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Nick
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Nick » October 12th, 2012, 2:52 pm

Yeah this has been changed for at least a week now. I may swing by and take a picture on my way home depending on the crowd.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 12th, 2012, 3:16 pm

Went by there yesterday and the walking area was filled with waiters. My solution: Moving sidewalks. 8-)

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby MNdible » October 12th, 2012, 3:26 pm

Well, that seems like the least they could do. I mean, literally, the least they could do.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby MSPtoMKE » October 12th, 2012, 8:30 pm

So is the plan for improvements for the transit spine on 7th and 8th officially dead? They had planned on splitting the bus routes at this stop between near and far side stops at Nicollet, as well as curb extensions, shelters, NexTrip signs, etc throughout the downtown corridor. Seriously, the fact that the busiest bus stop in probably the Upper Midwest does not even have a shelter is pretty pathetic. This seems like a Band-aid solution to me, although the NexTrip sign is nice, I didn't notice it when I went by there last.
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby woofner » October 14th, 2012, 4:37 pm

MSPtoMKE wrote:So is the plan for improvements for the transit spine on 7th and 8th officially dead? They had planned on splitting the bus routes at this stop between near and far side stops at Nicollet, as well as curb extensions, shelters, NexTrip signs, etc throughout the downtown corridor
The East-West transit spine plan was never passed by the council. Maybe because its recommendations didn't actually achieve its goals, except for the ones that were already supported by existing policies (i.e. installing a shelter).
MSPtoMKE wrote:Seriously, the fact that the busiest bus stop in probably the Upper Midwest does not even have a shelter is pretty pathetic.
Agreed, pathetic and also racist.
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby twincitizen » October 15th, 2012, 9:08 am

Now that's kind of a leap, don't you think? I probably agree with the spirit of your argument, but you could be a little more eloquent than that. Is the lack of investment here DIRECTLY related to the fact that most of the folks using this bus stop are black? Or is it a multitude of factors, including the very bad behavior of SOME, but certainly not all, people waiting at this stop? What about the lack of political will to make changes/investment here? From what I've heard, the city has all but abandoned Metro Transit in this process, and they're now "going it alone". So in those terms, yes, the east-west spine (a la Marq2 level of investment) is dead.

I was under the impression that instead of concentrating these crowds on 7th where the sidewalks are far too narrow, they were going to attempt to dilute the problems (both operational and social) by separating the masses. Routes 14 and 22 will likely move over to 4th Street (and use Ramp B/5th St Garage on southbound trips) when capacity opens up after the 16 & 50 are gone. Route 19 will likely run on 8th/9th, with limited stops on 9th inbound, which will improve transit service on 9th Street. The Route 5 would be the last man standing of the busy local routes using 7th/8th. East metro express routes (134, 355, 365, 375, 452) will continue to run on 6th/7th, joined by the Route 94, which will abandon 4th Street in 2014, according to the Central Corridor plan.
Last edited by twincitizen on October 15th, 2012, 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby MSPtoMKE » October 15th, 2012, 2:11 pm

No, I think calling it racist isn't entirely unfair. Suburban express bus commuters now have new shelters, NexTrip at each stop, and double-wide bus only lanes. North Minneapolis riders now have... a single NexTrip sign and green dashed lines on the sidewalk telling them where they are allowed to stand and wait for the bus.
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Viktor Vaughn » October 16th, 2012, 12:02 am

Calling this racism is not out of line. It's not even hyperbole. It's what it is. I tend to see things breaking down along class lines rather than racial ones, but this situation is the exception.

As has already been stated, this is the busiest bus stop in the system and there's not even a shelter here. Metro Transit came up with a plan to make these stop's amenities more consistent with their usage. Actually, they offered several plans in their East/West Transit Spine Study. The first plan they selected, moved all the stops to 8th Street, turned 8th into a two-way street and amenities similar to the Marq2 project. The downtown property owners (read: Downtown Council) objected to the plan and sent Metro Transit back to the drawing board. A year or so later, Metro Transit came back with their plan for the 7th / 8th Street Transit Spine. Leave the streets two-way, add bumpouts at the stops for shelters, split the 7th and Nicollet stop to both sides of Nicollet, and add other amenities like real time signs enjoyed by the "choice" suburban commuters on Marquette.

