B Line Lake St Rapid Bus, Midtown Rail Transit

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Qhaberl
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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Qhaberl » December 14th, 2018, 1:52 pm

I also feel that the discussion is very relevant.


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tmart
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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby tmart » December 14th, 2018, 1:57 pm

I guess the point is, it's pretty clear that it's not going to integrate meaningfully, and while we can turn every thread into a discussion of how transit planning by corridor in the Twin Cities fails to consider expansion and integration, there's only so much to be said on the topic and seemingly little appetite to rethink it.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 14th, 2018, 2:13 pm

I don't know how we'll integrate Midtown LRT and the Blue Line, but with the western end while there would be separate platforms at least it's easy to merge the Midtown LRT into the Green Line heading west.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby alexschief » December 14th, 2018, 2:51 pm

tmart wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 1:57 pm
I guess the point is, it's pretty clear that it's not going to integrate meaningfully, and while we can turn every thread into a discussion of how transit planning by corridor in the Twin Cities fails to consider expansion and integration, there's only so much to be said on the topic and seemingly little appetite to rethink it.
Considering that the only work done on the project is a pre-project study from over four years ago, and that not integrating a Midtown rail route with both the Blue and Green Lines would be extremely dumb, I'm not sure why that's ground that any transit advocate in MSP should concede.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Oreos&Milk » December 14th, 2018, 10:11 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 2:13 pm
I don't know how we'll integrate Midtown LRT and the Blue Line, but with the western end while there would be separate platforms at least it's easy to merge the Midtown LRT into the Green Line heading west.
it seems completely pointless that the midtown line be connecting to the other lines to use existing stations. Actually seems more counter productive than anything as mixing them would cause delays like where the blue and green lines depart east of the US Bank Stadium. Beyond having a rail connection to allow the LRT trains to use an existing blue line garage for storage and switching trains I don't see the value. Plus if it's only a single train car on a 3 train car platform that would look more embarrassing than anything. :oops: not to mention making people unsure where to stand, and then it might delay green line trains or blue line trains. Having them not cross would mean they could mix better and not worry about delayed trains causing traffic issues.

Plus I don't think this rail greenway line would be much of a line. It's a quick train shuttle for commuters already riding two other transit lines as a way to better get to where they are going.

Sure it would be cool if there was a neat LRT line in this area.. but it's not really idea with lake street being the main street for the corridor and the midtown greenway being just the quick travel alleyway. Use it for it's advantage as a nice shuttle between the major metro lines that all seem to go north and south. Its a critically needed east west connector without having people go into downtown Minneapolis to transfer.

I'd would love to fantasy about a LRT line going west to West end and connecting that via rail to uptown, and then east ward to downtown st. paul, but lets not go into pointless freeway cap territory and keep dreaming of crazy ideas that will never happen. Heck even my idea of a simple shuttle LRT seems kinda pie in the sky territory. I guess, lets dream big but not insane crazy big..

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 14th, 2018, 10:48 pm

Oreos&Milk wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 10:11 pm
DanPatchToget wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 2:13 pm
I don't know how we'll integrate Midtown LRT and the Blue Line, but with the western end while there would be separate platforms at least it's easy to merge the Midtown LRT into the Green Line heading west.
it seems completely pointless that the midtown line be connecting to the other lines to use existing stations. Actually seems more counter productive than anything as mixing them would cause delays like where the blue and green lines depart east of the US Bank Stadium. Beyond having a rail connection to allow the LRT trains to use an existing blue line garage for storage and switching trains I don't see the value. Plus if it's only a single train car on a 3 train car platform that would look more embarrassing than anything. :oops: not to mention making people unsure where to stand, and then it might delay green line trains or blue line trains. Having them not cross would mean they could mix better and not worry about delayed trains causing traffic issues.

Plus I don't think this rail greenway line would be much of a line. It's a quick train shuttle for commuters already riding two other transit lines as a way to better get to where they are going.

Sure it would be cool if there was a neat LRT line in this area.. but it's not really idea with lake street being the main street for the corridor and the midtown greenway being just the quick travel alleyway. Use it for it's advantage as a nice shuttle between the major metro lines that all seem to go north and south. Its a critically needed east west connector without having people go into downtown Minneapolis to transfer.

I'd would love to fantasy about a LRT line going west to West end and connecting that via rail to uptown, and then east ward to downtown st. paul, but lets not go into pointless freeway cap territory and keep dreaming of crazy ideas that will never happen. Heck even my idea of a simple shuttle LRT seems kinda pie in the sky territory. I guess, lets dream big but not insane crazy big..
What delays? For me it's always been less than 1 minute waiting for a train to clear the junction, plus West Lake wouldn't have the long signal cycles like US Bank Stadium Station does. Seems by your logic we should have all rail lines be separate from each other so there's zero chance of a delay, but obviously we're not going to build separate tracks for the Blue and Green lines through downtown.

