Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
mattaudio
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » January 17th, 2014, 9:53 am

I know, I think you made very pragmatic points about why we are where we are.

HuskyGrad
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby HuskyGrad » January 17th, 2014, 10:20 am

For a relative analog of the Southwest Corridor I recommend looking at the Westside MAX project in Portland.

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Anondson
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » January 17th, 2014, 10:25 am

Tcmetro wrote:
Anondson wrote:
Archiapolis wrote:Density + Transit = win
Desolation + Transit = failure
It's not that simple, of course. The original Hiawatha line was rather desolate when it was built out. And some critics consider it still rather desolate to this day as we wait for development to happen to make it "dense".
Hiawatha is well-used because of it's major trip generators on the south end of the line.
I know.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » January 17th, 2014, 11:05 am

@David Greene:
Sorry, I'm confused. Go back and read my last post and show me where I insulted you. I have NEVER called you stupid or personally attacked you - I don't have time, energy or interest in "ad hominem" attacks. I started my post by complimenting the posters for being informed and closed by thanking people for engaging. I apologize if you feel attacked but I'm not attacking you personally. I respect your engagement and the time you have spent investing in this issue and trying to shape the design and inform others. I think you are wrong but I'm glad that you and people like you are out there. I can't be any clearer on that.

With that said, I will NOT back off of my assertion that the density in Uptown should take precedence over a line that goes through a desolate wasteland of highway overpasses and light manufacturing while lightly grazing low density single-family residential.

I'm sorry if you feel I misrepresented your opinion with my characterization. I ridiculed your position because I think it is ridiculous and I have yet to see you refute my position regarding common sense density with any kind of evidence. I didn't ridicule YOU. Do you understand the difference? Do you understand how classical argument works? I'm not interested in your haircut or your glasses or your choice in music. None of that interests me. What does interest me is good mass transit in the Twin Cities metro area, channeling $1.5B towards real density instead of desolation. I see a moment where 3A is experiencing MAJOR issues that go way beyond "3C is more dense than 3A." New facts exist for 3A - an expensive and undesirable tunnel, a VERY expensive tunnel, and/or a 20' elevated berm cutting through a first ring suburb. I think 3C is better - full stop. However, now that "new facts" have presented themselves, I see an opportunity to revisit all of the options and 3C should be revisited relative to the "new facts." A $1.7 - $2B 3C alignment with options for Nicollet that make sense is better than 3A (with the extant flaws that I am highlighting) AND the "new facts" that will likely end up at or above $1.5B.

Again, I apologize if you feel insulted personally. I am trying to argue a point, not attack people.

Engineers: I highly respect engineers. However, do I need to point out that somehow we went THIS FAR down the road before "finding out" about these huge problems? I can't be the only person who sees this as a MASSIVE failure by the design team. I think the projected ridership numbers for 3C are also garbage. So, suffice it to say that my confidence in the team of engineers is not high. What am I missing?

@min-chi-bus: Appreciated but I have asserted that a tangled snarl of concrete highway overpasses and light manufacturing sites, is NOT a prime development opportunity. If there are proposals, flashy renderings, drawings, etc. for the development opportunities that exist between Van White and Intermodal I haven't seen them. I have been begging David Greene and/or the 3A crowd for just such a thing! I haven't seen anything of the sort and while I think government is *basically* good <gulp>, in the absence of proposals, drawings, renderings, etc for the area between Van White and Intermodal, I can't just trust that "someone" must have looked at this and calculated a proper return on investment. Again, I am very late to this party. If, there is excellent opportunity in this area and it has been demonstrated then I'll admit I'm wrong but I do NOT see great development potential here that will take less than 20-30 years (being generous).

Key difference between Hiawatha and Van White<-->Intermodal: no giant concrete highway overpasses at the former. Hiawatha Ave isn't exactly pedestrian shangri-la but I'll take it any day over what Van White<-->Intermodal currently represents. Hiawatha is also a former industrial zone/forest which is much easier to develop which IS happening by the way. "Older" multi-family (10 yearsish) down towards Crosstown, Oaks Station, Longfellow Station, proposals for multi-family and office at Hi-Lake Triangle, etc. It is easy to bulldoze old industrial buildings, not so easy to bulldoze interstate expressway overpasses.

