Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

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mulad
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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mulad » December 16th, 2013, 9:43 am

I have a lot of trouble imagining that the Target campus will attract many riders to LRT either. The folks who currently drive there would likely be in the northern suburbs which won't have good connectivity via transit -- probably along the I-694, MN-610, US-169 and I-494 corridors.

Building transit to corn fields was fine for 1913, not so good for 2013.

Now to try and yank this back to the Central Corridor in some sense, I'm becoming more baffled every day that it wasn't planned to extend past downtown St. Paul at all. We've got the southwest extension planned to add 14-15 miles, yet we can't get rail transit to get that far into the second core city (the full Green Line route being 11 miles or so, only 9.5 miles of extension from the junction at I-35W).

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mattaudio » December 16th, 2013, 9:45 am

I'm sorry to disappoint you, VAStationDude, but I usually wait until a discussion matures before I share such insights. That's what I did over on the MOA thread after three people spoke in favor of it and two people spoke against it. But I'm sure you knew that.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Zanderkx » December 16th, 2013, 11:35 am

mulad wrote:I have a lot of trouble imagining that the Target campus will attract many riders to LRT either. The folks who currently drive there would likely be in the northern suburbs which won't have good connectivity via transit -- probably along the I-694, MN-610, US-169 and I-494 corridors.

Building transit to corn fields was fine for 1913, not so good for 2013.

Now to try and yank this back to the Central Corridor in some sense, I'm becoming more baffled every day that it wasn't planned to extend past downtown St. Paul at all. We've got the southwest extension planned to add 14-15 miles, yet we can't get rail transit to get that far into the second core city (the full Green Line route being 11 miles or so, only 9.5 miles of extension from the junction at I-35W).
I completely agree. It is mind-blowing that Central does not terminate at the Sun-Ray center or 3M campus. Such an extension would have had reasonable ridership, and completed the most viable section of Gateway.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby Rich » December 16th, 2013, 12:40 pm

mattaudio wrote:it's basically subsidizing job sprawl
It’s certain that those fields will soon be developed. If we supply transit, the development will be less car-centric, no? Wouldn’t that be a favorable result sprawl-wise?

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » December 16th, 2013, 12:58 pm

Rich wrote:
mattaudio wrote:it's basically subsidizing job sprawl
It’s certain that those fields will soon be developed. If we supply transit, the development will be less car-centric, no? Wouldn’t that be a favorable result sprawl-wise?
It's a fair point. Remember that the NYC subway was built to serve suburbanites in Harlem.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mattaudio » December 16th, 2013, 12:58 pm

Rich wrote:It’s certain that those fields will soon be developed. If we supply transit, the development will be less car-centric, no? Wouldn’t that be a favorable result sprawl-wise?
It's a false choice to say we must either subsidize auto-dependent sprawl or transit-oriented sprawl.

Instead, we should be asking why we're spending large amounts of capital to subsidize new development when our existing land use - existing transit service to existing transit-dependent populations, existing transit-friendly neighborhoods and existing transit-compatible job centers - is lacking significantly.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby mattaudio » December 16th, 2013, 1:02 pm

David Greene wrote:NYC subway was built to serve suburbanites in Harlem.
If Brooklyn Park etc develop/redevelop everything within a half mile walkshed of Bottineau stations to a density and urban form similar to Harlem, I'll no longer have a problem with this investment.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby David Greene » December 16th, 2013, 1:22 pm

mattaudio wrote:
David Greene wrote:NYC subway was built to serve suburbanites in Harlem.
If Brooklyn Park etc develop/redevelop everything within a half mile walkshed of Bottineau stations to a density and urban form similar to Harlem, I'll no longer have a problem with this investment.
My comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek but gets to the point about the transit/urbanization circle. Harlem wasn't as dense when the subway first got there. The subway made it a convenient pace for lots of people to live.

Is BP currently a great transit zone? No. Will it improve? Probably. Is that enough to justify LRT? I don't know. Given the choice between BP and Maple Grove, one could make an equity argument for BP. I'm not sure it's a convincing one but one can in fact make it.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 16th, 2013, 1:31 pm

There is equity between Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park - they are equally undeserving of high-amenity transit given their current **and future** land uses. When the MTA and Metro North predecessors built rails to Harlem, it may have been fields. But they were able to build a land use deserving of high-amenity transit. On the other hand, that's not possible for Bottineau save maybe the Olson Hwy and Robbinsdale stops. Can't develop in the clear zone... 55 MPH design standard CSAH 81. They can't even have trees. But they can have double left turn lanes.

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby UptownSport » December 16th, 2013, 1:36 pm

mattaudio wrote:
Rich wrote:It’s certain that those fields will soon be developed. If we supply transit, the development will be less car-centric, no? Wouldn’t that be a favorable result sprawl-wise?
It's a false choice to say we must either subsidize auto-dependent sprawl or transit-oriented sprawl.

Instead, we should be asking why we're spending large amounts of capital to subsidize new development when our existing land use - existing transit service to existing transit-dependent populations, existing transit-friendly neighborhoods and existing transit-compatible job centers - is lacking significantly.
Developers must have awesome influence on how decisions are made.

