Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

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Nick
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Nick » September 20th, 2012, 1:33 pm

aguaman wrote:
mplsjaromir wrote:
Didier wrote:That might encourage thugs from Chicago to come up and abuse us.
haha great!
isn't this sentiment what's behind golden valley's objections to lrt?
"the city people are coming to get us"
The GV City Council member I know opposes it because the GV alignment is stupid. Tearing up a bunch of wetlands to speed up the ride by a few minutes for suburban commuters while bypassing existing transit users in North Minneapolis is a bad decision, and one we already made with the alignment for Southwest.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mullen » September 21st, 2012, 6:31 am

yes i'm sure that golden valley council member is really really concerned mpls residents having transit access. give me a break.

i remember the bloomington city council narrowly approving the hiawatha line years so. you think they would care to go back and change that vote? this is just short-sighted, fear induced, parochial thinking.

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Nick
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Nick » September 21st, 2012, 7:07 am

mullen wrote:yes i'm sure that golden valley council member is really really concerned mpls residents having transit access. give me a break.
Well I can't really speak for the whole Golden Valley City Council, but the person in question grew up in North Minneapolis and is still pretty involved with that community, so yeah I believe her.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby NickP » September 21st, 2012, 10:54 am

How alienated would people feel? It just seems like most of the people who want to do the Penn Alignment don't live in the neighborhood. Could someone post a link of people in North Minneapolis who want the trains down Penn? I like the GV alignment because it brings people closer to Theodore Wirth Park, which I see as a major draw. I view the station layout as similar to the Minnehaha Station. It allows a balance of people who live in the neighborhood to use the line, while still serving the greater area by giving access to a major city park.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mulad » September 21st, 2012, 12:08 pm

Here are some maps by Brendon Slotterback, who has a blog at netdensity.net and is a streets.mn contributor. The density just falls off dramatically in the park area, so much so that there are fewer stations planned along that route. The street grid also fades away, so the number of paths available to reach the station drop off a lot.
bottineau-density.png
bottineau-half-mile-walk.png
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby NickP » September 21st, 2012, 1:35 pm

Cheers Mulad. This is exactly what I was looking for. For brainstorming purposes, do you, or anyone else, think it would be possible to make the station more accessible so people would be more open to the GV alignment? What are some possible ideas.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » September 23rd, 2012, 10:33 pm

A few things (assuming D1):

The stop spacing proposed on D1 is more consistent with Commuter Rail than LRT...which begs the questions:

1. Why no stop at 36th Avenue North? There's a bridge there, and buses currently cross over it. It would be one mile from Robbinsdale Station, which is consistent with Hiawatha station spacing. This would sort-of make up for not having a North Memorial Station (for my money, reason enough to pick D2).

2. Why not build stations at Plymouth AND Golden Valley Road? As Central Corridor showed, adding another stop adds roughly $5MM to the cost and 40 seconds of running time. I think it's completely justified, compared to D2 stop spacing.

3. I've thought from the beginning that both Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park spurs should be built. As someone else mentioned, density drops significantly after Brooklyn Blvd (roughly where the lines would split). That way you could have 10 minute service on the inner segment and 20 minute service on each of the spurs. Makes sense, no?

4. Less importantly, if we make this massive investment into LRT, I think that the Crystal Airport should be shut down (MAC has considered this) and redeveloped with mixed-density housing & retail. An enormous TOD opportunity awaits, if only anyone wanted to live in Crystal...

