Minneapolis Streetcar System

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

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 13th, 2015, 10:11 am

Yeah, in general, I guess I feel that good transit shouldn't compete with walking, it should compete with driving (and for short-medium distances, biking, which is a much faster mode than people realize for trips up to 4 miles or so).

mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby mattaudio » February 13th, 2015, 12:02 pm

I don't think transit should compete with driving either, at least in terms of time/distance. It should connect walkable places. My concern was more about what he was saying about LRT than what he was saying about streetcars. It also implied you would likely need to transfer to a streetcar (or bus) to get into an actual place. Which is exactly the problem we're seeing with how our two upcoming regional LRT projects are planned.

xandrex
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby xandrex » February 13th, 2015, 12:25 pm

HiawathaGuy wrote:I just get so sick of today's journalists - it's as though any sort of investigative writing has died.
Perhaps we need to email those Council Members and share our point of view regarding their lack of interest into something that's pretty damn important. Why aren't the Minneapolis Council Members making more noise about this? It just seems odd.
Economics. With ad revenue dwindling (always what paid the big bucks), classifieds slaughtered by Craigslist, and subscriptions falling as more consumers consume "free" news, the newsroom has been eviscerated. There aren't enough resources to send a journalist out to dig into records and interview dozens of sources for several months in the hope that they will maybe, possibly come out with a story. Even if they do, it simply cannot pay for itself because very few people read long reports. In an age of listicles on BuzzFeed, consumers got what they asked for - dumbed down content.

Back on topic: It's really a shame that we can't get more support for streetcars. There are so many areas of town that aren't being touched by light rail and I get the feeling we're going to half ass our way with aBRT.

David Greene
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby David Greene » February 13th, 2015, 2:18 pm

xandrex wrote:Back on topic: It's really a shame that we can't get more support for streetcars. There are so many areas of town that aren't being touched by light rail and I get the feeling we're going to half ass our way with aBRT.
Frankly, Minneapolis shot itself and St. Paul in the foot. By putting Nicollet first and selling it as a development tool, they instantly devalued streetcars as a transportation option in the minds of every public official and many private residents in the state.

There are plenty of great places streetcars could go. Nicollet should have gone further up Central and could have been sold as NE transit rather than Eat Street revitalization. W. Broadway is a corridor with real transportation needs. Hennepin/Lyndale would have had huge ridership numbers but probably cost a lot more.

The point is that there are many other corridors that would have made a better first candidate.

St. Paul hasn't done any better, making its first streetcar a service in a corridor probably better suited for LRT, though that's not entirely clear yet. St. Paul has other places that would seem to be better first streetcar lines. Grand Ave. and E. 7th for starters. I know that their current study includes some of E. 7th but they really ought to prioritize on E. 7th with Gateway completely bypassing the area.

aBRT is definitely part of the solution. Minneapolis should be pushing for the C line to happen much more quickly.

twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby twincitizen » February 13th, 2015, 2:34 pm

More quickly than opening Q4 2016? The C line's timeline was already bumped up by a full year when the B Line was squashed last summer. They can't just wish the stations and new buses into existence.

However, I'd completely agree with you if you'd said that Minneapolis should be pushing for the D line and E line to happen much more quickly (presumably Chicago-Emerson and Lake St)

And as for streetcars, while I agree that Nicollet was perhaps not the best first choice, I'm not sure that Minneapolis specifically did a ton of damage to the "reputation" of streetcars that hasn't been done by every single city that has implemented them across the country. They simply are not being built for transportation purposes anywhere, and the FTA has been way too complicit in this trend. I'm fine with streetcars in the abstract, but FFS they need to be faster than the buses they replace and have minimum frequency standards at the federal level. We (as a country) are straight up pissing away very limited transit funding on basically steel-wheeled buses that arguably DO NOT improve local mobility one iota.

Snelbian
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Snelbian » February 13th, 2015, 2:41 pm

David, I don't know what has actually happened regarding planning on Grand, but I do know that given the track record of the Summit Hill Association these past few years and the way they've influenced City Council decisions it's not a route that I'd expect to see get very far anytime soon. The opposition to anything that might restrict parking is just too strong.

twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby twincitizen » February 13th, 2015, 2:46 pm

As for St. Paul, in retrospect, it really appears they should have chosen a Robert and/or Rice Street line as their top priority, which could have been quite effective even at a fairly short length. Choosing 7th Street, after it was already identified as a priority aBRT corridor in the short term (and Riverview LRT longer term), was just a colossal f*** up. However, since the streetcar studies were so weighted towards redevelopment potential over transportation, it's easy to see why 7th Street would be chosen over the others. Hell, they could have picked a Rice Street streetcar that didn't even go downtown (right away) but just stopped at the damn Rice/Capitol LRT Station. A mile or two of that ought to have been pretty inexpensive (relatively speaking, of course)

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby alleycat » February 13th, 2015, 2:46 pm

Apparently the TAB didn't approve all (or any I believe) of the funds for the The C-Line. It now isn't happening until 2017 hopefully. I'm on the Penn Ave Community Works PIC and they were pushing us to determine the long term road layout by last month. We had the vote last month and it went to the the steering committee. Everything was ready for this to proceed to engineering until the TAB pulled the rug from under the funding.
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twincitizen
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby twincitizen » February 13th, 2015, 3:08 pm

Can you share that information in the C-Line thread? I'm sure we'd love to continue that discussion

alleycat
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby alleycat » February 13th, 2015, 4:13 pm

Yup. Already did.
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Nick
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Nick » February 14th, 2015, 6:25 pm

David Greene wrote:Frankly, Minneapolis shot itself and St. Paul in the foot. By putting Nicollet first and selling it as a development tool, they instantly devalued streetcars as a transportation option in the minds of every public official and many private residents in the state.

