Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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

Postby mullen » August 8th, 2013, 12:44 pm

i know i'm not comfortable with tunneling parkland and so near the lakes.
this line is too far down the track, pun intended, to move another project ahead of it though. it wouldn't be making a great impression with the FTA. we'd be just delaying both of these lines years.

meanwhile places like salt lake and portland keep laying track like nobody's business. seattle has a new light rail line and a streetcar coming. and cincinnati and kansas city are building their streetcars. i'm feeling transit envy.

talindsay
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » August 8th, 2013, 12:52 pm

mullen wrote:meanwhile places like salt lake and portland keep laying track like nobody's business. seattle has a new light rail line and a streetcar coming. and cincinnati and kansas city are building their streetcars. i'm feeling transit envy.
I totally understand (and mostly share) that sense, but that's no excuse to burden our local population with the outcome of terrible decisions for a hundred years. I think Bottineau could be ready to enter construction by 2015, barely behind the current timetable for Southwest - remember they're already at the point of starting engineering. Giving Southwest a couple years to reevaluate routing could probably keep it pretty near Bottineau's current timetable. They couldn't quite trade places, but they could each be within a year of the other's originally-scheduled date I think.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby FISHMANPET » August 8th, 2013, 1:19 pm

I have to agree that tunneling through a bike trail when we couldn't tunnel through the second largest employment center in the state is absurd. I realize we're not under the same cost metric constrains with SW as we were with Central, but I don't think any outsider with half a brain could look at a tunnel through a bike path and think that's a rational conclusion to reach.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mulad » August 8th, 2013, 1:35 pm

I'm not sure about Bottineau -- it gives me heartburn in many of the same ways as Southwest. Perhaps/hopefully things have changed, as I remember looking at plans where substantial chunks of the freight rail line in that corridor were going to be picked up and moved (albeit staying within existing ROW) so that LRT could be built in its place.

However, with all of this, it's probably true that these lines will have pretty good ridership anyway. Hiawatha ranks well in terms of passengers per mile (typically floating around #4 or #5 on Wikipedia's listing [below]), and hits the lower end of existing "heavy rail" rapid-transit lines. The Central Corridor segment of the Green Line will probably bump it up a bit, while the western extensions will probably pull it back down again (still likely remaining on par or slightly better than where it is now). But the point of all of this sturm und drang is that if we can get this ridership in corridors that look weak, we could do so much better with legitimately urban routes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Un ... _ridership
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Un ... _ridership

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 8th, 2013, 1:55 pm

So the question is, when do we start actually building them?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » August 8th, 2013, 2:39 pm

Met Council Chair Sue Haigh poo-pooing the idea of re-routing LRT, wants to get budget under $1.5B, delaying key vote until at least September: http://finance-commerce.com/2013/08/met ... oute-vote/

the kid
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby the kid » August 8th, 2013, 4:04 pm

Maybe this has been discussed before. But there is something I don't understand. Are we saying that there is not enough space to route the freight tracks, the LRT, and the bike path through the same corridor? Because, if this is the case, why don't we just get rid of the damn bike path. We can put that anywhere. That sounds a helluva lot more workable and cost effective than any of the other options.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mplser » August 8th, 2013, 6:08 pm

mulad wrote:The idea of only building the line southwest of the Kenilworth/Greenway junction has occurred to me. It's not a good idea, but it's an idea...

Highways have been built in that fashion all the time.
so the line would just dump all the people at the edge of town to fend for themselves? something tells me that people have more common sense than THAT at least....

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » August 8th, 2013, 6:34 pm

the kid wrote:Maybe this has been discussed before. But there is something I don't understand. Are we saying that there is not enough space to route the freight tracks, the LRT, and the bike path through the same corridor? Because, if this is the case, why don't we just get rid of the damn bike path. We can put that anywhere. That sounds a helluva lot more workable and cost effective than any of the other options.
Sure it's been talked about. The bike people are screaming bloody murder about it. I quite like Thatcher's idea of how to re-route the bike trail. It makes more sense to me than the current Met Council option.

The other poblem with at-grade LRT is that homeowners along the corridor will scream bloody murder. And thus so will Minneapolis.