Embarrassing looks isn't exactly a good argument. As for boarding, just have signage so people waiting for a Midtown train stand at the front of the platform. There are plenty of places where trains can be much shorter than the platform during off peak time, but they have displays so you know how long the train will be.

It would be a waste not extending Midtown LRT to at least Hopkins assuming Southwest LRT is built and the infrastructure will exist. Plus there's the new OMF to be built in Hopkins that can be used for Midtown trains.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Anondson » December 15th, 2018, 12:06 am

Last I heard as part of getting SWLRT costs controlled the Hopkins OMF was downsized from a full operations and maintenance site and that operations facilities at the other end was going to be used. I may be misremembering.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby thatchio » December 15th, 2018, 4:57 pm

There had been a very preliminary evaluation of how the Midtown streetcar could connect to the Green Line Extension. It assumed a single side platform (IIRC) just south of the West Lake Station and then a single track connection to the west connecting to the Green Line Extension. It was not assumed that it's connection was for interlining but for access to maintenance bases. The assumption was single LRV service or similar. Unsure if it's shown in the AA study or not.

Things to watch for, to keep that sort of option available in the future, is to ensure the redevelopment of the HCRRA-owned property behind Whole Foods maintains enough ROW in the rail/bike corridor to allow for platforms and tracks in the future, say the Midtown line wanted to interline some distance.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby twincitizen » December 15th, 2018, 7:33 pm

See SWLRT platform plan here: https://metrocouncil.org/getdoc/985dda4 ... Image.aspx

To enter the tunnel that will begin just northeast of the Lake St bridge, SWLRT tracks will begin dropping below grade immediately east of the West Lake Station platform. That grade difference means that Midtown tracks cannot be linked to SW in this area north of the Lake St bridge. Another challenge is the junction of the two trails (Midtown and Kenilworth) right here. I am 99% certain that it has long ago been ruled out that Midtown tracks could connect with SWLRT tracks here. Midtown was always planned to have a separate station platform from SW. Because of the tunnel messing things up further, it is likely that even a track connection for out of service trains heading to Hopkins maintenance facility is no longer possible. Connecting out-of-service Midtown trains would have to run on a single-track west of the station platform, then cross the bike trail to get on SW track. If you look at the image linked above, there does not appear to be any room left between the trail and the re-routed 31st St, sidewalks, etc. to sneak in a single track for out-of-service Midtown trains. We've simply ran out of room and did not plan for this as part of SW. This is all super unfortunate, but that'll happen when you assume that freight tracks will be gone, and then when they aren't, you assume that running everything at grade will be fine, and then when it isn't, you decide to put LRT in a tunnel under a bike trail, all because we simply couldn't fathom changing the LRT route 7 years before it ultimately begins construction, even though every assumption made in 2008 had by then been blown up.

On the eastern end of Midtown, it does seem feasible to elevate the track as you get east of Cedar Ave, flying up and merging with the existing Blue Line elevated track over Lake Street. Light rail cannot operate on very steep grades, so the Midtown tracks would have to start elevating immediately after crossing under Cedar Ave. The good news is that the ROW exists. I have no idea how feasible it is to engineer an elevated structure that has to merge with an existing one that will be probably 25 years old by the time we build this. The weird thing is that Midtown was always planned to be at-grade track at Hi-Lake, somehow squeezing in the very narrow area left between that new senior apartment building and the Blue Line bridge. That was the plan, but there really doesn't seem to be enough room on the ground. I wonder if the loss of any possible connection on the west end of Midtown means that they will have to look much harder at the much more expensive option of an aerial connection to the Blue Line tracks.

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Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Anondson » December 15th, 2018, 8:13 pm

twincitizen wrote:... all because we simply couldn't fathom changing the LRT route 7 years before it ultimately begins construction, ...
And Minneapolis Park and Rec refused to accept a bike trail atop a deck at tree canopy level above the freight rail and LRT.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 15th, 2018, 9:57 pm

We really are terrible at thinking ahead sometimes. As late as the 80s the West Lake area had room for at least six tracks. See this aerial photo-http://geo.lib.umn.edu/minneapolis/1983/1983_091A.jpg

However couldn't they just modify 31st Street to allow a single track through there to connect with the Green Line? Yes it's expensive and yes there would be an at-grade crossing with the trail, but that's what happens when planners think about one route and not the whole system.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Oreos&Milk » December 15th, 2018, 10:26 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 10:48 pm

