White Bear Lake-to-Minneapolis Transit Corridor

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Suburban Outcast
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby Suburban Outcast » December 31st, 2012, 7:39 pm

Oops, I just realized that the LRT alignment on County Road C just veers off the road west of the Victoria St. Intersection, (I misread the map and thought it went along C past Victoria, my apologies). Would there be enough room for the LRT though? Given the fact there is that freight rail line, bike paths, and power lines along that corridor, having a triple-track layout (1 freight, 2 LRT) could be an issue. I was thinking commuter rail could be another option by duplicating the existing track, but it looks like there is not a direct RR link to downtown and it would end up bypassing Rosedale though they could just extend the 84/future Snelling rapid bus route though with a station near Snelling and Cty Rd C.

mattaudio
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby mattaudio » December 31st, 2012, 7:57 pm

I don't think there's many rail customers between MN Commercial Rwy (just west of 35W) and 694. There's one industrial siding just west of Fairview Ave, then there are a few southwest of 694 which could be served just as well from the BNSF via a connection at Park Junction. So maybe the ROW could be exclusively for LRT.

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby Suburban Outcast » December 31st, 2012, 10:23 pm

That seems like a good idea, I drive on County Rd C almost daily and I don't see trains too often, so if they can divert the freight traffic, that would lessen the issues with building the LRT tracks. I would be happy if they even just built it to Rosedale, though they would probably have to build another ramp for a Park and Ride (like Maplewood Mall did).

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby mulad » December 31st, 2012, 11:28 pm

I'm not sure there's anywhere they could divert the trains to -- the tracks running north-south along I-35W and MN-280 are Minnesota Commercial's main line. The line along County C is their branch out to Hugo, and there currently aren't any other connections to other railroads out east. A connection to the Canadian National could probably be rebuilt in White Bear Lake by U.S. 61, and it might be possible to do something at a crossing of Canadian Pacific by Rice Street in Little Canada north of Owasso Boulevard, but the extra distance and cost of trackage rights could easily kill off the remaining service.

Oh well, perhaps they're just better off selling that part of the line to CN or something anyway.

I guess it's only a mile and a half or less, but should we think about either running LRT down the center of County C or along the outer lanes? As nice as the Hiawatha Line is, it seems to show that running LRT down one side of a major roadway is fairly problematic for traffic flow and pedestrian access. Of course, Hwy 55 is much busier than County C...

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby Suburban Outcast » January 1st, 2013, 6:04 am

It would also cause problems with the part running along County Road B2 as well, because at least the County C portion has more space for the tracks than B2 does. It would have to run in the median near Rosedale, unless they want to go through part of the parking lot.

at40man
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby at40man » February 11th, 2016, 1:12 pm

Nick wrote:Biggest issue I see with this would routing it into Minneapolis instead of St. Paul's $250 million dollar empty Union Depot. Obviously Minneapolis makes more sense, but you know.
I keep seeing this post and it was so long ago that I don't reply... but now that 2 more years has gone since I initially decided against it... I will now. :oops:

My beef here is that post seems almost... well... "Minneapolitacentric" or "Minneapolitanormative". Let's just route a train from White Bear Lake to Minneapolis instead of St Paul, because MINNEAPOLIS!

But that doesn't really reflect the reality of why people live over here. I grew up on this side of the Twin Cities and still reside in the general area. When my parents chose their house in the area, one of their primary considerations was proximity to downtown St Paul, where my mom worked. Yes, my evidence is anecdotal, but having spent decades of my life on this end, I feel comfortable saying that people who live in the NE quadrant of the cities do not really think about Minneapolis all that much. When you live in White Bear Lake, then Saint Paul is considered to be downtown and Minneapolis a relatively distant nuisance.