I attended the open house put on by Metro Transit and the city to get feedback about the idea. It followed a private presentation put on for the benefit of the business community the previous day. However, the property owners hadn't had enough opportunity to vent about the plan. One guy in a suit after a next stood up to rip the hapless Metro Transit representatives.

I expected opposition to be based on the plan removing parking spaces and off-peak driving lanes on 7th Street, but these issues didn't come up once. What the business community was dreading was adding any sort of infrastructure to these stops that would prevent them from being moved in the future. Person after person claimed THOSE people we're ruining downtown, and the only solution was to move those East/West bus routes North of 4th Street or South of 10th. The last thing downtown needed was to recognize 7th and Nicollet as "Main and Main".

Never mind that the people serving them lunch would have to walk another 3/4 of a mile to their jobs, or transit customers would have to hike across downtown to catch their transfer, it was clear downtown is for you and me, but not for customers of the #5.

One of the most discouraging parts of that presentation was to watch Sarah Harris of the DID, whom I previously respected, make the case for why downtown would be better without poor transit customers mucking up the sidewalks.

But how is this racist?

Some people feel uncomfortable walking down a sidewalk crowded with black people. Some conventioneers, tourists, those attending games, or staying hotels feel unsafe walking down 7th Street as it currently is. These are the people the city is interested in attracting, but transit customers - not so much. I know there have been behavior issues at these stops, but as Ms. Harris' email to me on this issue made plain, what we're talking about here is not safety, but perception of safety. Other people feel unsafe walking down the sidewalk because it is crowded with people that don't look like them. And instead of improving amenities to handle the crowds, widening the sidewalk, and adding windows into the blank wall of City Center to put eyes on the street, the solution is to move the black people somewhere where we don't have to look at them.

Some people's perception of safety is more important than other people's right to move about the city. That, my friends, is racism.

So the solution apparently is to bring in the brightest floodlights I've ever seen to make it look like the green zone in Iraq, and paint a line down the middle for standing and walking. You do know these transit customers have seen the new shelters and nextrip signs one block over, and watched the neat little lines of suburban commuters board their fancy coach buses to their $20M park and rides.

Again, I believe there are problems at these stops that need to be addressed. I've seen the dumb kids wrestling in front of the City Center, but the vast majority of the people at these stops are hardworking and well-behaved. It's just that if you want people to act decently, the needed to be treated with dignity. And the status quo right now is seriously lacking in dignity.

Downtown needs to welcome everyone. Public space is going to attract people some of y'all turn your nose up at. But it's important for public space to be truly public. Listening to the shrill comments at that meeting made me recognize that we'd tear down the gateway district to get rid of the lowlifes all over again. We haven't come as far as I had hoped.

In my opinion, the infrastructure solution is to build a transit center into that big blank wall of City Center facing 7th Street. It's vacant anyway. Go ahead and ask Brookfield why they haven't been able to lease it. I'll give you one guess about who they blame that on.

[hr]

PS. This is my first comment here, but I was a longtime reader of Minnescraper and really enjoy the forum. I'll try not to rant so much in the future.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Tcmetro » October 16th, 2012, 7:33 am

It's part of a larger trend of spending loads of capital money on suburban park and rides, and other useless things such as the Chicago-Lake Transit Center. Money could easily be redirected to improving the facilities for the urban bus lines, but so far that hasn't happened. Of course, things could be changing, even for North Minneapolis where Arterial BRT lines are now planned for Emerson, Penn, and Broadway.

We do have to remember that Marq2 was paid for as part of a congestion management grant from the FTA. Marquette and 2nd Avenues didn't have bus shelters, and only one bus lane, and as a consequence buses took up to 30 minutes to travel from their downtown terminals to the freeway entrances. Now those buses take only 10-15 minutes. We do also have to remember that the downtown business community was vocal about the 7th/8th St plan to take away the parking lane for buses and Saks was especially vocal about the movement of a North Minneapolis bus stop in front of their building. Instead many of the businesses wanted the buses moved to 4th St, where there are only a few destinations which are predominantly government related. Clearly this is a stalemate between the city and the businesses, mainly because even though the city wants to improve the bus stops, they also don't want to anger the downtown businesses.