I don't think it's out of the question, but it really doesn't make the political situation any easier.

And make no mistake, that is the problem here. Politics.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » August 8th, 2013, 6:42 pm

talindsay wrote:Personally I'm beginning to think Bottineau should get to jump ahead of SWLRT in the queue - it's cheaper and not riddled with as many serious issues as SWLRT. We can take this one back for reevaluation while Bottineau goes forward. And of course that would serve the North side better than SWLRT anyway so maybe once the north side actually had service people would stop trying to pretend SW needs to "serve" the northside.

People have been talking about jumping Bottineau ahead for at least a year. People involved longer than I have been saw the current political problems coming a long time ago.

It's very important to understand that while Bottineau certainly serves North Minneapolis, it doesn't provide the same access Southwest does. There are more jobs in the Southwest corridor than in the Bottineau corridor. Both lines serve North and we can't sacrifice one for the other. I'll still be yelling about Southwest serving North even if Bottineau gets built first. :)

Note that Bottineau has its own problems. The alignment is not ideal and ridership is still problematic. While Broadway/Penn wasn't a good idea either I wish we could reconsider an alignment down Broadway to Lyndale or maybe Washington. It would seem to serve the area better. When I talked to Joe Gladke about it a couple of years ago, he indicated that alignment was dropped due to travel time concerns. Apparently the actual technical issues aren't nearly as complicated as 3C is. From an FTA evaluation viewpoint, Bottineau is shakier than Southwest due to the ridership challenge.

If the residents of North don't care which gets built first I guess I don't have a problem with jumping Bottineau ahead but a delay to Southwest does jeopardize the whole project.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 8th, 2013, 6:56 pm

David Greene wrote:And make no mistake, that is the problem here. Politics.
I think that's what makes me chuckle a little. If the SW line is so important for providing Minneapolis residents access to jobs along the SW corridor, how could a council member or mayor seriously listen to bike fanatics complaining about the loss of a half mile leafy stretch of trail and slight re-routing OR 25 homeowners getting market rates for their homes (or higher to account for the inconvenience)?

At some point, doesn't someone or a body of people have to say that "if this corridor, and this alignment is so valuable to the city and region at large in improving mobility and job access," (you could obviously debate those 2 as we all have here...) "and further delays will cost this project $x million per week, then we're making the executive decision to do Y." If you allow every constituency to have input or draw a line in the sand that is un-crossable to them, all of a sudden 25 townhomes or a bike path can de-rail an entire project.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » August 8th, 2013, 6:59 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:
David Greene wrote:And make no mistake, that is the problem here. Politics.
I think that's what makes me chuckle a little. If the SW line is so important for providing Minneapolis residents access to jobs along the SW corridor, how could a council member or mayor seriously listen to bike fanatics complaining about the loss of a half mile leafy stretch of trail and slight re-routing OR 25 homeowners getting market rates for their homes (or higher to account for the inconvenience)?

At some point, doesn't someone or a body of people have to say that "if this corridor, and this alignment is so valuable to the city and region at large in improving mobility and job access," (you could obviously debate those 2 as we all have here...) "and further delays will cost this project $x million per week, then we're making the executive decision to do Y." If you allow every constituency to have input or draw a line in the sand that is un-crossable to them, all of a sudden 25 townhomes or a bike path can de-rail an entire project.
Welcome to 21st century American populist politics. You've pretty much precisely nailed it.

the kid
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby the kid » August 8th, 2013, 9:19 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:
David Greene wrote:And make no mistake, that is the problem here. Politics.
I think that's what makes me chuckle a little. If the SW line is so important for providing Minneapolis residents access to jobs along the SW corridor, how could a council member or mayor seriously listen to bike fanatics complaining about the loss of a half mile leafy stretch of trail and slight re-routing OR 25 homeowners getting market rates for their homes (or higher to account for the inconvenience)?

