Green Line / Central Corridor construction thread (archive)

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mattaudio
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mattaudio » December 6th, 2013, 9:52 am

How about a free fare zone in exchange for giving the Campus Connector a MT route number and including the bus as part of the free fare zone even for non-students?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby MNdible » December 6th, 2013, 10:01 am

To Tom's point, how many staff need to circulate between the campuses as part of their job, as opposed to it being a nice thing to be able to do?

At a certain point, you start saying that everybody should be issued a bus pass at birth.
Last edited by MNdible on December 6th, 2013, 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » December 6th, 2013, 10:04 am

I don't think $70 is outrageous. It's way cheaper than what you'd pay for parking or an equivalent unlimited use bus pass.

The only time it becomes not cost effective is if you're making some of your work trips via bike or foot, rather than driving. While I agree that it seems like a raw deal for you in that case, I don't think the U should be burdened giving out favors to people who already come out ahead on the MetroPass so that everybody can come out ahead.

Maybe they could offer some kind of X rides per month pass for people like you, or let you buy regular fare at 2/3 the price (that seems to be the discount for the Metropass vs 31 day $3 pass).

The $76 for the Metropass is for the whole MetroTransit system, not just the U, so the U may not have much power to change it. Maybe it'd be nice if I could get a MetroPass for the $2.25 fare, since I never ride express buses anyway. The direct cost of that is only $85, so I'm not saving much by using a MetroPass instead.

The biggest benefit I get with the MetroPass is that it comes out of my paycheck pretax, which saves me a good percentage, so if there's some program to help you out with a pass, it should come out of your paycheck pretax as well.

The Campus Connector actually aready has an MT number, 121 I believe, and it will show up in the trip planner. Anyone can board for free, so that's already done.

As for circulating around campus, I work right outside the East Bank Station (Keller Hall) and I regularly get invited to meetings on the West Bank and as far east as the stadium. My managers spend even more time running around. So it may not benefit every employee, but at least in my area (IT) the U is trying to get everybody to work together more, which in U speak means more meetings.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » December 6th, 2013, 11:25 am

This is where a zoned system would have been nice - a reasonable "zone 1" could be Minneapolis north of 50th and Saint Paul north of Randolph and west of, say, Johnson Parkway (I'm pulling those boundaries out of thin air); the University could then mandate a pass within that zone for all students and offer a pass to staff at a much lower price without totally screwing up Metro Transit's fee structure. This same "urban core zone" could be provided by the school districts and the various other colleges within the zone, allowing a low price point that doesn't burden MT to carry people from the far-flung suburbs on it. That pass could be made available to city residents for a slightly lower price than the full pass and everybody would probably come out ahead.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » December 6th, 2013, 11:32 am

Cities are moving away from zoned fares though, not to them. Yeah it'll save some people some bucks and make some people pay a bit more for their long commute, but I think the common consensus has become that it's just too darn confusing for everybody involved.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Tom H. » December 9th, 2013, 5:57 pm

The re-opened bus stop at Coffman was very well-used today. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at times this afternoon. The lack of NexTrip signs at East Bank and West Bank bus stations seems like a pretty big omission, considering the high usage of the stops.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby kellonathan » December 9th, 2013, 7:07 pm

--Agreed. I've been looking at the traffic on Washington Ave for couple hours now, sitting at the Starbucks next to East Bank station. I've never seen this section of Washington Ave this vibrant in this weather. Traffic didn't seem too crazy, except lots of pedestrians attempting mid-block crossings when it's red light.
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Silophant » December 9th, 2013, 7:21 pm

Tom H. wrote:The re-opened bus stop at Coffman was very well-used today. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at times this afternoon. The lack of NexTrip signs at East Bank and West Bank bus stations seems like a pretty big omission, considering the high usage of the stops.
Do they at least have the Connector-specific NextBus signs that the West Bank stops got last year? I'm guessing not, but I can hope.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby eazydp » December 9th, 2013, 7:27 pm

The return to the WATM routes were not flawless, but were definitely an improvement. Particularly in the evening rush hour. Cars were being derps and driving in all sorts of wrong areas (on the tracks, on the transit mall). They had a metro transit bus blocking the "bike lane" section of WATM from cars in the evening. I'd estimate the "bike lane" section is going to be dangerous and likely a disaster similar to Hennepin/First.