I recognize that 3A *was* cheaper than 3C. However, new facts exist. How well does 3A and 3C compare given the "new facts" leaving aside the fact that I believe the ridership figures for 3C are garbage?

Let me reiterate that I am grateful for everyone who is investing time in mass transit for this region even if I disagree and thank you for engaging.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » January 29th, 2014, 8:13 pm

Joint BAC/CAC meeting agenda for Feb. 3

http://metrocouncil.org/getdoc/73c7f183 ... genda.aspx

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Nick
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Nick » January 29th, 2014, 8:15 pm

Peter McLaughlin sez that all the new requested studies and studies and studies are going to be released Thursday afternoon. He also basically said that, still, someone (Minneapolis or St. Louis Park) is going to have to blink.

sad panda
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby sad panda » January 30th, 2014, 2:04 pm

The draft reports are now up and available at: http://metrocouncil.org/Transportation/ ... ering.aspx

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » January 30th, 2014, 2:54 pm

Interesting read, but no one here will be too pleased with the result.

It eliminates all options but Kenilworth and a new, modified version of the DEIS relocation to the MN&S line (not the 2-story berm "Brunswick" re-routes, those are eliminated). The report provides no direction as to which of those two should be chosen. Reading between the lines, the railroad would clearly prefer to continue operating through Kenilworth, because it doesn't make them look like the bad guy. Cost estimates vary, with Kenilworth being anywhere from $20 to $300MM (bike trail relocation to deep tunnel), and $105MM for the newly modified re-route.

Personal opinion (besides routing LRT through Uptown): for the sake of other regional transit, we absolutely have to choose the least expensive option, which at this point is relocating or elevating the bike trail. There are members of both communities (SLP and Mpls) who support those options for the greater good. Putting LRT in tunnels through the friggin woods and between the lakes is INSANE. CTIB (Peter McLaughlin, et al) and the FTA should absolutely refuse to fund a tunnel through Kenilworth. That's anywhere from $100-150MM that could and should be spent on Bottineau or Midtown.

The other positive in not spending over $100MM on the freight issue is that it will remain possible to revisit the issue in the future. Perhaps the MN&S South connection (another new option discussed in the report) or the Chaska Cut-off option will become viable or desirable in the future. Perhaps TC&W will someday go bankrupt or decrease in value to the point that government would just buy them out. Not wasting scarce transit dollars on this now frees us up to make better/other choices in the future. If we put tunnels through Kenilworth now, we're never going to be able to pursue any other options.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mulad » January 30th, 2014, 5:13 pm

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a great outcome for the reports.

I strongly agree about the insanity of tunneling through Kenilworth, and agree that colocating freight and LRT while relocating the bike trail is the most straightforward and logical option at this point.

I continue to be against the idea of buying out the TC&W, since it and the Minnesota Prairie Line (which branches off) represent 250 miles of track. I'm curious what the cheapest possible DMU or railbus-type vehicle would be if the current FRA regulations are relaxed. I think I've heard of them getting as low as $500,000 for small single vehicles without any articulation (on par with the price and capacity of a 60' transit bus), but I can't find the reference I'm looking for. I think rail planning in the U.S. has always focused too much on big, heavy stuff, when it would have been better to run small vehicles at high frequency. Hell, I've dreamt about getting some old PCC streetcar and attaching a diesel generator to it on a trailer just to see how fast and frequent it could be, but a proper modern vehicle would obviously be better.

Anyway, I hope to dig into the reports a bit this evening...

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » January 30th, 2014, 11:11 pm

The dismissal of the UTU route without significant study because it is "inferior" to the MN&S route from an operations perspective is going to cause an uproar. Clearly the report was focused toward freight rail needs and completely ignored the political context. I don't believe the UTU route will be viable but dismissing it without any study at all is just fodder for delays and lawsuits. A lot of people were counting on that option being a savior. Met Council is going to have to study it eventually.

