U.S. Highway 169

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Anondson
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U.S. Highway 169

Postby Anondson » September 26th, 2017, 1:14 pm

169’s Nine Mile Creek causeway was built wide enough to carry the previous four lanes, plus shoulders that for now will give express busses their own space but feel clearly designed for a future 169 four-to-six lane widening (if ever).

Tcmetro
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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Tcmetro » June 1st, 2018, 6:39 am

It seems that the Hwy 169 Mobility (MnPass/BRT) study is coming to a close. The report and a number of "tech memos" are posted on the Golden Valley website (strange that they aren't on MnDot's or Met Council's), but some of them appear to be drafts rather than finals.

Available here: http://www.goldenvalleymn.gov/planning/ ... /index.php

The result of the planning effort is a vision that will MnPass lanes will be added between Marschall Road in Shakopee to Highway 55. Also mentioned (but not included in the study) are MnPass lanes extending up to I-94/694. The vision also includes a reworking of the Minnetonka Bl and Cedar Lake Rd interchanges, elimination of the interchange at 16th St, and a reworking of the Betty Crocker Dr/Highway 55 interchange. The preliminary concepts removed access from Betty Crocker Dr, but it was added back in as it was viewed as necessary for the BRT to serve the General Mills HQ stop.

The BRT vision is for a route between Marschall Rd in Shakopee to Downtown Minneapolis via 169, General Mills, and Highway 55. This routing results in travel time estimates of 71-77 minutes. Stops would be included at:
  • Marschall Road Transit Station - existing (add SB ramp to station from Marschall Road)
  • Canterbury Road - located on the entrance ramps
  • 78th St/Washington Ave - On-street stops
  • Bren Road - located on the entrance ramps
  • Downtown Hopkins - located at the Green Line station on Excelsior Bl at 8th St
  • General Mills HQ - located in the parking lot at the existing bus stop
  • Winnetka Ave - on-street stops located west of intersection
  • Douglas Dr - on-street far-side stops
  • Wirth Pkwy - on-street far-side stops (option for location at Meadow Ln)
  • Penn Ave - on-street stops located east of intersection
  • 7th St/Olson Hwy - located at the existing BRT stops
  • Downtown Minneapolis Dropoffs - 2nd Av N/N 7th St, 6th/Hennepin, 6th/Nicollet, S 6th St/3rd Ave S
  • Downtown Minneapolis Pickups - S 7th St/3rd Ave S, 7th/Nicollet, 7th/Hennepin, N 7th St/2nd Ave N
Because of the exclusive use of ramp and off-street stops, BRT would only use the MnPass lanes between Canterbury Rd and 494, and from Betty Crocker Dr to Excelsior Bl.

There are also options for an interim service that operates either Marschall Rd-General Mills or the full route, but doesn't include the stops at Bren Rd or Canterbury Rd. This would operate every 30-60 mins (either 5 or 7 days per week) and would have a much smaller operations cost.

Cost estimates are:
$329.3 million - for MnPass lanes, not including 394/Betty Crocker/55 reconfiguration. Largely driven by widening of the Bloomington Ferry bridge and reconfiguration at Minnetonka Bl/Cedar Lake RD.
$13.8 million - BRT construction
$11.3 million - 15 buses
$7.4 million - bus garage expansion
$3.1 million - BRT project development
$8.6 million - BRT contingency

--

Reviewing this project, it feels to me that this is just another road project with transit added on as an afterthought. The routing and travel times are insane and is trying to combine multiple travel patterns to make a project viable. Hwy 55 would be better served by reverse commute routes that make more stops, General Mills is served by the 645, and the SWLRT will serve Hopkins and the Golden Triangle. The new service here is to Shakopee, and is essentially dependent on local bus connections from the stations. The Hopkins routing adds 5-6 stoplights, which is easily a 10-minute deviation.

Secondly, this is not BRT! The infrastructure investment is minimal, the buses can't even use the MnPass lanes for a good portion of the routing, and the focus of the study has been to serve highway ramps instead of actual destinations. It seems that service would be better with a number of different express routes that travel directly to the destinations instead of relying on transfers to infrequent routes. Most of 169 is already covered by bus-only shoulders, so implementation of better service isn't really limited by the infrastructure.

mattaudio
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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby mattaudio » June 1st, 2018, 8:04 am

169 is a ROW-constrained tight four lane urban freeway with parallel routes to the east (100) and west (494)...

