Interstate 94

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Multimodal
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Multimodal » January 31st, 2019, 2:51 pm

tmart wrote:we should really put freeway removal on the table instead of the comparatively expensive, challenging, slow, and less locally-beneficial cap option.
Hear, hear!

Freeway caps are the sharrows of urban planning—a “solution” that only highlights the real problem rather than solving it.

Caps literally bury the problem of cars rather than addressing it.

Replace it with a boulevard, a train, & bikeway, and surround it with density.

NickP
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby NickP » February 1st, 2019, 1:30 am

tmart wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:57 pm
The slide on travel patterns is interesting. Given that trips are short, including many downtown-to-downtown, and drivers have a strong preference for other routes when using as a bypass, it seems like a grade-separated motorway is pretty poorly-suited to the corridor and isn't very successful in its objectives.

If people are bypassing the bypass, it really calls into question why it's there in the first place. Unless there's a more concrete argument than "it would be disruptive in the short-term to change it," we should really put freeway removal on the table instead of the comparatively expensive, challenging, slow, and less locally-beneficial cap option.
Could you further explain your thoughts here? I'm not following. Just to be clear, I mean this out of curiosity and not as snark.

BigIdeasGuy
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby BigIdeasGuy » February 1st, 2019, 11:01 am

I am crazy for thinking that an LRT line running down the middle of a rebuilt 94 makes a lot of sense? Especially sense we are going to be rebuilding the interstate anyways.

Use the Green Line/Riverview tracks in DT STP, then use the 5th street on/off ramp to slide into the middle 94 after the X stop. Have a center island stop at Snelling with vertical circulation, then a stop at/around the U somehow. Then dip out after Cedar and join up with the Blue Line and end up going through DT MPLS.

alexschief
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby alexschief » February 1st, 2019, 11:16 am

Light rail lines down the middle of highways are typically a bad idea.

Just think about the added issues that using a highway ROW brings for transit riders:
- Stations are further away from homes, businesses, and other destinations
- Accessing a station requires walking across a highway bridge and safely navigating highway entrance/exit ramps
- Accessing a station requires walking up or down stairs or using an elevator
- Waiting at a station is unpleasant and unhealthy because of the incredible sound generated by a highway
- Waiting at a station is unpleasant and unhealthy because of the incredible amount of noxious gases generated by a highway

Obviously you can mitigate these issues to varying degrees, but why would you bother if there is an alternative?

Mikey
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Mikey » February 1st, 2019, 11:29 am

It'd probably be more realistic to plan on a Gold Line extension down the median, with dedicated ramps directly to the median at 5th/6th St in St Paul and 7th/8th in Minneapolis. Building stops at Snelling and Huron a la 46th St can still be part of the plan
Urbanist in the north woods

tmart
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby tmart » February 1st, 2019, 2:20 pm

NickP wrote:
February 1st, 2019, 1:30 am
tmart wrote:
January 31st, 2019, 1:57 pm
The slide on travel patterns is interesting. Given that trips are short, including many downtown-to-downtown, and drivers have a strong preference for other routes when using as a bypass, it seems like a grade-separated motorway is pretty poorly-suited to the corridor and isn't very successful in its objectives.

If people are bypassing the bypass, it really calls into question why it's there in the first place. Unless there's a more concrete argument than "it would be disruptive in the short-term to change it," we should really put freeway removal on the table instead of the comparatively expensive, challenging, slow, and less locally-beneficial cap option.
Could you further explain your thoughts here? I'm not following. Just to be clear, I mean this out of curiosity and not as snark.
For sure. The idea behind grade-separated highways is to put all the through-traffic (traffic that isn't stopping locally) in one place, to make it easier to travel long distances uninterrupted, and to enable high-speed travel. The travel patterns suggest that through-traffic drivers strongly prefer 694--that is, the people this thing was built to serve aren't actually using it.

