Robert Street Corridor Arterial BRT

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Tcmetro
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Robert Street Corridor Arterial BRT

Postby Tcmetro » September 6th, 2012, 7:17 am

Home > News & Events > News Updates & Events
Open houses set Sept. 12-13 for Robert Street transitway study

Public open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 12, and Thursday, Sept. 13, for the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Study.

The Robert Street Alternatives Analysis is a joint local and federal planning effort to determine possible improvements to transit service between downtown St. Paul and communities in northern Dakota County. The study aims to identify a single transitway route and mode (light-rail transit, bus rapid transit, streetcar or bus).

At the open houses, project information will be on display and staff will be on hand to answer questions. A formal presentation will be held at each open house.

The open houses will provide an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to review and provide feedback on the proposed study approach and discuss current and future transit needs in the Robert Street corridor.

Wednesday, Sept. 12
4:30-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5 p.m.)
Dakota County Northern Service Center Room 110
1 Mendota Road West, West St. Paul

Thursday, Sept. 13
6-8 p.m. (presentation at 6:30 p.m.)
Wellstone Center West Side Room,
179 Robie Street East, St. Paul

The Dakota County Regional Railroad Authority and the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority are jointly conducting the study. The study is ongoing through early 2014.

http://robertstreettransit.com/

mattaudio
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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mattaudio » September 6th, 2012, 7:55 am

I read through a few of the docs and technical memoranda yesterday but I was not enthusiastic about the proposed connection into DT ST. Paul. If LRT crossed at Robert Street, it would turn east immediately into the SPUD concourse area. If it crossed the Lafayette Bridge, it would turn immediately west into the SPUD concourse area. Neither of these options seem to offer effective interlining with the rest of the LRT network.

If it ends up being LRT and crossing at Robert Street, I think it should connect to the others into the heart of St. Paul, at Central Station... http://goo.gl/maps/2PSiA
If it ends up crossing the Lafayette bridge, it should connect into the end of CCLRT and enter the SPUD station from the east so interlining is possible.

Tcmetro
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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » September 6th, 2012, 8:08 am

Yes, its not that great of an idea. I doubt that any kind of light rail will be built in this area as it is. The highest frequency bus is every 30 minutes during the day, and that's on Robert St itself!

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby MNdible » September 6th, 2012, 8:49 am

Downtown St. Paul just doesn't generate enough traffic to justify this being LRT.

Things will have to change mightily to ever have this route make sense as anything other than BRT.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mattaudio » September 6th, 2012, 8:51 am

What about people commuting to Minneapolis? I'm guessing an hour from Woodbury (Gateway) or IGH (Robert Corridor) via interlining along Central Corridor would be a longer trip than existing buses, but I wonder by how much.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby MNdible » September 6th, 2012, 9:50 am

mattaudio wrote:What about people commuting to Minneapolis? I'm guessing an hour from Woodbury (Gateway) or IGH (Robert Corridor) via interlining along Central Corridor would be a longer trip than existing buses, but I wonder by how much.
These people would much rather take a direct express bus to downtown Minneapolis rather than two very long LRT trips.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mulad » September 8th, 2012, 12:52 pm

The old Robert Street streetcar was a pretty short line, only extending about 2 miles from downtown St. Paul. It followed Robert Street across the river and through the old West Side Flats area, then briefly followed Concord Street (now known as Cesar Chavez Street) before turning onto State Street to make the climb up the hill. It rejoined Robert Street briefly and ended at Annapolis Street (the border with West St. Paul).



The population density stays fairly good immediately south of Annapolis, but once you go past Butler, things go downhill pretty quickly. At that point, Robert turns into a fairly standard suburban retail strip. There's probably enough retail activity to justify extending something through that space a bit, but there are huge parking lots all along the way which make it a hike to get to many places.