(just spitballing here...) Honestly though, this thing has turned into a hot mess. D1 makes no sense as an LRT line. At this point, we'd be better off going back to the drawing board and figuring out the best BRT routes (or two) for the same money. Preserve the rail corridor for Commuter Rail to Rogers (and beyond) in the distant future.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » September 23rd, 2012, 10:43 pm

BRT was about to proceed with construction c. 2005, but they wanted to go back to the drawing boards for LRT. They were about to build the stations in North Minneapolis too.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Nick » September 23rd, 2012, 11:03 pm

It looks like a Catch-22. Minnesotans don't know how to deal with all the tricky political and social imagery associated with the idea of this project. Using BRT here but building a train out to Eden Prairie looks like we're picking rich, white suburbs over a poor, black inner city neighborhood. But the alignment that actually makes sense to best serve North Minneapolis would require demolishing a bunch of poor peoples' houses. So we can either:

1) Build the train right, and deal with bulldozers and give Republicans in the legislature lots of opportunities to score property rights points, and have sad old ladies on TV who've lived in their houses for fifty years, etc.

2) Build the train wrong, and spend a billion dollars on a commuter rail line through wetlands that will probably be hurting to have much ridership.

3) Build BRT and tell the poor they're not worth the investment. Not to mention forgo all the redevelopment possibilities on the Northside, which has to be a gigantic blackhole for property tax collections as is.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby NickP » September 23rd, 2012, 11:46 pm

TC I like your ideas, especially the infill stations! I agree with Elf that the whole situation does seem like a catch-22. However, if we must go with the, building the train "wrong" option, what else can we do to make it less wrong?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Andrew_F » September 24th, 2012, 1:00 am

Nick wrote:It looks like a Catch-22. Minnesotans don't know how to deal with all the tricky political and social imagery associated with the idea of this project. Using BRT here but building a train out to Eden Prairie looks like we're picking rich, white suburbs over a poor, black inner city neighborhood. But the alignment that actually makes sense to best serve North Minneapolis would require demolishing a bunch of poor peoples' houses. So we can either:

1) Build the train right, and deal with bulldozers and give Republicans in the legislature lots of opportunities to score property rights points, and have sad old ladies on TV who've lived in their houses for fifty years, etc.

2) Build the train wrong, and spend a billion dollars on a commuter rail line through wetlands that will probably be hurting to have much ridership.

3) Build BRT and tell the poor they're not worth the investment. Not to mention forgo all the redevelopment possibilities on the Northside, which has to be a gigantic blackhole for property tax collections as is.
Great analysis, Elf. I prefer option 1, but it really is a sticky situation for the politicians involved.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » September 24th, 2012, 9:33 am

I thought I read that a large percentage of the property impacts on the Penn alignment would not have required structure demolition... Shouldn't we be a little more pragmatic? Taking 10 feet of yard is less of a big deal than taking a home.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » September 24th, 2012, 11:15 am

They had a great series of maps showing the 3 or 4 D2 Penn-Oliver alternatives and highlighting the properties that would be impacted, but the only one I have a link for is the C option (LRT on Penn with a general traffic lane in each direction and a bunch of superfluous right turn lanes). Matt I think you're right that this option and the others would have only required a handful of properties to be demolished, but many properties would lose yards. On the other hand, at this level of engineering it may be premature to say for certain how many demo's would be needed.

I would add a fourth option to Elf's list - "Take advantage of the fact that the Twin Cities have demonstrably the nation's lowest urban tunneling costs and look into a deep bored tunnel between Plymouth & Lyndale and North Memorial, with stations at Broadway & Emerson/Fremont and Broadway & Penn." But instead I think the most likely course is that years will be spent squabbling over options 1 & 2 and nada gets accomplished.

Re Twincitizen's questions 1 & 2:
twincitizen wrote:1. Why no stop at 36th Avenue North? There's a bridge there, and buses currently cross over it. It would be one mile from Robbinsdale Station, which is consistent with Hiawatha station spacing. This would sort-of make up for not having a North Memorial Station (for my money, reason enough to pick D2).
I'm assuming it's because of the curve in the ROW at 36th but I agree that it should be done. Either move the platform south a bit or take a property or two to straighten the ROW.
twincitizen wrote:2. Why not build stations at Plymouth AND Golden Valley Road? As Central Corridor showed, adding another stop adds roughly $5MM to the cost and 40 seconds of running time. I think it's completely justified, compared to D2 stop spacing.
The City of Mpls recommended the DEIS study building both stations - hopefully they listened, as I don't believe it was a condition of the MOU.
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » September 24th, 2012, 1:10 pm

