Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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

Postby Archiapolis » April 3rd, 2014, 9:04 am

nate wrote:The Kenilworth people almost certainly contribute generously to various politicians. That's the missing information.
Yeah, I get that part and I've been telling David Greene and others that these people will be the ones bringing the lawsuit with the high-powered lawyers that will are going to massively snarl any attempts to move forward "as planned" thus bringing discussions about "other alignments" into play. BUT, what I am saying is that if a "Move the Bikepath" cohort emerged that included "the bicyclists", then wouldn't that be cutting the legs out from under the Kenilworth crowd?

Ubermoose
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Ubermoose » April 3rd, 2014, 10:19 am

Archiapolis wrote:[ BUT, what I am saying is that if a "Move the Bikepath" cohort emerged that included "the bicyclists", then wouldn't that be cutting the legs out from under the Kenilworth crowd?
As interesting as that could make things, I think that the Kenilworth group would just refocus litigation on the environmental impacts on the creek, or on the "park land" which is the corridor, or anything else they feel might be impacted. I think it's more about grasping at anything to delay and eventually kill the SWLRT.
On a different note, I loved how Mc laughlin called out mayor Hodges at the meeting yesterday. :D

HiawathaGuy
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby HiawathaGuy » April 3rd, 2014, 10:29 am

Good article about yesterday's meeting: http://www.journalmpls.com/news/sw-lrt- ... light-rail

Highlights:
Talk of the northern tunnel being dropped (saving >$60 million) possibly allowing for the 21st Street Station to be built.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 10:42 am

Archiapolis wrote:
Silophant wrote:Because it's not actually about the bike path at all. It's about the rich influential residents of the corridor not wanting trains near their property. They can't say that, though, so they pretend it's about the bike path.
I have to admit that I don't understand the nuance here. What if someone got together with "the bicyclists" and said, "Hey, we want to call the the bluff that the Kenilworth folks are putting out there that we can't move the bike path for SWLRT. We know it isn't ideal/perfect but what if we could give you some carrots (maintenance/beautification/etc.) and moved the bike path?" In my hypothetical, what if this group emerged, with the blessing of "the bicyclists" and they stood on a podium together and announced that the bike path should be moved.

What would happen then? What would the Kenilworth folks do?
So again, there are multiple factions here. CIDNA/Kenwood/Bicyclists are not of one mind.

Some influential bicycle advocates have indeed said they wouldn't oppose a reroute of the trail, so in a sense your scenario is already playing out. It doesn't matter because it's not really about the bike trail, as Silophant said.

Some CIDNA/Kenwood residents oppose any freight in the corridor.

Some CIDNA/Kenwood residents oppose any LRT in the corridor.

Some CIDNA/Kenwood residents want a deep-bore tunnel for LRT and are ok with freight in that scenario.

Some CIDNA/Kenwood residents want the freight moved and are ok with LRT in that scenario.

Some CIDNA/Kenwood residents are perfectly happy with the chosen solution.

This is a very complicated negotiation. As you can see, Mayor Hodges has aligned herself with only a subset of this very localized area and a vanishingly small subset of all Minneapolis residents. Frankly, most residents of Minneapolis either don't know what's going on or don't care.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 10:43 am

nate wrote:The Kenilworth people almost certainly contribute generously to various politicians. That's the missing information.
It is the funding heart of the DFL.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 10:45 am

Ubermoose wrote:
Archiapolis wrote:[ BUT, what I am saying is that if a "Move the Bikepath" cohort emerged that included "the bicyclists", then wouldn't that be cutting the legs out from under the Kenilworth crowd?
As interesting as that could make things, I think that the Kenilworth group would just refocus litigation on the environmental impacts on the creek, or on the "park land" which is the corridor, or anything else they feel might be impacted. I think it's more about grasping at anything to delay and eventually kill the SWLRT.
Exactly right.
Ubermoose wrote:On a different note, I loved how Mc laughlin called out mayor Hodges at the meeting yesterday. :D
Indeed, he was right on. Mayor Hodges must be feeling quite isolated at the moment. Backed into a corner, people either look for a way out or dig in. We'll have to see which route Mayor Hodges takes. Right now she appears to be digging in.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Viktor Vaughn » April 3rd, 2014, 10:46 am

"On a different note, I loved how Mc laughlin called out mayor Hodges at the meeting yesterday."

