Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

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SteveXC500
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby SteveXC500 » September 9th, 2017, 2:40 pm

I know TCW proposed spending the money to fix the river crossing in Savage. Did this happen?

I grew up in Lakeville when this corridor saw plenty of commercial rail traffic. I took the survey to support utilizing the corridor again. It would be nice to provide additional transit options there.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » September 9th, 2017, 5:59 pm

TCW started work on the bridge in 2015 or 2016. I think most, if not all, of the work has been finished. From what I've been told by TCW crew they're waiting on the new wye track in St. Louis Park so it'll be much easier to operate grain trains between the MN&S and their own trackage. The new wye will be built as part of the Southwest LRT project.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 18th, 2017, 7:48 am

Here's the agenda from last night's Edina City Council meeting. https://edina.novusagenda.com/AgendaPub ... ype=Agenda A link to the study done by Kimley Horn is in there (255 pages!!). They recommended the city not continue studying the corridor for passenger rail at this time, and not fight for lifting the gag rule either. The council voted along those recommendations.

This is all based primarily on a political feasibility of support for lifting the gag rule, champions (local and elected) for getting a rail line built, and a fairly weak technical feasibility of the Grandview area's demographics ability to support rail (yes, they do look at the State's rail plans that discuss the corridor's broader feasibility). Also, they used a whopping 949 citizen touch points to determine they're recommendation. All of which goes to show that the region/state should be the ones discussing this corridor, not a single city.

EOst
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby EOst » October 18th, 2017, 7:54 am

Given the political headwinds against Dan Patch, I don't think their analysis is unreasonable. Edina's councilmembers would be sticking their neck very far out for a project that is still very unlikely to be built.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 18th, 2017, 8:05 am

Hi, yes, I'd like to be paid just half of whatever Kimley Horn was to tell Edina's City Council that pushing for a rail project like this as one city - full of wealthy white people - of many other cities that instituted the gag rule was politically unpopular and fraught with challenges.

Kimley Horn didn't do an analysis of whether the *line* (commuter, regional, or otherwise) was a worthy one based on updated population/jobs data, travel preferences, etc along the likely stops of a given handful of routes. They didn't do a hard technical study of the line's condition, cost to upgrade for passenger service and annual operating plan. That information - they type of information the State is prevented from studying but a city still can - would have been useful in convincing other cities whether next steps are worth it. As it is, they talked to a relative handful of people who unsurprisingly said they don't support looking into this, and the majority of the concern was about property values. That's disappointing, and it's not how we should govern IMO.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » October 18th, 2017, 9:26 am

I believe it was mentioned that this gag order is the only known law of its kind in this country. I assume they mean specifically banning a passenger rail line from being studied and built by the state and regional government. Whether or not this is true its very un-democratic and just shows that you don't need facts and logic when you have tons of money to "tell" your representative to kill this project. If I had the money maybe I would fight tooth and nail to stop road projects just to piss off these people who didn't realize that tracks are used by trains.

Now for the inevitable arguments that because Edina's study (in my opinion piss poor) concluded it wasn't worth supporting that means we can drop this.

Multimodal
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Multimodal » November 2nd, 2017, 11:55 pm

Kimley Horn was not directed to do an exhaustive study. Rather, the city council tasked the transportation commission with answering the question: is it *worth* studying further? Is there sufficient existing & projected density, demand, & interest from neighboring municipalities, and is the political climate conducive for asking for rescinding the gag rule (and how might that backfire)?

The study showed that the existing plans for density in the area do not warrant further investigation at this time, and there was no interest in other municipalities at this time.

With the push for density in other commercial areas of the city, and with the 70th & Cahill Small Area Plan coming up, and with the Grandview Green (cap over Hwy 100) needing much higher density to support it economically, the density issue may very well change in the future.

Multimodal
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Multimodal » November 2nd, 2017, 11:58 pm

And while the existing tracks mean that the Dan Patch corridor is the cheapest place to put up new transit, certainly the growth in other areas (Southdale/France) suggests that demand for transit is much higher in other parts of the city/region.

BenFranske
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby BenFranske » November 16th, 2017, 11:44 am

Just to close the loop here... The city of Edina decided not to pursue further study of Dan Patch at this time. I was at one of the community meetings/open houses and it was a pretty stacked and angry room full of people living along the corridor who were vehemently opposed so I would say this is not an unexpected outcome. I was honestly surprised at some of the absolutely insane comments and FUD coming out of the mouths of some of these people, it was definitely a hostile environment if you were pro-study (not even pro-development!) of the corridor. People were threatening to sell their property and leave the city if it was even studied, wage war on the city council, etc. They also made it clear they very much wanted to end or severely restrict freight use of the line too. I don't think they at all understand how railroad regulation works. My guess is that if TCW decided to start running 20 trains a day down the corridor people would change their tune pretty quickly and decide that government ownership of the corridor and running some passenger rail where they'd have some say over the operation via community input and voting would start to be pretty attractive...

