The Transit Line No One Is Talking About

This post is months too late. The Metropolitan Council’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan went through extensive design, writing, public comment period, and ultimately final adoption. Nevertheless, we can still hopefully improve upon corridors already decided on, help change priorities, et cetera. So, I present for your consideration a corridor that needs some major lovin’: Downtown Minneapolis-Uptown-Southdale.

Streets.mn has covered the missed opportunity to serve Uptown by quality transit from downtown. No need to bring it up beyond that (and maybe it’s not a huge deal if we build the Midtown Corridor Dual Alternative, like, ASAP). But there’s a glaring missing link in our 25-year regional plan:

MSP_JobDensityMap_Southdale

Image taken from Census OnTheMap tool

The Southdale/Centennial Lakes area is a huge job center, rivaling basically any other non-downtown/university area in the metro from a jobs/acre standpoint, but clearly much larger in land area than almost anywhere else. The Blue Line is anchored by the Mall of America and MSP Airport. The Green Line is killin’ it by connecting both downtowns, the U, and fairly walkable/urban places in between. We’ve planned SWLRT using jobs in the Golden Triangle and other Eden Prairie locations as end-point anchors. We have the Gateway Corridor running mostly along a freeway in corn fields but at least hitting the 3M campus. There’s Bottineau skirting mostly past residents of North Minneapolis but at least hitting some major job/educational centers along the way to (some more corn fields and) the Brooklyn Park Target campus.

I guess what I’m saying is that we seem to be chasing suburban jobs with transit, no matter how expensive the cost-per-rider. Yet, oddly, the TPP doesn’t even see it worth connecting downtown to Southdale (with all the dense, walkable neighborhoods in between) directly by anything but a local bus and some express buses:

metrotransit-transitway-scenario_missing

This map shows where the vast majority of capital spending will go. Yes, folks in built-up urban areas are getting some better signage, and the governor’s proposed transportation bill improves transit shelter coverage plus local route frequency and operating hour span (if it passes). But there’s a lot of capital being thrown at areas not dark, or slightly-less-dark, blue in their own transit priority areas:

MetCouncilServiceAreas

I digress. The current Route 6 bus line is very important in connecting people to opportunity in our region. It’s one of the highest used routes in the system:

Annual-Rides-2014According to 2010 figures the 6 was also one of the most productive from a rider per in-service hour:

WeekdayRidership_RevHour2010

There’s no question the routes above the 6 are important, especially when you consider social justice. However, each of the 5, 21, and 18 bus routes will receive full arterial bus treatments (if not more) in the TPP’s plan.

Perhaps more important than the endpoints, it runs through multiple important regional population and job areas, all of which happen to be highly walkable and/or connected to other transit routes: 50th & France, France & Sunnyside, Linden Hills, Uptown, and Loring Park.

Hennepin_aBRT_PlanThis is why it surprises me the proposed Hennepin aBRT line turns west after hitting the Uptown Transit Station. At the very least, we’re building the Lake Street aBRT line to connect to the West Lake station, to say nothing of the 17 and 12 which provide additional paths westward.

To me, it makes more sense to strengthen what is clearly a successful bus route through most of the line rather than cutting it short as a 4-mile stub of a rapid bus line.

Short-term, the Hennepin aBRT line should continue south on Hennepin and follow the 6 C/E/G/K path to Linden Hills, but jog west to France along 44th and meet up with the B/D/F branches to head down to Southdale.

Thinking Bigger

I said in the title of the post that no one was thinking about this line. I lied. Our own writer Adam Froehlig did the leg work in a fantasy transit map a while ago:

Hennepin_ajfroggie

Thinking holistically about a transit network, a north-south subway through downtown makes a lot of sense. It can be a more general-use transit tunnel, alleviating the bus congestion on Nicollet Mall, as well as interlining other regional north-south-ish services we might concoct in the future.

The other benefit? We don’t need to end service downtown. Central Avenue happens to be served by the 10 (another notable line in the aforementioned ridership chart), with an arterial bus and (maybe?) a streetcar planned.

There’s a lot to like in one long transit line, with patches of grade separation, connecting the length of Northeast Minneapolis (and beyond, though maybe terminating at the Northtown Mall) to SW Minneapolis and Edina in a single-seat ride (plus connections to the Blue and Green Lines). Honestly, I can think of way worse ways to spend CTIB, state, and federal money.

So, poke holes in the idea, brainstorm ways to overcome political obstacles if you like it, and on. And, thanks for reading!


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54 Responses to The Transit Line No One Is Talking About

  1. Sean Hayford Oleary
    Sean Hayford Oleary February 17, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    I agree that the Southdale District is very important, and the most likely candidate to be a “third downtown.”

    The unfortunate reality is that, almost anywhere outside of downtown-uptown-St. Anthony, density has come at the expense of walkable urban form. However, I wonder if the concentration of jobs or other destinations is sufficient that simply having stops in the right places could overcome this. For example, Centennial Lakes is beautiful to walk around inside, but abysmal to walk around on the streets surrounding it. However, if a transit stop were well-located within the complex, that might not matter. And Edina does seem to be slowly nudging the area in the right direction.

    I wouldn’t rank LRT super high in the list of priorities, but I would certainly rank it higher than LRT to TH 610 in Brooklyn Park.

    I am curious regarding the 6, though — is the ridership really consistent all the way to Southdale? My impression is that there is a dramatic dropoff at Lake Street, and even more by the time you get to Linden Hills. But I’ve only taken it from Southdale a couple of times. The only high-frequency route that currently serves Southdale is 515, which connects to Richfield and the Mall of America.

    • Sean Hayford Oleary
      Sean Hayford Oleary February 17, 2015 at 10:31 am #

      *I wouldn’t rank LRT to Southdale super high in the list of priorities.

    • helsinki February 17, 2015 at 11:35 am #

      Just anecdotal evidence (and old, to boot), but I remember decent ridership at 50th and France when I worked at the Edina theater.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 17, 2015 at 11:39 am #

      To answer your question on 6 ridership anecdotally, when I board the 6U at 35th at 6:53 AM on weekdays there are already 10-15 folks on board. I’ve caught a few earlier buses and they seem to be about the same. I’d say the bus is still standing room only past Uptown Transit Station on most weekday PM trips I take (leaving downtown around 5 PM-ish), with 3-5 folks boarding at UTS. By 36th St the bus has certainly thinned out.

      Using the Metro Transit ridership data, northbound weekday boardings south of 36th St account for 1975 of 5303 total boardings, or 37%. I plan on doing a post some time evaluating where the bus line is profitable based on ridership (we’ll see how easy that is…). In general it just seems that even fairly light ridership on the surface for this route past Linden Hills is better than many areas we’re building $X00 million bus routes to have stations inline or along freeways and and park n rides that certainly have less ridership today and much lower capacity for walkable urbanism at stations.

      No arguments on the stop locations overcoming some walkability issues. Though it would be nice to see France Ave transform even more than it has with recent improvements. If we can fit a LRT along University, we can certainly use one to inform the design of a 110′ wide (plus generous setbacks in almost all areas) France Ave in 20-30 years. Proper zoning and planning for this now could make the transition easier.

      • Elliot Altbaum
        Elliot Altbaum February 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

        One tricky part about LRT on France is that it is not wide until Hw 62. I could easily imagine a Midtown extension southward to Southdale. It would run in traffic from Lake to 62 then separated from 62 to 494. Transfers at W Lake for Green line to DT.

  2. David Levinson
    David Levinson February 17, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    I had a similar scheme (purple line: Rosedale to Southdale) in one of my fantasy maps: https://streets.mn/2013/08/05/rethinking-the-minneapolis-transit-hub/

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 17, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

      I should have given more props out 🙂

  3. Elliot Altbaum
    Elliot Altbaum February 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree that the Southern half of the 6 would be a very important section on which to increase frequency. Part of the current problem is that the 6 splits and runs down both France and Xerexes thus reducing frequency on both. The southbound 6 is relatively well used, often at odd hours because of the large number of retail and medical jobs.
    The northbound 6 is relatively full in the morning, but should be a lot more full. Using onthemap it looks like about 60% of those who live within walking distance of the 6 work downtown (many of the rest work around Southdale) In other words the 6 should be a lot more busy than it is. Better frequency could help.
    At the least I would rank BRT to Southdale as a top priority.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 17, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks for expanding, and I agree. I think we all love fantasy rail maps that would make so much sense had we built them in 1965. Regional politics, local politics, etc make many of those routes not feasible to really talk in 2015 Minneapolis (unfortunately). I think a best case would be to alter the Hennepin aBRT plan to go to Southdale on the south & the U at the other end, no branches, with high frequency on the entire line. I would guess ridership would jump a decent amount immediately and allow for more development/use over time. In 20 years we could re-visit the idea of rail with fewer stops and higher speeds. It’s just shocking that it isn’t on any plan/vision I’ve seen in any capacity.

      • Elliot Altbaum
        Elliot Altbaum February 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

        That does sound like the best case scenario.
        Somewhere, in some document of SW extension I read that MetroTransit is expecting to increase frequency on the France 6 but have it run straight north to the W Lake station (for transfers from the green line). Unfortunately I have no idea where that information is buried.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 17, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

      Another point I didn’t touch in the article is better access to lower income households. Using OnTheMap with a 0.3 mile radius around the proposed aBRT route described in the post, but starting at Hennepin/36th and southbound, 16.4% of working adults make less than $1,250/mo, 24.4% make between $1,250 and $3,333. Since that’s not the typical range we’re used to seeing (reported by the Met Council or otherwise), the area of North Minneapolis bounded by 44th/Olsen Hwy and Xerxes/I-94 has rates of: <$1,250: 26.4%, $1,250-$3,333: 41.3%

      Not going to try to draw conclusions based on those numbers, just present them to frame the discussion as it is definitely important.

      • Elliot Altbaum
        Elliot Altbaum February 17, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

        That is a higher percentage that I would have at first glance guessed. However, I will hazard a guess that at least a solid portion of that is youth workers. It is the same reason the university area looks like it has a large portion of workers making under 1,250 a month. My second guess is that the rest is covered by the relatively cheap condos near 43rd and Upton and the relatively cheap apartments on 44th and drew.
        None of the above explanation diminishes the importance of serving those populations within SW.

        • Elliot Altbaum
          Elliot Altbaum February 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

          Also the population of the areas served by the line is aging and provides another reason to expand service.

  4. Karen Sandness February 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    Elliott is right! There is no frequent service on the #6 south of 39th and Sheridan (or on the east side of the river, for that matter). At the very least, the presence of the U on the east side of the river should make frequent service to that area a priority.

  5. wayne February 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    It boggles my mind how only half of the runs on the routes that go to northeast/southeast actually cross the river. The 4, 6, 11 and 17 get half frequency service on the east bank of the river because … why again? I’m not denying the importance of an uptown/southdale link, but can we at least get equitable service in the dense areas directly across the river from downtown?

    • wayne February 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

      sorry maybe not the 11, but it does have some short runs that start downtown and go south in the mornings at least. I don’t know because I only take the ones that cross the river.

  6. Daniel February 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    As long as it’s fantasy, why not have that line go across the river and up Central past Lowry…

    • Sean Hayford Oleary
      Sean Hayford Oleary February 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      Because the preferred transit mode of make-believe, streetcars, already connect the Central corridor with Nicollet. Even fantasy maps surely limit number of on-grade modes to one per street.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 17, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      I actually note that Central would be a good candidate to continue the line in the post. Other fantasy maps I’ve seen show a Hennepin route continuing up and eat along Hennepin & ending at Rosedale (or beyond). Honestly, I’d be more than happy if an aBRT line from Southdale-ish area continued all the way to the U along the 6U route as discussed in the comment section.

      The LRT suggestion was obviously more wishful thinking. But we need to think bigger and better about urban transit, the nodes it connects/enhances, how we treat transit in both downtowns. If we’re putting together a 25 year transit plan, I have to think a N-S tunnel (whether LRT only or mixed LRT + bus) should show up on that radar.

      • Froggie February 17, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

        Since you mentioned my Hennepin/France/Southdale idea in your post, thought I’d mention that the continuation of that line would extend up Central Ave to 53rd, then jut over to University and up to Northtown:

        http://www.ajfroggie.com/roads/minnesota/rant/transit/lrt/northtown.htm

      • wayne February 18, 2015 at 7:58 am #

        I really have no idea why they aren’t planning/hoping/dreaming of a N/S tunnel through downtown (or even at E/W one to move the LRT into so it can avoid traffic/capacity issues caused by the mess on 5th street). Planners seem to be chronically afraid of tunnels here unless they’re at an airport or in the woods. I’ve been talking anyone who’d listen’s ear off about why we need a seattle-style bus/train tunnel under nicollet for pretty much a decade but the idea just won’t catch on because they’re afraid of any expensive infrastructure that isn’t designed to move suburban voters around.

  7. Alex Schieferdecker
    Alex Schieferdecker February 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that we’re spending all this money to build a train through the woods right next to Hennepin/Uptown, but not through it. Good post, this maybe isn’t the top priority, but it definitely should be talked about.

    • wayne February 18, 2015 at 7:53 am #

      This is how I feel too. The absurdity of the situation is apparently lost on everyone debating minutiae of station designs or bridge types or why is the park board ‘wasting’ money on lawsuits, etc.

      The cynical answer is that the only thing they care about is shuttling affluent suburban business types downtown and helping them avoid traffic while not caring at all about the transit-dependent inner-city community.

  8. Tcmetro February 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    A little late to the discussion, but here goes…

    – Downtown-Uptown is one of the busiest corridors in the city, often clogged with traffic.
    – Southdale/Centennial Lakes is a major job center.
    – Edina Industrial Park is a major job center.
    – Normandale Lake Office Park is a major job center.

    The big weakness here is how will we get BRT/LRT/Subway/Streetcar/Maglev/etc between Uptown and Southdale. There are no good ROWs, and the population density between 36th and Hwy 62 is too low to justify a subway. Elevated alignments are a no-go, and streetcars just aren’t gonna be fast enough.

    I’ve always been a booster of a line running under Nicollet, elevated over 66th, then at grade to Southdale, Centennial Lakes, Edina Industrial Park, and Normandale Lake. The problem is, a Nicollet alignment just isn’t gonna happen.

    I think what is reasonable is a mixed-traffic “BRT” branch of the Orange Line. Far from ideal, but quite plausible.

    • Mikey February 18, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      How about a two-way circulator loop (timed to match the orange line) running on American, France, 76th/77th, and Nicollet – possibly Cedar (the street) in the future?

      • Mikey February 18, 2015 at 7:47 am #

        (meant to say 66th, not 76th)

      • wayne February 18, 2015 at 7:55 am #

        I have never met a metro transit bus route that’s reliably on-time enough to even think of having timed transfers work.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 18, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      Sticking to an aBRT plan, where we only see reduced stops, faster boarding, some signal holding, etc that would be a huge win for the Uptown-Southdale from a travel time perspective. Maybe the nodes at Linden Hills and 50th/France, while dense, don’t have the ridership potential due to income/etc, but they still represent some good spots between 36th & 62. A route that jogs west at Minnesota Dr/77th to the southern edge of the industrial park, then swings down Bush Lake Rd and ends at the Normandale Lakes office park would seem like a natural extension (if a bit circuitous). Could go the other way and head down France to American Blvd then swing west & north into the industrial park. Just ideas.

      If we’re talking right of way for an LRT, there’s fairly intact city-owned former streetcar ROW all the way from 36th to basically France Ave. It looks like it may be too narrow for full LRT spec in the heart of Linden Hills (though the area it runs through is mostly parking on either side), but bounces back to 50′ wide to the north and west. I think ~2.5 miles of streetcar-like service on France (and Adam suggests short tunnels at 50th & 62) wouldn’t be a killer for travel times. This is definitely the weakest part of the proposal IMO given the narrow right of way, low density along the stretch, and (uh..) vested area interests.

