Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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Anondson
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » February 20th, 2014, 9:14 pm

twincitizen wrote:Is anyone else amused* at the fact that the decision is now entirely a political one, rather than a technical one?
Jim Alexander's presentation had a slide which I believe five bulleted points regarding the new relocate alternative costs that weren't factored into the listed cost. I didn't write the list down myself nor did I grab the packet, so maybe someone who attended can post them. But two stuck in my memory, one was that with proposing Lake Street and Walker being closed off, proposed was a frontage road running under the rail bridges to give the buses dropping at the Spanish immersion elementary school an exit. This proposed north side frontage road was not calculated.

The second that stuck in my memory regarded linking the CP to BNSF, what I understood was that the North Cedar Lake Trail was going to be impacted. To make the connection work the trail would need to be put on a bridge over rail since all the rail companies were deeply resistant to adding another at-grade crossing. Putting the North Cedar Lake Trail onto a bridge up and over the rail connection wasn't calculated in the cost either.

Those seemed kind of significant misses.

Can't recall the other elements Jim noted weren't in the total cost, but I'm in agreement with your point, this will be a political decision not technical.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » February 20th, 2014, 9:29 pm

twincitizen wrote:Is anyone else amused* at the fact that the decision is now entirely a political one, rather than a technical one?

The best* part is that the choice is now between shallow tunnels and ________?

*both terms used in the colloquial "you've got to be f***ing kidding me" sense.
To clarify, this was all in response to the recently posted Strib article in which the TC&W railroad all but declared the freight reroute dead.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » February 20th, 2014, 9:39 pm

TC&W president Mark Wegner will be at the next meeting in March to detail the railroad's view. More high drama for certain!

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Nick » February 20th, 2014, 9:44 pm

Hopefully, if the project ends up dead, we'll blame it on St. Louis Park and Kenwood instead of the extensively credentialed professionals who completely botched this.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby HuskyGrad » February 20th, 2014, 9:48 pm

Single track is not an option in the middle of the line when it's design headway is 5 minutes. A train would have to clear the section in 2.5 minutes in ideal conditions.


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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby sad panda » February 20th, 2014, 9:52 pm

Anondson wrote:
twincitizen wrote:Is anyone else amused* at the fact that the decision is now entirely a political one, rather than a technical one?
Jim Alexander's presentation had a slide which I believe five bulleted points regarding the new relocate alternative costs that weren't factored into the listed cost.
The presentation is here.

The missed costs are on slides 28-30. Track removal, additional retaining walls, additional right-of-way acquisitions, the North Cedar Lake trail bridge and impacts to the Xcel substation were the bullet points.
Anondson wrote:TC&W president Mark Wegner will be at the next meeting in March to detail the railroad's view. More high drama for certain!
I may just have to take a vacation day to attend that one!

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mister.shoes » February 20th, 2014, 10:01 pm

HuskyGrad wrote:Single track is not an option in the middle of the line when it's design headway is 5 minutes. A train would have to clear the section in 2.5 minutes in ideal conditions.
Matt figured that all out. That section is short enough that at 45MPH a train would clear it in roughly 2 minutes. And headways are likely to be at least 7.5 minutes, as even the Blue line isn't running 5 min.

So in the absolute worst-case scenario, a train wants to leave West Lake at the exact same time that one wants to leave Penn. One or the other would be delayed at most 2 minutes. That's peanuts. Consider that single-tracking that section would save $200MM+ over tunnels.

Edit: OK, the actual absolute worst-case scenario is a broken rail or derailment or apocalyptic snow storm or similar. The first two would shut down the whole section (hey, a proper connection to the Midtown corridor would allow Green Line trains to continue east and drop riders at various connection points to downtown. Hmm). The third would cause delays everywhere. Let's be realistic.

* * *

I wonder if Kenwood would be more receptive to single-tracking the section in question. Not only would the "parkland" be better preserved, but it would make impossible the scenario that two trains are making noise in the corridor at the same time. Even with tunnels, two trains could come popping out to cross the channel at the same time, making twice as much noise over the section of the corridor most often cited as peaceful and idyllic.
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby garfield » February 20th, 2014, 10:52 pm

I know the 3A versus 3C argument has been done many, many times on this forum. But seriously, if they suddenly decided that 3C was the route, wouldn't all of this be irrelevant? Build 3C, start working on Bottineau, and we can have a real transit system within the next decade. The way this is playing out, it feels like we might be exactly where we are today in five years. Those with deep pockets could tie this up in the courts for a long, long time.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby the kid » February 20th, 2014, 11:09 pm

I'm just some shmuck who doesn't understand all the complex issues regarding transit, but I don't understand why no one is willing to seriously consider moving the bike trail. Or, if no acceptable reroute can be found, elevating the bike trail. This seems to be the easiest, and perhaps the only, solution. Resistance from cycling enthusiasts seems likely, but why is this such an overwhelming barrier? Doesn't everyone have to give up something to build a complicated regional transit line? Is the hold that the cycling lobby has on our new mayor so strong that she is willing to throw the whole line away and set twin city transit back 5-10 years (or more)? I don't get it. I know the smart people on this board will enlighten me…what am I missing?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Silophant » February 20th, 2014, 11:16 pm

From my understanding, it actually has little to do with the cycling lobby. No doubt there's some hard-core cyclists who are dead against it (there always are), but the ones I've actually heard speak about it have all said that they'll miss it, but moving the trail makes the most sense. The actual resistance is coming from the wealthy landowners who don't want 200+ trains a day going by their property. They don't particularly care about the bike trail, it's just a convenient excuse. Again, this is just my understanding. It might be wrong.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » February 21st, 2014, 12:20 am

OK, so I don't completely buy that the SLP option is dead, but let's say it really is.