Met Council is going to get beat up on this and probably rightly so. The sparks will fly Feb. 3.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mulad » January 31st, 2014, 6:56 am

I'm really disappointed that so few maps are included in the draft study. They mention an MN&S routing alternative from TranSystems which was satisfactory to the railroad, and would allow trains to go both northbound and southbound at the junction, which most alternatives don't support. Based on the text description, there would be very little change from the existing path of the MN&S line north of MN-7. It would be raised in some places -- they suggest using retaining walls along the line rather than simple berms in order to reduce the number of property takings along the route. At-grade crossings would be removed at Walker Street and Lake Street just north of the highway, and at West 29th Street and West 28th Street farther north. A new roadway (primarily/only for school buses) would be built right next to MN-7 to make up for the connectivity loss there. A new underpass would also be built at West 27th Street.

There isn't a great deal of description for what happens in the Skunk Hollow area south of MN-7, other than to say that much of the track is elevated in order to keep the grade change low and allow SWLRT and traffic on Louisiana Avenue to pass underneath. A new rail bridge would be needed over MN-7. They say it makes use of the Golden Auto site (a Superfund cleanup area), but no description of how it either goes through or around the electrical substation right next to it.

So, this is my current best guess, which would take out one building in the Skunk Hollow area and would require the relocation of the electrical substation:


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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby sad panda » January 31st, 2014, 10:15 am

David Greene wrote:The dismissal of the UTU route without significant study because it is "inferior" to the MN&S route from an operations perspective is going to cause an uproar. Clearly the report was focused toward freight rail needs and completely ignored the political context. I don't believe the UTU route will be viable but dismissing it without any study at all is just fodder for delays and lawsuits. A lot of people were counting on that option being a savior. Met Council is going to have to study it eventually.
Anyone who though the UTU route would be a savior didn't bother to pay attention to SLP's concerns with the DEIS reroute. The only advantages it has over the other MN&S north reroute options are that the train traffic would avoid the Target Field area and if there are endangered turtles in the Iron Triangle area, it would avoid a 4F issue there. Otherwise, it shares all of the bad of the prior north reroute options. It also requires a lot more track reconstruction (ie costs a ton more) and as you said, operationally isn't as good for TC&W. Thus, why waste time studying a worse option?

As for the political, I'd say it took that into account (at least from one side). Costs for co-location only show the tunnel costs. What about the cheaper colo options that aren't politically viable in Minneapolis? Hell, the draft report even says that Kenwood community cohesion would improve with their route but fails to really mention what detrimental effects there would be to SLP from a net closing of three street crossings. Don't we want to try and improve and connect the grid instead of split it up more? SLP already suffers from being horribly divided by rail lines and highways, this would make it worse.
mulad wrote:I'm really disappointed that so few maps are included in the draft study.
I totally agree, it's hard to 'see' exactly what they're proposing.

With regard to the Xcel substation, the report says, "The interchange from Bass Lake Spur north clips a corner of Excel Energy, but we understand that this is not a critical portion of the facility and the building could be adapted to accommodate a bridge pier." [Note the misspelling of Xcel is theirs]

For your map, a couple of revisions I can see:
1. LRT currently would be South of the freight line West of Louisiana.
2. Going West to East, LRT stays in the rail corridor until Louisiana then cuts South but doesn't cross Oxford for the station area before going back up to the rail corridor. The Southern station location depicted was determined to be a betterment that the CMC didn't include.
3. As listed above, the Xcel substation only gets clipped (or so they say).

Thanks for putting a map sketch together, it really does help to try and visualize the whole thing!