So in short, no, routing to Minneapolis does not make more sense.

mattaudio
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby mattaudio » February 11th, 2016, 1:14 pm

Seems like it would make the most sense to run some Green Line trains through from WBL to SPUD to Minneapolis. Long ride, but a one-seat ride.

mamundsen
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby mamundsen » February 11th, 2016, 2:23 pm

Isn't this idea essentially dead because the Rush Line is being considered?

https://forum.streets.mn/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1534

at40man: I am looking to move from Como Park to the NE quadrant of the cities (Roseville, Shoreview, WBL, etc) and I work DT Mpls. I would NEVER take a long ride through St Paul to commute to work. I am in each downtown about equal amounts of time.

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby Tiller » February 11th, 2016, 3:00 pm

mamundsen wrote:Isn't this idea essentially dead because the Rush Line is being considered?
Dead for the foreseeable future (though Rush was also dead 2 years ago). The closest thing to this we could see would be along hwy 36, though there hasn't even been movement to put BRT along 36 yet. Light rail would probably be far off since they've also rebuilt 36 recently.

Also can confirm that "downtown" means St Paul by default here.

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby twincitizen » February 12th, 2016, 10:56 am

I concur that for those living in suburban Ramsey County and Washington County, "the city" and "downtown" most people think of and identify with is St. Paul. But I'd be careful not to let people's perception (and history) outweigh reality of where the jobs are and where they are moving/growing. Downtown St. Paul is almost certainly going to continue to stagnate or trend downward as an office jobs destination, while simultaneously trending upwards as a neighborhood for people to live, dine, play, etc.

That said, while I think a Downtown Mpls to Rosedale area one-seat transit trip is valuable, I probably wouldn't extend it much/any further than that, and certainly not all the way to downtown WBL. Highway BRT on 35W>36 will likely see an actual study in the coming years, so that will be interesting to see what the ridership projections look like.

And just for factsies, here's where WBL residents head for work:
1. St. Paul (2,160 jobs)
2. Minneapolis (1,396 jobs)
3. White Bear Lake (1,255 jobs)

But when you survey the broader area of suburban Ramsey County, Minneapolis and St. Paul are tied as job destinations. (~18,000 jobs each for residents of the selected area). Roseville came in distant 3rd place. Source: OnTheMap tool.

But going beyond the raw job numbers, downtown Minneapolis has a much higher transit mode share than downtown St. Paul, owing to:
1. the availability of existing transit services
2. the pricing/availability of parking downtown
3. traffic congestion getting to said destination

So while more people may be heading to downtown St. Paul today than downtown Minneapolis from the WBL/Maplewood area...those people are much more likely to be driving to St. Paul than their counterparts who work in Minneapolis.

mattaudio
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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby mattaudio » February 12th, 2016, 11:23 am

I don't have specifics, but here's what I think could work well in the medium-term given our existing plans and studies (including Rush Line planning). We definitely need a better connection between Minneapolis and the Roseville area. If that's Freeway BRT, it may make sense to extend that eastward as twincitizen notes. What about turning it north via 35E or 61 to WBL, especially if Rush Line ends in Maplewood? Then we could have another Freeway BRT line heading north from St. Paul on 35E then northwest on 694 and 10 hitting the Arden Hills/ Shoreview job centers, then terminating at the TCAAP site (or possibly extending past to a transit center in Blaine). We would need to ensure quality transfers between these two lines, but then it would provide even more of a network effect for travelsheds in the north and northeast metro headed to either downtown or a variety of job centers.

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Re: White Bear Corridor

Postby Suburban Outcast » February 13th, 2016, 2:47 pm

Also, given that 35E's MnPASS lanes are already being extended to County Rd J (NB) and Highway 96 (SB), most people in this area might be more inclined to still drive to downtown Saint Paul from the northern suburbs (I use 35E on my commute and its usually only 10 minutes to downtown even with traffic).

I agree with twincitizen on that a Rosedale to DT Mpls corridor would be valuable, if it was rail and went through the U in my opinion. It has been talked about before in various forms such as David Levinson's post earlier this year, but I wish we did focus on light rail routes (around 5 miles) that are shorter and then have buses focus on farther out suburbs. I would want to see stronger transit hubs in the inner suburbs before we put lots of capital into rail transit into the middle and outer ring suburbs.


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