Minneapolis Streetcar System

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby twincitizen » June 16th, 2013, 9:37 pm

Hilarious derogatory nickname for the starter streetcar line -- "White Castle Express"

(use Google maps if the joke is lost on you)

planetxan
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby planetxan » June 25th, 2013, 1:59 pm

Tcmetro wrote:I'd rather see the 10 and the 18 run express from the point where the streetcar begins instead of combining them with local routes. For instance, there are many apartments and shopping areas on the 18 line in Bloomington; however, the ridership is low because the travel times are too long, and the frequencies and hours are low. Part of the reason is that people living further out are going to have less business in the core, but also partly because the transfers are poor for the crosstown commutes that dominate the area.

So if the streetcar was built from 40th and Central to 46th and Nicollet, it would be nice to see the 18's run express between 46th and Downtown (stopping at 38th, Lake, maybe 26th, and Franklin), and same with the 10's (stops maybe at Lowry, Broadway, and University)
At the last meeting I attended, this is exactly what the city is thinking.

Instead of looking at the length of the various routes and sub-routes, what should be considered is where the most passengers are getting on and off. It does not matter if the bus goes all the way to Bloomington, if the majority of the passengers use it between downtown and 38th (or wherever), then that is the place for more intense investment, i.e. streetcar infrastructure.

Having limited stop buses over that segment would make the longer bus trips from farther out shorter, faster, and more comfortable, which would only be a good thing. It sounds like the city wants to keep the bus and streetcars on the same street so it is easier to transfer from one to the other. I think this make sense, at least outside of downtown.

As for Washington Ave and Hennepin County's reluctance, the city could shift the streetcar north to 2nd Ave, going north or south. This would take the tracks out of traffic and put the stops in the middle of popular destinations (Mill City Museum, the Guthrie, the Riverfront). Also, that street leads right to the old rail track that crosses the river over to Dinkytown, where, once again, you would have a stop in the middle of the destination but out of traffic in the Dinktown ditch and then can continue right to the sports area. Because there would be no cross streets or traffic from TCF stadium to the Guthrie, moving between these popular destinations would be a snap, faster than the light rail line even.

Elliot Altbaum
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Elliot Altbaum » June 5th, 2014, 9:30 pm

Someone posted the historical transit lines data and was lamenting their lack of GIS skills to put together a map. (I can't find it now). Having some GIS skills, I put together a map of the historical streetcar network with current population density. It's amazing how closely they still relate.

http://www.mn2020hindsight.org/view/les ... nvestments

twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby twincitizen » June 6th, 2014, 10:09 am

Awesome map. The numbers threw me at first because I'm so used to seeing density as p/sq.mi. rather that p/acre. Are the geographic units block group? It looks too fine grained to be census tract. I've found that tracts are too big to show fine grained density. I love that you left anything under 10/acre in white/blank, excellent choice.

LakeCharles
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby LakeCharles » June 6th, 2014, 10:30 am

That is really interesting, but why is the water layer on top of the streetcar layer?

Elliot Altbaum
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Elliot Altbaum » June 6th, 2014, 9:33 pm

LakeCharles wrote:That is really interesting, but why is the water layer on top of the streetcar layer?
Thanks for catching that. I was putting this together rather quickly and switched the drawing order on those two.

To address the other question above. Yes, I used census blocks to get a better sense of the fine grained density that exists in the core cities. I used pop/acre because I felt like an acre is a size that is easier to visualize, thus allowing people to better gauge what that density would feel like.

scottiem
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby scottiem » January 17th, 2015, 11:35 am

acs wrote: I seem to recall a design for raising the streetcar out of the greenway at nicollet and potentially merging stops with the nicollet streetcar in this area.
This quote got me thinking on ways to potentially interline the Greenway and Nicollet Streetcars, so I came up this this sketch. Basically, it's a trolley roundabout set at the bottom of the greenway, with the Nicollet Streetcar dropping in elevation from the planned 28th Street station (street-level) to meet up with the Greenway Streetcar (trench-level). The trolleys would travel counterclockwise along the roundabout and stop at the platform that matches their intended direction of travel, creating several additional routes, rather than just N-S and E-W. The 'plaza' in the center could be used for a bunch of different uses, listed on the sketch. A bridge over the plaza would reconnect Nicollet Ave, and could be used for a variety of different transportation modes. The main points I considered were to reconnect Nicollet (duh), interline the streetcars, open up the greenway to more sunlight and uses (using the Midtown Greenway Coalition's preferred single track + turf option), limit the impacts to the bike trail, allow for future expansion of the Nicollet streetcar to the south, and some other minor points.

