Minneapolis Streetcar System

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
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Nick
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Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Nick » May 31st, 2012, 4:16 pm

Wouldn't it be grand?
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mplser
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mplser » June 1st, 2012, 5:20 pm

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/transplan/comp/public-works_trans-plan_streetcarstudy

Lancestar2

Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 6th, 2012, 12:24 am

has their been any progress as to figuring out funding and creating a timeline to bring it to life?

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mulad » June 6th, 2012, 7:38 am

Metro Transit has a website for the Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis:

http://metrotransit.org/midtown-transitway.aspx

Minneapolis is also recommending that a streetcar line be built to serve some part of North Minneapolis, since it's most likely that the Bottineau corridor will follow the BNSF rail trench all the way down to Olson Memorial Highway (MN-55).

I'm not sure where all of the city's Vikings stadium funding is coming from at this point, but redisciple had noted a while back that parking meter fees were one source that was going to be at least partially redirected toward the stadium (perhaps only game-day revenue). Things can change -- particularly if LGA formulas get tweaked -- but it seems like the city is going to have much less of its own funding available to put into any project.

But we've got Metro Transit starting to do its own studies of corridors now (such as with the "Rapid Bus" Arterial Transit Corridor Study and the Midtown Corridor), and while Metro Transit is a division of the Met Council, Metro Transit's interests are more closely aligned with those of Minneapolis simply because that's where the largest chunk of the area's transit riders live. Not that they have much money available either...

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woofner
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby woofner » June 6th, 2012, 10:19 am

I think that the final stadium funding plan dropped parking revenue, but I admit I couldn't keep up with the twists and turns at the end.

The Transportation & Public Works committee just passed a revised resolution supporting a Bottineau Transitway through three miles of parkland, and I think it had less teeth this time regarding a West Broadway streetcar:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Minneapolis supports the LPA recommendation of the PAC, and identifies Alternative B-C-D1 as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Bottineau Transitway project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Minneapolis commits to working with Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council to pursue enhanced transit service, economic development and livability in North Minneapolis, including a West Broadway Alternatives Analysis; evaluation of rapid bus improvements for the Emerson / Fremont Avenues North and Penn Avenue North corridors; development of the mixed income, mixed use project at Penn & West Broadway with enhanced transit facilities; the creation of a Community Works project for Penn Avenue North; and feeder bus network improvements connecting North and Northeast Minneapolis with the Bottineau Transitway.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution adopted by the City of Minneapolis be forwarded to HCRRA and the Metropolitan Council for their consideration.
Based on the timeline from the Nicollet-Central streetcar lines, the AA study will actually begin sometime in 2014, which is too bad because I'm eager to see how they weight the scales in favor of a streetcar line replacing a bus route with a weekday ridership of 4200.

PS - Yonah Freemark's map extends 38th St through Lakewood, which majorly messes up my orientation in South Mpls.
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 13th, 2012, 10:25 am

Anybody else thing the Streetcar "starter segments" is a setup for failure? I remember reading that buses would still be running along Nicollet Ave because the streetcars would not service the entire route! IMO it would be as awful as building only half the greeway segment!

Also as much as I would love a Nicollet Mall Streetcar it only seems logical that the greenway would be the best option to start! as it would have the most impact (even if the SW corridor isn't built there is still the 35w Orange line station at lake plus many other bus routes

I would hate to see them build such a small segment that having streetcars would seem "useless" to the general population. Reminds me of a curtain commuter train that also was built in segments, :lol: what was it called again?

*EDIT* I was reffering on how they were leaning towards making Nicollet Ave/ Central their starter line from 15th st. to the LRT station

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby ECtransplant » June 26th, 2012, 8:59 pm

http://finance-commerce.com/2012/06/met ... onnection/

"The streetcars could operate on open space that sits immediately south of the bike trail, and may need to be single track because of space constraints."

I feel like single track could be set up for failure. There's the potential to carry a lot of people along this route, but single track, IMO, could lead to either not meeting that potential if the line is poorly done, or could not be able to meet the large demand given the limits of a single track route.

That said, still glad to see the ball moving, albeit slowly, on this.

minntransplant
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby minntransplant » June 26th, 2012, 9:33 pm

http://councilmeetings.metc.state.mn.us ... 12_204.pdf

same info here; just another source

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby MSPtoMKE » June 26th, 2012, 10:48 pm

Can't we call this a tram line or something other than a streetcar? It won't actually be in a street, after all.

Would the line have to be single tracked under virtually all bridges, or just some of them? Would it need to be single tracked at stations as well? Obviously there would be passing tracks, but I would hope they would keep the single track segments as short as possible. I know at one time they were also discussing using "gauntlet tracks" , where one of the tracks crosses most of the way into the right-of-way of the other track, but doesn't get quite close enough to merge. This eliminates the need for switches, but still saves space.
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FISHMANPET
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby FISHMANPET » June 27th, 2012, 6:36 am

The biggest problem with single tracking I think is that it locks you into a schedule, because the passing tracks dictate the frequency. If it needs to be single track under a bridge that's not so bad, but it's probably cost prohibitive to put switches on each side of every bridge. If it was 50/50 single and double track there would be more flexibility, but the idea of physically constructing a time table into the route bothers me.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mulad » June 27th, 2012, 7:55 am

MSPtoMKE wrote:Can't we call this a tram line or something other than a streetcar? It won't actually be in a street, after all.