Found the pdf with the property impacts on all three Penn alternatives:

http://bottineautransitway.org/library/ ... 120119.pdf
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby ECtransplant » September 24th, 2012, 9:10 pm

Not saying this would or should be done. However, a way to build the train and not tear down (poor/minority) peoples' houses would be to build it underground or elevated above road, where needed.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby PhilmerPhil » September 24th, 2012, 11:44 pm

I'm sure I could easily find this answer by looking further, but are these properties being torn down or altered in order to allow for BOTH light rail and auto traffic to be on Penn? Could Penn be an LRT only corridor where there is not enough room for through traffic?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » September 25th, 2012, 8:02 am

If they were going to tunnel (and I know they're not) they could cut the Penn/Olson corner by turning northwest at the Van White station... between the open land along Humboldt, parking lot between North HS and Knox, North Commons Park, and the blocks of undeveloped lots north of Broadway, I bet they could do this stretch well over half cut and cover.

Example:
http://goo.gl/maps/bTrka

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Nick » November 13th, 2012, 7:11 pm

Good streets.mn interview with a Golden Valley City Councilmember about the Bottineau line. The part about the train starts a little under halfway into it. Also, fun fact, I'm the person who was in the car with her counting cars on Penn.

http://www.streets.mn/2012/11/13/podcas ... la-pentel/

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby helsinki » November 14th, 2012, 8:55 am

Excellent discussion.

She makes some good points about the failure to seriously consider (yet) routing the line through N. Minneapolis. She also evidently holds some grudges and is nursing bruised feelings from the planning process itself; it makes you wish that local pols could take ego out of such important considerations.

I especially liked her strong rebuttal of the allegation that routing the line through the North side is somehow analagous to the destruction of Rondo in St. Paul for I-94; it's such a bogus claim and deserves to be called out for the nonsense that it is.

Honestly, I think the 'fear' of undesirable elements passing through your neighborhood (or passing through undesirable neighborhoods) because of a rail line is both (1) unfounded, but more importantly (2) not as prevalent as people think it is. People generally understand that, (a) buses already run on similar routes, (b) whoever these shifty vagrants are, they probably have access to a car anyway, (c) even if there are masses of impoverished minority youth who would jump at the chance to rob you if only a train went directly to your house, they're not going to steal your TV and then schlep it onto the LRT.

In other words, trains don't bring crime. And passing through a bad neighborhood on a train will not harm the train's passengers. It's really that simple.

By way of example, if you fly to JFK, take the air train to Jamaica, and then take the subway into the city (because you didn't know you could take the LIRR), your subway will pass through some rough patches of city. Do we midwesterners, upon realizing this, grow terrified that we're speedily passing through a neighborhood of lower socioeconomic status than our final destination? No. Because that's silly and we're not that ignorant. Why would this not be true in Mpls? It is. And I think we insult the intelligence and decency of suburbanites when we assume that they're so racist, economically smug, and alarmed by mixing with 'others' that they wouldn't ride a train that passes through the North side. I bet they would.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » November 14th, 2012, 9:45 am

helsinki wrote:Honestly, I think the 'fear' of undesirable elements passing through your neighborhood (or passing through undesirable neighborhoods) because of a rail line is...
Is such a red herring that I'm not sure why you'd bother bringing it up?

The reason that the route through the northside wasn't selected is that nobody can point to a good example of how this kind of infrastructure would work in that kind of a physical environment. We're talking about running three car LRT trains at in excess of 10 minute frequencies through a limited ROW along a low density residential neighborhood. Where has this been done before successfully (or at all)? It's a total mismatch in scale and intensity, and I don't blame people on the northside for balking about this.


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