Saint Paul Union Depot

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
DanPatchToget
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby DanPatchToget » May 1st, 2016, 6:26 pm

Mdcastle wrote:I haven't been to Union Depot before so my sister and I decided to go and take advantage of the free park and ride and free LRT passes. It took about an hour and 20 minutes from the 28th Ave station as opposed to probably a half hour driving and my sister was like "that takes a long time but at least you don't have to drive in downtown".

Pretty nice building and liked seeing the old Hiawatha observation car and the cab of the old steam engine.
Route 54 serves 28th Avenue Park & Ride and goes to SPUD via the airport and West 7th. That's what I took, but with all the street closures and detours in downtown our bus driver got lost trying to get to the bus platforms at SPUD.

David Greene
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby David Greene » May 1st, 2016, 6:48 pm

Yeah, LRT is definitely NOT the way to get to Union Depot from 28th Ave.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mister.shoes » May 1st, 2016, 7:35 pm

My parents live close to the VA and we considered making an all-train morning of it by LRTing back and forth, but there was no way we'd have been able to get toddler.shoes lunch and down for a nap while still having adequate time at the event. Driving and parking it was, and I had no problem paying the $10 to park in the ramp underneath the station itself. There are times when convenience is worth the $—which is, obviously, the entire point of paying to store our car somewhere close and easy.
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grant1simons2
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby grant1simons2 » May 1st, 2016, 8:28 pm

Shoulda taken the 54! Takes 30 minutes from MOA to Union Depot.

talindsay
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby talindsay » May 2nd, 2016, 10:32 am

Yeah, I have a strong rail bias but no way would I take LRT from the VA to SPUD given that the 54 is right there. Hopefully Riverview gets built...

mulad
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mulad » May 2nd, 2016, 10:59 am

It can be nice to make a loop, though -- the bus one way, then the train the other, or vice-versa.

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mister.shoes
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mister.shoes » May 2nd, 2016, 11:59 am

Uh, the idea would be to have a train day: take the train to see the trains. Trains trains trains!
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Vagueperson
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby Vagueperson » May 3rd, 2016, 6:05 pm

Lowertown Bike Shop opened up in the Depot today. Space looks great. Give them a visit.

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mulad » September 16th, 2016, 6:38 am

From earlier this week -- Hertz is opening a car rental operation at Union Depot starting November 1st.

http://www.startribune.com/hertz-to-set ... 393275691/

The hours when the counter will be staffed (7:30 am to 10:30 pm) don't really work for people heading toward Chicago on the Empire Builder, but they're okay for folks traveling west. Someone I follow on Twitter posted overnight about using a Hertz kiosk (somewhere outside the Twin Cities) and talking with a remote operator over a videophone, so maybe they'll have those for off-hours periods.

mattaudio
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mattaudio » September 16th, 2016, 8:43 am

We were at SPUD last Sunday afternoon to check out the River Balcony model. The front hall was literally empty - we were in there for about 15 minutes, and saw one other person walk through the entire time - and it was strange. SPUD needs more activation, ideally more transit/transportation uses.

ProspectPete
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby ProspectPete » September 17th, 2016, 7:39 am

Agreed. They should use the concourse for the new Riverview line.

talindsay
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby talindsay » September 17th, 2016, 10:25 am

Forcing people into the building to make the building active shouldn't be a primary consideration for Riverview's route planning. Harming that line and forcing transfers to be more difficult just to make the depot seem active would be a poor choice.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby DanPatchToget » September 18th, 2016, 10:51 am

What they need to make Union Depot more active is regional and intercity rail and bus lines. Two Amtrak trains and a small number (though correct me if I'm wrong) of intercity buses by Jefferson Lines, Greyhound/Megabus, and the casinos won't produce much activity.

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby talindsay » September 18th, 2016, 1:42 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:What they need to make Union Depot more active is regional and intercity rail and bus lines. Two Amtrak trains and a small number (though correct me if I'm wrong) of intercity buses by Jefferson Lines, Greyhound/Megabus, and the casinos won't produce much activity.
Yes. Trying to using local transit to artificially produce "demand" isn't what's needed. What's needed is real intercity service.

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mulad » September 19th, 2016, 9:05 am

There was an event at the depot this morning to launch "roll-on/roll-off" bike service on the Empire Builder. Amtrak has rolled out a fleet of new baggage cars over the past couple years that have integrated bike racks, so there's no longer a need to pack your bike in a box (which requires taking off the pedals and turning or removing the handlebars). It's a little goofy to call it "roll-on/roll-off" since the platform height is much lower than the floor of the baggage car, but they really mean the bike doesn't need to come apart in any way (at least until the bike rack gets full, I suppose).

http://www.startribune.com/amtrak-expan ... 393953491/

Fortunately the train was on time today (it arrived 33 minutes early and departed as scheduled at 8:00 am).

I'm not sure what the capacity is for the Empire Builder's bike racks. Amtrak has a page (not yet updated) which shows a range of anywhere from 3 to 15 bikes per train.

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard

mattaudio
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby mattaudio » September 19th, 2016, 9:07 am

This is HUGE for the first/last mile. I'll definitely consider more day/weekend trips with Amtrak if I can take my bike to Winona, La Crosse, or Milwaukee.

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby ProspectPete » September 19th, 2016, 9:28 am

talindsay wrote:Forcing people into the building to make the building active shouldn't be a primary consideration for Riverview's route planning. Harming that line and forcing transfers to be more difficult just to make the depot seem active would be a poor choice.
But isn't that what the building was designed for (and renovated for?)

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby talindsay » September 19th, 2016, 11:25 am

ProspectPete wrote:
talindsay wrote:Forcing people into the building to make the building active shouldn't be a primary consideration for Riverview's route planning. Harming that line and forcing transfers to be more difficult just to make the depot seem active would be a poor choice.
But isn't that what the building was designed for (and renovated for?)
No, it was designed to be an intercity rail station, for people taking trips places. It wasn't designed to be an oversized, overly-complex impediment to local transit connections.

The back of the Depot is meant for intercity facilities. The Green Line has already established the front of the Depot as the place for local rail transit.

There's no good scheduling or routing reason to not have Riverview share tracks with the Green Line in front of the Depot, and many good reasons to do so: easy transfers, closer to all DT St. Paul amenities, easy access to the maintenance facility, no duplication of ROW constraints, to name a few.

MNdible
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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby MNdible » September 19th, 2016, 12:24 pm

I thought it was designed to be a vanity project for St. Paul?

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Re: Saint Paul Union Depot

Postby Tcmetro » September 19th, 2016, 1:46 pm

It turned out to be a very nice train station (for 248 riders/day), parking ramp/lot, and local bus layover for the $243 million that was spent. I would also consider it quite foolish to renovate, considering intercity train expansion plans are no closer to reality than they were 4 years ago, when construction began.

Of course there are a million ways that the money could or could not have been used, my personal favorite of which would be the Midtown Corridor light rail line. Oh well.

It seems that Ramsey County is giving up on the idea of routing all regional transit through Union Depot, too. Rush Line is more likely to approach downtown from the North, alternatives are being considered for Riverview from the west, even the Gold Line is likely to offer service on 5th and 6th Streets, and for all intents and purposes, Robert St transit is dead.

The remaining hope is to somehow become a through-stop for HSR between Minneapolis and Chicago, and that Duluth trains will extend over to St. Paul after stopping at Target Field.


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