Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension)

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mattaudio
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » November 14th, 2012, 10:43 am

Or they could tunnel through near north... http://goo.gl/maps/GQFSr
Having been in Chicago and DC many times, it sure is nicer to be in neighborhoods that have subways versus elevated or street level lines... I know a noisy El isn't the same as street-running LRT like on Minnehaha Ave, but still I can understand some of the concerns with the Penn route.. So how much more expensive would it be to cut and cover up to Broadway?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby helsinki » November 14th, 2012, 11:39 am

MNdible wrote: 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.
I brought it up because it was a central part of the discussion in the Streets.mn podcast.

I was equally dismissive when the discussion got underway, but the interviewee does highlight some of the blithe assumptions accompanying the preference for the Golden Valley alignment.

The first half of the interview is an interesting conversation in it's own right, but unrelated to Bottineau.

It is also amusing to hear the discordant objections (not yours, MNdible) from different quarters. There are those who cry "transit racism" at proposals that the line bypass North Minneapolis (investment in predominantly white suburban commuters, not transit dependent populations who are more likely to be people of color, etc. etc. goes the charge). On the flipside, there are those who decry the racism inherent in disrupting minority communities and businesses with construction of a line that is ill suited to the density and land use patterns of the neighborhood through which it would pass.

Personally, I don't think there is any racism behind the planning. Rather, the problem is short-sightedness. Issues of ROW can be easily resolved. Running the line through Theodore Wirth Park, however, (talk about low density) is not a good solution. It involves moving the rail line already extant. It offers zero redevelopment opportunities. It sure is less of a hassle, though. But given that this infrastructure investment is bound to be around for a while, I am not entirely convinced that chosing the easier option is necessarily the wisest.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby twincitizen » November 14th, 2012, 2:08 pm

mattaudio wrote:Or they could tunnel through near north... http://goo.gl/maps/GQFSr
Having been in Chicago and DC many times, it sure is nicer to be in neighborhoods that have subways versus elevated or street level lines... I know a noisy El isn't the same as street-running LRT like on Minnehaha Ave, but still I can understand some of the concerns with the Penn route.. So how much more expensive would it be to cut and cover up to Broadway?

Couldn't you also do this, with a lot less tunneling? (and no deep bore, just cut and cover)
Green is the only tunnel section. Everything else is street ROW.


min-chi-cbus
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby min-chi-cbus » November 15th, 2012, 9:06 am

Unfortunately we cannot see what is underneath the street. If cut-and-cover were an option I'm guessing it would have been brought up...

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby spearson » November 15th, 2012, 9:35 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:Unfortunately we cannot see what is underneath the street. If cut-and-cover were an option I'm guessing it would have been brought up...
See this post from the blog "Getting Around Minneapolis" and the letter he received towards the bottom of it.
http://gettingaroundmpls.wordpress.com/ ... h-part-ii/

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woofner
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » November 15th, 2012, 11:09 am

Tunneling is not being considered because they don't want to consider it.

Hennepin County pays Brent Rusco the big bucks to apply the tunneling costs for a street running through one of the densest parts of town to a low-density neighborhood littered with vacant lots. Most of the cost of cut-and-cover comes from construction mitigation and replacing utilities. Pick any spot in North Minneapolis and there are a dozen detour options. There are only a few parts of W Broadway where there would be trouble with utilities. On Penn it wouldn't even be a question.

As for the deep-bore option, the view from North Minneapolis is about as comparable to Seattle as is the complexity of tunneling. The same could be said for Manhattan. Minneapolis' subsurface geography is much closer to that of Paris (i.e. sandstone), where tunneling is half to a quarter of typical American tunneling costs, despite high labor costs.

That said, tunneling would certainly cost more than surface running, especially surface running through parkland as the LPA does. Since ridership barely justifies the line as-is, I doubt tunneling could be justified here (unlike, say, Central Corridor). I'd rather they cancel the project and instead build BRT along Bottineau to Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park and along Hwy 55 to Plymouth for the same cost as the LPA.
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » November 15th, 2012, 11:38 am

Just a quick note -- tunneling through sandstone is very affordable, but the stations are really going to get you. Just ballparking here, but I'd guess that track level will be about 60 feet below surface level (20' of top soil, 20' of limestone, 20' of sandstone). For each station you'll need the following, on top of what you'd need to provide at a standard station:

(1) fully excavated station area (as opposed to the small-bore tubes that the trains run through)
(1) set of emergency egress stairs
(2) elevators (assuming you provide escalators)
(1) smoke evacuation system
(1) fresh air supply system
(1) fire suppression system
(1+) surface level portals

In addition to that, you'd likely also need a a pair of extra-long escalators (extra-long = extra expensive) and an associated stairway. Lacking that, you'll need to provide another set of egress stairs.

