Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
RailBaronYarr
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 27th, 2015, 8:29 am

^I'd very much like to see that.

I guess I don't disagree with your earlier breakdown. The whole things has felt very shrouded in mystery regarding where the costs and benefits of the line are. I say that as a person who's read many-to-most of the important documents (and even project update ppts/meeting minutes) but never attended a community meeting.

An interactive tool (or at least list of scenarios with graphics) that lets us see the total cost, ridership, & CEI given you remove certain links and stations would be really nice.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 27th, 2015, 9:08 am

From the press release it sounds like a lot of the cost is due to soil conditions in Eden Prairie. I wonder if that could be routed around. I'm curious about the environmental cleanup costs. Where is it? Blake Road or OMF site in Hopkins? Golden Auto in SLP?

Sounds like it will be an interesting CAC meeting this week.

twincitizen
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » April 27th, 2015, 9:18 am

If that's the case, EP would likely lose their preferred routing (which I favor as well) and we'd go back to the far inferior DEIS routing that was pretty much squished alongside 212/Technology. Not the end of the world for the project as a whole, but a huge blow to what little walkability there could've been from EP Center. I can definitely see the cost savings in that. There's probably $200MM or more in keeping the line along 212/Technology and ending it at Southwest Station.

MNdible
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » April 27th, 2015, 9:20 am

I'd speculate some subtle changes could make a big difference on these costs. The goal at a first pass design would be to keep the grades as level as possible and have optimal geometries. In order to achieve these, you're spending a lot of money on retaining walls, etc., and when you find out you have poor soils, those costs will multiply.

If you're willing to sacrifice some on the ideal routing, a lot of these elements can probably be cut back.

acs
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby acs » April 27th, 2015, 9:30 am

I'm done defending this project and the Met Council as a whole. Someone else with a strib account can try. This really is our version of the Big Dig and heads need to roll before I have any confidence in the Met Council to plan and execute transit projects in the future. The chance that Bottineau stays under $1B and opens in 2021 is virtually nil. The political cost of a project 6 years delayed and 100% over budget (at least, this is far from over) is already high. The GOP took the house saying those libs and the evil met council want to spend all our money on choo-choos while our outstate and suburban roads go to shit, and you know what? the're right. This also makes it even harder than it already was to ask for an increase in the CTIB tax as part of a transportation deal considering that today's increase in costs is about as much as the revenue a .25 cent bump in the tax would bring in annually. So for all of you hoping that aBRT and local bus service will improve if the met council gets more funding, keep waiting.

Also, even if the house were so inclined as to put the state match for this project in their budget, that amount just went up another $34 million after they had already finalized their budget. I'm sure they will jump at the chance to amend that amount higher. Oh and don't even get started on 2016, because if a transportation bill doesn't pass this session (and now the Democrats are going to have to make some significant concessions just to fund this one line, lessening the chance of a deal), the first thing the GOP will do on the campaign trail is nail the DFL to the cross over this project that not many of them actually support.

If you ever needed a more quintessential example of government waste and ineptitude, look no further than this project. This latest delay wasn't caused by NIMBY's or the GOP or things outside their control. This was straight up mismanagement and poor planning and the blame falls squarely on Duinick and the Council and the project office. There are more efficient ways to let 30,000 people commute from beyond the beltway to Minneapolis, and it looks like this: http://tinyurl.com/o7ole5f

twincitizen
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » April 27th, 2015, 9:33 am

Joke option: Buy Hopkins Honda, demolish the building and use it as a giant surface park & ride, temporarily terminating the line at Downtown Hopkins Station. Once "Phase Two" is built at some point in the future, you can develop that massive parcel as the greatest TOD site in history. As it stands today, I don't think Honda has any intention of leaving or selling that parcel, which sucks big time for the line as currently planned. The Honda site never got much, if any press, which has always kind of surprised me.

grant1simons2
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby grant1simons2 » April 27th, 2015, 9:37 am

Okay but this would actually be wonderful. The line only going out to Hopkins in a phase 1 type situation should have been the deal the entire time. Hopkins could still develop their mixed-use "artery" and downtown park. The Met Council could spend more time figuring out the route and environmental points past the station. And many more benefits.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 27th, 2015, 9:39 am

I went back to the 2030 ridership projections from the AA and made some estimations (why the revised bar chart for 3A doesn't have actual numbers listed is beyond me...). Just as a talking point.

Mitchell 2300
Southwest Station 1500
Eden Prairie 1950
Golden Triangle 490
City West 375
Opus 950
Shady Oak 1500
Hopkins 1275
Blake 1500
Louisiana 1100
Woodale 1200
Beltline 1400
West Lake 2800
21st St 1000
Penn Ave 550
Van White 275
Royalston 1125
Target Field Station 650
Warehouse 3550
Nicollet Mall 4050
Gov Center 350
DTE 1625

The 2009 DEIS transportation appendix says the total daily boardings would be just shy of 30k (the above totals to 31.5k). It also states 7,150 of the boardings would be reverse commute, but no detail as to the share of each station heading outbound as their trip origin.

Of course, cutting certain stations (or re-routing them to the point they don't retain expected benefits) depends on your goals for the line. Strong initial ridership? Southwest Station is a must. Suburban retrofit to walkable place? Eden Prairie TC (current routing) has okay potential, long-term so do the SLP stations. Getting folks to skills-/income- specific jobs? Taken individually, Opus, City West, and Golden Triangle don't look that great, but cut any of them and you start losing a big part of the line's political constituency.

acs
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby acs » April 27th, 2015, 9:43 am

http://www.startribune.com/local/west/301418451.html

Even Gov. Dayton is questioning this boondoggle:
Dayton said he was “shocked and appalled” when he was informed of the project’s much larger cost, and he questioned whether it can actually be built. He suggested that other public transportation options for that swath of the metro area should be considered.