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » January 31st, 2014, 10:37 am

sad panda wrote:
David Greene wrote:The dismissal of the UTU route without significant study because it is "inferior" to the MN&S route from an operations perspective is going to cause an uproar. Clearly the report was focused toward freight rail needs and completely ignored the political context. I don't believe the UTU route will be viable but dismissing it without any study at all is just fodder for delays and lawsuits. A lot of people were counting on that option being a savior. Met Council is going to have to study it eventually.
Anyone who though the UTU route would be a savior didn't bother to pay attention to SLP's concerns with the DEIS reroute
I totally agree. I'm simply reporting what I've heard in meetings. Even SLP people thought it would save them. Perhaps it just needs better explanation in the report. Your outline here is very clear.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » January 31st, 2014, 11:04 am

This CAN'T be as simple as "relocate/elevate the bike trail, colocate the rail and <bang> problem solved." I've seen this idea in various posts...obviously the bikers will be unhappy and there is cost involved with additional bike infrastructure but the cost must be relatively low compared to tunneling and/or berming/reconstructing freight rail. What are the other difficulties associated with bike route changes and colocation of rail?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Silophant » January 31st, 2014, 11:12 am

sad panda wrote: 3. As listed above, the Xcel substation only gets clipped (or so they say).
In this case, their plan must be to clip the northwest corner of the substation. Xcel isn't going to allow anything within at least 20 feet of their structures, and probably more like 40 feet on the high (east) side.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » January 31st, 2014, 11:27 am

Archiapolis wrote:This CAN'T be as simple as "relocate/elevate the bike trail, colocate the rail and <bang> problem solved." I've seen this idea in various posts...obviously the bikers will be unhappy and there is cost involved with additional bike infrastructure but the cost must be relatively low compared to tunneling and/or berming/reconstructing freight rail. What are the other difficulties associated with bike route changes and colocation of rail?
The problem is that Mayor Hodges has stated that moving the bike trail is a non-starter.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby ECtransplant » January 31st, 2014, 11:39 am

Now if only our newly elected urbanist-friendly politicians would point out how asinine it is to tunnel through parkland instead of uptown

mattaudio
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » January 31st, 2014, 12:01 pm

Would colo be cheaper if we single tracked between West Lake and Penn, and didn't build the 21st St station?

Added benefit: We can easily throw the segment away in the future when urban alignments become more feasible.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby woofner » January 31st, 2014, 2:16 pm

sad panda wrote:...what detrimental effects there would be to SLP from a net closing of three street crossings. Don't we want to try and improve and connect the grid instead of split it up more? SLP already suffers from being horribly divided by rail lines and highways, this would make it worse.
Assuming that these need to be closures rather than underpasses in order to keep the rail line closer to grade level, then maybe St Louis Park needs to choose between aesthetics and accessibility.
David Greene wrote:The problem is that Mayor Hodges has stated that moving the bike trail is a non-starter.
The problem is that moving the bike trail directly works against city sustainability goals. I acknowledge that transit is realistically going to play a bigger role in a more sustainable transportation system, but I don't hear very many people acknowledging that cycling is still going to play a significant role. Among Minneapolis residents it may play a bigger role than transit.

Moreover, it's a false dichotomy to say this is a bikes vs transit thing. The real, actual thing that is constraining the corridor is the townhomes. Why are 26 townhomes more important than 35,000 people transporting themselves in a way that uses less (or no) fossil fuels?
"Who rescued whom!"

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » January 31st, 2014, 2:24 pm

woofner wrote:
David Greene wrote:The problem is that Mayor Hodges has stated that moving the bike trail is a non-starter.
The problem is that moving the bike trail directly works against city sustainability goals. I acknowledge that transit is realistically going to play a bigger role in a more sustainable transportation system, but I don't hear very many people acknowledging that cycling is still going to play a significant role. Among Minneapolis residents it may play a bigger role than transit.
Does moving the bike trail one block away for a half mile (at best) *really* impact sustainability. Are people *really* not going to take a bike if this happened (not that it will)?
woofner wrote:Moreover, it's a false dichotomy to say this is a bikes vs transit thing. The real, actual thing that is constraining the corridor is the townhomes.
That is actually untrue. Many people beyond those in the townhomes oppose colocation. Bikes are an afterthought for most people. So you're right that it isn't a bikes vs. transit thing but the townhome owners are a minority in the cacophony. The only way it becomes bikes vs. transit is if the freight is moved AND the bike trail is moved, which will never happen. Freight is the issue, not bikes.


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