Thoughts?

Image

HuskyGrad
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby HuskyGrad » January 19th, 2015, 8:20 am

scottiem wrote:
acs wrote: I seem to recall a design for raising the streetcar out of the greenway at nicollet and potentially merging stops with the nicollet streetcar in this area.
This quote got me thinking on ways to potentially interline the Greenway and Nicollet Streetcars, so I came up this this sketch. Basically, it's a trolley roundabout set at the bottom of the greenway, with the Nicollet Streetcar dropping in elevation from the planned 28th Street station (street-level) to meet up with the Greenway Streetcar (trench-level). The trolleys would travel counterclockwise along the roundabout and stop at the platform that matches their intended direction of travel, creating several additional routes, rather than just N-S and E-W. The 'plaza' in the center could be used for a bunch of different uses, listed on the sketch. A bridge over the plaza would reconnect Nicollet Ave, and could be used for a variety of different transportation modes. The main points I considered were to reconnect Nicollet (duh), interline the streetcars, open up the greenway to more sunlight and uses (using the Midtown Greenway Coalition's preferred single track + turf option), limit the impacts to the bike trail, allow for future expansion of the Nicollet streetcar to the south, and some other minor points.

Thoughts?

Image
Unfortunately, the limiting factor is that turnouts shouldn't be placed in curves.

helsinki
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby helsinki » January 19th, 2015, 12:03 pm

Unfortunately, the limiting factor is that turnouts shouldn't be placed in curves.
It is possible:

http://www.m-luftbild.de/luftbild/obeli ... tz-128.jpg

scottiem
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby scottiem » January 19th, 2015, 12:26 pm

The connection points could be flattened out, if needed. helsinki's example looks great, in my opinion, too, and could be adapted for this use. From the original concept, I'd also be looking for ways to reduce its size (even though it's not to scale) to increase street-level development along Nicollet. Another concern I'd have would be trolley 'A' waiting in the roundabout to get to its boarding area while trolley 'B' boards in a different spot. In other words, traffic. I'd be looking to minimize travel times through the node whether it be a roundabout concept or a transfer between lines (ie. one track in the greenway and one track at street-level Nicollet). Anyways, just an idea.
-S

David Greene
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby David Greene » January 19th, 2015, 9:59 pm

There's a more fundamental problem with this. Splitting E-W routes to also run W-N, W-S, etc. reduces frequency everywhere. Ditto for the N-S routes. I just don't see the problem with a transfer at Lake & Nicollet.

David Greene
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby David Greene » January 19th, 2015, 10:00 pm

What's the point of that, a big expensive turnaround?

VAStationDude
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby VAStationDude » January 20th, 2015, 7:42 am

It's European. Much like the Nicollet streetcar it has marginal value as transportation infrastructure.

helsinki
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby helsinki » January 20th, 2015, 8:49 am

VAStationDude wrote:It's European. Much like the Nicollet streetcar it has marginal value as transportation infrastructure.
How bizarrely condescending. Perhaps it's not patriotic to say so, but I doubt our transportation system here has much to teach Munich. The 'Red Line'? The 'Interchange'? Northstar to Big Lake only? 1.6 billion including tunnels under a park bypassing Uptown? Stillwater bridge? A metastasizing freeway network? Sadly, no - we are the masters at marginal value as transportation infrastructure.

HiawathaGuy
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby HiawathaGuy » January 20th, 2015, 9:41 am

Much agreed helsinki!

