Green Line / Central Corridor construction thread (archive)

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lordmoke
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby lordmoke » June 9th, 2014, 10:41 pm

Those lights are great. Shame they didn't catch on.

twincitizen
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twincitizen » June 10th, 2014, 8:51 am

Jay Walljasper wrote a good piece over at MinnPost: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... al-centers

David Greene
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » June 10th, 2014, 9:30 am

I saw a Green Line train headed into the Central Station with its destination showing "Union Depot." It struck me that this is great if you know where Union Depot is. I would think out-of-towners would want to know things like, "How do I get to downtown St. Paul?" Perhaps the destination signs display something to that effect outside of downtown St. Paul. Anyone know? Why not have the desintation flash between "Union Depot" and "Downtown St. Paul?"

It further struck me that this additional information may be needed because our region is somewhat unique: two major cities connected by a single line. In most places, "Union Depot" would be assumed to be in the downtown of the central city. What about when there are two?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » June 10th, 2014, 9:44 am

You're not wrong David, I think that's a good suggestion. BUT, before the modern era of using line colors to denote lines, most systems in the world identified lines by the names of their endpoint stations. Paris and Chicago both stuck with that scheme for a surprisingly long time. Most systems continue to identify direction by endpoint station, not by semi-arbitrary identifiers. The idea, I think, is that if you look at a map you can see with absolute certainty where Union Depot station is, and know that the train is heading to that station (and by implication, all stations until it), while "Downtown St. Paul" might stop at the Capitol, or Central Station, or Union Depot, or some other arbitrary point.

Rotating the sign between the actual end destination and the generic direction identifier (Union Depot / Downtown Saint Paul or Target Field / Downtown Minneapolis or Mall of America / Bloomington) seems the best solution if the system allows for that behavior. Certainly the current practice of listing the end point is the norm though.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Silophant » June 10th, 2014, 9:58 am

Don't current southbound Blue Line trains alternate their signs between "Airport" and "Mall of America"? Or am I imagining that?

twinkess
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twinkess » June 10th, 2014, 10:23 am

twincitizen wrote:Jay Walljasper wrote a good piece over at MinnPost: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... al-centers

Ugh.. the comments on that article...

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby kellonathan » June 10th, 2014, 11:09 am

Silophant wrote:Don't current southbound Blue Line trains alternate their signs between "Airport" and "Mall of America"? Or am I imagining that?
It just says "Mall of America". For the 200-series cars, it alternates btwn "Mall of" and "America" which slightly bugs me when I see it. Can we just call it "Mall of Amer." or just simply "MOA"?
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David Greene
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » June 10th, 2014, 12:00 pm

twinkess wrote:
twincitizen wrote:Jay Walljasper wrote a good piece over at MinnPost: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... al-centers

Ugh.. the comments on that article...
Regular MinnPost trolls. Pay no attention.

talindsay
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » June 10th, 2014, 1:35 pm

twincitizen wrote:Jay Walljasper wrote a good piece over at MinnPost: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy ... al-centers
I'm ignoring the comments, and I'm very glad to hear that I was wrong - they *will* be offering us free use on campus after all. Elegant solution, I think.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » June 10th, 2014, 2:35 pm

No, he's just talking about the Go-To card that staff can buy and the Upass that students can buy. Once you've bought the pass you get free rides. It's like saying once you've paid your fare you ride for free. The way he describes it is kind of a fundamental misunderstanding of what a transit pass is.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twincitizen » June 10th, 2014, 2:38 pm

It's really unclear from this sequence:

"The Go-To card program for anchor institutions was inspired by the highly successful U-pass program at the University of Minnesota, in which students buy an all-you-can-ride transit pass at about a quarter of the usual cost. Almost half the UM student body — about 20,000 students — purchase the U-cards, which “opens up the city to exploration for them” as well as combating traffic congestion, says the UM’s alternative transportation manager Steve Sanders.

All University of Minnesota students and staff will also be eligible for a card allowing them to ride the Green Line for free between three campus stations, which Sanders hopes will translate into time-savings for riders and cost-savings on the inter-campus buses the university operates."


The 2nd paragraph, in isolation, makes it seem like there's some new pass coming out that students/staff (non-Upass-holders) would be eligible. Taken as a sequence, following the information given in the 1st paragraph, it seems like he's just referring to the Upass that already exists today.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby exiled_antipodean » June 10th, 2014, 3:18 pm

I have heard rumors that a *new* type of pass will be available annually or by semester allowing unlimited intra-campus rides.

That would correspond with what the article says.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Silophant » June 10th, 2014, 3:23 pm

Hm... Just intra-campus train rides, or would it also allow taking the 3 from West Bank to Folwell, or the 6 from Dinkytown to Stadium Village? Because that would be pretty cool.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twincitizen » June 10th, 2014, 5:38 pm

Someone who needs to make those trips should buy a U-pass. Transit ain't free (not saying it shouldn't be...)
I still favor a mandatory U-pass for anyone taking a full load of credits (13 or more). It's such a minor drop in the bucket compared to full tuition costs.