There's also a surprisingly large amount of intraurban usage on the corridor--people going between the downtowns, people going a couple miles in St. Paul, and so on. A grade-separated highway does not serve this kind of traffic very well: the high speeds give little or no benefit when you're only traveling a couple miles and most of your trip time is spent navigating to/from the bypass and merging/exiting, access to destinations is more complicated, and transit is slow and difficult to access (despite serving an unusually transit-dependent population). We have lots of better street designs for arterial urban roads--boulevards, transitways, etc. These offer better integration with neighborhoods, are safer, are less prone to congestion, are cheaper to maintain, don't have the barrier effect on the surrounding communities, and support transit much better.
alexschief wrote: Light rail lines down the middle of highways are typically a bad idea.

Just think about the added issues that using a highway ROW brings for transit riders:
- Stations are further away from homes, businesses, and other destinations
- Accessing a station requires walking across a highway bridge and safely navigating highway entrance/exit ramps
- Accessing a station requires walking up or down stairs or using an elevator
- Waiting at a station is unpleasant and unhealthy because of the incredible sound generated by a highway
- Waiting at a station is unpleasant and unhealthy because of the incredible amount of noxious gases generated by a highway

Obviously you can mitigate these issues to varying degrees, but why would you bother if there is an alternative?
I actually had pretty positive experiences using BART (which has many of these kinds of stations) when I lived in the Bay Area. The grade-separated right-of-way is a huge benefit for reliability and travel time, and the only other way to realize these benefits is a subway (which is an order of magnitude more expensive). Having a dedicated ROW with no crossings basically just waiting to be built on is a pretty big deal.

Bridges can be reasonably enclosed and well-connected to their environment, and stations can be staggered with on/offramps to avoid dangerous crossings. And of course, if it's being considered in the context of freeway lids, the lids themselves address many of the issues like integration with the neighborhood (distance from destinations, unpleasant bridges, and so on).

That's not to dismiss your valid concerns; it's just to suggest it's a tradeoff that does have some significant upsides as well.

NickP
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby NickP » February 1st, 2019, 10:37 pm

Thanks for the response Tmart. You cleared up my confusion. I appreciate it. I asked because, checking all the history of harm to poor neighborhoods and neighborhoods where most residents identify as people of color, I, strangely enough don’t think I ever considered I-94 and 35W as built for through-traffic but instead for local traffic lol. This is probably due to when I grew up, but I viewed them, and still view them, as great ways to access more of the city than may not otherwise be possible/probable.

amiller92
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby amiller92 » February 4th, 2019, 10:54 am

tmart wrote:
February 1st, 2019, 2:20 pm
There's also a surprisingly large amount of intraurban usage on the corridor--people going between the downtowns, people going a couple miles in St. Paul, and so on. A grade-separated highway does not serve this kind of traffic very well: the high speeds give little or no benefit when you're only traveling a couple miles and most of your trip time is spent navigating to/from the bypass and merging/exiting, access to destinations is more complicated, and transit is slow and difficult to access (despite serving an unusually transit-dependent population).
It's weird to me that people do this. Every once in awhile someone from works mentions taking 35W into downtown during rush hour from South Minneapolis and I just wonder why. Pick a street that's not already clogged with through-commuters.

Then again I've been known to take surface streets between downtown so maybe that doesn't make that much sense either.

David Greene
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby David Greene » February 4th, 2019, 8:15 pm

amiller92 wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 10:54 am
It's weird to me that people do this. Every once in awhile someone from works mentions taking 35W into downtown during rush hour from South Minneapolis and I just wonder why. Pick a street that's not already clogged with through-commuters.
I don't get why this is so surprising. I drive from Minneapolis to St. Paul every weekday morning on 94 because it's faster. It would probably take me twice as long using Lake/Marshall.

Right now we're forced to take Lyndale down to 46th or even 121 when heading south and it's a huge PITA in terms of time. Last summer we drove 35W south to Diamond Lake Rd. for kids' soccer. We did it because it was faster.

Multimodal
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Multimodal » February 5th, 2019, 6:53 am

As we de-emphasize cars, I think we as a society need to think about what is a “normal” distance for day-to-day travel.

