Green Line LRT

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
nate
Landmark Center
Posts: 296
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby nate » July 21st, 2014, 11:48 am

IMO, the problem is political. My speculation is that St Paul officials made a calculated decision to not use the prioritization/preemption tools at their disposal, in order to avoid howls of outrage from drivers. Frederick Melo is a pretty well connected reporter, and you can start to see the public justification for prioritization taking shape in his article. First they'll fix the minor intersections ("why is a train with 150 people stopping for one car?") then they''ll handle the secondary intersections, then they'll handle the major intersections. They'll lean on Metro Transit to play the bad cop ("the operations budget is getting wrecked") and the popularity of the line, in order to justify it. By this time next year, the trains will be running like we expected them to on opening day. It's frustrating, but that's St Paul.

At least that's what the optimist in me thinks. The pessimist in me worries that they'll see the first month's ridership numbers and assume all is well, and there will be more days like today, where I wait for nearly a half-hour for a train to show up (I could have walked to work faster) This line needs to be relatively fast and very reliable to reach its full potential.

MinnMonkey
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 156
Joined: July 6th, 2012, 11:31 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby MinnMonkey » July 21st, 2014, 12:21 pm

A couple quotes that have been bothering me:

From: http://bringmethenews.com/2014/07/21/se ... reen-line/
But in consideration of pedestrians and traffic, St. Paul city officials are not eager to allow the Green Line to automatically trigger green lights on the route’s 46 intersections with signals, even at the 19 with “low-volume” cross-traffic.
From: http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/m ... t-mix.html
Green Line trains were initially supposed to travel between the two downtowns in 40 minutes. Metro Transit later amended that to 48 minutes, but in reality trains are averaging around 53 minutes. Officials have sort of hand-waved those delays away, saying most people don't want to travel between the downtowns anyway.

exiled_antipodean
Landmark Center
Posts: 277
Joined: December 3rd, 2012, 8:20 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby exiled_antipodean » July 21st, 2014, 12:23 pm

^ I concur with nate above. I think the interesting thing is that the politics of it seem to be more favorable to the Green Line than St Paul might have expected.

Between the two stories the median council member seems to be saying "we've spent this money, and lots of people are riding it, so lets get it right".

mullen
Foshay Tower
Posts: 986
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 7:02 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mullen » July 21st, 2014, 1:20 pm

so we build this billion dollar transit project and the city is concerned with car drivers. awesome. and it still bugs me a little to see the 16 bus running up and down univ. i know it doesnt run as often but still.

David Greene
IDS Center
Posts: 4760
Joined: December 4th, 2012, 11:41 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » July 21st, 2014, 7:20 pm

mullen wrote:it still bugs me a little to see the 16 bus running up and down univ.
What would you have the elderly and disabled do?

User avatar
woofner
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1327
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 10:04 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby woofner » July 21st, 2014, 7:52 pm

nate wrote:days like today, where I wait for nearly a half-hour for a train to show up
Is this happening often? That, to me, would be a bigger deal than the long runtime. Reliability was really the only reason to build a surface light rail line here (well, that and to surreptitiously reconstruct University Ave and attribute the scores of millions required for this to a transit project).

To be clear, I also think the long runtime is a big deal, and is one of the reasons I thought a tunnel should have been considered. But choosing surface LRT doomed the line to a long runtime, therefore the best defense for building the line was that not only was the 16 slow, but it was completely unreliable. If the LRT is also slow and unreliable then the only reason left to build it is comfort, and even I can't easily defend that as a good use of public money.
"Who rescued whom!"

Southside
Metrodome
Posts: 50
Joined: September 19th, 2013, 12:06 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Southside » July 21st, 2014, 8:43 pm

Is anyone surprised that St. Paul politics are creating the delays? We're talking about a city that has been turning down or devaluing infrastructure improvements for 40 years; look at 35E. Last year, they even stopped a cupcake shop from opening in an existing retail vacancy due to parking concerns.

Not to be a downer, but I would be more surprised if St. Paul didn't create a systematic problem with the operation of the Green Line.

mullen
Foshay Tower
Posts: 986
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 7:02 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mullen » July 21st, 2014, 9:08 pm

David Greene wrote:
mullen wrote:it still bugs me a little to see the 16 bus running up and down univ.
What would you have the elderly and disabled do?
isn't the train with it's low floor boarding and 10-15 minute intervals a better option for the "elderly and disabled"? just was posing the question. i thought we were replacing the 16 bus with this billion dollar rail line.

exiled_antipodean
Landmark Center
Posts: 277
Joined: December 3rd, 2012, 8:20 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby exiled_antipodean » July 21st, 2014, 9:09 pm

Southside wrote:Is anyone surprised that St. Paul politics are creating the delays? We're talking about a city that has been turning down or devaluing infrastructure improvements for 40 years; look at 35E. Last year, they even stopped a cupcake shop from opening in an existing retail vacancy due to parking concerns.

Not to be a downer, but I would be more surprised if St. Paul didn't create a systematic problem with the operation of the Green Line.
Post of the day, probably week.