It's almost like the entire facility should become MnPASS rather than adding a lane for MnPASS.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby tmart » June 1st, 2018, 9:41 am

It's a shame the people who developed the BRT standard didn't/couldn't trademark the term and get injunctions against people using it to describe projects like this...and, well, basically everything we've done or planned except the Gold Line.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Silophant » June 1st, 2018, 10:29 am

The Orange Line seems like real BRT.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby mattaudio » June 1st, 2018, 10:33 am

The Orange Line will not have direct access between MnPASS lanes and stations south of 46th Street. For example, the 66th St stations are on the diamond interchange ramps. Not sure this is a deal breaker, but it's also not "LRT on rubber tires" either.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby tmart » June 1st, 2018, 11:23 am

FYI mixed-traffic lanes with restrictions do not qualify for the BRT standard. We have other deficiencies like station alignment, presence of non-proof-of-purchase routes using the same stations, lack of physical barriers from other traffic, and really a host of other issues.

Here's the standard if you're curious. I've heard the term "BRT creep" to describe the way that cutting corners and making compromises eventually adds up, and looking at the examples in that paper it's clear that our projects have made enough compromises that they don't even vaguely resemble the model BRT systems.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby LakeCharles » June 1st, 2018, 11:27 am

The Orange Line will be LRT on rubber tires for about 6 miles, with 2 stops along that section. Not nothing (that is the length of Midtown LRT if it went from River to West Lake), but not that great either (imagine if Midtown only had two stops, at Lyndale and Hiawatha, and bicycles could use the lane as long as they paid $1).

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby tmart » June 1st, 2018, 11:49 am

LakeCharles wrote:
June 1st, 2018, 11:27 am
The Orange Line will be LRT on rubber tires for about 6 miles, with 2 stops along that section. Not nothing (that is the length of Midtown LRT if it went from River to West Lake), but not that great either (imagine if Midtown only had two stops, at Lyndale and Hiawatha, and bicycles could use the lane as long as they paid $1).
Which segment? Unless I'm misunderstanding the project (the documentation seems almost intentionally vague on guideway type) it seems like only the existing Downtown segment, the new ramps, and the Knox Avenue segment fit that definition.

Rapid transit and mixed traffic are mutually exclusive. But again, whether it's 35W or 169 or 394 or Cedar, the strategy always seems to be rebuild the highway, run some buses wherever they're least disruptive, and declare this to be Rapid Transit, mission accomplished.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Silophant » June 1st, 2018, 11:54 am

I've seen the standard, I'm just not convinced that the standard is really all that useful. It places a lot of value on things that don't make that much of a difference to the experience, and not very much on things that do. If the MnPass lanes are working properly, the cars in them are going at least 55, and probably faster, so who cares if there's some cars in between the buses, if the buses are still going as fast as they would be with empty concrete ahead of them?

As to Lake Charles's point about the Greenway, if the bikers were going to be going at least as fast, if not faster, than the Greenway rail would go, I'd have no problem with them sharing the ROW, because it wouldn't affect the trains, so it doesn't matter.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby LakeCharles » June 1st, 2018, 11:56 am

I was speaking of the segment from 62 to downtown. It is mixed traffic, but they have center stations. Downtown they'll share the road with all of the other buses, which really slows things down in the afternoon in combination with the lights.

And to Silophant, if the MNPass lanes keep working as they currently do, the bus will not be going 55 the whole way. It routinely gets slowed down.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby tmart » June 1st, 2018, 12:25 pm

I mean, I'm open to the argument that (given the starvation budget and minimal political will we have for transit) making targeted, incremental improvements to regular bus service is a better use of resources. That's just a different argument from the claim that "actually this is the same as rapid transit." That term exists to describe a mostly-closed system that aspires to be isolated from, and meaningfully faster and more reliable than, individual vehicles. When MnDOT/Metro Transit call this by those names, they preempt the discussion over whether having such a system is a priority or not.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Tcmetro » June 1st, 2018, 1:03 pm

I'd like to add that there's obviously some level of service that is warranted in this corridor, I'm unsure that it is BRT-level. Then when BRT as a term gets tossed around, suddenly it's 15-minute frequency or nothing. This is what happened with the Red Line, promises were made for some standards to be held up which resulted in empty buses and essentially throwing money down the drain.