So if something does get built along Robert, it really needs to have a corridor plan to go along with it -- especially focusing on redevelopment effort in the flats area and probably in the suburban strip area in West St. Paul/Inver Grove Heights as well.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » September 13th, 2012, 7:41 am

The other problem is the lack of destinations being in an orderly fashion. There is retail on Robert all the way to 494, The Dakota County Center on Mendota, a few blocks west of Robert, and a large apartment cluster at the Oakdale and Marie area. Then there is South St. Paul and Inver Hills CC and the shopping by Walmart on 52 and Concord.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mattaudio » September 13th, 2012, 7:54 am

I'm skeptical that LRT would be needed here any time in the next 30 years... is the Concord Street / Lafayette Freeway / Robert Street area even served with good bus service? Are there any P&Rs in the 52 corridor?

I'd love to see LRT as a way to redevelop the Robert Street corridor, especially if it offered one seat rides through St. P to Mpls. Then use the Multiway Blvd idea as a framework to develop street-fronting mixed-use in places where there's currently a sea of parking between Robert Street and businesses.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » September 13th, 2012, 9:00 am

The 68 on Robert St runs every 30 minutes except peaks when it runs every 10-15. The few times I have taken the 68 it's quite full, and I've seen standees during the peak times and even on Saturdays. The 71 on Concord runs every hour or so, with no night or Sunday service. The 75 runs down Stryker, which has some older 2-story buildings that come right up to the sidewalk, however most of the retail space is vacant. That bus runs every 30-60 minutes, and lost weekend service a while ago. I have only taken the 75 once, so I can't comment on the ridership. I've never rode the 67, so I couldn't comment on that one.

There are a couple of park and rides, one at the West St. Paul sports complex, and the other up the road at a church. These are served by the 452 to Downtown Minneapolis. There are plans to build some park and rides further south, but I am unsure of any timeline. There was also an idea floated a while ago to place a new transit center near Mendota and Livingston, by the Dakota County Service Center, but I haven't heard about it in a while.

The other two bus routes in the area are the 415, a reverse commute from Mendota Hts Rd to Mall of America using deadheads of the 452 to/from South Garage, and the 417 a peak commuter from Mendota Hts to St. Paul. Both are low-ridership, and the 417 is unique (along with the 364 to Newport) because it uses a minibus on a commuter route.

I personally think that BRT is the best option for the corridor. Median lanes along Robert would work fine. I am not really too sure about what should happen with the bus network though.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby MNdible » September 13th, 2012, 9:49 am

mattaudio wrote:Then use the Multiway Blvd idea as a framework to develop street-fronting mixed-use in places where there's currently a sea of parking between Robert Street and businesses.
They solve everything! Just try and find an urban problem that Multiway Blvd's won't fix.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mattaudio » September 13th, 2012, 10:10 am

I know that's how I come across.... sorry! I'd be happy to see one implemented well in MN, then I'll be quiet

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mulad » September 13th, 2012, 9:06 pm

I went to this evening's meeting. A few things stuck out.

First off, just because this is the Alternatives Analysis for the "Robert Street Transitway", it doesn't mean that it would necessarily go down Robert Street (though if they lean toward a rail option, I'm guessing it would for at least part of the distance for reasons I'll get to in a second). Here's a photo I snapped of the "Universe of Potential Alignments":

Image
Image link

So this is a huge study area, extending about 15 miles south from downtown St. Paul to Rosemount. Apparently the previous feasibility study from 2008 had extended that far south in part because of big plans for the UMore Park area -- though it sounds like the once-grand visions for that area have fallen a bit by the wayside and aren't in the current comprehensive plan for the city or county. Still, Rosemount has a bit of a downtown area (more than can be said of Inver Grove Heights or maybe even Eagan) which might be worth connecting to something -- I'm mostly thinking express bus on that front, though it's notable that outside of this study is the Zip Rail corridor to Rochester, which is probably going to look at having a suburban station somewhere in Rosemount.