Oh, and you'll be installing all of this work by lowering stuff down into a 60' deep hole in the ground.

While cut and cover is more complicated because of utility impacts, your stations are much cheaper because being 20' below the surface is a whole different game than being 60' below.

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woofner
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » November 15th, 2012, 12:22 pm

Your point about stations is valid, and is why the decision to tunnelize Central Corridor would have been more complicated than I like to present (if it had been contemplated, which is all I ask). But I don't think it would have been as much of a factor for Bottineau because there really was only a short segment that needed to be bridged by a tunnel (so to speak). The length of the corridors Twincitizen and Mattaudio propose tunneling is less than a mile, with only one station required in each. The MSP LRT tunnel that I never get tired of citing included one station and cost $120m in 2004, so it's hard to imagine it would significantly increase the cost of the line, let alone more than double it, as Brent Rusco disingenuously speculates.

And again, your point about stations is valid and worth considering, although it's also true that most subway lines are now deep-bore tunneled rather than cut-and-cover, so apparently it makes up the cost.
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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Andrew_F » November 15th, 2012, 12:46 pm

While it would be really nice to see cost estimates for some tunnel options (including a dreamy diagonal deep-bore from 7th/Van White to Broadway/26th), I'm not convinced that surface-running on Penn is really all that bad.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby helsinki » November 16th, 2012, 12:36 am

DaPerpKazoo wrote:I'm not convinced that surface-running on Penn is really all that bad.
Yeah, why is this a non-starter?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mattaudio » November 16th, 2012, 8:27 am

Apparently it is politically bad karma to take out a slice of some people's front yards, and maybe the occasional house or two near stations or turns, so instead they're going to route it through a ravine so it barely serves the most ravaged neighborhood in Minneapolis.... because of course stations at Penn-Broadway/Plymouth would do nothing to create placemaking value that would move the nomi housing market upwards.

I'm convinced LRT, highways, etc are driven by land speculators... and it's easier to speculate on a hypothetical 10 acre plot of infill around a lightly used station than it is to speculate on the value of hundreds or thousands of existing urban single family homes and small apartments.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby UptownSport » November 16th, 2012, 7:32 pm

mattaudio wrote:I'm convinced LRT, highways, etc are driven by land speculators...
That would be difficult to argue against

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby aguaman » November 20th, 2012, 1:54 pm

as we discuss this corridor, it is good to put into perspective how other cities are doing in relation to us. I am reading in Passenger Transport (11/5/12) about Salt Lake City of all places that is so far in advance of the Twin Cities for rail system development. Here's their stats:
3 LRT lines - 35 miles with 11 more on the way
44 miles of commuter rail with nearly 44 more on the way.

4 new lines entering service by the end of 2013:
new commuter rail line
new lrt line
lrt extension
new streetcar

so what the heck is so wrong with minnesota where utah can outshine us on public transportation? why are we so pitifully bad at this here? i'm so happy about all the talk about these new corridors here, but it seems like things just happen faster in other places like denver and seattle that we are trying to compete with. thoughts?

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Yourpalborno » November 20th, 2012, 1:58 pm

aguaman wrote:as we discuss this corridor, it is good to put into perspective how other cities are doing in relation to us. I am reading in Passenger Transport (11/5/12) about Salt Lake City of all places that is so far in advance of the Twin Cities for rail system development. Here's their stats:
3 LRT lines - 35 miles with 11 more on the way
44 miles of commuter rail with nearly 44 more on the way.

4 new lines entering service by the end of 2013:
new commuter rail line
new lrt line
lrt extension
new streetcar

so what the heck is so wrong with minnesota where utah can outshine us on public transportation? why are we so pitifully bad at this here? i'm so happy about all the talk about these new corridors here, but it seems like things just happen faster in other places like denver and seattle that we are trying to compete with. thoughts?