David Greene
IDS Center
Posts: 4760
Joined: December 4th, 2012, 11:41 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » July 21st, 2014, 10:29 pm

mullen wrote:
David Greene wrote:
mullen wrote:it still bugs me a little to see the 16 bus running up and down univ.
What would you have the elderly and disabled do?
isn't the train with it's low floor boarding and 10-15 minute intervals a better option for the "elderly and disabled"? just was posing the question. i thought we were replacing the 16 bus with this billion dollar rail line.
No, we were not. The 16 was always meant to stay because it serves an important function. The elderly and disabled have a harder time walking to stations spaced 1/2 mile apart. The curb-to-curb service of the 16 is pretty important for some.

ECtransplant
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 751
Joined: June 1st, 2012, 9:56 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby ECtransplant » July 22nd, 2014, 1:28 am

If some one literally can't walk 1/4 mile to the nearest station, shouldn't they be using paratransit services to begin with?

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1553
Joined: September 29th, 2012, 10:41 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby talindsay » July 22nd, 2014, 5:41 am

Not everybody on the line has a start or end point on University - quarter mile spacing becomes quite different from half mile spacing if your starting point is three blocks north of University. And David is right, the green line wasn't meant to replace the 16 - it was the 50 it replaced. They were initially hoping to run the 16 less frequently than they are currently running it, however.

nate
Landmark Center
Posts: 296
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby nate » July 22nd, 2014, 6:01 am

woofner wrote:
nate wrote:days like today, where I wait for nearly a half-hour for a train to show up
Is this happening often? That, to me, would be a bigger deal than the long runtime. Reliability was really the only reason to build a surface light rail line here (well, that and to surreptitiously reconstruct University Ave and attribute the scores of millions required for this to a transit project).

To be clear, I also think the long runtime is a big deal, and is one of the reasons I thought a tunnel should have been considered. But choosing surface LRT doomed the line to a long runtime, therefore the best defense for building the line was that not only was the 16 slow, but it was completely unreliable. If the LRT is also slow and unreliable then the only reason left to build it is comfort, and even I can't easily defend that as a good use of public money.
A wait of over 25 minutes has only happened once or twice. Its usually pretty reliable...meaning the train arrives within 5 minutes of the scheduled time.

HuskyGrad
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: May 13th, 2013, 8:11 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby HuskyGrad » July 22nd, 2014, 7:28 am

Yesterday, my trip from Fairview to Nicollet topped my previous best on this segment by about 5 minutes.

nate
Landmark Center
Posts: 296
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 2:01 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby nate » July 22nd, 2014, 8:50 am

HuskyGrad, do you know why the train stops at the pedestrian crossing a block west of the Fairview station and blows its horn twice before proceeding to the station? I'd assume the neighbors asked for this because of the large number of disabled folks that live in this area, but was wondering if there's a deeper backstory.

HuskyGrad
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: May 13th, 2013, 8:11 pm

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby HuskyGrad » July 22nd, 2014, 11:49 am

nate wrote:HuskyGrad, do you know why the train stops at the pedestrian crossing a block west of the Fairview station and blows its horn twice before proceeding to the station? I'd assume the neighbors asked for this because of the large number of disabled folks that live in this area, but was wondering if there's a deeper backstory.
I didn't notice it stop yesterday. Last thing I had heard was that a stop order was issued until an issue with the pedestrian crossing was resolved.

stp1980
Metrodome
Posts: 78
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 8:05 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby stp1980 » July 22nd, 2014, 3:33 pm

Saint Paul is a dysfunctional city when it comes to things like infrastructure as a resident of Saint Paul it does not make me happy. With the Green Line they are not getting the full potential out of the biggest investment made in their city in a long time (possibly ever). Anyone want to start a letter writing campaign or post cards? This is Saint Paul! It only takes 6 people at a city council meeting to stop a development why can't a few voice their concerns about the signal timing? I am not willing to settle for this being a second-rate line. I am not a technical person, but I have seen some pretty good analyses on here or on signals/schedules and timing issues. If someone were to write a few good 'talking points' to include we could start sending them to the right people we might be surprised by what happens. Anyone else to include on this list?

Mayor Chris Coleman:
http://www.stpaul.gov/FormCenter/Mayor- ... eman-37-37

City Council President Kathy Lantry:
ward7@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Public Works Director Rich Lallier:
Could not find contact info.

Signal Design Sonja Piper:
Sonja.Piper@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Brian Vitek Signal Maintenance
Brian.Vitek@ci.stpaul.mn.us

MinnMonkey
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 156
Joined: July 6th, 2012, 11:31 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby MinnMonkey » July 22nd, 2014, 5:13 pm

This is what I have wrote to the Mayor and all Councilmembers, and so far the responses I have received have been very positive:
I am writing today to urge City Hall to put more pressure on the Public Works department to be more aggressive in the signal priority for the MetroTransit Green Line.