Those "lacking" can't get together for a basketball game- watching two lines that take ridiculous pains to bypass them

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Re: Green Line (Central Corridor LRT)

Postby twincitizen » December 16th, 2013, 8:20 pm

UptownSport wrote:Developers must have awesome influence on how decisions are made.
Get your barf bags ready: Target in fact had a VP sitting on the advisory committee for the Alternatives Analysis.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » December 18th, 2013, 3:33 pm

Was a route to Osseo ever studied? It seems like it would have a few advantages:

- Connects downtown Osseo, an existing traditional development pattern neighborhood. (The town probably existed due to a station stop on the Great Northern)
- Uses the BNSF right of way for nearly all of the route, so less construction impact.
- Likely cheaper due to simpler engineering and less disruption due to RR corridor.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » December 18th, 2013, 4:52 pm

Looks to me like the railroad is on the wrong (industrial) side of 81 through Osseo.

Even without that, I'd wager that North Hennepin and the Target Campus would be larger transit users than downtown Osseo.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mulad » January 14th, 2014, 4:30 pm

I kind of wish we were looking at "commuter" rail (really need to come up with a better word -- certainly better peak service, but at least hourly through the day) along the BNSF Monticello Subdivision, which is the freight line currently in the Bottineau corridor. It currently ends at the nuclear plant in Monticello, which sees really low traffic (like one train per year). I believe Albertville and points south see regular traffic, though a lot less than the busy Staples Subdivsion across the Mississippi where the Northstar Line runs (as far as Big Lake, which is right across from Monticello). I doubt this has really been considered as an alternative to widening I-94, even though it's immediately adjacent to the most congested areas I've seen along that part of the highway.


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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Anondson » January 14th, 2014, 9:08 pm

I like it a lot. A second opportunity to connect rail to St. Cloud as well. Does this line get near heavily populated areas of St. Cloud? Would you have a stop for riders closer to downtown than Robbinsdale?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 14th, 2014, 10:20 pm

I think this should be the solution for longer routing between regional centers with reasonably frequent all-day service and an alternative to building additional lanes for peak hour commuters from Maple Grove on up. Bottineay LRT could be shortened (Robbinsdale? Brooklyn Blvd for the Tech school?) but made better by actually serving North Minneapolis neighborhoods. woofner's post on a reasonable routing would have connections to the commuter line for getting people from further out to more destinations within the beltway. Additional tunneling costs are offset by removing far-flung parking, flyovers, etc. However, I don't think another commuter line toward St Cloud is feasible.

I do like the idea, though. Is there any chance all-day frequent service with smaller, lighter DMUs (given relative lack of freight and new FRA rules coming) and barebones crew through automation?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mulad » January 14th, 2014, 10:53 pm

I've primarily been thinking of building a 2- or 3-mile extension across the Mississippi River to reach the Staples Subdivision and go on to St. Cloud. It's possible to rebuild much of the line between Monticello and St. Cloud, but some short segments have been taken over by minor roads and there is a significant stretch in St. Cloud itself that has buildings on or very near the old right-of-way.

There's almost no question that DMUs would be a better option if they actually become available, but it probably wouldn't hurt to use Northstar equipment for some runs considering that those trains just sit idle at Target Field for half the day as things stand today.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Chauncey87 » January 17th, 2014, 9:05 pm

"CTIB commits funding to Bottineau LRT project"

"The Bottineau Light Rail Transit project is prepared to move forward with early design and engineering work in 2014 following a funding commitment made this week.

The Counties Transit Improvement Board on Wednesday approved $27.6 million toward project development, which represents 60 percent of the local commitment to this phase. Last fall, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority committed the other 40 percent, or $18.4 million."

"The project is estimated to cost about $1 billion, and the line could open by 2019."

http://finance-commerce.com/transit/

What this really means is by the time I am elected mayor in the fictional city of Surgeville in the state of Popington USA will any of us be able to take the train through the north suburbs. If any of the delays like what is going on with the SW lrt pop up (ha) in the next year or so. Sorry any faith I have in rail planing and execution in this state is woefully disappointing. :/ I really hope to be surprised however. :D

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » January 17th, 2014, 9:36 pm

I think Bottineau will go much more easily than Southwest. The cynical reason why is that the people who might object have much less money (it *actually* going through North Minneapolis, unlike Southwest). The less cynical but equally disappointing reason is that the chosen route is far enough from the dense population centers that it doesn't conflict with them, and the biggest uses along the current path are less-heavily-used sections of park land.

That said, I actually don't think Bottineau is as problematic as Southwest, as it *does* serve dense urban neighborhoods reasonably well, admittedly in most cases requiring a transfer or a long walk, but still it stays reasonably close to North Minneapolis and the denser, more urban parts of Robbinsdale. The fact that it's substantially cheaper than Southwest helps, and its ridership estimates are solid if not stellar. If the Broadway streetcar happens then the two together will form a pretty decent backbone for the northside.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » January 18th, 2014, 6:33 pm



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