There are plenty of great places streetcars could go. Nicollet should have gone further up Central and could have been sold as NE transit rather than Eat Street revitalization. W. Broadway is a corridor with real transportation needs. Hennepin/Lyndale would have had huge ridership numbers but probably cost a lot more.
Yeah.

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby seanrichardryan » March 17th, 2015, 7:51 pm

No desire for streetcar revival?
Article by: EUGENE L. MEYER , New York Times
As Twin Cities consider new lines, some cities are abandoning their plans....

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/296663641.html
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

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Nick
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Nick » March 17th, 2015, 8:26 pm

You know, the worst thing about streetcars is that it's impossible to have any intelligent, well-constructed thought about them in less than a paragraph.

acs
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby acs » March 17th, 2015, 8:31 pm

I tried. I don't know if the strib will post it, and it's certainly more than a paragraph, but I tried.

grant1simons2
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby grant1simons2 » March 17th, 2015, 8:38 pm

How much is the cost difference for elevating the system? And how crazy would it be to have stops inside the skyways :D

Silophant
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby Silophant » March 17th, 2015, 9:10 pm

Eh, depending on how much utility relocation you could avoid, it would be less of a cost difference than you'd expect.

xandrex
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby xandrex » April 20th, 2015, 10:15 am

Now that Nick is quoted in a policy-based article, he can take on the title of Transportation Analyst, right?

https://www.minnpost.com/politics-polic ... sit-option?

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 20th, 2015, 11:08 am

Same discussion as always. I really like Peter Wagenius, and he's right that the same type of questions we had re: the Green Line apply here as well. The difference is that the Green Line substantially improves travel times within the corridor vs even the express bus (David Markles of the world bedamned), with a much (much!!) higher capacity per train than buses ever could.

If this is all about economic development, I have yet to see anyone respond to this. The streetcar would have to catalyze about 3.25x the development potential to beat the bus from an ROI perspective. I guess I just have a hard time believing developers are 3.25 times as likely to put a similar building near a rail line than bus line, all things else being equal (location, travel time, stop spacing, etc). Certainly, things like ride quality, etc should make up some of that gap from a societal perspective - I'm not questioning that. It just, I dunno.

As to the choice riders. I see plenty of middle class people (young and old) on my bus every day. There are definitely people who will only ride a train, even if it's no faster than the bus. But there's also a solid chunk of people not currently riding the bus who would if it were faster and more reliable but still a bus. I'm guessing the latter is larger than the former, and we should care more about those people when designing transit (and certainly, people currently riding the bus even moreso).

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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby MNdible » April 20th, 2015, 12:04 pm

I think the "choice rider" question is an important one. Please note that I have a great deal of skepticism about streetcars -- I think that they generally fall into the category of nice things that we may or may not have enough money to afford.

So, there are choice riders who live in solidly middle-upper class South Minneapolis neighborhoods and can afford to have a car but make a lifestyle choice to avoid driving and use buses to commute regularly to work. They're regular riders, they know what bus they want, and streetcars probably don't help them out that much. Streetcars might lure a few more of their neighbors to join them.

But I think the real benefit of streetcars comes in another type of choice rider. People who always drive to downtown but might hop on the streetcar to go to Eat Street. Or the people who come to downtown for a Twins game. Or the convention visitor who can take the streetcar to Riverplace. Or the person living in one of the new senior living buildings downtown who wants to go to the MIA. It makes it easy to use transit for people who won't use it very often. It effectively expands what is easily and predictably accessible from downtown.

xandrex
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Re: Minneapolis Streetcar System

Postby xandrex » April 20th, 2015, 12:22 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:As to the choice riders. I see plenty of middle class people (young and old) on my bus every day. There are definitely people who will only ride a train, even if it's no faster than the bus. But there's also a solid chunk of people not currently riding the bus who would if it were faster and more reliable but still a bus. I'm guessing the latter is larger than the former, and we should care more about those people when designing transit (and certainly, people currently riding the bus even moreso).
I agree that you'll see plenty of choice riders on buses. But how many choice riders are making the decision to ride outside of commuting hours?

I'm a mass transit user, advocate, and—by having a vehicle and marginally decent income—a choice rider. But outside of getting to and from work, I still frequently hop in my car for trips. I just find very little luster in getting on the bus, even if it's getting to downtown. But whenever I'm near rail, I'm much more eager to use it.

Whether or not it makes it worth the price is another question. For certain, buses will remain the workhorses of our system and definitely need more investment in making them better.


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