Gold Line BRT (Gateway Corridor)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
acs
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby acs » July 28th, 2014, 9:02 pm

I'm honestly surprised this isn't getting more attention from this community:
http://www.startribune.com/local/east/268662092.html

I'm not from woodbury, or even the east metro, but quotes like this still piss me off to no end:

Just as cost was a deciding factor in choosing bus rapid-transit over light rail — the bus option is about half the price, she said — the route running north of I-94 offers the advantage of being mostly in undeveloped areas in Oakdale and Lake Elmo. “I think it’s an exciting route in which to contemplate station design, being around areas that are mostly green fields,” she said.

For all the endless talk and criticism in the SWLRT and thread, we're still allowing crucial mistakes like this to be made right under our noses. If "we can't go back now building it is better than nothing" is the main reason to go ahead with flawed plans, then you would have thought there would be a shit fit at the LPA meetings. There is a public hearing on August 7th, 6PM.

MNdible
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby MNdible » July 29th, 2014, 8:08 am

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

twincitizen
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby twincitizen » July 29th, 2014, 8:14 am

Time to start working on my streets.mn post, "County Commissioners Make Bad Transit Planners"

stp1980
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby stp1980 » July 29th, 2014, 9:26 am

I grew up in Woodbury (now live in Saint Paul). Woodbury is the main city of the east metro. Yes, it is very suburban but the little chance that this line would effectively tie in a portion of our metro that is often overlooked to the greater system is being squandered. I am looking for maps but I am pretty sure some areas of this line currently do not have access to city water and sewer. This system of piecemeal transit planning is not working! No standards, too long of a planning process, studies of studies, too many layers of government involved in the process. Grrrrr.

Tom H.
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby Tom H. » July 29th, 2014, 10:07 am

Can someone remind me how binding an LPA is? I'm guessing that ridership estimates, cost-benefit ratios, etc., will show that this line simply does not meet FTA standards. If the FTA and/or CTIB push back against this alignment, is it possible that a non-LPA routing could still be chosen, without having to start this whole process over from the beginning?

Tcmetro
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » July 29th, 2014, 10:50 am

The chosen alternative is the cheapest, and has second best ridership for the BRT options.

I wonder how realistic the $450m figure is. There are a lot of parts of the corridor where the buses will need an elevated roadway or operate mixed-traffic.

twincitizen
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby twincitizen » July 29th, 2014, 10:55 am

I believe there is a way for the Met Council to reject it. Just because Washington County wants it doesn't mean the Met Council necessarily concurs...and it is mandatory that they approve, to qualify for federal funding. CTIB, on the other hand, will probably vote for whatever Washington County wants, just to keep their commissioners happy and keep them in CTIB instead of opting out.

If anyone is going to come to the rescue on this, it could be MNDOT. If they indicate that they intend to build out HOV lanes through this same corridor, there's no way we're also going to spend money on this guideway. The FTA has already expressed concerns that the HOV lane option was tossed out too early. I think it is possible that could become an issue, but Met Council, MNDOT, and FTA would probably all have to be on the same page. There is hope for sanity yet...

(EDIT: My entire post refers to the general concept of Gateway as an exclusive guideway vs. center-running HOV lanes. The Woodbury vs. Lake Elmo routing at the eastern end of the route isn't really salvageable. Apparently Woodbury decided they didn't want it...though I'd love to read more about that).

mattaudio
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby mattaudio » July 29th, 2014, 11:40 am

Ridership vs cost clearly leads to shitty outcomes. Valuing choice riders and trip time savings makes it even worse. Can we get to a place with numbers more meaningful than ridership? Maybe non-park&ride ridership?

mattaudio
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby mattaudio » July 29th, 2014, 11:41 am

Is this going to be a transit project paying for HOT lane expansion? Or general purpose lane expansion a la the Red Line?

David Greene
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby David Greene » July 29th, 2014, 12:29 pm

mattaudio wrote:Ridership vs cost clearly leads to shitty outcomes. Valuing choice riders and trip time savings makes it even worse. Can we get to a place with numbers more meaningful than ridership? Maybe non-park&ride ridership?
The federal rules were tweaked to provide a ridership bonus for serving transit-dependent populations, so there's that. Land use is also a more important criterion than it used to be.

I don't know whether Gateway was studied under the new rules.

David Greene
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby David Greene » July 29th, 2014, 12:33 pm

mattaudio wrote:Is this going to be a transit project paying for HOT lane expansion? Or general purpose lane expansion a la the Red Line?
It was supposed to be a dedicated guideway but I'll bet it's 50/50 on whether it becomes HOT lanes. General purpose lanes are pretty out-of-the-question, I think.

I'm not sure doing this as HOT lanes is so bad. It's probably cheaper and I don't really have a problem letting carpools use the lanes, as long as Mn/DOT contributes some significant dollars to the project. That latter piece probably won't happen, though. Doing this as HOT lanes at least removes the worst of the current alignment while allowing a better transit expansion plan in the future (dedicated guideway) if warranted. If a better plan isn't warranted in the future, then we didn't spend an exorbitant amount of money for a little-used service. HOT lanes seems like the better future-proof option. I'll bet dollars to donuts they'll happen with or without a dedicated guideway for Gateway.