Personally, I think that transit of some sort in this corridor is an eventuality, it's just a matter of out-waiting the naysayers who live along the line.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 16th, 2017, 10:26 pm

I was at the meetings too and voiced my support through the comment sheets and talking to the mayor and transit planner face to face. I'm nervous enough speaking in crowds, so a hostile one I avoid if possible.

TCW wouldn't even need to run 20 trains per day, just 2 per day will trigger the NIMBYS. People don't seem to realize passenger trains, especially electric, are very different from freight trains.

There's still the gag order, but considering MnDOT has the route on the state rail plan makes me wonder if they consider it void just by changing the name of the proposal.

BenFranske
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby BenFranske » November 17th, 2017, 11:25 am

DanPatchToget wrote:
November 16th, 2017, 10:26 pm
I was at the meetings too and voiced my support through the comment sheets and talking to the mayor and transit planner face to face. I'm nervous enough speaking in crowds, so a hostile one I avoid if possible.
I'm a professor and deal with public speaking on a pretty regular basis so it's no big deal but that was an incredibly hostile crowd at the second meeting (the one I attended) so I did the same as you. In fact I mentioned to the city planner that I would be very surprised if there was going to be any real interest in pushing forward a study based on what I saw but that they could maybe still talk about removing the gag rule because it's just insane to force agencies to ignore even looking at a corridor by law. We should always investigate all possibilities even if we decide not to take advantage of one!

Bakken2016
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby Bakken2016 » November 17th, 2017, 11:39 am

BenFranske wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 11:25 am
DanPatchToget wrote:
November 16th, 2017, 10:26 pm
I was at the meetings too and voiced my support through the comment sheets and talking to the mayor and transit planner face to face. I'm nervous enough speaking in crowds, so a hostile one I avoid if possible.
I'm a professor and deal with public speaking on a pretty regular basis so it's no big deal but that was an incredibly hostile crowd at the second meeting (the one I attended) so I did the same as you. In fact I mentioned to the city planner that I would be very surprised if there was going to be any real interest in pushing forward a study based on what I saw but that they could maybe still talk about removing the gag rule because it's just insane to force agencies to ignore even looking at a corridor by law. We should always investigate all possibilities even if we decide not to take advantage of one!
What would be the first step to getting the gag rule removed?

tmart
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby tmart » November 17th, 2017, 12:06 pm

Bakken2016 wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 11:39 am
What would be the first step to getting the gag rule removed?
If we're being honest, it's probably changing the composition of the state legislature.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 17th, 2017, 12:44 pm

Good luck- even a liberal representative from Edina is not going to stick their neck out to propose lifting the gag rule and piss off his/her constituents over this. And the proposal won't come from someone living outside the districts along the line. The city is filled with more liberal, transit-supportive, forward-thinking land use elected officials and staff than any state rep would likely be, and they didn't have the commitment to recommend a study.

tmart
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby tmart » November 17th, 2017, 1:17 pm

I mean, it would probably be a rider in a much larger transit bill, just crossing out the gag order without mandating further study. Heck, they could even just issue a blanket invalidation of any transit study gag orders as a legislative overreach, and sorta sidestep the issue. Either way, I could see, say, a Northfield representative (where the line is a very popular idea) having strong incentive to push for that inclusion. Then the Edina reps could say, "I don't support the line at this time, but the bill doesn't require or fund any further work on the line, and the bill brings key (aBRT/bus frequency/off-ramps/whatever carrot in the package) improvements to our district, so I voted for it."

I don't see removing the gag order as too politically volatile just because it's quite low-profile and doesn't commit to anything.

BenFranske
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby BenFranske » November 17th, 2017, 3:41 pm

tmart wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 1:17 pm
I don't see removing the gag order as too politically volatile just because it's quite low-profile and doesn't commit to anything.
Indeed, it's just stupid. It's what you do when you're so afraid of what a study might say you want to prevent anyone from even asking the question. It would be like big tobacco in the 70s or 80s getting a ban on studying the health effects of cigarettes. Insanity. It would be like the gun lobby preventing people from studying shootings. Oh wait. They actually did.

SteveXC500
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby SteveXC500 » November 23rd, 2017, 3:55 pm

TCW plans to run a couple trains per day on this corridor, likely next year, to Savage, now that the bridge work over the MN River is complete.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Dan Patch Intercity Regional Passenger Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 24th, 2017, 4:33 pm

Not sure who is familiar with this line, but do you think there is any potential for rail transit on the northern section of the corridor? Specifically north of St. Louis Park through Golden Valley, New Hope, and Crystal via the existing CP tracks. The route seems to have a little bit higher density residential and a more transit dependent population, but the question is where would it go and would the cost be worth it over existing bus service or improved bus service? Probably wouldn't get much use if it kept going south on the Dan Patch Corridor. It could go to Minneapolis via BNSF's Wayzata Sub, but a wye track would need to be built. It could also go to Downtown Minneapolis via Glenwood Junction and either BNSF track or the Blue Line extension along Highway 55. On the northern end it would probably connect with one of the Blue Line extension stations, but it would need dedicated track in Crystal because the east-west tracks that go through that area have a high amount of freight traffic (as high as a train every 30 minutes).


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