What delays? For me it's always been less than 1 minute waiting for a train to clear the junction, plus West Lake wouldn't have the long signal cycles like US Bank Stadium Station does. Seems by your logic we should have all rail lines be separate from each other so there's zero chance of a delay, but obviously we're not going to build separate tracks for the Blue and Green lines through downtown.
Blue and Green lines run parallel while the midtown would be cross and terminate at both LRT stations (one on each end) there is no point in extending the line onto existing LRT track as that's redundant. Much more so on the blue line if the west 7th street line merges onto the blue line. The downtown design works great, having that design for midtown greenway seems completely unnecessary. Sure I seen videos of the Chicago Loop performing flawlessly as trains cross and mix and fly through its complex system. It's truly a sight of beauty, but were not Chicago, and I just disagree with ya on seeing the point. Maybe in 2060 there will be demand for a greenline train to be routed through the midway. I'm more curious about connecting west 7th street and the midway rail. Perhaps it's because I don't view the midway as a urban corridor but instead of just a train highway. It's a great opportunity to get people east and west super fast instead of all the slow buses. We should use that to our advantage, instead of stopping every few blocks to drop off green line commuters from EDP and Hopkins but hey, we all got our own priorities.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby mattaudio » December 16th, 2018, 7:59 pm

Oreos&Milk wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 10:26 pm

Blue and Green lines run parallel while the midtown would be cross and terminate at both LRT stations (one on each end) there is no point in extending the line onto existing LRT track as that's redundant.
huh?

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby alexschief » December 17th, 2018, 9:18 am

Oreos&Milk wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 10:26 pm
Perhaps it's because I don't view the midway as a urban corridor but instead of just a train highway.
Huh? It's one of the most urban corridors in the entire city!

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby David Greene » December 17th, 2018, 12:44 pm

Oreos&Milk wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 10:26 pm
We should use that to our advantage, instead of stopping every few blocks to drop off green line commuters from EDP and Hopkins but hey, we all got our own priorities.
This reads like FUD to me. Any suburban commuters would likely de-train at Uptown. The utility of this route is for everyone in south Minneapolis living anywhere near it. I'll bet there are a bunch of people that would use it to get to MOA or even Highland (I can dream), both for jobs and shopping. They'd go to the airport, too. And if it connected to the Green Line, people could get to jobs in the SW suburbs. A large fraction of the population along the corridor are families of lower income or of color.

This is much more than a "through route" project. It needs to serve the people that live there.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby Oreos&Milk » December 17th, 2018, 9:38 pm

alexschief wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 9:18 am
Oreos&Milk wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 10:26 pm
Perhaps it's because I don't view the midway as a urban corridor but instead of just a train highway.
Huh? It's one of the most urban corridors in the entire city!
Yea, that's LAKE STREET. Midtown the trench is an opportunity to get from one end to the other fast. Let the B line service the corridor at slower speeds, while this corridor is for fast transit from the major lines to the other ones that tend to all go north/south.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby twincitizen » December 17th, 2018, 9:42 pm

Yeah that Oreos&Milk post is pretty obviously ill-informed and wrong. The rest of us have all read the Midtown AA study from 2013, which clearly includes stations at Hennepin, Lyndale, Nicollet, 5th, Chicago, and Bloomington Ave. The entire route was estimated at 13 minutes from West Lake to Hi-Lake, including all the stops. Can we please move on?

EDIT: Since they replied while I was typing this up, I'm curious what Oreos&Milk thinks of the 13:00 trip time from West Lake to Hi-Lake. FYI - it's insanely good. Skipping all the stops would not be as fast as you think, and would clearly serve the community worse. If it's 13:00 with stops vs. 9:00 without, I'll take the route with the stops all damn day.

There's also the already difficult politics of running a train through the Greenway. There are already gonna be a ton of bike people, park people, etc. that oppose the idea of a train in their lovely pristine green "park space". If no one in the neighborhoods can even get on your express train, who exactly do you think is going to stand up and support this line? You do realize that not making any stops would absolutely kill the ridership, thus killing any chance of building it? How is this even a debate? Please stop. Or at a minimum, please read the study materials and get back to us with your thoughts.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby twincitizen » December 17th, 2018, 9:52 pm

Anyways, for more evidence as to why I don't think tracks can be linked on the west end (even for out-of-service trains), it would be instructive to scroll through this presentation: https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... 81%29.aspx Pages 7 and 8 show the mess we've gotten ourselves into pretty well.

What's worse, with Calhoun Towers already approved to add more buildings to their property, there is seemingly no ability to shift 31st Street further south to allow for an out-of-service slip track to connect with SWLRT. I'm honestly concerned that due to the Kenilworth compromises (keeping freight, putting LRT in a tunnel) we may have actually run out of room even for a damn platform for Midtown in the area. Completely ****ing over a future Midtown line in order to keep Southwest alive is absolutely something that the powers that be (SWLRT Project Office / Met Council, Peter McLaughlin, etc.) would have done, circa 2013-14 when SWLRT was kinda teetering on death and had to be revised through this area.

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby mattaudio » December 17th, 2018, 10:21 pm

Why are we so bad at this?

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Re: Midtown Corridor Rail & Lake Street aBRT (B Line)

Postby DanPatchToget » December 17th, 2018, 11:28 pm

With all the studying done over the years you would think they would know to set aside some ROW to interline Midtown LRT into Southwest LRT.

However anything built can be destroyed (legally of course), and by that I mean this area could always be modified so there can be interlining. Obviously more time consuming and expensive than doing it right the first time, but clearly we're not the best at that.


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