Interstate 94

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
min-chi-cbus
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 31st, 2013, 8:15 am

As an Ohio resident I've seen firsthand how widening congested interestates can alleviate traffic flow (but I do NOT believe in "wider = better"). From Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati it's 3 lanes in each direction. From Cleveland to Toledo it's 3 lanes in each direction as well, and that interstate need it, as there are not only people but tons of trucks that criss-cross across the country between the Northeast to Chicago and beyond. The trucks stay in the right two lanes and passenger traffic doesn't have to wait for trucks to leap-frog one-another over and over and over and.........you get the point, especially if you've ever been on some of these U.S. Interstates where trucks outnumber passenger cars.

Similarly, I-94 in Minnesota between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud is extremely congested with passenger traffic and some freight, and not just on summer weekends. It's not quite the freight corridor of I-80/I-90 in Ohio, but it's fairly a moderate route that connects the Twin Cities, Minnesota and the Eastern U.S. to the Northwest, including North Dakota's Bakken Region and Western Canada's Oil Sands. There has to be smooth traffic flow on this fairly vital corridor. Similarly, I think I-90/I-94 from Tomah, WI to Rockford, IL needs to be 3 lanes in each direction as well, and it's one of THE busiest passenger car and freight corridors in the country. IL is finishing their part from the border to Chicago on I-90, and I believe WI is working on expanding I-90 from Madison to the IL border, but the corridor where two, sometimes three interstates merge (I-39 as well) is almost always congested, no matter the day.

I am not sure how much value it brings to the state/city to widen I-94 when all it will do is support continued sprawl, but at the very least the U.S. Government should be interested in keeping the corridor Northwest from Chicago clear and as free-flowing as possible.

Tom H.
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Tom H. » July 31st, 2013, 8:34 am

How about a compromise: appropriate funds to add a 3rd lane to the interstate all the way to St. Cloud, but implement a moratorium on new interchanges and/or reduce access where appropriate. Both of these will help alleviate mainline congestion and maintain the highway's primary character as an interregional connector. Interstates should not be (primarily) commuter routes.

mulad
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mulad » July 31st, 2013, 11:25 am

I get the sense that people are confusing a busy highway for a congested one. So you can't go 90 mph anymore because the road is filled with people going 65-75. Adding a lane will add more opportunities to pass, but a lot of drivers will camp out in the middle lane, wiping out a lot of the potential "benefit". But congestion should really only be counted as the differential between travel at the speed limit (or maybe 85 to 90% of that) and the actual travel times people experience. I can't say I've ever experienced significant real congestion north of the Rogers/Albertville area.

MNdible
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby MNdible » July 31st, 2013, 11:34 am

From my point of view, the biggest issue with this stretch of 94 is that it handles a fairly high volume of truck traffic, which makes it difficult driving for others. I'd be interested in a strategy that worked to push some of this truck traffic to trains.

David Greene
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby David Greene » July 31st, 2013, 11:36 am

MNdible wrote:From my point of view, the biggest issue with this stretch of 94 is that it handles a fairly high volume of truck traffic, which makes it difficult driving for others. I'd be interested in a strategy that worked to push some of this truck traffic to trains.
And move some of the passenger traffic to trains. How much auto traffic is people commuting between the Cities and St. Cloud or points in-between?

Northstar isn't going to help those going to the lake, but honestly, no amount of widening will. Both 94 and 10 get clogged Friday afternoons. You just deal with it.

We need to fix existing roads, not create new ones.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 31st, 2013, 11:43 am

mulad wrote:I get the sense that people are confusing a busy highway for a congested one. So you can't go 90 mph anymore because the road is filled with people going 65-75. Adding a lane will add more opportunities to pass, but a lot of drivers will camp out in the middle lane, wiping out a lot of the potential "benefit". But congestion should really only be counted as the differential between travel at the speed limit (or maybe 85 to 90% of that) and the actual travel times people experience. I can't say I've ever experienced significant real congestion north of the Rogers/Albertville area.
Same.

Some sort of compromise could be made.. Some combination of restricted access, tolled lanes, and extension of rail to St Cloud. Exempt freight traffic from tolls? The congestion (what rare amount there is) is not due to trucks, even if the Bakken field and ND area continue to boom (which, they won't once the oil/gas are gone). It's commuters and cabin-goers.

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Re: I-94 7th St Ramp in Minneapolis

Postby twincitizen » August 2nd, 2013, 2:27 pm

Preliminary drawing so they can firm up the cost estimate: http://blogs.mprnews.org/stadium-watch/ ... -problems/

mattaudio
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » August 13th, 2013, 10:12 am

I hesistate to call this the East Metro, but it looks like Wisconsin is getting a little more serious about six-laning a few more miles of rural 94. http://www.riverfallsjournal.com/conten ... -six-lanes

twincitizen
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Re: I-94 7th St Ramp in Minneapolis

Postby twincitizen » August 16th, 2013, 8:02 am

5th Street will be converted to a pedestrian connection only. It was in the Mayor's budget address yesterday.

I know that's not as good as gold, but introducing cars to the rail/trail crossing would be a disaster, as currently configured. Non-motorized is the only way to go, since we don't have the $ to make other needed changes to make vehicular crossing possible/safe.