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby FISHMANPET » January 20th, 2015, 10:21 am

But at the same time, copying everything Europe does because Europe does it is Cargo Cult urbanism. Copy Europe because they have a solution to a problem we're having, not because "Europe." That linked example is a track that curves around a roundabout, it has no stops, and it doesn't have two lines intersecting. Show me a European tram line where two lines intersect perpendicularly and they implement a rail roundabout rather than just having them cross at grade or elevating one line over the other, then we can talk

helsinki
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby helsinki » January 20th, 2015, 11:30 am

FISHMANPET wrote:But at the same time, copying everything Europe does because Europe does it is Cargo Cult urbanism. Copy Europe because they have a solution to a problem we're having, not because "Europe." That linked example is a track that curves around a roundabout, it has no stops, and it doesn't have two lines intersecting. Show me a European tram line where two lines intersect perpendicularly and they implement a rail roundabout rather than just having them cross at grade or elevating one line over the other, then we can talk
[this properly belongs in the Transportation section]

Agreed; copying European practices just because it seems cool to do so is not a good idea.

But I would like to push back on the idea that Trams/Streetcars are somehow "European". Most American cities of any size built intricate streetcar systems at the same time those cities were rapidly expanding, resulting in urban forms that are largely the result of streetcar economics. Minneapolis, for instance, was built for streetcars and is arguably far more suited to them - with it's long north-south blocks, rigid grid system, and neighborhood nodes - than are most European city centers, with their medieval tangle of narrow streets that were built around walking.

The example (Karolinenplatz) was linked to show that there is nothing inherently wrong with placing 'turnouts' in curves.

I would tend to agree that a roundabout is a bit much here; crossing at grade or elevating one line over the other seems more sensible - particularly given the grade differential between Nicollet and the Greenway. It would be fitting a square peg in a round hole to run the Nicollet streetcar down to the greenway level. At the same time, there is another streetcar roundabout, again in Munich, where two lines intersect - at Maxmonument (lines 18 and 19). It is a bit tricky to discern from the images, but the point is that it can be practical if there is an unmovable object in the middle of the intersection:

http://www.bahnbilder.de/bild/deutschla ... aufen.html

http://www.tramgeschichten.de/wp-conten ... nument.jpg

VAStationDude
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby VAStationDude » January 20th, 2015, 1:54 pm

The funny thing is we're actually not implementing anything close to what Munich has. Munich, Strasbourg and other cities cited (correctly) as streetcar meccas don't have mixed traffic streetcars. Our proposed streetcar will be a $300 million slower version of the 18 bus. Still, this forum, its successor and Streets.MN contain dozens of references to European trams in arguing for the Nicollet streetcar. Why don't we just implement Central and Nicollet aBRT on top of the existing local bus service for hundreds millions less than a four mile useless boondoggle? Because it isn't shiny and cosmopolitan.

Why wouldn't we use the existing grade separation at Nicollet and the Green way and keep the delay prone mixed traffic street car away from useful grade separated rail transit? because there are cool examples in Europe.


Citing bad transportation decision making to support more isn't a quality argument.

(Written on the Blue Line)

mattaudio
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby mattaudio » January 20th, 2015, 2:05 pm

Actually most of the references I remember to our streetcar plans, and comparisons to European trams, are precisely to note that we shouldn't be spending so much money on a system that runs in shared traffic.

EOst
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Re: Lake & Nicollet Redevelopment (Kmart site)

Postby EOst » January 20th, 2015, 2:46 pm

VAStationDude wrote:slower version of the 18 bus.
You keep saying this, but I have yet to see anyone defend this on factual grounds. Why would a service that has fewer stops, offboard ticketing, and bumpout stations be slower than the 18? Because once in a blue moon, a car might stall on the tracks?
VAStationDude wrote:Why don't we just implement Central and Nicollet aBRT on top of the existing local bus service for hundreds millions less than a four mile useless boondoggle? Because it isn't shiny and cosmopolitan.
There are a dozen reasons that have nothing to do with it being shiny.


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