Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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Silophant
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Silophant » December 20th, 2017, 9:01 am

So does that officially place the projected opening after the Blue Line Extension?

Bakken2016
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » December 20th, 2017, 9:13 am

Silophant wrote:
December 20th, 2017, 9:01 am
So does that officially place the projected opening after the Blue Line Extension?
Yes, as long as Blue Line extension stays on time. It will open before SWLRT.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 20th, 2017, 11:12 am

1988: Need identified for rail in Hopkins-Downtown corridor

2002: Transit study begins

2010: LPA

2023(?): Trains start rolling

How is it that we can build a ten-lane bridge over the Mississippi River in under a year, but 14 miles of above-ground, standard-gauge rail through existing rail corridors and empty fields is going to take 35 years, or 20 if we're being generous and only counting the current implementation cycle? I probably sound like a bit of a broken record at this point, but then, so does each new delay. It's still a worthy project, but it's honestly staggering and damning how much of a struggle it has been.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » December 20th, 2017, 12:17 pm

In fairness, SWLRT has actually been studied for far longer than 1988: https://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com ... aid-plans/

But ALSO in fairness, this isn't only a problem afflicting transit projects. The Stillwater bridge replacement had been discussed/planned for a long time, too. But yes, in general, significant transit projects in this country spin their wheels with studies on the shelf far more than road projects have tended to.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » December 20th, 2017, 1:07 pm

Transit projects have many more hoops to jump through than road projects and those hoops/goalposts keep changing.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 20th, 2017, 1:47 pm

To be clear, when I said "damning" I wasn't talking (just) about Metro Transit or the Council. It's mostly meant as an indictment of the moving goalposts that David mentioned.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 20th, 2017, 3:02 pm

Seriously what's our problem with this long as* process of planning to implementation? Is it lack of motivation? Lack of dedicated funding? NIMBYism having too much control in the planning process? Lack of support, political and public? Is it a desire to nitpick every little detail in these projects, everything from where a sign should be to what material a wall should be made out of? Is it the feds setting the stakes or "moving the goal posts" too often so achieving funding is difficult?

If/when this opens, I won't exactly be in a celebratory mood considering how long its taken and all the easily avoidable mistakes made along the way. I pray that I and other people will be able to cut down the time needed to plan future projects. If other countries, and even other American cities, can swiftly plan and build transit, the Twin Cities should be able to.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby VacantLuxuries » December 20th, 2017, 3:09 pm

Seriously what's our problem with this long as* process of planning to implementation?
Building a funding plan around a 50% match from the feds that requires hoop jumping and anticipating last minute changes as administrations come and go.

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Nick
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Nick » December 20th, 2017, 3:30 pm

Also, one of the big problems is that the project is Bad.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » December 20th, 2017, 7:12 pm

VacantLuxuries wrote:
December 20th, 2017, 3:09 pm
Seriously what's our problem with this long as* process of planning to implementation?
Building a funding plan around a 50% match from the feds that requires hoop jumping and anticipating last minute changes as administrations come and go.
Yeah I've definitely soured on the federal matching program. It's caused us to make lots of dumb project decisions while also adding lots and lots of speed bumps.
Nick wrote:Also, one of the big problems is that the project is Bad.
This debate is tired. There are legitimate critiques of the project, and there are legitimate upsides as well. Whether or not they outweigh each other is beside the point. The point right now is that once we do collectively decide something like this is worthwhile--whether or not we get that decision right--it shouldn't take decades to actually realize it.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Chef » December 20th, 2017, 8:33 pm

tmart wrote:
December 20th, 2017, 7:12 pm

This debate is tired. There are legitimate critiques of the project, and there are legitimate upsides as well. Whether or not they outweigh each other is beside the point. The point right now is that once we do collectively decide something like this is worthwhile--whether or not we get that decision right--it shouldn't take decades to actually realize it.
It is not tired, it is true. There is no major grassroots constituency that is pushing for this the way there was for the two previous projects. The urban transit lines had large numbers of people who could imagine themselves using them at some point and wanted them to be built. This line serves auto oriented communities and as far as I can tell, most people who live in the corridor are indifferent to it. This whole process is being driven by "official Minnesota". It has come from a top down process and will probably be a boondoggle once it is built. This is a poorly designed line that mostly serves the egos of those who planned it. Most of our suburban transit has failed, with ridership below projections (BRT and commuter rail), I expect that this will be more of the same.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 20th, 2017, 9:04 pm

Since the can of worms is open I might as well dig in.

The two big existing suburban transit investments, the Red Line and Northstar, both were planned illogically just as Southwest LRT has. The Red Line isn't true BRT, serves auto-oriented developments, and doesn't take advantage of bus stops at 46th Street and Lake Street on 35W to go downtown (all those markets being transit oriented). The Northstar serves park & rides and that's it. Yeah there's been a couple developments, but when there are only five roundtrips per day in a limited time span you need to have your hopes way up high to believe it will meet ridership projections.