Would the line have to be single tracked under virtually all bridges, or just some of them? Would it need to be single tracked at stations as well? Obviously there would be passing tracks, but I would hope they would keep the single track segments as short as possible. I know at one time they were also discussing using "gauntlet tracks" , where one of the tracks crosses most of the way into the right-of-way of the other track, but doesn't get quite close enough to merge. This eliminates the need for switches, but still saves space.
We could make a separate thread for the Midtown Corridor, since it is actually being studied independently (and it seems to be somewhat more of a Metro Transit project at the moment than a City of Minneapolis one). Most of the routes planned through the city would actually be streetcars, but this area has an opportunity for a good grade-separated line.

Historically, each of the "portals" under the bridges was generally able to handle 2 tracks -- it seems like 3 could fit in some of them. Most bridges have 3 portals because of the layout of the embankments and supporting columns. We shouldn't have any trouble in this spot since the bike-/pedway is running through the north set of portals, but there are other areas where the trail goes through the center and there might not be much room in the south portal (some of those are much more open than the ones shown here).
greenway-bridges.jpg
Of course, it seems like everyone has different ideas about what sort of loading gauge should exist for trains of all types -- the spacing above and on the sides for rail vehicles. What worked for the Milwaukee Road in the 1930s or whenever might not fly with the safety regulations of today.

The grading of the trench itself seems to be the real issue to me -- getting a double-tracked line to fit well would really require a lot of retaining walls along, and that'll certainly make the "greenway" a lot less green.

I suspect the real problems exist at either end of the trench, over near Hiawatha and on the west side around Hennepin Avenue. There might be room at Hennepin for tracks, but building a station there would require some creative thinking:
greenway-uptown.jpg
Redisciple mentioned a while back that many of the historic bridges are less of a problem than the new ones in terms of clearance. I'm not sure where he read that. As long as there's willingness to use retaining walls and maybe rebuild some of today's entrance ramps, I suspect there are actually only a few really troublesome chokepoints. But moving that stuff around costs money...
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mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mattaudio » June 27th, 2012, 8:45 am

Makes me wonder why the greenway was built in such a way that constricts streetcar ROW.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 27th, 2012, 9:25 am

mattaudio wrote:Makes me wonder why the greenway was built in such a way that constricts streetcar ROW.
I agree, even if they were never planning on using the Greenway for street cars yet I would assume they would have wanted at least to maintain the usable space that was allowed by all the other bridges over the greenway.

Also I think some retaining walls could be tastefully done with using rocks instead of bricks. Also pushing the wall back about 1-2 ft. would allow for some plants :D (of course they could build a concrete wall behind it to make sure it was stable) Sure would look better than what they usually build. Here is a link to an example of what I was thinking.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_AlbYxZivdQM/T ... wall+2.jpg

Glad the city agrees with me that this project should be started right away! :lol:

tabletop
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby tabletop » June 27th, 2012, 6:45 pm

MSPtoMKE wrote:Can't we call this a tram line or something other than a streetcar? It won't actually be in a street, after all.


Could call it the Greenway Shuttle

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 27th, 2012, 10:04 pm

tabletop wrote:
MSPtoMKE wrote:Can't we call this a tram line or something other than a streetcar? It won't actually be in a street, after all.


Could call it the Greenway Shuttle
Actually I think it will be called the "Metro" and probably officially called the "Greenway Metro" I believe they also wanted to include the streetcar lines into the Metro name, although if they also have colors it may get a bit confusing because that would mean a lot more lines would need a different color.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 28th, 2012, 10:28 am

Technically, wouldn't it be (relatively) easy and somewhat cheap to just dig a few feet deeper along the trench if clearance was an issue? CERTAINLY cheaper than replacing 1-2 dozen bridges!

Maybe as part of the funding package they could include regrading the whole Greenway so it COULD be green and lush and very pedestrian-friendly and ALSO be commuter-friendly, with clear and effective separations between the two.

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Nick
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Nick » June 28th, 2012, 10:42 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:Technically, wouldn't it be (relatively) easy and somewhat cheap to just dig a few feet deeper along the trench if clearance was an issue? CERTAINLY cheaper than replacing 1-2 dozen bridges!
You should probably call them and suggest that. That seems like a painfully obvious solution that's never occurred to anyone, including myself.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mulad » June 28th, 2012, 10:51 am

I've been thinking more about side-to-side clearance than vertical clearance -- yeah, hopefully just digging down a bit would handle that issue if it is one at all. There's also the possibility that a type of third-rail system could be used. I think Bombardier has started pushing a system where only short segments underneath the rail vehicles themselves would be actively electrified at any given time, making it safer to have live rails at ground level, but I doubt it'd be much of a problem. There are parts of the Greenway which are already sunken down a bit relative to the bike path.

I wish Google Streetview would run one of their bikes/trikes down this so it'd be easier to scope things out...

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Andrew_F
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Andrew_F » June 29th, 2012, 1:36 am

Unless there's some new-fangled way of doing third rails, they won't work with at-grade crossings on single-car trains. At least not reliably.

EDIT: Nevermind-- yes, that system you're talking about would qualify as a new-fangled third rail that might work for at-grade crossings.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 30th, 2012, 10:25 am

Idea!

Image

Just gotta watch out for thoes thunder storms! :o



...isn't there anybody here who travels the Greenway regularly? If so I'm sure they could take a few pictures of the bridges if they wanted to... if not then I might have to get in shape a bit and a month or two I'll get my lazy but out and get it done! ;)


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