As for putting a bus station inside the City Center, that doesn't seem like a great idea for me. Only small towns seem to have downtown stations and we can look at the failures of the bus stations in downtown St. Paul at Town Square and the US Bank building. Besides, most buses on 7th St are fairly frequent (every 7-20 minutes at non peak hours) so there aren't any long waits.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Viktor Vaughn » October 16th, 2012, 9:41 am

Good points TCMetro. I guess when I suggestioned a 7th Street Transit Center I wasn't thinking of a bus station so much as a bus shelter built into that wall of City Center. I could be enclosed in glass, and long and narrow along that wall to give those waiting for a bus a place to stand or sit outside of the elements, but still only be less than 30ft away from where the bus picks up. Real time displays inside the shelter would allow transit riders to walk out to the curb just before the bus comes.

This would leave room on the sidewalk for walking, and may help improve people's perception of safety.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby twincitizen » October 16th, 2012, 10:18 am

Viktor Vaughn wrote:Good points TCMetro. I guess when I suggestioned a 7th Street Transit Center I wasn't thinking of a bus station so much as a bus shelter built into that wall of City Center. It could be enclosed in glass, and long and narrow along that wall to give those waiting for a bus a place to stand or sit outside of the elements, but still only be less than 30ft away from where the bus picks up. Real time displays inside the shelter would allow transit riders to walk out to the curb just before the bus comes.

This would leave room on the sidewalk for walking, and may help improve people's perception of safety.
Something similar has been implemented on Marquette between 6th and 7th at the Wells Fargo Center. Apparently they (Wells Fargo) didn't want shelters built on that block, so they offered to let customers wait inside their vestibules, with real-time signs, etc. I caught the 135 there yesterday. I would suggest everyone check it out if you want an idea of how this would work. The lack of shelters on the sidewalk does sort of impede pedestrian flow, because it means there are not deliniated spaces to walk vs stand. The other issue that could come into play with a interior shelter at City Center would be hours of operation. This isn't really an issue with Marq2, but it would be on 7th Street where the Route 5 is basically 24/7. I think for that reason you would also need a simple bus shelter to protect from the elements when the building is closed (at say, 10pm).

To my supplement my earlier comment, I wasn't outright disagreeing with your charges of racism, just that there is a lot more to the story. I think we can agree that it is/was members of the downtown business community being outright racist, not Metro Transit planners or Minneapolis City Councilmembers, right?

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Nick
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Nick » October 16th, 2012, 12:02 pm

Well, downtown business and property owners pay a whole lot of property taxes that support a whole lot of everything this city, county, and metro do. So yeah, I think they should get to have some say people getting to piss on their buildings in broad daylight, and scream profanity at the top of their lungs and get into fights on their doorsteps.

Brookfield alone pays almost five million dollars a year in property taxes on just City Center and the tower. The hotel is another mil and a half. That'll buy you quite a bit of red herring.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby woofner » October 16th, 2012, 12:26 pm

Nick wrote:Well, downtown business and property owners pay a whole lot of property taxes that support a whole lot of everything this city, county, and metro do. So yeah, I think they should get to have some say people getting to piss on their buildings in broad daylight, and scream profanity at the top of their lungs and get into fights on their doorsteps.
No way dude, they should have to deal with pissing and wrestling teens as a condition of the privilege of paying Minneapolis property taxes. That is clearly what everyone here is saying.

Orrrrrr.... maybe we're saying that quality facilities for waiting passengers would make it easier to deal with the relatively few unruly people. Think about the LRT stations, where you have to pay a fare in order to be there. This is what they're trying to do with the stupid line between waiting and walking, but it's the most clumsy and unfriendly to the thousands of transit boarders way to do it. What would be better would be to take 10-15' of carriageway and extend the curb, add a nice-looking shelter and a TVM or two, and ask everyone without a fare to leave.

(What would be best would be to take 15-20' feet of carriageway, and maybe a bit of the opposing sidewalk, and create two lanes for bus boarding with an 8' platform between them. Then the area would retain the advantages of combined frequency and still be able to accommodate passengers. This is what no level of government is willing to consider, even though at least a quarter and up to half of the traffic here is not in a car.
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 16th, 2012, 12:32 pm

What about this idea for a quick fix?

There are currently five lanes on this portion 7th street used as follows:
Taxi Stand/Traffic/Traffic/Traffic/Bus Stop.

This could be altered to create more balance for transit, and it could be done as a temporary pilot project:
Taxi Stand/Traffic/Traffic/Bus Only/Waiting Area.