This study is probably only looking at bus, BRT, LRT, and streetcar alternatives. I kind of wish that a commuter option to Rosemount was tossed in, probably rebuilding a few miles of track between the end of the Progressive Railroad spur into Eagan and the Union Pacific line that runs along the river, mostly since that hits a big job center (though not much population, unfortunately -- and it would practically be just as useful as a reverse-commute option than a regular inbound service). But maybe the Zip Rail folks will look at that one...

The thought of an endpoint at the downtown Central Station rather than the Union Depot popped into my head, but I forgot to ask if they were looking at different places to terminate at the northern end. The previous study focused on the depot.

The new Lafayette Bridge is not designed to handle rail, or at least it wouldn't be feasible to try and connect from that bridge to the Union Depot area because the slope would probably be too steep. If a rail line followed Highway 52, it would need a new dedicated crossing -- the added expense of that means that any rail option would probably use Robert Street to get across the river.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mattaudio » September 14th, 2012, 8:10 am

While I'd love to see LRT along Robert Street in some fantasy Twin Cities, I'd be happy to see the following in real life...

Arterial BRT along the Robert Street corridor. Any future P&R/express bus service should be placed along Robert north of 494 (less than a mile from 52, where it can take the freeway downtown) so BRT can serve these P&Rs with off-peak service. This would be a much better combination than freeway BRT and express service, especially on this corridor that will likely never have the demand of 35W,77,394.

Then, planning for Zip Rail or future HSR to Chicago via Rochester. This would come up through Rosemount. If the PGR spur was reconnected to UP/Mankato, it could connect to the UP swing bridge, and a short connection as described elsewhere on here would wrap a line around to the State Street Spur. Therefore HSR trains could use two existing U.P. bridges to cross from Dakota County to SPUD, providing operational flexibility to deal with river navigation, etc.

So, HSR from Rochester would be heading into SPUD from the west, then it could exit to the east, up to Hoffman Jct then on BNSF to Downtown Minneapolis.

Since Dan Patch is likely never going anywhere especially since 35W/Cedar will have Freeway BRT, I could see this St. Paul alignment used for commuter/regional service as well. It would follow the alignment described above but then the U.P. line south from Rosemount. Stops on the line would be MMM, SPUD, Eagandale, Rosemount, Farmington, Northfield, Faribault, Owatonna.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby twincitizen » November 27th, 2012, 12:19 pm


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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mulad » February 4th, 2013, 8:29 am

Open houses coming in the last week of February:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Presentation at 5:00 PM
Dakota County Northern Service Center
Room 110
1 Mendota Road West
West St. Paul, MN

Thursday, February 28, 2013
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Presentation at 6:30 PM
Neighborhood House
Ferber Room
179 Robie Street East
St. Paul, MN

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby mulad » February 22nd, 2013, 10:07 am

A reminder that meetings will be Tuesday and Thursday next week.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby woofner » February 22nd, 2013, 3:26 pm

If you're interested but not interested enough to go to St Paul, they have a summary of the AA results so far on the website:

http://www.robertstreettransit.com/docu ... ackage.pdf

The only kinda surprise is that they're not recommending study of LRT on Robert or Concord, which may disappoint certain legislators. Presumably this is due to ROW constraints, although this excuse is much less valid on Concord. Anyway the alternatives advancing to the next stage are enhanced bus or streetcar on Robert or Concord, or LRT, "dedicated busway" (an open BRT facility presumably?), or Highway BRT on 52.
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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » February 22nd, 2013, 3:40 pm

My guess is that the Arterial BRT on Robert happens. Concord and 52 aren't good transit corridors (and have low service levels), but Robert misses South St Paul and Inver Hills CC. Maybe some sort of BRT line could branch out to those destinations as well as the industrial and shopping areas in Eagan.

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Re: Robert St Corridor

Postby woofner » February 22nd, 2013, 4:45 pm

Before any improvement to service on Robert, I would hope there would be an east-west service between South St Paul and the MOA. I can't understand how any enhanced service would be justified on a network that can only effectively serve commuters.
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