The crossing over to the rail lanes was awkward. It works with just buses, but it'll be interesting to see if it is as effective when LRT is sharing the space.

15 minutes have been cut from my bus ride home. I would imagine many more folks had similar improvements. I'd expect transit ridership to be way up on campus. That detour encouraged me me to bike all summer but unfortunately drive a lot last winter.

No NextRide is really a joke. I'd suggest UMN just spring for four well insulated TVs and stick the omgtransit.com (http://omgtransit.com/stop/msp/13207) stop feed up there. omgtransit (formerly mspbus.org) is fantastic. It was launched at the Hack Minnesota open data hackathon last summer.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » December 9th, 2013, 8:35 pm

No heat lamps at Coffman shelters is basically criminal at this point.

Are there even bus shelters at the Oak St stop?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby bptenor » December 9th, 2013, 9:49 pm

There were shelters at Oak and Washington last Tuesday, but nothing else...no heat, no trash cans, not even sure there was a bus stop sign yet.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Tcmetro » December 9th, 2013, 11:26 pm

I feel like the buses could have been executed better on the Washington Ave Mall. Mainly that much larger and better designed bus shelters would be welcomed, and keeping the stop at Harvard St. I feel like the amenity zone is pretty useless, but perhaps it will be lively in the summer.

I also question the shared bus/LRT lane. Mainly at about 4:45 and 5:45 when pretty much every express route runs down Washington, in addition to all of the Campus Connectors and 2s.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby FISHMANPET » December 9th, 2013, 11:41 pm

Yeah to be honest I'm not happy about having to choose between taking a train and taking a bus when I leave for my stop. As it is now I can catch the 2 home, or catch a 16 or 50 and then a 22 or the Blue line home from campus. Before I could just wait at the stop and see what happens, and now I have to choose if I'm going train or bus as soon as I leave.

Honestly I was hoping for better out of this all.

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Nick
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Nick » December 9th, 2013, 11:52 pm

http://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2008/ ... cal-moment
MinnPost wrote:Central Corridor light rail line faces critical moment

By Steve Berg | 01/18/08

"It's getting down to crunch time," Peter Bell said Wednesday. The Metropolitan Council chairman was talking about next month's choosing of a final alignment for the Central Corridor light rail project (PDF). The council's vote, expected Feb. 27, is likely to leave University of Minnesota and downtown St. Paul interests more unhappy than they already are, Bell said. But no major transit project anywhere gets completed without compromise.

This particular compromise, likely to require canceling a tunnel at the university and stopping four blocks short of Union Depot in St. Paul, isn't quite like others elsewhere, however. The unhappy parties are being forced into a financial box constructed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty's no-new-tax ideology, which precludes the kind of predictable local funding steam that gives other cities more flexibility on their transit projects.

[...]

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby orangevening » December 10th, 2013, 7:18 am

Tcmetro wrote:I feel like the buses could have been executed better on the Washington Ave Mall. Mainly that much larger and better designed bus shelters would be welcomed, and keeping the stop at Harvard St. I feel like the amenity zone is pretty useless, but perhaps it will be lively in the summer.

I also question the shared bus/LRT lane. Mainly at about 4:45 and 5:45 when pretty much every express route runs down Washington, in addition to all of the Campus Connectors and 2s.
Yeah, it's going to be busy on Washington. I finally saw a test train on the tracks there. Know they have been there before, but still cool to see. Wondering if it was part test the rail lane interacting with live buses? The bike lane is a improvement, but like anything bike related at the U it seems like it was designed by someone who doesn't ride. I really hope I'm wrong, but I'm worried a biker is going to get hit by a bus or train taking a direct left. Even after all the signs and promotional videos they put out. Bikers at the U are not the most experienced/rule following bunch. Took campus connector and was surprised that there wasn't a stop between Coffman and Oak. The facilities at Oak are pathetic, I think if they try for a mandatory U pass it should be tied to better bus improvements at the U and this needs to be the selling point because it will be tough to sell to the MSA, staff and student body.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby UptownSport » December 10th, 2013, 11:51 am

FISHMANPET wrote:No heat lamps at Coffman shelters is basically criminal at this point.
Criminal is the impact described in the last dozen or so posts. This is only one section of the line- What happens further down remains to be seen.
No one had any idea this would be confusing to autos, bus operators, pedestrians and bikes?
That there might be some impact closing a major thoroughfare?