I live in Minneapolis, and work in St. Paul and use the Green Line for my daily commute, and while it is a great improvement over the 16/50 buses, having to wait at so many stoplights in St. Paul is increasingly frustrating.

The train almost always makes it from downtown Minneapolis to the Minneapolis/St. Paul border without needing to stop at a single traffic light, however once it crosses the border, it is an entirely different story. A train of 130 or more people regularly needs to wait at an intersection for just 2-3 cars to pass through, and even on some of the busier intersections, often I only count 30-40 cars going through.

In reading the recent story from the Pioneer Press “Green Line thrown behind schedule by traffic lights” by Frederick Melo, it gave some insight on to where many of the problems lie, however there were two statements made by the City that are misleading.

First, a lot has been said about signal pre-emption and comparing it to the Blue Line along Hiawatha, where it should be compared to the pre-emption on the Blue Line along 34th Ave in Bloomington. The section is Bloomington is similar to the Green Line and does not back up traffic in the same way as along Hiawatha. I feel we can give the Green Line much more priority, or even full per-emption, especially at minor intersections, without affecting traffic on University Avenue.

Secondly, a lot is being said about pedestrian safety, and while I agree that is way more important that train travel times, in my experience the pedestrian experience is much better on the Minneapolis side, where pedestrians need to wait less to cross, and time between cross cycles are shorter.

Minneapolis has figured out their side of the line and am confident that the City of St. Paul will work out these issues and help get the trains running on schedule, and perhaps even get the line down the original 40 minutes end-to-end.

Anything City Hall can do to speed up the trains would be greatly appreciated by the 32,000 of us that rely on the Green Line each day!

Thanks for your time!

web

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby web » July 22nd, 2014, 6:28 pm

A friend of mine says 25 mins from hamline to downtown east at Chicago. He says it used to be 75-90 min on 16. He is very happy so far.

MinnMonkey
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 156
Joined: July 6th, 2012, 11:31 am

Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby MinnMonkey » July 23rd, 2014, 12:01 pm

I received the following response (in red) back from one of the City Engineers:
The train almost always makes it from downtown Minneapolis to the Minneapolis/St. Paul border without needing to stop at a single traffic light, however once it crosses the border, it is an entirely different story. A train over 130 or more people regularly needs to wait at an intersection for just 2-3 cars to pass through, and even on some of the busier intersections, often I only count 30-40 cars going through.
DT Minneapolis and the U of M Campus are dramatically different than University Avenue. The route in Minneapolis runs on University for several blocks and I think two signals with little cross street traffic (vehicular or pedestrian). The line runs for several miles and through a couple dozen signals in Saint Paul a number of which have heavy N/S traffic

In reading the recent story from the Pioneer Press "Green Line thrown behind schedule by traffic lights" by Frederick Melo, it gave some insight on to where many of the problems lie, however there were two statements made by the City that are misleading.
First, a lot has been said about signal pre-emption and comparing it to the Blue Line along Hiawatha, where it should be compared to the pre-emption on the Blue Line along 34th Ave in Bloomington. The section is Bloomington is similar to the Green Line and does not back up traffic in the same way as along Hiawatha. I feel we can give the Green Line much more priority, or even full per-emption, especially at minor intersections, without affecting traffic on University Avenue.
We (PW) are on EXACTLY the same page. We have been insisting on the “Bloomington model” (Transit Priority). Met Council is asking for the “Hiawatha Model” (signal Pre-emption). We will continue to strive for the Bloomington Model. This is not about affecting traffic on University Avenue (although Full signal pre-emption will). It is about providing an opportunity for people to cross University and the fact that in most all cases the N/S traffic is heavier than that on University. It is ironic that studies showed that Hiawatha needed to go over Lake Street because of the traffic volumes but Snelling/University (whose volumes are significantly higher) could operate at grade. We are continuing to work on the system.

Secondly, a lot is being said about pedestrian safety, and while I agree that is way more important that train travel times, in my experience the pedestrian experience is much better on the Minneapolis side, where pedestrians need to wait less to cross, and time between cross cycles are shorter.
We would agree. This is more related to the width of the street than anything else. Our system on University Avenue was also designed to have exclusive LT phasing instead of protected/permissive LT phasing. (This means cars turning left can ONLY turn on a green arrow and we must allocate time for that – and we have dropped that “minimum time” to below our normal standard). University is 100’ wide Curb to Curb. Most of Minneapolis is quite a bit narrower. Pedestrian signal timing is predominately governed by street width. (time required by federal manual for flashing DW time to cross a 100’ street – 29 Seconds; Time to cross a 50’ street 15 Seconds) This is significant.

Minneapolis has figured out their side of the line and am confident that he City of St. Paul will work out these issues and help get the trains running on schedule, and perhaps even get the line down the original 40 minutes end-to-end.
We have some significant geometric differences and issues from Minneapolis but we are fully committed to continuing to work to improve run times for all.
The problem I still have with this response is that Bloomington is using pre-emption not transit priority. This image from Bing Maps proves it: http://goo.gl/uR6WuT


Return to “Transportation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests