Nicollet-Central Streetcar

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
talindsay
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby talindsay » January 18th, 2014, 6:31 pm

mattaudio wrote:That op-ed is the reason why I do not believe we can count on BRT for transit (aBRT is different, as it should just be called "normal LOS for local bus routes). If we have anti-transit ideologues pushing for BRT rather than rail transit, they're going to be anti-transit ideologues when the choice is BRT or wimpy BRT. It's a shame because, technically, BRT could be a cost-effective option in certain places. But this is the 2010s version of GOPers pushing to "study PRT!!!" Just say no.
Right on. I've said it before, but BRT's compromise position between basic transit and real rapid transit automatically means that it will end up being closer to the former than the latter no matter what the potential outcomes may be.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby RailBaronYarr » January 18th, 2014, 9:22 pm

Last 3 posts are spot on. Nothing more to say IMO.

lordmoke
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby lordmoke » April 1st, 2014, 10:38 am

Posted by Lisa Bender on fb, the city is preparing to seek 2014 TIGER funding for this, provided nothing else leapfrogs it:
http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups ... 122526.pdf

MNdible
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby MNdible » April 1st, 2014, 11:49 am

In case you don't click through to the document, it's the Lake Street / 35W Access project that could potentially leapfrog it.

Because other priority regional transit projects, such as the I-35W Transit/Access Project, may also be good candidates for the TIGER 2014 grant program, staff will seek final authorization to submit an application for the Nicollet-Central Modern Streetcar project from the City’s Rail Policy Group prior to the April 28, 2014 deadline.

Minneapolisite

Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby Minneapolisite » April 16th, 2014, 7:14 pm

Yeah, I'm going to have sadly go with a "No." vote on this. Simply put: the stops are too close together which will redundantly mimic the too closely placed together stops of the 10 and 18. Most of the distances are less than 1/4 mile between stops with the worst offenders being 2nd to University at both Central and 1st: a whopping distance of 0.08 miles each, not even a 1/10 of a mile let alone 1/4 between these stops. And as a bonus businesses on both Central and Nicollet get to suffer construction setbacks for months. We're not going to end up with something superior to the 10 or 18, so what's the point? Keep in mind, this isn't the context in which the original streetcars were built where they were built where there was no existing development to attract development and no other transit in place. The stretch is already developed and already has transit in place, with both lines being of the super rare and coveted "hi-frequency" status.

talindsay
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby talindsay » April 16th, 2014, 8:29 pm

Minneapolisite wrote:The stretch is already developed and already has transit in place, with both lines being of the super rare and coveted "hi-frequency" status.
Streetcars can help with capacity issues so actually what you describe could be used to justify the investment.

VAStationDude
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby VAStationDude » April 17th, 2014, 5:14 am

Not when their capacity is slightly larger than an articulated bus. Nor when they inch along slower than the glacial 18 & 10. Again, we're not talking about French or Toronto street cars with substantial dedicated row.

mulad
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mulad » April 17th, 2014, 5:53 am

I think we have to take another look at the question of whether a transit project -- particularly a rail project -- can have an impact on congestion in the corridor they use. Congestion reduction has often been used as a talking point by backers of new transit projects, as though it would magically suck up traffic. There's also been a contrary view that transit projects have little or no impact on congestion. Studies tend to land on the side of little or no impact, though there have been a few such as in Portland which seem to show a slight decline in congestion.

I'm not aware of many rail transit projects that have gone into existing busy surface street corridors like University Avenue (Central Corridor) or Nicollet like we have with this idea. Light rail has tended to be built in separate corridors along old rail lines or intertwined with highways. Just because of the way they're designed/placed, it seems fairly obvious that they wouldn't have much impact on traffic flow.

It seems pretty clear that the Central Corridor portion of the Green Line will do a very good job of attracting new riders. Existing ridership on the 16, 50, and 94 was about 7.6 million annually before construction started (with the 16 contributing the bulk -- 5 million), and it's hard to imagine the new line carrying any less than the 10.5 million the Hiawatha Line carried the same year.

Of course, the Green Line has its own dedicated space, aside from grade crossings. We should consider dedicated lanes for the Nicollet/Central service, since it would have a significant impact on the choices people make to get around in the corridor.

froggie
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby froggie » April 17th, 2014, 6:08 am

I'm not aware of many rail transit projects that have gone into existing busy surface street corridors like University Avenue (Central Corridor) or Nicollet like we have with this idea. Light rail has tended to be built in separate corridors along old rail lines or intertwined with highways. Just because of the way they're designed/placed, it seems fairly obvious that they wouldn't have much impact on traffic flow.
The following is a bit of an extreme example, but the DC Metro Orange Line in Arlington County, VA is one that stands out in my mind, namely between Ballston and Rosslyn. After 30-ish years, the county has determined that surface street traffic counts (namely along WIlson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, Washington Blvd, and Farifax Dr, all of which parallel or sit atop the Orange Line) are roughly the same as they were before construction, even though there is a significant amount of new development and a lot more population along the line. Now, to be fair, construction of the Orange Line also coincided with construction of I-66, so there wasn't just one but TWO transportation corridors to draw new traffic to, but this corridor has been seen/viewed as a success story (especially when it comes to TOD).
Of course, the Green Line has its own dedicated space, aside from grade crossings. We should consider dedicated lanes for the Nicollet/Central service, since it would have a significant impact on the choices people make to get around in the corridor.
Here's the catch: street width is finite. What do we give up in order to get those dedicated lanes on Nicollet/Central? With the Green Line, as we've seen, what we've given up is a lot of on-street parking, though if some current proposals are followed through, that will change to being traffic lanes. If we were to go with dedicated streetcar lanes on Nicollet/Central, would we give up a traffic lane? Would we give up street parking? Would we give up the chance for wider sidewalks? Would we give up the boulevard and street trees? Especially in the case of Nicollet, which is noticably narrower than Central. These are hard questions to answer and is why I doubt we'd get dedicated lanes along Nicollet, especially since Nicollet doesn't have extra traffic lanes to "give up".

NickP
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby NickP » April 17th, 2014, 8:00 am

What about the suggestion of extending the Nicollet Mall to K-mart? I recall someone bringing this up a while back. I live in Loring Heights and I never recall Nicollet being especially busy with cars. It seems that most people use Blaisdale and First to get to their locations along eat street and only take street itself when they are close their final locations. Maybe do something like 5th Street in downtown and maintain access to certain businesses or central parking areas, but otherwise dedicate the street to transit.
If we don't want to do this to the entire thoroughfare, maybe just the part between Franklin and 26th. I feel where I do see cars on Nicollet is between E 26th and E 28th, and between W grant and Franklin.
I agree with Minneapolisite that we should eleimate one of the stops in NE along Hennepin and First.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » April 17th, 2014, 8:26 am

I haven't heard the suggestion that it's all-mall to Lake. What I have heard (and I like the idea) is to have a bike/ped/transit-only section between 29th and Lake to prevent the existing Eat Street from being overrun by traffic. Any thoughts on that idea?

Additionally, I agree that we're making a big mistake building rail infrastructure without dedicated ROW. Folks are right, it's a good thing these vehicles will have more capacity than the existing buses. Because with slower service, there will need to be higher vehicular capacities to serve the exact same ridership as today... people will be on the vehicles longer!

I have proposed an idea similar to many European trams in old town areas.... gauntlet track in dedicated right of way between stations. These gauntlet tracks would bulb out around island stations, which would halve the amount of station amenities needed. This could be done on a street like Nicollet with 80' ROW, while maintaining travel lanes/bike lanes/parking on each side but with only 8-10' sidewalks (including sidewalk amenities). But if storm sewer could be moved to the inside median curbs (against the interior gauntlet track) we could have curbless woonerfs on each side providing roughly 32 feet on each side of the street for flexible configuration of sidewalk+bike+car+parking+amenity space.

mulad
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mulad » April 17th, 2014, 8:53 am

Yeah, I'm beginning to think of a bike/ped/transit corridor, somewhat similar to the new Washington Avenue transit mall, though hopefully implemented somewhat better...

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » April 17th, 2014, 8:55 am

You mean with more signals?

talindsay
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby talindsay » April 17th, 2014, 9:07 am

VAStationDude wrote:Not when their capacity is slightly larger than an articulated bus. Nor when they inch along slower than the glacial 18 & 10. Again, we're not talking about French or Toronto street cars with substantial dedicated row.
I disagree. The streetcar can easily and comfortably carry a large number of standees once the seats are full - and in fact many streetcar users choose to stand rather than sit. This is a marked difference from buses, where standing is a desperate last resort for an over-capacity service. They don't have nearly the capacity of a full-size LRV, but streetcars can definitely hold more people than an articulated bus before people start to feel uncomfortable. Smooth, predictable travel and no potholes make standing a desirable condition.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » April 17th, 2014, 9:16 am

The problem with standing on a bus is the lateral motion and harsh acceleration/deceleration. Which could be solved with enhancements like bus bulbs (so buses don't have to veer in/out of traffic) and dedicated bus lanes.

VAStationDude
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby VAStationDude » April 17th, 2014, 9:37 am

I'm disputing the individual vehicles have more capacity. An improved bus line with off board payment, all door boarding, fewer stops would have immensely higher capacity at a fraction of the capital costs and lower operating expenses. Rail upkeep would come from transit dollars while road repair and maintenance generally doesn't.

lordmoke
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby lordmoke » April 17th, 2014, 9:39 am

mattaudio wrote:The problem with standing on a bus is the lateral motion and harsh acceleration/deceleration. Which could be solved with enhancements like bus bulbs (so buses don't have to veer in/out of traffic) and dedicated bus lanes.
You're still going to have some degree of lateral motion- human-controlled wheel steering isn't perfect. Additionally, asphalt surfaces are just going to have imperfections. Maintaining a perfectly undamaged road surface would be a nightmare. Even with improvements, I don't think the best bus ride could ever match rail.

I would much rather see this line get built without dedicated lanes, only for us to later realize their necessity and implement them, than scrap it for buses.

mattaudio
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby mattaudio » April 17th, 2014, 9:55 am

But this problematic design will literally be cemented in for generations to come.

talindsay
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby talindsay » April 17th, 2014, 5:57 pm

mattaudio wrote:But this problematic design will literally be cemented in for generations to come.
Except they can always choose to restrict use of those travel lanes, making it dedicated row later at problem spots.

tabletop
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Nicollet-Central Corridor

Postby tabletop » April 17th, 2014, 6:09 pm

I was thinking today about how much we all wished for and love to talk about 3C, and with the light rail system hopefully advancing, maybe it's time to start thinking of the next line to be developed after Bottineau and this would be a great candidate. North town mall to Bloomington through downtown, southern section would be freeway right of way using the orang line and from lake street go over and under Nicollet through downtown cross the river go up central in a tunnel emerge at 27th ave new go through the golf course then continue north in the median of hwy 65. Just sayin...


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