Author Archive | Eric Ecklund

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RRFBs: A False Sense of Protection

When Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) started appearing in Bloomington and Edina I thought they would be a huge improvement for pedestrian safety, but having used them numerous times I’ve realized they’re a compromise on safety and neither motorists or pedestrians are the winners. RRFBs are a safety device used at crosswalks in which a […]

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Trip Report: Amtrak Empire Builder Chicago-St. Paul

How about the train? Way back in December I had already planned most of my 3-month summer tour of Europe, but I hadn’t decided on how I would return home. I narrowed my options to a flight from Europe directly to Minneapolis (boring, but the quickest), fly from Europe to Chicago and then Amtrak to […]

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Commonalities of the Northstar and Red Line

From a physical and operational standpoint the Northstar Line and Red Line are a night and day difference, but from an implementation and performance standpoint they are actually quite similar. The Red Line operates every 20 minutes (it used to be every 15 minutes) and had 267,000 rides in 2016 . While the Red Line hasn’t […]

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A Regional Rail System for the Twin Cities

Following my post on potential Twin Cities rapid transit routes, which you can find here, next is the topic of regional/commuter rail in the Twin Cities region. Minnesota has one example of regional rail; the Northstar Line between Minneapolis and Big Lake in the northwest region operating on existing BNSF Railway track. The Northstar Line is how […]

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Can Suburb-to-Suburb Express Service Work in the Twin Cities?

Two years ago Route 494 began service between Shakopee and Maple Grove as part of a partnership between Southwest Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Plymouth Metrolink, and Maple Grove Transit. There were station stops at Marschall Road Transit Station in Shakopee, Southwest Station in Eden Prairie, United Healthcare and Optum campuses in Minnetonka, Hopkins Crossroad […]

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The Laundry List of Rapid Transit Routes

As we plan a better transit system for the region, we need to understand a few simple facts. 1) Not everyone wants to live in the city. 2) Not everyone wants to live in the suburbs. 3) Not all of the jobs are in downtown. 4) Not all of the jobs are in the suburbs. […]

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The Original Dan Patch Line: LRT Potential

Please note that this should not be confused with the Dan Patch Corridor, a proposed regional/commuter/intercity rail line between Minneapolis and Northfield, and possibly further south. The original Dan Patch Line, known as the High Line, was built in 1910 between South Minneapolis and Northfield. Before the Dan Patch Line (later Minneapolis Northfield & Southern […]

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