Really? I thought he sounded like he was lashing out from a defensive crouch. As if he was trying to deflect the blame that rightfully falls on his own shoulders.

It will be very sad, if and when this projects falls apart. But spending over $300M on tunnels to keep trains out of view from a handful a wealthy homeowners (and cover the planners' mistakes) ought to shock the consious. Even considering sunk costs, proceeding with this mistake will badly damage transit in the region.

Who will we have to buy off to implement the next line?

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mister.shoes
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mister.shoes » April 3rd, 2014, 10:48 am

In your estimation, David, what would be her best course of action to find a way out? Accept the chosen route (southern tunnel only, 21st added back in) and push for the best possible Penn Ave station connection to North and a written commitment to Midtown?
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 10:48 am

HiawathaGuy wrote:Good article about yesterday's meeting: http://www.journalmpls.com/news/sw-lrt- ... light-rail

Highlights:
Talk of the northern tunnel being dropped (saving >$60 million) possibly allowing for the 21st Street Station to be built.
Damn, I wish I could have stayed around long enough at the meeting to hear this exchange.
Mayor Hovland wrote:I think it deserves a conversation, especially in light of the mayor’s comments that Minneapolis didn’t ask for or want the shallow tunnels.
Reading Hodges' statement, this was the bit that stood out to me as well -- she basically said Minneapolis doesn't really care about tunnels.

http://www.minnpost.com/community-voice ... fairness-0

I think that was probably a misstatement on her part and it's going to come back to bite her.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 10:56 am

mister.shoes wrote:In your estimation, David, what would be her best course of action to find a way out? Accept the chosen route (southern tunnel only, 21st added back in) and push for the best possible Penn Ave station connection to North and a written commitment to Midtown?
She should accept the two shallow tunnels if that's what she thinks will please the residents the most. If people really don't care about the northern tunnel, it seems like a win to put the 21st station back in and make the #2 to connect to it. Hodges will have to decide what is best for her position. Beyond that, there are a number of things she could demand:

- Lower bus fares for urban routes

- Funding for the Bassett Creek Valley Master Plan

- An accelerated timeline for the Midtown corridor

- Enhanced bus service throughout North Minneapolis to connect to SWLRT (including making the Penn aBRT connect at Penn station)

- Funding for affordable housing to allow people to stay in their homes as the area around Glenwood develops

- Funding for the Nicollet/Central line

She could claim any of these things as a benefit for Minneapolis and a win. I'm sure there are a lot more ideas floating around, these are just some I've been thinking about.

She's not going to win on freight rail and she has to know that. If not, she's getting really bad advice from Peter Wagenius. This should now be about maximizing the benefit for Minneapolis and given that she ran and won on a racial and economic equity platform, it would seem to make sense for her to extract more equity for Minneapolis as that benefit.

ECtransplant
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby ECtransplant » April 3rd, 2014, 10:59 am

So, since Minneapolis doesn't care about tunnels, can we just build this at grade?

Archiapolis
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Archiapolis » April 3rd, 2014, 11:06 am

Viktor Vaughn wrote:"On a different note, I loved how Mc laughlin called out mayor Hodges at the meeting yesterday."

Really? I thought he sounded like he was lashing out from a defensive crouch. As if he was trying to deflect the blame that rightfully falls on his own shoulders.

It will be very sad, if and when this projects falls apart. But spending over $300M on tunnels to keep trains out of view from a handful a wealthy homeowners (and cover the planners' mistakes) ought to shock the consious. Even considering sunk costs, proceeding with this mistake will badly damage transit in the region.