Hint: our work commutes and after school activities need to be in closer range than they are today.


amiller92
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby amiller92 » February 5th, 2019, 10:11 am

David Greene wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 8:15 pm
I don't get why this is so surprising. I drive from Minneapolis to St. Paul every weekday morning on 94 because it's faster. It would probably take me twice as long using Lake/Marshall.
Between downtowns is far enough to make sense. From 46th street to downtown during rush hour?? Why put yourself into the existing backed up mess when it will take no longer to go up a different street, without the frustration of traffic backups?

But yeah, it's faster when it's not backed up.

amiller92
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby amiller92 » February 5th, 2019, 10:12 am

Multimodal wrote:
February 5th, 2019, 6:53 am
As we de-emphasize cars, I think we as a society need to think about what is a “normal” distance for day-to-day travel.

Hint: our work commutes and after school activities need to be in closer range than they are today.
100% I keep telling my wife that about pre-school.

MNdible
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby MNdible » February 5th, 2019, 10:17 am

This de-emphasizing of cars you keep talking about... it's not a thing that the vast majority of people are actually doing.

mattaudio
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » February 5th, 2019, 10:35 am

People are rational actors in an irrational system. If something is so heavily subsidized, then it is more appealing. It's the same reason why local agencies were clamoring to destroy neighborhoods and build urban freeways a half century ago... 90% federal dollar gravy train!

Silophant
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Silophant » February 5th, 2019, 10:41 am

Sounds like a deemphasis to me.

MNdible
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby MNdible » February 5th, 2019, 10:49 am

I'll grant you that adding a ton of housing in locations like downtown and uptown will allow you to add population without spiking vehicle miles traveled. But that vehicle miles traveled trendline looks like it's actually going up, if you don't cherry-pick your start date as immediately pre-recession. In any case, there are vast swaths of the city (let alone the metro region) where people are very much not de-emphasizing cars.

Silophant
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Silophant » February 5th, 2019, 11:00 am

Fair.

tmart
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby tmart » February 5th, 2019, 11:05 am

I agree that reducing travel distances for common tasks and appointments is super important moving forward, but in many ways that's more of a land use question than a transportation one. I was super disappointed with the 2040 plan in terms of land use, because it still has huge services deserts where nothing but small-scale residential housing is allowed. If you live a mile from the nearest "corridor mixed use" node, walking is probably out for even the most basic of tasks, let alone something like preschool or kids' activities where parents want to shop around for quality. It's a way easier sell to tell families "you should access most of your services on foot near home" when there are 3 daycares to choose from within a half-mile of their house, or when a coffee shop is on the corner of your street instead of being a trek down to Hennepin.

To ground this back in long-distance urban travel, there's a bigger mental leap, and a bigger behavioral difference, between a .5 mile trip and a 1.5 mile trip than there is between a 1.5 mile trip and an 8 mile trip.

amiller92
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby amiller92 » February 5th, 2019, 1:21 pm

MNdible wrote:
February 5th, 2019, 10:17 am
This de-emphasizing of cars you keep talking about... it's not a thing that the vast majority of people are actually doing.
As I also keep telling my wife, it's no fun to go farther than you need to in rush hour traffic in a car either.

And I don't know. Way more of my colleagues than you would expect walk or bike to work and probably close to all the support staff use transit. Yeah, lots of suburban express buses, but still.

tmart
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby tmart » February 5th, 2019, 2:06 pm

amiller92 wrote:
February 5th, 2019, 1:21 pm
And I don't know. Way more of my colleagues than you would expect walk or bike to work and probably close to all the support staff use transit. Yeah, lots of suburban express buses, but still.
How about non-commuting trips?

Obviously commuting is a huge portion of our VMT, but our transit network and urban planning are IMO designed mostly around facilitating commuting (and sporting events :lol: ), and much less suited to day-to-day usage like basic shopping, dining, childcare, and recreation.


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