock Corridor-Between St. Paul and Hastings. I may never understand why they chose BRT over some sort of passenger rail on this corridor, but I know that far into the future they want to eventually have regional rail service on this corridor. Whether that would replace the BRT service or be in addition to it is anyone's guess but I'm assuming it would replace it.

Paynesville Corridor-Between Minneapolis and Hamel.

Northstar Line-Between Minneapolis and Big Lake. Further north to/from St. Cloud would operate at a lower frequency and is not considered part of the suburban railway network.

Monti Line-Between Minneapolis and as far north as Monticello. Not sure if it would actually go that far since the Northstar Line isn't too far away but since there are limited bridges across the Mississippi River I included all the way to Monticello.

Bethel/Belt Line-Between Minneapolis and Bethel. To try to reduce redundancy I thought about routing this around Fridley through Columbia Heights and New Brighton via CP Railway and Minnesota Commercial right-of-way. A new rail connection would be built between Minnesota Commercial's Belt Line and BNSF's Staples Subdivision. I'm assuming it wouldn't have the same travel time as Route 865 between Minneapolis and East Bethel, but it would have all day service and more trips during rush hour than the current bus service all the way to East Bethel (which is currently only 3 trips).

White Bear Line (I couldn't think of a better name)-Between Minneapolis and White Bear Lake connecting with the Rush Line and Skally Line.

Skally Line-Between St. Paul and Forest Lake. I realize this overlaps with the Rush Line but I figured the Skally Line would be for faster, limited-stop service on this corridor at light frequencies.

Stillwater Line or Hudson Line-Either between St. Paul and Stillwater or St. Paul and Hudson (the map doesn't include the route to Hudson). If the lightly talked about Highway 36 BRT comes to fruition then perhaps this would be routed to Hudson instead to reduce redundancy. This goes through Lake Elmo and I know how ecstatic (sarcasm) they are about the Gold Line BRT so who knows how they would react to this, but only a decade ago Bloomington and Edina went from being firmly opposed to the Dan Patch Line to open with the idea so time will tell.

idreyn
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby idreyn » May 14th, 2016, 3:25 pm

Hey, longtime lurker here. I've been putting together a concept map for what METRO light rail could look like by 2050 if we really got it together with planning and funding. I've been continually tweaking this in my sparse free time for more than a year right now, but I was hoping to put it out there soon along with an angsty thinkpiece about transit investment pretty soon, and I would love to get feedback from the fine folks of streets.mn. Here it is:

Image
You can click on the map for a larger version and I have a Google Maps overlay with a rough sketch of alignments here.

From a corridor selection perspective, I've been trying to rein in the appetite for relentless outward expansion. Southwest and Bottineau appear as planned, but most additional investment is focused inwards. The Gold Line is cancelled entirely and replaced with a (relatively) small extension of the Green Line, and the Rush Line is severely curtailed. A rundown of the lines is given here:

Blue: as planned.
Green: as planned, with a five-mile extension eastward replacing the Gold Line.
Red: the Riverview corridor. I put it on the CPR ROW rather than at-grade on West 7th, but I don't have strong feelings about the alignment. The final map shows it crossing the river on Hwy 5, but I think it's better to initially build through Ford to 46th and finish the "airport express" connection later (so Gold south eventually subsumes the initial Ford alignment). The existing Red Line does not appear on the map. :)
Teal: the Greenway built to LRT spec and extended northeast sometime in the 2040s, subsuming the northern half of the A line.
Orange: the Nicollet-Central streetcar, but as a subway north of Lake. Eventually swings towards 35 and subsumes the real-life Orange Line BRT, with an extension southeast to MoA along American Blvd.
Yellow: a Freemont-ish subway line North, underground or elevated just west of downtown and underground through Hennepin. This interlines with Teal and then Blue at Lake (sounds like flyover hell now that I'm typing this out) before eating the Ford spur and terminating near Montreal. This could eventually be extended through Mendota Heights and toward Purple south.
Purple: a reasonable subset of the Rush corridor north, serving East Saint Paul, heading underground through downtown and the west side, then popping up and running south down Robert.
The Twin Cities express, appearing as part of Green on the map, is an express service between the downtowns and would be realized as either I-94 median rail or some kind of crazy beefing up of the Central corridor (think underpasses, CBTC, and more crossovers) that would permit an express service on two tracks. This is easily the craziest proposal here but I think a frequent way to connect the two downtowns at a speed faster than car travel on I-94 is actually pretty necessary to make taking transit clear across the metro appealing and feasible, and to really knit together economic opportunities across our sprawling Cities.

It seems that the Met Council/CTIB have (understandably) little interest in funding some key pieces of this puzzle, like a Nicollet subway — this would probably require a local ballot initiative and some pretty aggressive (BART/WMATA era level) federal funding to fall into place, though I do think we could do this cheaply compared to places like Seattle. My hope is that by 2030 or so, with SWLRT, Bottineau, Greenway rail, and some kind of N-S spine in place (plus a slew of aBRT and some healthy upzoning) the network effect would kick in, taking the subway would become a "thing" here like it is in other cities and we'd be able to drag the region kicking and screaming towards another subway tunnel apiece for each downtown and some additional expansions. At this point of course self-driving cars will mature as a technology and instantly solve all of our congestion and mobility problems, and we'll all feel dumb for having spent so much money on fixed-route rapid transit. :lol:

Overall I think that as crazy fantasy maps go, this one is fairly reasonable and does a decent job of balancing intraurban connectivity with the real need to connect to suburban job centers. I'd love to get feedback on corridors, map design, or whatever. Did I miss a spot? Am I out of my mind? Thanks for reading!

thatchio
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby thatchio » May 15th, 2016, 9:16 am

^ just in general, I'd suggest merging the downtown alignments of your yellow and orange for two reasons: tunnels are expensive and tunnel stations are expensive as heck. it also would better serve those coming to downtown locations. you may have too many stations on some of the lines relative to the type of ROW you are suggesting

DanPatchToget
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby DanPatchToget » May 18th, 2016, 9:46 am

^^Suggestion-Extend Line 1 (Red) or Line 6 (Blue) to Southwest Station, and extend Line 4 (Green) to Chanhassen Transit Station.

mamundsen
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Re: Fantasy maps

Postby mamundsen » May 18th, 2016, 10:00 am

DanPatchToget wrote:^^Suggestion-Extend Line 1 (Red) or Line 6 (Blue) to Southwest Station
This is not as close as it looks on his angular map. The Red and Blue (on this map) end at Mall of America. To "extend" to Southwest Station is 12 miles!!!


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