Who will we have to buy off to implement the next line?
^^^ -1 indeed.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » April 3rd, 2014, 11:23 am

ECtransplant wrote:So, since Minneapolis doesn't care about tunnels, can we just build this at grade?
Well, no. Because at least south of the channel, there's not enough ROW for both LRT and freight and bike trail at grade. At least not without taking some significant properties.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby FISHMANPET » April 3rd, 2014, 11:38 am

Can we create a special taxation district so that Kenwood pays for the additonal cost of the tunnels, since they're the ones that want it so bad? It's not like there's no precedent, the airport paid for some of the tunneling there.

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woofner
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby woofner » April 3rd, 2014, 11:40 am

Archiapolis wrote: In my hypothetical, what if this group emerged, with the blessing of "the bicyclists" and they stood on a podium together and announced that the bike path should be moved.

What would happen then? What would the Kenilworth folks do?
There were several more fiscally and common-sensibly palatable options that were eliminated from consideration last summer, largely for the vague reason that they were "politically unviable". What I suspect this means is that Sue Haigh talked to some wealthy DFL donors who live along Kenilworth and asked them which ones they found the least distasteful, then she passed that on to project staff or key Corridor Management Committee members. So it doesn't really matter what advocates come up with at this point, the steamroller is steaming on.
Viktor Vaughn wrote:Really? I thought he sounded like he was lashing out from a defensive crouch. As if he was trying to deflect the blame that rightfully falls on his own shoulders.
Hennepin County certainly deserves a good chunk of blame for this ludicrous situation, but it's more Gail Dorfman's fault than McLaughlin's. He really only stepped into a leadership role in this project when Gail bailed.
Viktor Vaughn wrote: But spending over $300M on tunnels to keep trains out of view from a handful a wealthy homeowners (and cover the planners' mistakes) ought to shock the consious. Even considering sunk costs, proceeding with this mistake will badly damage transit in the region.

Who will we have to buy off to implement the next line?
You make a good point, but as not fun as it is to say, the fiscal situation isn't really a constraint here. We are to some degree playing with funny money. If you're looking for a rational justification, how about that the only reason there is such a big dollar sign is that we've been deferring this work for 50 years?
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froggie
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby froggie » April 3rd, 2014, 3:56 pm

Chatted with David Levinson about this over lunch today, but it fits into the current discussion. Was looking over documents related to Southwest and the freight reroute at the downtown library this morning, and came upon a couple interesting tidbits:

- The current routing of TC&W trains in the Kenilworth corridor is considered a *TEMPORARY* situation. It came about from the ca. 1998 closure of the old rail crossings on Hiawatha Ave and subsequent removal of tracks from the Midtown Corridor. Even 15 years ago, rerouting those trains to Kenilworth was considered a temporary solution, with the "permanent" solution being to reroute them to the MN&S spur.

- HCRRA bought the Kenilworth Corridor around that time with the express interest in eventually using it for transit.

- A study was done around 10 years ago for the MN&S upgrade/freight rerouting. As planning for Southwest was already underway by then, it should be noted that officials at the time proclaimed the freight rerouting "unrelated" to the Southwest project. Presumably because of what I posted in my first note.

- Prior to the Draft EIS for Southwest, conceptual engineering drawings were made including having a single-track freight rail, the Southwest LRT, and the Kenilworth bike/ped route all together and at-grade in the Kenilworth Corridor. From what I saw, it mostly fit within the existing right-of-way.


Given all of that, the issues regarding Kenilworth residents ultimately boil down to one thing: NIMBYism.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 3rd, 2014, 8:29 pm

froggie wrote:Chatted with David Levinson about this over lunch today, but it fits into the current discussion. Was looking over documents related to Southwest and the freight reroute at the downtown library this morning, and came upon a couple interesting tidbits:

- The current routing of TC&W trains in the Kenilworth corridor is considered a *TEMPORARY* situation. It came about from the ca. 1998 closure of the old rail crossings on Hiawatha Ave and subsequent removal of tracks from the Midtown Corridor. Even 15 years ago, rerouting those trains to Kenilworth was considered a temporary solution, with the "permanent" solution being to reroute them to the MN&S spur.

- HCRRA bought the Kenilworth Corridor around that time with the express interest in eventually using it for transit.