Tcmetro
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » July 29th, 2014, 12:59 pm

I thought that I read something where the Met Council wasn't including 94 East in the new TPP as a MnPass corridor.

mattaudio
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby mattaudio » July 29th, 2014, 1:00 pm

Imagine if they converted the left lanes of 94 to HOT lanes east of 494. Then use the existing median space to construct stations and vertical circulation. That would be a cheap and effective way to build transit with guaranteed transit advantage to Radio Drive, Woodbury Drive, and even to Hudson. Then it could hop onto dedicated/non-freeway ROW via 3M and the east side.

mulad
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby mulad » July 29th, 2014, 1:27 pm

Woodbury is such a blank slate when it comes to transit -- there isn't much service to/from the city except for a few park-and-rides. I think they really ought to be looking at starting up a whole network of regular buses rather than trying to take the leap to a corridor -- especially since there isn't any existing network to act as a feeder. I'm very unenthusiastic about using the highway here, aside from more traditional express routes. Run some buses north-south on Century Ave, Radio Dr, and Woodbury Dr, and have them turn onto the interstate to head to 3M and one or both of the downtowns. Add a few east-west routes to link them together and connect to other cities (the Battle Creek area of Saint Paul, Newport, and maybe Inver Grove Heights and West Saint Paul across the river), and you suddenly have a simple grid for moving around. Maybe some routes (probably north-south ones) should go to St. Paul Park or Cottage Grove. Whatever east-west service runs on Valley Creek Road would be a good candidate for running to/through the 3M campus as well.

I'm very unenthusiastic about being right in the middle of the I-94 corridor, at least if you're hoping for station-to-station service -- it's more than half a mile between Hudson Road and Hudson Boulevard at Woodbury Drive, and they're even farther apart at Radio Drive. 1/4- to 1/2-mile walk sheds barely cover anyone and don't reach many businesses either. The arterial streets in Woodbury tend to have large buffer areas, but at least you have a chance of being within walking distance of something. (They certainly need a lot more sidewalks, though).

ord2msp
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby ord2msp » July 31st, 2014, 11:13 pm

mulad wrote:Woodbury is such a blank slate when it comes to transit -- there isn't much service to/from the city except for a few park-and-rides. I think they really ought to be looking at starting up a whole network of regular buses rather than trying to take the leap to a corridor -- especially since there isn't any existing network to act as a feeder. I'm very unenthusiastic about using the highway here, aside from more traditional express routes. Run some buses north-south on Century Ave, Radio Dr, and Woodbury Dr, and have them turn onto the interstate to head to 3M and one or both of the downtowns. Add a few east-west routes to link them together and connect to other cities (the Battle Creek area of Saint Paul, Newport, and maybe Inver Grove Heights and West Saint Paul across the river), and you suddenly have a simple grid for moving around. Maybe some routes (probably north-south ones) should go to St. Paul Park or Cottage Grove. Whatever east-west service runs on Valley Creek Road would be a good candidate for running to/through the 3M campus as well.

I'm very unenthusiastic about being right in the middle of the I-94 corridor, at least if you're hoping for station-to-station service -- it's more than half a mile between Hudson Road and Hudson Boulevard at Woodbury Drive, and they're even farther apart at Radio Drive. 1/4- to 1/2-mile walk sheds barely cover anyone and don't reach many businesses either. The arterial streets in Woodbury tend to have large buffer areas, but at least you have a chance of being within walking distance of something. (They certainly need a lot more sidewalks, though).
Metro Transit experimented with regular route bus service in Woodbury years ago. To no one's surprise, the service was discontinued due to alarmingly high subsidy per passenger.

mattaudio
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby mattaudio » August 1st, 2014, 9:22 am

Okay here's what I don't understand... I've worked on projects in "Corporate America" that involve hundreds of millions of dollars. There's a significant amount of planning to figure out if a project is feasible, and if its returns merit the cost. Where is that decision made in these transit planning processes? It seems to me like we have two critical failures during these processes: First, nobody will step up and say "Woodbury doesn't deserve BRT. The numbers don't make sense." We just chug along off a cliff because nobody wants to tell Woodbury that they don't deserve transit. Second, planners and politicians don't understand the concept of sunk costs. Just because you've gotten to some point doesn't mean it's a bad idea to stop a project or even mothball something that's already built.

David Greene
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby David Greene » August 1st, 2014, 9:26 am

mattaudio wrote:Okay here's what I don't understand... I've worked on projects in "Corporate America" that involve hundreds of millions of dollars. There's a significant amount of planning to figure out if a project is feasible, and if its returns merit the cost. Where is that decision made in these transit planning processes? It seems to me like we have two critical failures during these processes: First, nobody will step up and say "Woodbury doesn't deserve aBRT. The numbers don't make sense." We just chug along off a cliff because nobody wants to tell Woodbury that they don't deserve transit. Second, planners and politicians don't understand the concept of sunk costs. Just because you've gotten to some point doesn't mean it's a bad idea to stop a project or even mothball something that's already built.
That and Parkinson's Law of Triviality.

MNdible
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby MNdible » August 1st, 2014, 11:48 am

Clearly, there's the issue of trying to get the entire region engaged in the transit system. For those whose solution is to let the suburbs whither on the vine, forgetting that they out-vote the central cities by at least 2-1, this idea is understandably a foreign concept.

I agree that this wouldn't be my solution, but I'm also not shocked and chagrined that it's part of the overall system plan.

stp1980
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby stp1980 » August 1st, 2014, 2:30 pm

Can we orange line this? AKA freeway BRT? In a perfect world we should be able to connect the burbs to the network otherwise let's use this money to aBRT a-line to z-line where it will be used. Otherwise I have to agree with the sentiment "forget it jake it's Chinatown"

Tcmetro
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Re: Gateway Corridor

Postby Tcmetro » August 1st, 2014, 2:39 pm

The study just said that a freeway BRT line would be more expensive and attract less riders. That is obviously the worst option of any.


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