How do the MPLS politicians accept the route through Kenilworth (tunnels or whatever) and still save face?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby min-chi-cbus » February 21st, 2014, 1:09 pm

I don't want to be Captain Obvious here, but with all of the issue of having this track at-grade, perhaps it starts to make sense (financially and logically) to have this portion of the line be a subway. Yes, it'll cost more (how much more, idk), but it will alleviate just about every concern being mentioned and potentially cost less in the long-run than trying to appease everyone's selfish interests.

Isn't this how subway discussions start: "well how CAN we build this thing then?"
Last edited by min-chi-cbus on February 21st, 2014, 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » February 21st, 2014, 1:09 pm

Silophant wrote:Oh, for sure, but that's apparently not even within the realm of possibility, because... reasons.
^^^^ This x 1000.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » February 21st, 2014, 1:11 pm

Archiapolis wrote:
Silophant wrote:Oh, for sure, but that's apparently not even within the realm of possibility, because... reasons.
^^^^ This x 1000.
Stop the presses. Are you saying you prefer the 3C route? I did not see that coming.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » February 21st, 2014, 1:15 pm

MNdible wrote:Hey, I think it would be great if UHG was downtown. But they're not.

They're also not building out in the cornfields. They're building in a location that has been identified to receive an LRT line going back at the very least 10 years, in an area that also has a lot of other jobs. That's not so crazy.
To be "devil's advocate" for a minute, have any of you seen the campus(es) that they have built/are building. We are talking about massive amounts of square footage. There is NO WAY that it is feasible to say, "If you don't like it, move." As much as I want urbanism, density, etc., it isn't really fair to say, "tough luck" to UHG. The SWLRT debacle isn't their fault. It's pretty harsh to say that they "speculated" on this line and now they have to pay the price.

Gah! I can't believe I am playing "devil's advocate" for a multi-billion dollar company.

My point is that the SWLRT SHOULD be a part of our regional solution but not with the choices currently on the table...

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » February 21st, 2014, 1:19 pm

Nick wrote:Hopefully, if the project ends up dead, we'll blame it on St. Louis Park and Kenwood instead of the extensively credentialed professionals who completely botched this.
If this is satire (and I think it is)...

Nailed it!

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » February 21st, 2014, 1:21 pm

MNdible wrote:
Archiapolis wrote:
Silophant wrote:Oh, for sure, but that's apparently not even within the realm of possibility, because... reasons.
^^^^ This x 1000.
Stop the presses. Are you saying you prefer the 3C route? I did not see that coming.
Shoulder is hurting right now from patting myself on the back for not mentioning the XX route. Also, I just played "devil's advocate" for UHG in defense of a transit line in "the burbs." I hope the "Urbanism Police" don't come to my door and revoke my membership.
Last edited by Archiapolis on February 21st, 2014, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 21st, 2014, 1:29 pm

Archiapolis wrote:
MNdible wrote:Hey, I think it would be great if UHG was downtown. But they're not.

They're also not building out in the cornfields. They're building in a location that has been identified to receive an LRT line going back at the very least 10 years, in an area that also has a lot of other jobs. That's not so crazy.
To be "devil's advocate" for a minute, have any of you seen the campus(es) that they have built/are building. We are talking about massive amounts of square footage. There is NO WAY that it is feasible to say, "If you don't like it, move." As much as I want urbanism, density, etc., it isn't really fair to say, "tough luck" to UHG. The SWLRT debacle isn't their fault. It's pretty harsh to say that they "speculated" on this line and now they have to pay the price.
Well, let's not praise UHG too much (even if you are playing advocate). They decided to build along a route that's been tossed around for decades but never built, and as a result they got far cheaper land than if they had built in places where LRT existed or was under construction. That was their risk/reward, and it's not like they built a highly urban set of buildings that face streets well, are part of a connected street network (not abutting a freeway), have little parking, etc in anticipation of a rail line like SWLRT.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » February 21st, 2014, 2:12 pm

Disagree with the comments that SW shouldn't be built. Obviously it has a utility.

Anyways, Kenilworth isn't going to be happy anyways. They don't want LRT period. The commotion over the freight line, the tunnel, the trees, and the groundwater make that quite clear. Personally, I don't really care what the people in the Kenilworth corridor think about LRT, they seem to be textbook definitions of limousine liberals.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » February 22nd, 2014, 8:48 am

Again, the situation in CIDNA/Kenwood is complicated. Originally the big stink was from those who don't want freight rail there. None of the solutions for Kenilworth proposed here addresses that issue. This is the issue that Mayor Hodges has taken up.

The tunnels were designed as a mitigation strategy to mostly maintain the appearance of the corridor today, since freight rail isn't moving.

More recently, people have voiced concerns about lots of LRT trains in the corridor. My sense is that this is mostly a different group of people but the anti-freight people have glommed on because it suits their purposes (make the line more difficult to build, forcing new freight studies).

Then there is what I think is a very small group of people that don't want the line built, period. Absolutely nothing will satisfy them.

As for how this thing gets built, I believe we'll end up with tunnels because there really isn't any other viable option. The tunnels at least were getting some traction before the new studies. Minneapolis saves face because the new studies didn't identify a workable freight re-route plan. We have a very new city council. I don't see CM Cano, for example, carrying water for CIDNA and Kenwood.


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