Robert Street Corridor Arterial BRT

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David Greene
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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby David Greene » October 30th, 2013, 12:58 pm

Tcmetro wrote:I guess one of the biggest problems would be that CTIB doesn't fund Arterial BRT and Streetcar projects.
I don't think that's a hard-and-fast rule, is it? My understanding is the law says CTIB can only fund projects that are part of the Met Councils TPP. The Nicollet streetcar isn't (and isn't likely to become part of it) which is why Minneapolis needs to fund that. I could totally see the TPP being amended for Robert St.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby twincitizen » October 30th, 2013, 2:23 pm

Didn't we do this already and find that the Robert Street aBRT corridor was the lowest performer in the entire bunch (besides American Blvd)?

http://metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/1/me ... robert.pdf

And how is it that this new Ramsey/Dakota County led study came up with very different station locations than Metro Transit did just one year ago? Obviously there is some overlap between the station choices, but wow, mostly not even close to agreement there.

How do we stop the counties from needlessly wasting taxpayer money on duplicating studies that have already been done? If Robert Street was not highly rated as an aBRT corridor by Metro Transit, it sure as hell isn't appropriate for streetcar.

If Ramsey/Dakota County commissioners are so adamant at building something they should focus exclusively on the Hwy. 52 BRT option and use their political pulpit to lean on Metro Transit to get moving on Robert Street aBRT as well. Oh and probably offer up some funding, since Metro Transit is having a hell of a time locating pots of money to build even one aBRT line (Snelling).

A real priority for the 2014 bonding bill should be funding the full Metro Transit aBRT system ASAP.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Mdcastle » October 30th, 2013, 4:47 pm

How can they tell that it's not appropriate for streetcar without a study? Is it easy to determine that the increased costs of streetcars do not overcome rail bias?

mattaudio
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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mattaudio » December 10th, 2013, 1:36 pm

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/234909261.html
Unfortunately there's not a lot of nuance in the article.... would abrt or streetcars cover the same corridor?
Also, I have no idea why BRT on 52 would be preferred to Robert. There's nothing along the 52 corridor. Build the stations along Robert, and then provide peak-hour express service from the bigger stations that cuts over to 52 and goes express to St. Paul.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mulad » December 11th, 2013, 10:37 am

I'm repeating myself a bit from the comment I posted after the open house I attended in October, but this time I'll include some visuals taken from the display boards for that meeting. Here's a comparison between the two alignments on Robert Street itself:

Image
robert-street-transitway-alignments-streetcar-arterial-oct-2013 by Mulad, on Flickr

Here's the US-52 alignment -- note that it is at a different scale because it is a much longer route.

Image
robert-street-transitway-alignments-highway-oct-2013 by Mulad, on Flickr

One oddity is that the arterial bus on Robert Street would be an overlay service, retaining the existing local bus routes which (can) stop at almost every block. The arterial bus service therefore has significantly fewer stations than the proposed streetcar (12 outside of downtown for bus vs. 17 for the streetcar). The Robert Street alignments would run about 5 miles in length, depending on exactly where it terminates in downtown St. Paul.

When I asked about stops at the last open house, I was told that the streetcar would make all stops whether requested or not, which seems a bit much for 1/4-mile spacing. I can kind of understand since it would replace existing bus service, but I'm not convinced that both would be necessary -- yet another reason why we should all keep a close eye on the usage of route 16 after the Green Line begins operation.

$370 million for streetcar strikes me as being high -- roughly LRT-level costs. However, was the Strib only reporting the high-estimate number from a range of possible costs? Conversely, $27 million for arterial bus almost strikes me as being too low, but I'm not certain on that one -- my main point of comparison would be the Snelling "A" Line, but that one is about twice the length. I can't speak to the US-52 alignment ($43 million) in great detail, but I doubt it would be possible to get nice on-line stations with that amount -- they'd probably use on-/off-ramps instead, though I'd worry about how many stops might be completely off-line.

All of the routes are expected to meet an east-west connector bus service running along Mendota Road / MN-110.

mattaudio
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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mattaudio » December 11th, 2013, 11:43 am

No study of a hybrid arterial/freeway bus option? Arterial north of 494, then get on the freeway to connect south to Park and Rides and IHCC...

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby stp1980 » December 11th, 2013, 12:08 pm

Related to this, in the past couple of months there has been quite a few teardowns along Robert through West Saint Paul, there is a bit of land that is now open for redevelopment, although this street is an exhibit of a suburban strip through the decades. They do seem to be encouraging more street fronting development up towards Saint Paul, and there is a fair amount of open land there too.

I am also curious about the planning process for a potential BRT on 52, as the terminus is proposed at Inver Hills (something the college would be interested in I am sure as many of our students are transit users)

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » December 12th, 2013, 9:29 am

The ridership figures from the Star Tribune article are quite interesting. I'm surprised at how many riders they expect the Hwy. 52 BRT to attract. My personal preference would be the BRT line along Robert Street with local tails to South St. Paul and Inver Hills CC.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mulad » December 12th, 2013, 11:34 am

I hadn't even looked at those numbers. Considering typical rail bias, I'm surprised that they peg streetcar service as being lower than arterial. I'm not sure if they're counting local bus in the arterial number or not. The streetcar number would only be streetcar passengers, since it would be a full-replacement service.
  • Streetcar: 3,000 (approx. 545/mi)
  • Arterial bus: 3,100 (approx. 563/mi)
  • Freeway bus: 2,300 (approx. 247/mi)
That's pretty poor on all fronts -- It would rank near the bottom of this list, and most of the routes at the tail end really blur the line between LRT and commuter-rail service.