  9. Matt Brillhart February 18, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    So how do we get Metro Transit to do an arterial corridor study for the entire length of the Route 6? They completed that study back in 2011-12, but as you noted, they curiously chose to swing the “Hennepin” aBRT line westward onto Lake Street, overlapping the Lake Street aBRT and hypothetical Midtown rail service.

    As part of my comments on the Service Improvement Plan (SIP) in late 2014, I pointed out the lack of limited-stop service on Routes 6 and 18. These are two of the five busiest routes in the system, yet have no limited-service overlay nor plans for aBRT in the near term. All of the other busiest routes either have existing limited service (see Route 59 on Central, Route 53 on Lake St) or have plans for near-term aBRT (C-Line/Route 19, D-Line/Route 5).

    In the short term *at the very least*, there should be peak-hour limited-stop service between Linden Hills and Downtown. Linden Hills actually does not have access to any express bus service whatsoever. The closest thing is the 146 way down on 50th Street. It’s highly unusual for a neighborhood this far from downtown to not have ANY peak-hour express service (see 133, 135, 141, 146, 156).

  10. Monte Castleman
    Monte Castleman February 18, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    Also of note is that is that Normandale College is a few miles south of American (although there is almost nothing until you get there). This could be a major trip generator, as well as space to put a park and ride.

  11. Ben February 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    You state, “There’s Bottineau skirting mostly past residents of North Minneapolis but at least hitting some major job/educational centers along the way to (some more corn fields and) the Brooklyn Park Target campus.”

    Have you driven the rout? There are no corn fields. The last bit of land is under development now. Those of us who live on and in proximity to West Broadway are still trying to get answers from the Met Council and City Council as to how many homes will be destroyed in order to make the road wide enough to accomodate LTR. The environmental impact study for some reason does not state how many homes for this particular section only full and partial “parcels”.

    The rail should stay on highway 81 and not gut our neighborhood. Only a small percentage of the residents will be within walking distance of West Broadway so leaving it at 81 should not be an issue. From 81 busses can be utilized for the short runs and tie in the other colleges in the area And shopping in Maple Grove.

    • Matt Brillhart February 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      While many urbanist types could certainly be persuaded that staying on 81 and terminating the line near walkable, downtown Osseo (or somehow extending to Target North from there) would actually be a desirable result, I really, really cannot see Hennepin County going for that option. Hennepin County is going to stick with the current route, as it serves the college and future library on a more or less direct route to Target.

      Instead of fighting the chosen route down Broadway (in BP), perhaps you should try fighting the 4 lane road that Hennepin County wants to build. Would LRT down the middle of a 2 lane road fit without demolishing dozens of homes?? If that option isn’t on the table, it’s on local residents to put it on the table, even if it gives the traffic engineers fits. Fighting the chosen LRT route is probably a lost cause, but fighting a big fat stroad (which would render the LRT stations unwalkable) is certainly a winnable battle.

      • Matt Brillhart February 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

        This document shows the layout of the mega-stroad Hennepin County plans to build, with the giant center medians reserving space for light rail:

        http://www.hennepin.us/~/media/hennepinus/residents/transportation/west-broadway-ave-brooklyn-park/Public-meeting-info-May-21-2014.pdf

        It is very clearly the road expansion that is causing the removal of homes, and not the light rail. The existing traffic counts on that stretch of Broadway could be handled by a 3 lane road (two lanes + intermittent left turn lanes). Hennepin County wants to build a 5-6 mega-stroad for the mythical 2030 traffic projections in the upper 20k-30k, which will almost certainly never come to pass. Isn’t part of the point of LRT to get people out of their cars, after all?

        • Sean Hayford Oleary
          Sean Hayford Oleary February 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

          I agree, although cutting one lane in each direction won’t make such a huge difference. They’ll want wider shoulders, so cutting one travel lane on each side will save 20′ or so total.

