Green Line / Central Corridor construction thread (archive)

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downfall
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby downfall » May 31st, 2014, 8:25 am

Metro Transit us hosting a Green Line open house today for their staff and families. Boardings are at Union Station and Target Field Station with no stops in between.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby LRV Op Dude » May 31st, 2014, 9:34 am

downfall wrote:Metro Transit us hosting a Green Line open house today for their staff and families. Boardings are at Union Station and Target Field Station with no stops in between.
The open house is on Tomorrow.
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talindsay
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » May 31st, 2014, 10:05 am

Man, is it just me or does it seem like the Green Line is getting a lot of bad press right before its opening? MPR of course is being rude and vindictive, but the Strib's piece today (http://www.startribune.com/local/minnea ... 36271.html) also seems unnecessarily critical of the line. At this point in Hiawatha's launch cycle it was getting covered with great fanfare - there was an entire sidebar on the strib's website dedicated to introducing the line. There were detractors, of course - remembering that its opening was delayed because of a bus strike made the whole thing feel like a snafu - but the line itself seemed to have a lot of optimism around its opening. It seems like the local media aren't giving Metro Transit any slack at all around the Green Line opening, which seems too bad - give it a year of operations and then start talking about whether its schedule is any good, whether it's leading to the kind of development they want or not, whether ridership is up to snuff, whether it's bothering local businesses.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby IllogicalJake » May 31st, 2014, 10:24 am

talindsay wrote:So the barriers are gone from the west bank station and I went and explored a little. the go to card readers offer an option for the downtown zone - do all Hiawatha stations offer downtown zone fares, or is this an indication that the west bank station will be part of the downtown zone?
The Downtown Zone ticket is available at all machines, actually. The official schedules haven't included anything new in the downtown zone.

EDIT: Nevermind, actually. Just went to the MoA, and definitely no DT Zone ticket options. Huh, weird.
Last edited by IllogicalJake on May 31st, 2014, 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby seanrichardryan » May 31st, 2014, 2:38 pm

Watched an EB 3 car train move through the Cromwell/ university intersection yesterday. It stopped for the light at Cromwell for about 10 seconds with the last car blocking Eustis entirely. Light changed and it moved on.
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ProspectPete
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby ProspectPete » May 31st, 2014, 4:21 pm

So, the signal had a train stopped on the bridge which was blocking eustis? WTF.....
Traffic stopped by a train stopped by a signal that obviously has no priority. I bet $1 that the train stopped at eustis too, before stopping at Cromwell.
Some of this bad press is well deserved.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby MSPtoMKE » May 31st, 2014, 10:53 pm

In hindsight, I don't believe a 40ish minute travel time from end to end was ever very realistic. The new schedule for the Blue Line now shows a travel time of 42 minutes from Mall of America to Platform 2 of Target Field. The Blue Line is a little more than a mile longer than the Green Line (12.3 miles vs. 11 miles), but consider the differences. The Blue Line has almost complete signal preemption outside of Downtown Minneapolis. It has only one downtown to travel through, and zero university campuses. It has a higher general speed limit (45 mph vs. 35 mph), and I believe it reaches 55 mph through the airport tunnel. It also has 4 fewer stations to stop at. So they either promised too much, or weren't clear that they meant downtown core to downtown core, but I am not going to sweat the 49 minute travel time too much.
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WHS
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 10:18 am

talindsay wrote:Man, is it just me or does it seem like the Green Line is getting a lot of bad press right before its opening? MPR of course is being rude and vindictive, but the Strib's piece today (http://www.startribune.com/local/minnea ... 36271.html) also seems unnecessarily critical of the line. At this point in Hiawatha's launch cycle it was getting covered with great fanfare - there was an entire sidebar on the strib's website dedicated to introducing the line. There were detractors, of course - remembering that its opening was delayed because of a bus strike made the whole thing feel like a snafu - but the line itself seemed to have a lot of optimism around its opening. It seems like the local media aren't giving Metro Transit any slack at all around the Green Line opening, which seems too bad - give it a year of operations and then start talking about whether its schedule is any good, whether it's leading to the kind of development they want or not, whether ridership is up to snuff, whether it's bothering local businesses.
The mechanics of the train itself are one thing, but given the long lead time involved in development, why should anyone give the train's boosters any slack when it fails to meet expectations on that front? They made promises, which (fairly predictably, in my opinion) went unfulfilled. They should get heat for it. If anything, a wishy-washy Strib article is going easy on them.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby EOst » June 2nd, 2014, 10:44 am

Isn't this a catch-22?

If the train hadn't even opened and there were a ton of development already going on along the line, the opponents of the line would have just said "why did we need this line? The development would've happened anyway!" If you don't believe me, look at this in DC, where opponents of their new streetcar line are saying pretty much the same thing: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/05/ ... dc/371830/

So instead, we put a line in to spur growth, and because it hasn't immediately led to massive redevelopment, we're calling it a failure?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 12:24 pm

The concerns in the article in question are a bit more sophisticated than simply noticing a lack of "massive redevelopment," though. And the article isn't even about the train line itself so much as the public investment in the development of the surrounding areas. These investments were justified as being catalytic; the cities, state, and Met Council were (rather credulously) trusting the developers' assertions that they'd easily attract many times their cost in private development. If what we see instead is a very gradual transformation of the area (and I'd certainly expect to see some change over time) it's hard to understand why we just paid private developers nearly (or possibly more than) $100M to revamp the area. At best, it's just wasted money. And that's before we even consider the projects that are actually failing because they can't attract commercial tenants, or the fair housing objections of community leaders like Jeff Martin.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » June 2nd, 2014, 12:42 pm

Are there new projects that are failing because they can't attract commercial tenants?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 12:47 pm

From the article:
Meanwhile, enticing businesses to build alongside low- and moderate-income housing has been a hard sell. Recently, the Met Council awarded $800,000 to replace the Brownstone building at University Avenue and Victoria Street — which houses a restaurant, the Model Cities social program and a training center for convicts — with a four-story building with retail and offices and 40 low- and moderate- income apartments.