- A study was done around 10 years ago for the MN&S upgrade/freight rerouting. As planning for Southwest was already underway by then, it should be noted that officials at the time proclaimed the freight rerouting "unrelated" to the Southwest project. Presumably because of what I posted in my first note.

- Prior to the Draft EIS for Southwest, conceptual engineering drawings were made including having a single-track freight rail, the Southwest LRT, and the Kenilworth bike/ped route all together and at-grade in the Kenilworth Corridor. From what I saw, it mostly fit within the existing right-of-way.
I didn't know about that last part but everything else is well known and agreed to by all parties involved. The problem came when the existing MN&S alignment proved to be unworkable. When the alignment through St. Louis Park changed and started requiring takings, the city understandably got upset.

TC&W opposing a reroute was the death knell for that option. There is no way a reroute can happen without the cooperation of the railroads.

I completely understand why some people in Minneapolis feel misled and are angry about it. Like St. Louis Park, this isn't the plan they agreed to. The question is, what are the Mayor and the city council going to do about it?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby HoratioRincewind » April 3rd, 2014, 9:33 pm

http://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com/ ... sy-hodges/

A little (lot) harsher than I'd go. But a compelling argument all the same.

http://kstp.com/news/stories/s3385491.shtml?cat=1

Ignores the actually important lawsuit. The one the Park Board could file.

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woofner
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby woofner » April 4th, 2014, 8:52 am

Yeah I wrote about the freight rail relocation history a couple years ago here (Not to self-promote but the documents I based the post on have disappeared or been moved around and I don't feel like going hunting for them.):

http://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com/ ... k-a-train/

Hennepin County certainly did its due diligence in terms of ferreting every possibility of alternative for reroute, as well as measuring Kenilworth twice before cutting the freight rail from it once. But they still bungled, and in hindsight bungled big, in two ways:
--Engineeringwise, they should have looked harder at whether the SLP reroute was safe in terms of the longer, heavier trains TC&W was beginning to haul and would be hauling more in the future. They should have engaged TC&W earlier in the engineering process (although it's possible they did and the railroad didn't play ball, or maybe funding at this earlier, more conceptual stage didn't allow for it).
--Politicswise, there should have been a colocation option on the table from the beginning that would have involved taking the townhomes necessary to colocate all three modes at grade. This would have made Minneapolis less gung-ho about 3A, possibly would have kept 3C as a possible escape hatch maybe, and also might have cut off the Met Council from their tunnel insanity.
froggie wrote:- Prior to the Draft EIS for Southwest, conceptual engineering drawings were made including having a single-track freight rail, the Southwest LRT, and the Kenilworth bike/ped route all together and at-grade in the Kenilworth Corridor. From what I saw, it mostly fit within the existing right-of-way.
Can you give us some context on this? I have a set of conceptual engineering maps from 2006 that show freight rail removed. Are you sure the drawings you looked at didn't show the townhomes removed or the freight rail unrealistically close to the townhomes?
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mulad » April 4th, 2014, 9:30 am

One issue with colocation is that railroads today typically want a significant buffer zone around their tracks, on the order of 20-30 feet, and that's probably driven by liability issues regarding derailments. Many railroads also use this space for service roads next to their tracks. I'm not quite sure how that 20-30-foot buffer idea compares with the existing layout (both proximity to homes and proximity to the bike/ped paths). Derailments have happened in the area, but the best mitigation is to keep the tracks in good shape and make sure the rail cars are in good order. Hennepin County owns all or nearly all of the track in question, so to a certain extent they've been fighting against themselves, which I don't understand. Is a need for a buffer zone built into the existing agreements? Do we really need a buffer zone when the thing next door is also a railroad track? (albeit an expensive one with power wires above...)

It seems very unlikely to me that there would be a collision between a freight train and an LRV, though I think that's probably one of the fears driving the problem. LRVs stop pretty quickly, and if a derailment really did knock out the power, the LRV would immediately begin to slow down (whether emergency stop would still work -- or perhaps be automatically triggered -- I don't know).


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