My budget also invests in a kind of transportation that we have not focused on enough in this town: it’s a good, old-fashioned mode shift to something called “walking.” The five-year capital plan that I am proposing makes a variety of pedestrian investments, including pathway paving and bridges, sidewalk improvements, lighting improvements, a pedestrian staircase to the new Dinkytown Greenway, and beginning to convert the 5th Street off-ramp from I-94 to a pedestrian connection between downtown and the West Bank.
Last edited by twincitizen on August 16th, 2013, 8:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: I-94 7th St Ramp in Minneapolis

Postby RailBaronYarr » August 16th, 2013, 8:17 am

I have to say I'm personally impressed with his speech. If you invest in the connections and safety of walking facilities across the city while residential/business continues to grow, other things like transit and bike facilities will fall in line much easier (and will also benefit in modal share).

seanrichardryan
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby seanrichardryan » October 13th, 2013, 2:57 pm

Looks like someone gets it.
http://m.startribune.com/?id=227590011
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.

Silophant
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Silophant » October 13th, 2013, 9:02 pm

Awesome. I realize that this in no way means it'll happen anytime soon, but I like that a MnDOT commissioner agrees that finishing Northstar is a better option than just adding more lanes to I-94.

Also, lots of fun whining in the comments section. My favorite is the one who accuses the entire region of being "outrageously pro-transit". You know, because we just build transit lines one after another here. Two in just ten years!

Edit: Well, two and a half, including Northstar.

HiawathaGuy
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby HiawathaGuy » November 14th, 2013, 3:24 pm

Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Zelle announced $300 million for road improvements state-wide today.
http://www.startribune.com/local/231954591.html

$300 Million Program Will Boost Highway Capacity, Improve Freight Movement Statewide

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today that ten highway construction projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million Corridors of Commerce program. The projects will strengthen Minnesota’s transportation system by adding capacity and improving the movement of freight across the state.

Here's the link to the press release from MnDOT: http://mn.gov/governor/newsroom/pressre ... =102-93794

Biggest highlights for the metro:
1. Additional lanes on I-94 from MN 101 to MN 241
2. 610 extension from CSAH 81 to I-94

Both are slated to start construction in 2014.

mattaudio
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » November 14th, 2013, 4:08 pm

What's frustrating about this is that there have not been any concrete plans listed on the MnDOT website for lane expansion west of Rogers. And just a few months ago MnDOT engineers seemed to accept the truth that expansion was not feasible nor would it reduce congestion. But now this comes out of nowhere, reversing everything. It smells like pork.

The whole list is just political handouts to the most vocal exurban and rural interest groups. Very little correlation with merit or statewide priorities.

lordmoke
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby lordmoke » November 14th, 2013, 4:23 pm

Maybe all this crap is just designed to shut up the rest of the state so we can get our half cent transit tax?

the_elop
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby the_elop » November 18th, 2013, 12:25 pm

Well, maybe giving extra lanes for 2 miles will at least temporarily quiet those advocating for extra lanes all the way to St. Cloud....

mattaudio
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » December 24th, 2013, 8:50 am

Anyone with a subs want to fill us in? Or is this analysis of the new "special funding" projects? http://finance-commerce.com/2013/12/big ... -counties/

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Mdcastle
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Mdcastle » December 24th, 2013, 12:37 pm

If I had to take a guess, the other project would be the Brockton Lane interchange, the local government agencies are really pushing for "popup funding" for this for economic growth and to relieve pressure on existing interchanges a. $60 million - the cost of the new travel lanes ($35-46 million) leaves $14-25 million for the "other" project, Brockton lane is budgeted at $16 million.

Another possibility, but less likely, would be a direct ramp from south 101 to east 94, rather than build the full proposed system interchange the northbound movement got popup funding for a ramp a few years ago, leaving southbound to still go through a traffic light and around a loop.

mattaudio
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » December 24th, 2013, 2:36 pm

Does MnDOT even want a Brockton interchange? I doubt it. They seem to be (finally) getting smarter about how these systems work, and a new interchange at Brockton would likely increase congestion and definitely induce even more freeway demand.

MnDOT didn't want the 65th St NW interchange in Rochester, but the city wanted it anyways and paid for it themselves so they could get the "economic growth" of a relocated Menards a mile further up the freeway.

Anyways, I'm fairly certain this will be the previously announced projects: 610 connection to 94, and 94 six-laning to St. Michael.

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Mdcastle
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Mdcastle » December 25th, 2013, 8:56 am

I did some more research and there's been substantial changes to the layout from the original 1994 / 2003 plans. So with the downscaled plans (which shifts a lot of the costs to Hennepin County if they still want to build the short extension west of I-94), $60 million does seem about right for the interchange and the new lanes.

Mn/DOT has their policy about not paying for new local access interchanges out of general highway funds so I don't think they wanted Brockton / 65th either, although I also don't think they objected to them since someone else is paying. I guess there's traffic congestion on 55th in Rochester and a consultant suggested building a new interchange at 65th as well as widening 55th and rebuilding it as a SPUI or diverging diamond. Rochester can go nuts as far as I care since it's their money, it's not taking away from funds that could be used to build more important road improvements like the second Pine Island interchange to eliminate that weird, scary grade crossing.

Powerpoint from the study in case anyone hasn't seen it.
http://www.northernrochesterstudy.com/p ... 201112.pdf


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