          Not sure if that will make a difference with total takes or not. However, I do think a divided 3-lane road will be more compatible with future LRT development than the megastroad proposed.

          Brooklyn Park should solicit their own 2030 projections to compare with Hennepin County. Many of these figures are from ten years ago, and assumed that like 2004-2005 growth would keep accelerating into 2030 (and that all that growth would be heavily auto-based). Redoing these projections post-recession significantly changed outcomes on 66th St and Lyndale Avenue in Richfield.

        • Ben February 18, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

          The only reason the median is in the plan is to make space for the LTR. Sorry but this is an extremely sensitive subject for those of us living in proximity to West broadway. The road will be improved either way, it just depends on if lrt is to be part of it. The city council has yet to vote on lrt so it is not a done deal. The road can be improved less LTR and less the median. Also if the LTR is not funded by the feds all of those homes will have been torn down for nothing.

          According to the environmental impact statement less than 4 percent of the residents of Brooklyn Park do not have cars. a park and ride on 81 should be sufficient.

          We were unaware that ltr was a possibility when we moved to brooklyn park a couple of years ago. Should this pass, I will be moving again. I refuse to raise my family next to train tracks. There are no planned noise or visual barriers so we will get to enjoy the train every 7 to 10 minutes for 22 hours a day. Not to mention we will not be able to turn south out of our division which will force additional trafic onto the side streets increasing the chance of kids getting hurt.

          It will also limit the routs emergency services will have to our neighborhood and especially those of the townhome association which only has two access point to begin with.

          There has been little community engagement by the met council or city council. The first intentional meetings are starting in two weeks. This is almost 8 months after it was to be voted on. For those of us who live here and will have our neighborhoods permanently altered, this whole process just seems wrong..

          • Matt Brillhart February 19, 2015 at 8:44 am #

            You’re not listening. The County has decided on light rail down the middle of Broadway because they (and corporate overlords Target) have decided that’s the best alignment. Fighting this is a lost cause. Fighting to reduce the 5-lane road to a 3-lane road is not a lost cause…yet. But if you’re just going to complain about LRT here and not address the mega-wide road, you won’t find much sympathy from me when Hennepin County builds exactly what they say they’re going to build.

            That said, why are they so intent on rebuilding the road 5-8 years ahead of LRT construction? Is the road really in such bad shape that they can’t wait and sync up the two projects? Couldn’t they mill & overlay the pavement to make it last longer, until LRT is more certain?

            • Ben February 19, 2015 at 11:20 am #

              The road is not terrible. But does need improvement. just north of 85th there are not sidewalks or curbs, just drainage ditches and backyards. They do not want to redo the road twice, which as a taxpayer I support. But you have a point. These have been separate projects which is one of the reasons most residents were not aware of LRT. As of late they are synching the projects now As they should have been from the beginning.

            • wayne February 20, 2015 at 9:05 am #

              It’s pretty useless arguing with a nimby who only drives about light rail. No hearts will be won nor any minds changed. The deliberate and repeated misspelling of “LRT” (what does LTR stand for?) is a pretty obvious sign here.

              Remember–roads GOOD, trains BAD.

              • Sean Hayford Oleary
                Sean Hayford Oleary February 20, 2015 at 9:21 am #

                If you’re going to disagree with someone, take the time to actually refute what they’re saying — don’t just write them off as a NIMBY and mock their misspellings.

                I agree with Matt B that the most easily solvable problem on the road is the excessive lanes. Not everybody will agree with that, though. This dialog is good — especially from people who know the area more intimately than any of us do.

              • Nick Magrino
                Nick Magrino February 20, 2015 at 9:41 am #

                Telling someone that arguing with them is useless is not, ah, useful.

                No need to get personal for no reason.

                • Peter Bajurny February 20, 2015 at 11:40 am #

                  On the other hand, it’s hard to engage meaningfully with someone rallying against Light Rail when they can’t even get the name right. Open honest engagement goes both way.