At some point, doesn't someone or a body of people have to say that "if this corridor, and this alignment is so valuable to the city and region at large in improving mobility and job access," (you could obviously debate those 2 as we all have here...) "and further delays will cost this project $x million per week, then we're making the executive decision to do Y." If you allow every constituency to have input or draw a line in the sand that is un-crossable to them, all of a sudden 25 townhomes or a bike path can de-rail an entire project.
So if we reroute the bike path, LRT and the freight train can share the route, we don't have to build a tunnel, the lakes stay clean, and 25 families don't have to give up their homes?!!

For chrissakes this isn't rocket science. Just reroute the damn bike path. Go with 3a and be done with it.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby exiled_antipodean » August 8th, 2013, 9:22 pm

Did all the people claiming to love the Kenilworth trails not notice all the signs saying the area is owned by Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority?!!

talindsay
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » August 8th, 2013, 9:37 pm

Yes, funny how "interim use" becomes an entitled necessity.

the other scott
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby the other scott » August 9th, 2013, 9:00 am

I bike the "Burnham Trail" for my commute from S Mpls to SLP. If they co-locate rail and LRT, I wouldn't miss that section one bit. As a matter of fact, I would be happy to see the elimination of one of the worst bike/street crossings in Minneapolis. Bikers blow through the stop sign on the trail when crossing Cedar Lake Ave and motorists stop on Cedar Lake when they shouldn't. Bikers and motorists behave unpredictably and it drives me crazy. HCRRA needs to exercise its authority and get rid of the bike trail. We bikers will survive.

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Anondson
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » August 9th, 2013, 9:28 am

I'll admit, the Dean-Sunset-France-Inglewood trail relocation could grow on me. Maybe some good could come of it, helping the France-Lake neighborhood's redevelopment as part of Saint Louis Park's desire to turn County 25 from highway to city street.

There was a recent article on three highways no one would miss in the Twin Cities, you could add County 25 from TH 100 to Lake. It does not need to be a highway, could be turned into a city arterial-type street lined with dense housing, office, and commercial, and France-Lake could be a pleasant node made more pleasant with the bike route located through it.

Not a best case solution, but I'm trying to see a silver lining. ;)

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woofner
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby woofner » August 9th, 2013, 9:55 am

the kid wrote: So if we reroute the bike path, LRT and the freight train can share the route, we don't have to build a tunnel, the lakes stay clean, and 25 families don't have to give up their homes?!!

For chrissakes this isn't rocket science. Just reroute the damn bike path. Go with 3a and be done with it.
Everyone always thinks their own opinion is the obvious one. Currently 2,000 riders a day use the Kenilworth Trail because of its direct route, separation from cars, and infrequent intersections. If city and regional policies are diligently and consistently followed, that could increase 4-5x in the next couple decades. This trail is an important link in the regional transportation network and it would be severely degraded by the detour proposed by the project office. Thatcher's detour would be less bad, but still worse than the existing alignment.

So why is it more important to save 26 unremarkable townhomes whose residents will probably move in the next 5 years anyway?
"Who rescued whom!"

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby orangevening » August 9th, 2013, 10:02 am

exiled_antipodean wrote:Did all the people claiming to love the Kenilworth trails not notice all the signs saying the area is owned by Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority?!!
The Midtown Greenway is owned by Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority too (along with Cedar Lake Trail, LRT trail etc) lets just wiped that bike trail too. It's "interim" so who cares?

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woofner
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby woofner » August 9th, 2013, 10:03 am

the other scott wrote: I would be happy to see the elimination of one of the worst bike/street crossings in Minneapolis. Bikers blow through the stop sign on the trail when crossing Cedar Lake Ave and motorists stop on Cedar Lake when they shouldn't.
Considering the vast majority of traffic engineers have no more training than you or I on how non-motorized traffic should treated, I would say that signage directed towards bikes & peds should be ignored as a rule. In this particular case, the bike/ped traffic on Kenilworth is more than half that of the motor vehicle traffic on Cedar Lake PARKWAY. Because of the relatively high level of crossing non-motorized traffic and due to the fact that the motor vehicle traffic is on a street that is supposed to be recreational and calmed, the right-of-way should go to the non-motorized traffic. A signalized crossing may be a decent compromise for the vast majority who are unwilling to stomach any challenge to the primacy of cars, thought, and that is exactly what Southwest would bring.
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