The waiting area could be a temporary installation of planters, benches and barricades and would not require complete reconstruction of the street.

Something along the lines of this, a parking space that has become a temporary public space:
Image

Of course if it works out well, a permanent solution including a bump out with fixed benches, shelters, and displays could be built.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby PhilmerPhil » October 16th, 2012, 12:37 pm

Redisciple, we posted our similar ideas at the same time. Your statement about government not getting behind the removal of a traffic lane can be solved by selling the idea as a temporary project. Things can always go back to the way they were, so why not give it a shot?

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Nick
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Nick » October 16th, 2012, 12:54 pm

redisciple wrote:
Nick wrote:Well, downtown business and property owners pay a whole lot of property taxes that support a whole lot of everything this city, county, and metro do. So yeah, I think they should get to have some say people getting to piss on their buildings in broad daylight, and scream profanity at the top of their lungs and get into fights on their doorsteps.
No way dude, they should have to deal with pissing and wrestling teens as a condition of the privilege of paying Minneapolis property taxes. That is clearly what everyone here is saying.

Orrrrrr.... maybe we're saying that quality facilities for waiting passengers would make it easier to deal with the relatively few unruly people.
That's not quite what I'm saying everyone is saying but I've lived in Minnesota long enough to know that claiming "racism" is a great way to throw some wallpaper over a gaping hole in the side of your house.

It's certainly a small number of people causing problems but it's a constant problem, every day, day and night, all year. If the city isn't going to get serious about enforcing existing laws about behaving in public I don't blame legitimate stakeholders for being concerned about their property/tenants/investments.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Viktor Vaughn » October 16th, 2012, 1:01 pm

I think we can agree that it is/was members of the downtown business community being outright racist, not Metro Transit planners or Minneapolis City Councilmembers, right?
I agree to a point. Certainly Metro Transit planners recognize the transit dependent Northsiders as a constituency they serve. I'm willing to bet they would rather have more route 5 type lines that operate with little-to-no subsidy rather than ex-urban rush hour services, some of which have operating subsidies of $15 per ride. Metro Transit has clearly expended energy, funds, and political capital to implement bus stop improvements downtown for the East/West routes.

And city officials included the East/West Transit Spine in the Access Minneapolis Plan, so they also receognized the need. You have to give city officials credit for coming back after being shot down on the 8th Street plan with another alternative. In fact, in Ms. Harris' email to me she complained the business community only learned of the plan in November 2010 with construction to begin in fall 2011. They did not, in her estimation, have time to offer feedback. Also, the city put pressure on the timeline by tying the transit improvements to federally funded mill-and-overlay work on 7th and 8th (funds were secured from the 35W bridge project to repair roads that saw extra wear-and-tear due to the bridge being out). The city insisted any delay on the transit improvements would raise the cost and hassle factor if they couldn't be done together.

And really, the business community will stand up for their perceived interests -- and, haters gonna hate. There's not much we can do about that. But what really got me worked up about this whole thing -- was the trump card moneyed-interests were able to play over common sense in what's supposed to be a progressive city. In politics, some have a voice and some don't. I guess we shouldn't be surprised about who called the shots, who benefits from public investment, and who get's shut out. It was just surprising to see it happen so blantently...and it's sad to watch elected officials just roll over.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Tyler » October 16th, 2012, 1:02 pm

That seems like separate issue, elf. I mean, what exactly are you saying? They should just wait on the sidewalk since they don't behave themselves anyways and don't deserve any better?
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Nick
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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby Nick » October 16th, 2012, 1:12 pm

Tyler wrote:That seems like separate issue, elf. I mean, what exactly are you saying? They should just wait on the sidewalk since they don't behave themselves anyways and don't deserve any better?
All I was saying is that it's unfair to label the downtown business and property owners as racist for not wanting to deal with bad, occasionally dangerous behavior. Make a better argument.

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Re: Transit News and Happenings

Postby UptownSport » October 16th, 2012, 2:16 pm

Racist? What a bunch of BS.
I hate walking downtown, especially in the evening- Loads of idiots giving you some BS story, mixed with sob story and some intimidation thrown in, to get you to hand over money.
People standing in circles blocking sidewalk passage-
People asking if you want to buy 'snow'

No one should have to put up with this, including people that come downtown to work, shop, get educated or play on the 5 -downtown isn't for everyone, unless by that you mean criminals in the Minneapolis jail.


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