                  • wayne February 23, 2015 at 9:23 am #

                    that was kind of my point. It just reminded me way too much of the kind of comments you see on any start tribune article about transit.

              • Ben February 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

                The misspelling of LRT was not intentional. I’m not here to pick a fight, I am here to show that there is another side to the story. As I have already stated, the LRT will serve those who wish to use it, however it should be incorporated into communities without so much disruption (taking of homes, visual and audible noise, reduction of access of emergency services, etc.).

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 18, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      It was mostly tongue-in-cheek, though even the redevelopment going on at the tail end of the LPA is very low density, pedestrian hostile. The larger point I was making is that this is what the end of the line for most of our chosen transit investments looks like (whether it’s corn field or recent-corn-field), whereas Southdale/Centennial Lakes is much more job/resident dense, is continuing down that path, and becoming more walkable by the year (without a major transit investment, not unlike Uptown/Greenway development over the past 5 years).

  12. David Markle
    David Markle February 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Please, no more trains used as streeetcar lines! Seems to me one of the best shots for another LRT would be a commuter-oriented line south along 35W, simply in terms of the commuters now driving that route and the relative ease of right-of-way.

    • Alex Cecchini
      Alex Cecchini February 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      If faced with the choice between a 2.5 mile stretch of rail-in-streets to serve a bunch of nodes with good density built right at the station (plus sidewalks & connection bus routes) or a train running down a freeway that no one wants to live near, I will choose the former every day.

      Besides, a train route down I-35W will never be able to connect downtown to Uptown Linden Hills, 50th/France, or Southdale. And we’re already building the Orange Line anyway.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller February 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      You may be literally the only person I ever see advocating for transit-on-the-freeway.

      • helsinki February 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

        Second that. Transit on the freeway is not sensible at all. Transit trips begin and end on foot (effective transit anyway, this park-and-ride nonsense notwithstanding). Freeways are perhaps the least pedestrian friendly environment imaginable.

  13. David Markle
    David Markle February 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    494 might be another possibility! No, I warned about the Green Line setting a bad example as a train on the street being used like a streetcar line. Putting a train on the street makes no sense, in terms of either the cost or what it does to the street. If you want rails in the central city, either go streetcars or else elevate or tunnel.

  14. David Markle
    David Markle February 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    Pardon, I meant 394, not 494. Kindly name me one thing the Green Line LRT does much better than a streetcar line, and I’ll name a few things a streetcar line would do better, and at 1/3 the cost!

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller February 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      You know that the answer to your question is supposed to be “go all the way out to Edin Prairie.”

    • Peter Bajurny February 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      And for that matter name one thing a Green Line running down I94 would be better at than the current Green Line, other than travel time from downtown to downtown.

  15. David Markle
    David Markle February 19, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    The faster I-94 alignment travel time would make it a plausible metro trunk line: example, for someone taking rail from Eden Prairie to a station in St. Paul, so it doesn’t take half the morning. But the downtown, University campus and Capitol portions should have been tunneled for really good service.

    • wayne February 20, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Honestly we need to get multi-modal up in the cities. David does make a good point about trying to use light rail as some kind of universal catch-all for whatever kind of transit we feel like building, when in reality there are very different modes for very different applications.

      Like do you want to encourage lots of suburban commuters to drop their cars and get them downtown fast? Build some commuter rail, not a damn light rail line. Do you need to move people around dense built-up parts of town without enough space in the ROW to accommodate everything you need to fit? Build a subway already! Do you need to build something that maybe runs partially in exclusive ROW but maybe also shares it with cars sometimes? Use LRVs! Local circulation? Street cars!

      But pretending there’s only one kind of train line you can build and that it is the best solution to all problems is stupid. Just because they screwed the Northstar line up so badly doesn’t mean we should give up on commuter rail. It’s the mode that almost all suburban transit should be getting pushed towards (only actually do it right next time). That way we can build shorter LRT or subway lines inside the dense built up areas where they actually make sense and people in the burbs still get decent transit for their needs.

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