The agency also committed another $1.1 million to build 30 similar apartments nearby to “replace vacant and blighted lots with public space and retail storefronts, greatly increasing light rail’s potential to encourage transit ridership and catalyze future economic development.”

Both projects are stalled. While public funds are available for the housing part, “the commercial side is very hard to get to work. … It keeps coming up short for financing,” said Gretchen Nicholls of LISC.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby EOst » June 2nd, 2014, 1:10 pm

This line was built during the worst recession in modern history, at a time when the building market is only beginning to recover outside of the obvious centers.

I mean, look, I'd rather that everything the Met Council tried worked, and we had a building boom along University. But the fact that we're seeing any development at all outside the really hot spots (the downtowns, Uptown, etc.) isn't something we should take for granted.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 1:50 pm

EOst wrote:This line was built during the worst recession in modern history, at a time when the building market is only beginning to recover outside of the obvious centers.

I mean, look, I'd rather that everything the Met Council tried worked, and we had a building boom along University. But the fact that we're seeing any development at all outside the really hot spots (the downtowns, Uptown, etc.) isn't something we should take for granted.
It doesn't bother you even a little bit that the private developers are all getting paid while the public isn't seeing the benefits they promised?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » June 2nd, 2014, 2:12 pm

WHS wrote:From the article:
Meanwhile, enticing businesses to build alongside low- and moderate-income housing has been a hard sell. Recently, the Met Council awarded $800,000 to replace the Brownstone building at University Avenue and Victoria Street — which houses a restaurant, the Model Cities social program and a training center for convicts — with a four-story building with retail and offices and 40 low- and moderate- income apartments.

The agency also committed another $1.1 million to build 30 similar apartments nearby to “replace vacant and blighted lots with public space and retail storefronts, greatly increasing light rail’s potential to encourage transit ridership and catalyze future economic development.”

Both projects are stalled. While public funds are available for the housing part, “the commercial side is very hard to get to work. … It keeps coming up short for financing,” said Gretchen Nicholls of LISC.
This is different from store fronts sitting vacant. The agency hasn't actually spent any money on these projects, they've only committed money when a developer wants to do the rest of the work. Pledge money to a project that hasn't gotten off the ground is totally different from a project built with some public money that now sits vacant.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 2:19 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:This is different from store fronts sitting vacant. The agency hasn't actually spent any money on these projects, they've only committed money when a developer wants to do the rest of the work. Pledge money to a project that hasn't gotten off the ground is totally different from a project built with some public money that now sits vacant.
I'm not sure I see the difference. That money is tied up, for as long as the projects are stalled, and depending on the particulars of the loans and grants in question, could end up being lost altogether.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » June 2nd, 2014, 2:21 pm

I highly doubt that there's a funding grant written in such a way that it never expires, and holds up the funds for an infinite period of time.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 2:33 pm

It kind of feels like the goalposts are moving all over the place here, but look, this is an obvious failure. The Met Council is awarding money to developments on the assumption that they can find commercial tenants to support them. They have not been able to. In the meantime, the projects are stalled out and the money isn't being put to any productive use. Assuming these projects are using mixed financing (and they are, because you can't build that many units for that price), this is also tying up other private and public funding sources in limbo. And it should obviously trigger some concern about the many other projects which are further along in the process and also relying on commercial tenants.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » June 2nd, 2014, 2:47 pm

A "failure" of what exactly? Obviously we have a transit corridor that connects downtown Minneapolis, UofM, and downtown St Paul, which are, I believe, the top 1, 2, and 3 job centers in the state. The existing transit service was not sufficient to reliably serve the transit needs in the corridor, and we've replaced it. If it's an "obvious" failure, you're going to have be more specific. This is a transportation project, and it's achieved a transportation goal.

If the goal post is "Midtown greenway intensity of new development" well I don't think that's going to be happening any time soon. Everything in our market is cheap enough that to build new you've either got to hit the high end of the market (like what's happening in Uptown) or you're going to need public help. Talk about moving goal posts, I'm not even sure what goal post you're talking about.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby WHS » June 2nd, 2014, 2:53 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:A "failure" of what exactly? Obviously we have a transit corridor that connects downtown Minneapolis, UofM, and downtown St Paul, which are, I believe, the top 1, 2, and 3 job centers in the state. The existing transit service was not sufficient to reliably serve the transit needs in the corridor, and we've replaced it. If it's an "obvious" failure, you're going to have be more specific. This is a transportation project, and it's achieved a transportation goal.
Dude, I wasn't saying the entire Green Line was a failure. I like the Green Line! I'm saying the economic development strategy is kind of looking like a flop, particularly in the eastern half of the line towards Saint Paul, where the strategy was basically:

1. Hand out millions of dollars for Susan Haigh's nonprofit developer buddies to build mixed-use projects in the slums
2. ???
3. Profit


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