“The continuing escalation of the costs to design and build this line raise[s] serious questions about its viability and affordability,” the governor said in a statement. “The full board of the Metropolitan Council should quickly review other options for providing much-needed public transit to this region of the metro area.”

Dayton also said he’ll hold off recommending “any additional public money be committed to the project until I am satisfied that its cost can be justified and properly managed.”
While the governor questioned whether the council’s staff is able “to manage a project of this magnitude,” he expressed “complete confidence” in the council board, which he recently appointed, and in Duininck.
I think the answer to the Governor's question is no, they can't. I'm sorry but it's time to let the professionals handle transit projects going forward, MNDOT.

twincitizen
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » April 27th, 2015, 9:45 am

Cutting large P&Rs would further erode the numbers for some of those suburban stations, likely removing the need for the station at all. The problem with removing too many stations, of course, is that at some point you should just build commuter rail (either Northstar Trains or DMUs) for far less money.

illman00
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby illman00 » April 27th, 2015, 9:59 am

Mitchell is projected to have more rides than the southwest station with the park n ride?

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 27th, 2015, 10:03 am

acs wrote:If you ever needed a more quintessential example of government waste and ineptitude, look no further than this project. This latest delay wasn't caused by NIMBY's or the GOP or things outside their control. This was straight up mismanagement and poor planning and the blame falls squarely on Duinick and the Council and the project office. There are more efficient ways to let 30,000 people commute from beyond the beltway to Minneapolis, and it looks like this: http://tinyurl.com/o7ole5f
You're blowing this out of proportion, panicking before it's warranted. Can we build this at $2 billion? No way. But I think there are things that can be done to get the cost down. MNdible outlines some of them. Cutting Mitchell is an obvious option. This may be one case where releasing information early is not a good idea.

I'm a bit sick about Dayton and you throwing the engineers under the bus. You can't know what soil conditions are until you test them. You can't test them until you have a design saying where the line will go. It's really bad that those tests turned out the way they did but that's how engineering goes. Sometimes you discover things that make the project infeasible as designed.

If they can't get the cost down, I think we do need to reopen discussion of routing through Uptown somehow. That said, I'd only support it if there was a GUARANTEE of a connecting streetcar route through the current 3A.

And self-driving cars don't solve any of our real problems. You still have a buttload of single-occupant vehicles taking up road space.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 27th, 2015, 10:04 am

grant1simons2 wrote:Okay but this would actually be wonderful. The line only going out to Hopkins in a phase 1 type situation should have been the deal the entire time. Hopkins could still develop their mixed-use "artery" and downtown park. The Met Council could spend more time figuring out the route and environmental points past the station. And many more benefits.
Except terminating the line early doesn't get people from Minneapolis out to many jobs and it doesn't help convert freeway-driving people from EP to transit. The EP connection is important.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 27th, 2015, 10:06 am

acs wrote:I think the answer to the Governor's question is no, they can't. I'm sorry but it's time to let the professionals handle transit projects going forward, MNDOT.
You want the agency that says "we don't do transit" to handle transit?

There *are* professional staff at the Met Council, you know. The Council itself is no different than MnDOT's commissioner: political appointees.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » April 27th, 2015, 10:08 am

illman00 wrote:Mitchell is projected to have more rides than the southwest station with the park n ride?
If you eliminate Mitchell people will drive the additional mile to SW station. Plenty of people have been voicing that observation for a while.

There is a fairly significant Somali population within walking/biking distance to Mitchell and it'd be a shame to lose that, but cutting Mitchell means saving trackage which means it's a bigger plus to the budget than eliminating any other station.

acs
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby acs » April 27th, 2015, 10:11 am

You guys do realize that changing the route or cutting stations will almost certainly require going through the municipal consent process again? That alone will probably delay it another construction season and delay the opening until 2021, which will also increase the cost. Just remember to consider construction inflation when discussing making cuts, as they might not even make a dent in the cost once the delay is factored in. I just don't see how this gets down under $2 Billion, and at that cost this is a dead project.

EOst
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby EOst » April 27th, 2015, 10:16 am

acs wrote:You guys do realize that changing the route or cutting stations will almost certainly require going through the municipal consent process again? That alone will probably delay it another construction season and delay the opening until 2021, which will also increase the cost. Just remember to consider construction inflation when discussing making cuts, as they might not even make a dent in the cost once the delay is factored in. I just don't see how this gets down under $2 Billion, and at that cost this is a dead project.
Only for the affected cities.

illman00
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby illman00 » April 27th, 2015, 10:23 am

David Greene wrote:
Except terminating the line early doesn't get people from Minneapolis out to many jobs and it doesn't help convert freeway-driving people from EP to transit. The EP connection is important.
How many people ride the bus from the sw transit already? How many more would ride the lrt?

acs
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby acs » April 27th, 2015, 10:29 am

David Greene wrote:
acs wrote:I think the answer to the Governor's question is no, they can't. I'm sorry but it's time to let the professionals handle transit projects going forward, MNDOT.
You want the agency that says "we don't do transit" to handle transit?

There *are* professional staff at the Met Council, you know. The Council itself is no different than MnDOT's commissioner: political appointees.
At the very least MNDOT attempts to find efficiency. There was no money to expand 494 from 394 to 55, but the department found savings of 5% last year so boom, we're getting a new freeway lane each way. MNDOT's goal is to make driving easier throughout the state, and when they apply their expertise and extensive staff to that goal they are very, very good at achieving their goal. Far better then the Met Council is or probably ever will be at providing good transit service.

EOst
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby EOst » April 27th, 2015, 10:32 am

I'm glad this conversation got even more ridiculous, it was definitely too sensible and fact-based before.


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