Now for Southwest. Southwest serves a mix of transit-oriented markets (Downtown Hopkins, St. Louis Park to some extent, West Lake, and Downtown Minneapolis) and auto-oriented markets (Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and St. Louis Park to some extent). But it will also serve a forest, a hidden beach, trails, and gravel pits only to get some sweet development happening in Basset Creek. Logically the Uptown route is the right choice, but the planners had to bow to federal government demands to make it faster (in theory), cheaper (in theory), and easier to build (in theory). As time goes on and it gets more expensive and complicated, it looks like the Uptown route was the right choice after all.

Of course, the Uptown vs. Kenwood route debate has been beaten to death. But there's more idiocy; a freight reroute that was never promised despite politicians in Minneapolis saying it was. And the freight railroad was never asked how they feel about it until the 11th hour, and once they said no it was one of the final nails in the coffin for that idea. The Met Council wasted a couple years trying to convince St. Louis Park and the railroad that their moronic freight reroute idea would be fine, and when they said no the Met Council made the plan more idiotic.

But wait, there's more! Why do we need this to be a 10-minute frequency LRT route, or why do we need it to go all the way to Eden Prairie? Why couldn't we have just upgraded the existing freight rail corridor and had passenger trains and freight trains operate on the same tracks? Or, why couldn't we say screw you to the feds and build it to Hopkins (with a bus bridge further southwest) and build it to Eden Prairie at a later date? Inertia and bureaucracy. This isn't a home project where if nothing is going right, you just cut your losses, stop, and change plans. With our model of transit planning, there wouldn't be rail transit on this corridor for another couple of decades if we stopped now and changed it. It's a snowball rolling down hill, and eventually it'll crash (ridership will be below expectations and the anti-transit folks will raise hell) or safely come to a stop (ridership reaches expectations, but there was a big risk).

Multimodal
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Multimodal » December 20th, 2017, 10:30 pm

It sure seems like SWLRT has induced a huge amount of urban-style development in what was essentially low-value industrial areas: between Hwy 7 and Excelsior Blvd. in SLP & Hopkins, as the line goes west, and between Hwy 169 & Shady Oak/Hwy 212 as it goes south.

These areas were aging and getting dumpy and now they are seeing a renaissance. I mean, how many tries did Hopkins have, trying to rejuvenate its downtown with zero success? But only the promise of people—LRT, housing—is causing its downtown to flourish. And the plans for realigning streets and creating new street connections will only make the area more vibrant.

I do think it made more sense to make it go where the people already are (Uptown), but certainly there has been a lot of positive change in the areas where it will end up. These stations will be the new urban centers of those suburbs, and density will emanate from those nodes, saving at least part of those suburbs from the tyranny of the car.

Bakken2016
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » January 24th, 2018, 12:59 pm

http://www.startribune.com/lawmakers-ca ... 470787563/

For F*** sakes, I'm so over Scott Dibble........

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » January 24th, 2018, 1:01 pm

It would be great if a bunch of his constituents (I don't live in his district) wrote letters and reminded him that he represents a lot of people besides the few that live in his building.

Bakken2016
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » January 24th, 2018, 1:12 pm

MNdible wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 1:01 pm
It would be great if a bunch of his constituents (I don't live in his district) wrote letters and reminded him that he represents a lot of people besides the few that live in his building.
Does he actually live in that building? That seems like a major conflict of interest, I live in his district. I will call him out for it if he does.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » January 24th, 2018, 1:21 pm

Sorry, that should have said "this building", not "his building."

Bakken2016
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Bakken2016 » January 24th, 2018, 1:27 pm

MNdible wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 1:21 pm
Sorry, that should have said "this building", not "his building."
Ah gotcha, I still wrote him a letter to stop trying to kill this project with minor things.

BoredAgain
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby BoredAgain » January 24th, 2018, 2:22 pm

Bakken2016 wrote:
January 24th, 2018, 12:59 pm
http://www.startribune.com/lawmakers-ca ... 470787563/

For F*** sakes, I'm so over Scott Dibble........
I read this yesterday and I am still trying to understand how "Vibrations from trains in a rail corridor" is a reason to stop a project. If this were private increase of freight traffic, there would be absolutely nothing that anyone could do or say.

Of course, I am also of the opinion that we should have just bought out this condo complex and torn it down instead of putting in a rail tunnel to avoid encroachment.

tmart
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby tmart » January 24th, 2018, 2:47 pm

It's yet another reminder that NIMBYism is a largely nonpartisan phenomenon. In the abstract, Dems usually support transit investments more than GOPers, but that totally breaks down at the hyper-local level. See also: The last four decades in and around San Francisco.


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