To a certain extent, I think they're being pessimistic (unless there was a transcription error), but looking at density figures, I've always been nervous about trying to go much beyond Butler Avenue (4 blocks south of the St. Paul border at Annapolis Street).

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby garfield » December 13th, 2013, 12:05 am

stp1980 wrote:Related to this, in the past couple of months there has been quite a few teardowns along Robert through West Saint Paul, there is a bit of land that is now open for redevelopment, although this street is an exhibit of a suburban strip through the decades. They do seem to be encouraging more street fronting development up towards Saint Paul, and there is a fair amount of open land there too.
Most of these are properties purchased by the city of West St. Paul to create their dream projects surrounding their new soccer dome. It reminds me a little of Burnsville's Heart of the City project, which has been deemed by some as a spectacular failure. Development should probably be left to the developers.

Regarding Robert Street, it has always been surprising how little housing is actually along this immediate corridor. I think that a streetcar could actually improve the chances of more apartments being build on Robert, but any bus option would probably maintain the status quo.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mattaudio » December 13th, 2013, 10:21 am

I had a dream last night that there were dense land uses surrounding the freeway interchanges on Hwy 52, and the development made my idea to have aBRT on the Robert Corridor look less viable.

I probably have dreams about transportation or land use three or four times a week. Awesome.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » January 29th, 2014, 8:22 pm

The Robert Street project is currently studying if the Streetcar would create more economic development than the arterial BRT would. Open houses will be held when that is complete:

http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Government/P ... 0FINAL.pdf

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby acs » March 30th, 2014, 10:28 am

http://www.startribune.com/politics/sta ... 47081.html

Any chance this gets tied to the transit proposal? If it were rebuilt with medians, would it be feasible to simply use them as center island stops for a streetcar or enhanced bus?

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » March 31st, 2014, 11:16 pm

The third round of open houses will be in June:

http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Government/P ... packet.pdf Page 31

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mattaudio » April 7th, 2014, 1:11 pm

Is this one looking like it will be aBRT? Seems like aBRT would be a great option, especially if any future P&Rs are placed on Robert Street (with express buses making the short jog over to get on the Lafayette Freeway).

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » April 27th, 2014, 8:00 am


mulad
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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby mulad » May 13th, 2014, 6:13 am

Some upcoming meetings for the Robert Street Corridor, which I was notified about through e-mail. I don't see these listed on the project website yet. They'll be discussing the results of the alternatives study.

A steering committee meeting later this week, which will include a preview of the open house materials for next month:

Thursday, May 15
Begins 3:30 p.m.
Dakota County Northern Service Center, Room 110A
1 Mendota Road West
West Saint Paul

Open houses next month:

Tuesday, June 3
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Neighborhood House, West Side Room
179 Robie Street East
Saint Paul

Thursday, June 5
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Presentation at 5:00 p.m.
Dakota County Northern Service Center, Room 110
1 Mendota Road West
West Saint Paul

Tcmetro
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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » June 5th, 2014, 9:35 am

Recommendation is for Robert Street Arterial BRT, with future study on the streetcar and Hwy. 52 express bus options.

Considering that only a few more stops would need to be added to outright duplicate the 68 service, it seems a restructuring of the bus service in the area should be done with implementation if/when BRT ever happens.

http://robertstreettransit.com/documents.html

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby twincitizen » June 5th, 2014, 10:32 am

Can anyone come up with a figure of how much was spent on this Alternatives Analysis?

It would be nice to know how much money the public just wasted on a study that basically resulted in Metro Transit's 2-year old aBRT plan. Now of course, Robert Street actually scored the lowest of all 11 corridors on that aBRT study, so quick implementation was unlikely. I highly doubt that this line is going to be constructed outside of Metro Transit's aBRT branding...that would be colossally stupid. Now if Dakota & Ramsey Counties want to throw money at Metro Transit to build it sooner, they should do just that. I guess it could potentially become the D-Line, superceding Chicago-Fremont and Lake Street in Minneapolis, which have zero funding commitments, but were almost certain to become the D & E Lines.

The strangest thing is how much discrepancy there is between Metro Transit's station locations and the ones from the recently completed AA:
http://www.metrotransit.org/Data/Sites/ ... robert.pdf This was extremely preliminary, of course, and included no public or business input, but Metro Transit probably has a pretty good idea of where the highest boardings are today and what the corridor constraints are.

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Re: Robert Street Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » June 5th, 2014, 12:20 pm

I was a little surprised when I heard that this one was going to be studied, too. I think that Dakota County is interested in expanding transit (Cedar BRT would have never happened if Dakota County wasn't so invested in the project), and there was a light rail study on the very same corridor in the early 90s.

I'm not at all surprised by the findings. It's hard to justify the construction of a streetcar along what is a quintessential aging suburban strip, with little demand for densification or redevelopment. The Highway BRT option was basically dead from the start and does very little to improve the transit experience in the area. The Arterial BRT option was essentially the only feasible option, and I am doubting it will come to fruition anytime soon without the support of Dakota County. There is certainly opportunity to re-imagine the bus system, as this is the only sector that hasn't been restructured since that program began in 1999.


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