Anyways, MPR reports on some "near misses" during Green Line operator training. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/06/10 ... ls?from=hp

I don't know if anyone caught it, but there was a story elsewhere (Minnpost perhaps), that said the scheduled 48 minutes is an aspiration right now. In actuality, they are still closer to 50 minutes. Continued operator training and signal tweaking will bring it down in the coming weeks. I wouldn't bet on it getting lower than 48 mins anytime soon though.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Chava » June 10th, 2014, 6:27 pm

twincitizen wrote:Someone who needs to make those trips should buy a U-pass. Transit ain't free (not saying it shouldn't be...)
I still favor a mandatory U-pass for anyone taking a full load of credits (13 or more). It's such a minor drop in the bucket compared to full tuition costs.
Agreed. I always see administrators talking about TC as a huge resource and benefit to students at the U, so it would make sense that they kick start students ability to get out into the city. At my university in Chicago, they really really played up Chicago as a resource to students, and by making UPASS mandatory they gave the students little ability to use immobility as an excuse.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Silophant » June 10th, 2014, 7:47 pm

twincitizen wrote:Someone who needs to make those trips should buy a U-pass. Transit ain't free (not saying it shouldn't be...)
I still favor a mandatory U-pass for anyone taking a full load of credits (13 or more). It's such a minor drop in the bucket compared to full tuition costs.
Totally agree. Especially since more than doubling the number of U-Passes sold would presumably drive the price down some.

Honestly, giving students/staff a free (on-campus) train pass makes a lot of sense. Given that it's on the honor system, there's going to be many, many students riding across the river without paying. With a free pass given to every student, they can at least track the number of these rides, which gives more accurate ridership counts to use for funding purposes.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mulad » June 10th, 2014, 8:11 pm

I haven't heard anything new about travel times, though I'm giving them a grace period through the end of the summer (the next pick date / start of UMN session) before I get overworked about that. Even if they tuned things perfectly before the opening, they probably can't account for the delays that will crop up during real use, and would need to re-tune after opening anyway. And of course autumn brings the return of UMN traffic, which will probably require more tweaking.

But possibly related to that, I've only been seeing 2-car trains for the past few days. It could be that there's a new class of operators reaching the late stages of training, but I'm suspicious they may use 2-car trains more heavily than expected at the start of regular operation -- I think that allows for a bit better acceleration/deceleration, and obviously gives more more room for "slop" in the positioning of trains at signals and stations. Aside from opening day and event days, they'll probably have a bit of a grace period before ridership really ramps up to need 3-car trains on a regular basis -- it might just be a couple of months, or it could be a year or so.

It looked like preemption was working a bit better along 4th Street in downtown St. Paul today. I think it might have been working well enough that an operator missed his/her window by accident, or maybe they were trying to prove something -- I saw a westbound train go through the signal at 4th & Jackson, then I think the next phase had cars get the green on 4th, followed by a signal for an eastbound train to go through. The eastbound train waited through that signal for whatever reason (missed it? testing?), and then the traffic lights started behaving as though the train did not exist. The lights went through a couple of cycles for cars only before the train operator decided to push on through when the cars on 4th had a green light. Better, I guess, but there are still bugs in the system.

I also saw that schedules/maps have been installed at station platforms in/near downtown St. Paul -- I've seen a few people idly checking them out.

Well, folks will probably need to watch out for weather over opening weekend. Looks like it probably won't be too bad on Saturday morning, but there seems to be an increasing chance of rain through Saturday, and Sunday looks like it will probably be wet. But things can change...

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twincitizen » June 10th, 2014, 8:42 pm

Aside from opening day and event days, they'll probably have a bit of a grace period before ridership really ramps up to need 3-car trains on a regular basis -- it might just be a couple of months, or it could be a year or so.
Agree completely. This line is projected to have massive ridership by 2030, something like 40,000 rides daily. That number is much larger than (double?) today's combined ridership on the 16, 50, 144, and cancelled trips of the 94. It is going to take some time to get future riders to make the switch from driving, learning the connecting bus routes, etc. Not to mention, there hasn't been much development outside of downtown St. Paul (maybe 1,000 new units open by 2015). Even the smattering of affordable projects that are going up in the Midway section of the line are relatively small. I think we're a few years away from needing 3-car trains. If it helps the line run quicker (better accel.) and safer (trains not hanging into intersections), then Metro Transit should absolutely be using 2-car trains most of the time.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Tcmetro » June 10th, 2014, 8:53 pm

I would imagine the need for 3-car trains out the door. I would expect the opening day ridership to be similar to the current levels of Hiawatha LRT. They certainly purchased enough cars to have 3-car trains and the marginal costs of adding a third car are relatively low.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mulad » June 10th, 2014, 9:43 pm

I've said before that I expect the Green Line to meet or exceed the Blue Line's ridership "on day one", though I'm not sure how literal I want to be about that. Opening day? Sure, unless the weather drives people away. Monday? Eh, probably not. This fall when UMN classes return? Getting warmer. Early next year when people are sick of driving in snow? Seems likely.

Hiawatha's 2020 projected daily ridership was 24,800, and it blew past that in less than two years of operation. The Green Line's ridership projections included a stronger rail bias factor, but I still think it'll hit the 40,000 mark pretty quickly. The trend lines for these projections are generally set up to rise really fast in the first couple of years, then level off to have a slow but steady rise afterward.


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