They built much of the infrastructure for the 2002 Winter Olympics. I don’t think you can compare it to us for that reason.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » November 20th, 2012, 2:51 pm

And I think it was Elf who pointed out that their geography constrained development into a linear arrangement that makes it very easy and effective to be served by rail transit.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby talindsay » November 20th, 2012, 3:15 pm

aguaman wrote:as we discuss this corridor, it is good to put into perspective how other cities are doing in relation to us. I am reading in Passenger Transport (11/5/12) about Salt Lake City of all places that is so far in advance of the Twin Cities for rail system development. Here's their stats:
3 LRT lines - 35 miles with 11 more on the way
44 miles of commuter rail with nearly 44 more on the way.

4 new lines entering service by the end of 2013:
new commuter rail line
new lrt line
lrt extension
new streetcar

so what the heck is so wrong with minnesota where utah can outshine us on public transportation? why are we so pitifully bad at this here? i'm so happy about all the talk about these new corridors here, but it seems like things just happen faster in other places like denver and seattle that we are trying to compete with. thoughts?
Also, this isn't a unit-size war, if you get my drift. It's not about how many miles of transit lines they have, but rather how well utilized they are and how well it helps out the people of the city. I know Salt Lake does happen to have a very well developed system that serves the city well, but that's not measured in miles of track or number of lines; it's measured in percentage transportation share transit holds; in number of riders; in breadth of trip types supported by transit; in percentage of residents who don't own a car, and how many leave their cars parked. Many of the world's busiest systems have dramatically less trackage per passenger than small upstart light-rail-centric systems, but that's because dense urban cores that are highly reliant on transit don't need much mileage to serve large numbers of people.

I don't care how many miles of transit Minneapolis builds; I care how well used the system is and how many people use it. If you took Northstar off our list the Twin Cities would lose 80% of its operational trackage, but it would only lose about 10% of its ridership; an 11-mile system that serves 30,000 daily riders is much more impressive than a 51-mile system that serves 32,000 daily riders.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby Nathan » November 20th, 2012, 3:23 pm

I think more comparable to MSP is DFW and they have 4 fairly extensive rail lines with planned expansions, and a commuter rail connecting to Fort Worth... How is it that Dallas and arguably extremely auto-centric metro is out performing the Twin Cities, I'd like to think we could do better than we are... When Hiawatha went in it seemed like we were ahead of mid sized metros, but are we quickly slipping? It has undeniably proven effective I don't understand how anyone could argue against it at this point. GET THEM BUILT!

Dallas Rail Map

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby mplsjaromir » November 20th, 2012, 3:39 pm

Dallas is a much larger metropolitan area. Their light rail system only manages 71,000 riders per day. Sure they have a bigger system, but Dallas is too spread out to ever really take advantage.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » November 20th, 2012, 3:44 pm

DFW population is twice that of MSP.

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Re: Bottineau Corridor (Blue Line Extension)

Postby woofner » November 20th, 2012, 4:18 pm

I think there's two separate conversations going on here. One is discussing the relative performance of transit systems and the other is discussing the relative capability of metros to pull off large-scale transit capital projects. I agree with the former conversation that MSP performs very well on transit metrics, including the potential of LRT in corridors like Central & Southwest, both of which are highly competitive at the national level. But that's why it's so frustrating that other regions have made more progress on building their relatively uncompetitive systems, as aguaman pointed out. It's not just a matter of their city is bigger, or our transit system is pretty good anyway; it's a matter of our inability to get this infrastructure built.

I would speculate on two or three reasons for this - one is that the state Republicans haven't taken much of a stance on transportation generally. They have been content to let the system continue to function without many changes (i.e. new revenue or spending formulas) and the DFL has mostly let the issue stay quiet in the fear of a new front opening (with some notable exceptions in 2008 and 1999). Related to this is our political geography - our center cities are so blue that the GOP has given up on fostering the few urbanists that might be interested in their party. In addition, due either to geography or cultural psychology, the GOP has always had a heavy rural bent. So the GOP may be less Chamber-oriented than in those other cities.

Another factor is the relatively small central cities here and the municipal fragmentation of the Metro in general. That seems to have prevented the rise of strong regional leaders such as Hickenlooper, former mayor of Denver and now gov of CO. Even considering the major figures of the MN political scene in the last 30 years (the LRT era), only a handful have been from the Metro - Carlson, Pawlenty, Sabo maybe...

Anyway the latter conversation is worth having objectively and separate from the conversation of the relative productivity of the transit systems.
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