This is the case here with the 169 BRT proposal. High cost for low ridership because we have to have 15 min frequencies, giant stations for relatively low (and peaky) ridership, ticket machines at every stop, and "straight-line" service that skips the destinations instead of multiple routes tailored to demand.

Is there a reason to having a $44 million BRT capital plan and a $329 million lane expansion when we could keep 15 extra buses from retiring and basically run the service at no extra cost (beyond labor/fuel)? This project is really about lane expansion and not providing more and better transit options.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby DanPatchToget » June 1st, 2018, 5:37 pm

I had very little faith in this project, and seeing that there is no station for Pioneer Trail or Anderson Lakes Parkway makes me lose the rest.

Its not as flashy, but just run a limited-stop service along the corridor like Route 535. It would be much slower, but much less cost (regular bus stop signs and regular buses) and actually serve where people go. That was the problem with the failed Route 494 experiment; almost all of the stations were park & rides, not where people actually live or work.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby mattaudio » June 1st, 2018, 8:17 pm

I drew this up years ago when I first saw the SWLRT preferred routing through the area, but it still applies today...
https://www.google.com/maps/@44.889905, ... xKm00HMttA
It seems like it would be really easy to put in a bus-only ramp to the side of the City West Green Line station. No new bridges needed, and this one ramp could serve BRT southbound AND northbound on 169 via the immediately adjacent 169/62 cloverleaf.

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Anondson
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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Anondson » August 13th, 2018, 6:07 pm


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Anondson
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U.S. Highway 169

Postby Anondson » August 13th, 2018, 6:35 pm

The 169 vision has these two interchanges being reconstructed the following ways in late phases.

[IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201808 ... dcb4a3.png[/IMG][IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201808 ... aa6878.png[/IMG]
I wish the Cedar Lake Blvd bridge would just use roundabouts at each end of the bridge instead of signals.

Those Betty Crocker Dr and TH 55 changes are dramatic.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby mattaudio » August 14th, 2018, 7:50 am

This plan is ridiculously expensive and unnecessary. Did they not consider making the entire four lane corridor MnPASS inside the beltway? There's no reason to expand this corridor with new lanes. 494 and 100 are already parallel corridors, and we just expanded 494 and a portion of 100 with new lanes south of 394.

Just make 169 a MnPass corridor, fix some of the most critical interchange spacing issues (the folded diamond at 55 with a connector to Shelard seems like a good idea but still could be done cheaper) and call it done.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby Oreos&Milk » August 14th, 2018, 7:57 am

I like the BRT route, except for the offline bus stations at Hopkins. There LITERALLY is a completely walkable bike trail that currently exists and will be much better once the green line ext is added. They could EASILY build a inline station that connects directly to this trail and allow for transfers by walking a short 2 city block distance, if they need to transfer. Nice ride or Lime bikes could build a few bike stations, build tons of bike parking and have a nice transit hub and keep the dang BRT line MOVING FAST!

Slowing down the entire line to accommodate what the 8% that will use this station so they don't have to walk two blocks and then walk another three to seven blocks to their destination is a better idea, only in america. What the hell do we have nice trails if we can't even utilize them in ways that are super obvious.

Also Viking Drive seems redundant, but if anything another inline station at Valley View Rd be a better option. Just build a nice walking trail between the green line and the bus station long term. Transfers would be best at Hopkins stop anyways, so even a trail here is not necessary. I just hope they don't intend on messing up the potential for this line to be a quick dependable mode of transit by slowing it down with unnecessary stops due to offline stations when they could EASILY be inline stations and keep the bus in the HOV lane.

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Re: U.S. Highway 169

Postby bubzki2 » August 14th, 2018, 9:41 am

I like the creativity at the 394/BC/55 interchange mess. Might be overbuilt a bit, however. There's a lot of commuter traffic from WB 394 to WB 55 via 169, so I do wonder a little about the SPUI capacity at the 55 entrance, but the existing cloverleafs are really overbuilt for the average traffic there.


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