Instead of 'take what you can get' transit, there should have been a tunnel thru this area, as planned.
Now the argument will degrade to transit v cars (& bikes, U research, buses peds) instead of the shortsighted acceptance of something that we should've known would be difficult.

Anti-transit types are getting their magazine loaded round by round everytime sophistry wins ...

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Tom H. » December 10th, 2013, 1:52 pm

Many have expressed that the bike facilities through the WATM appear as though they were designed by a non-cyclist. I'm curious what people think would have been a better solution through this area. Here's a few ideas:

1. Buses in the outer travel lanes, with shoulder lanes for cyclists. Unfortunately, as built, I don't think those outside lanes are wide enough to accomodate buses and cyclists comfortably.
2. Reutilize the center 'amenity area' as a cycle track. This would require re-construction of the amenity zones.

I can't really see a better solution that what exists without some reconstruction of the area, which isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » December 10th, 2013, 1:55 pm

UptownSport wrote:Instead of 'take what you can get' transit, there should have been a tunnel thru this area, as planned.
I respectfully disagree, and here's why: after two years of Washington being closed people may well have forgotten, but Washington was *HORRIBLE* for campus before: it cut a deep gash right through the middle of campus, with people whose destinations had nothing to do with the U but who knew they could use Washington as a shortcut. In a perfect world, the light rail would have been in a tunnel and the street would be closed to traffic *anyway*, become a bus, bike, and pedestrian mall. But that was never even on the table as an option. Basically, the choices came down to the train in a tunnel with Washington continuing as-is, or else a transit mall as built. The transit mall was acceptable to planners because it was the *only* way to get the project under the Bush-era limits for funding, but it was also a much better outcome than allowing Washington to continue as a major thoroughfare. This never would have been accomplished otherwise, and it is a definite good for the campus.

Over the next year we'll hear a lot of people complaining about how difficult the transit mall is to use, and I agree that it could have been designed better. First and foremost, the sooner they ditch the stupid idea of buses running on the tracks, the better; the traffic signaling and signs are very poor as well, and provisions for bicycles need some big adjustment. All those things are fixable, and in time I'm sure they'll be fixed. But it's worth noting that as it stands today, the transit mall is a HUGE improvement for all remaining uses as compared to the old quasi-arterial Washington Avenue that divided campus and snarled up everything around it for hours every day. While in theory this could have been accomplished while still routing the train underground, in reality that was never an option. With the choice between an underground train with the old heavy-traffic street on one hand, and the transit mall that was built on the other hand, the transit mall is a definite win.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby nBode » December 10th, 2013, 2:17 pm

Does anyone have any idea how difficult it would be to build bike-able ramps from the end of the upper-level bridge down to the ground level? Like in the space from STSS to the west pedestrian bridge or so?

They could maybe even be done with the lower ends in the center, adjacent to the LRT wall, so that there wouldn't be interference with the bus stops (not sure if there's the extra ROW though).

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby UptownSport » December 10th, 2013, 2:21 pm

Daily http://www.mndaily.com/2010/03/10/resur ... light-rail

Another thread, but shocking how exact, same tactics are used on another line now under consideration.
Cram it thru now, and fast!
“In these final weeks, everyone has to come to the table with the assumption that they will do everything humanly possible to get us together to get this done right now,” he said.

But the ride to this opportunity has been fraught with resistance and setbacks. After nine years of battles and political maneuvering, the Metropolitan Council — the administrator of regional transit — is working to beat the clock to get federal approval for the final design of the corridor by the end of March. Heavy construction is set to begin at the end of this year.

Peter Bell, chairman of the Met Council, estimated that postponing the project even one year could add tens of millions of dollars to its price tag.

University setbacks

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents unanimously rejected the Central Corridor’s current path down Washington Avenue in July 2001, the first in a series of complaints. Instead, the Board of Regents advocated for the consideration of a tunnel or an alternate route.

In 2006, after the current route had been chosen by the Met Council, the University voiced concern over the possible effect a Washington Avenue line would have on traffic and on the sensitive research labs located nearby.


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