Author: Eric Ecklund

About Eric Ecklund

Eric has lived in Bloomington his whole life (besides 4 months studying in Oslo, Norway). With a Bachelors in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, his future career is in transportation planning and he is heavily invested in Twin Cities transit from trying different bus routes to continuously examining how to improve the transit network in the Twin Cities.

Bus Rapid Transit: Not As Simple and Cheap As It Seems

Often, if not every time, there’s an article written by Janet Moore of the Star Tribune that relates to bus rapid transit (BRT). It’s defined as a “service that mimics light rail in terms of service and reliability but for a fraction of the cost” (quoting this article). This is a generalized statement that doesn’t […]

Rail vs Bus on the Red Rock Corridor

Back in the late 1990s, MnDOT analyzed several existing freight rail corridors in the Twin Cities region for the possibility of implementing commuter rail service. Three routes were chosen for their cost effectiveness and best potential ridership: the Northstar Line to St. Cloud, the Red Rock Corridor to Hastings, and the Dan Patch Corridor to […]

Rail vs Bus along the Midtown Greenway

By 2024, the B Line will be operational and provide rapid bus service along Lake Street, Marshall Avenue, and Selby Avenue between West Lake Station in Minneapolis and Downtown St. Paul. Just north of Lake Street is a former railroad trench, now partially occupied by the popular Midtown Greenway trail, that for years has been […]

Time to Press Pause on the Gold Line

I’ve tried to keep an open mind to the Gold Line/Gateway Corridor between St. Paul and Woodbury ever since bus rapid transit (BRT) was the chosen mode. Transit improvements in the East Metro are just as needed as in the West Metro. However, the more the project has progressed, the more I see flaws with […]

Rail-with-Trails of the Twin Cities

In my previous post I discussed rail-trails, which are abandoned railroad right-of-ways repurposed as trails. The Twin Cities has many of these, but the region also has several so-called rail-with-trail corridors. Rail-with-trails are trails alongside active rail lines. They provide a safe path for people, deterring trespassing on railroad property while still allowing train movements, […]

Rail-Trails of the Twin Cities

For several decades, railroads have abandoned many miles of track in the United States due to several factors including redundant routes, bankruptcies, mergers and significant government investment in roads that made shipping freight by rail less competitive than by truck. While some railroad right-of-ways have disappeared from redevelopment, others have been converted to trails that […]

Amtrak’s Empire Builder: The Train that Deserves Better

Amtrak’s Empire Builder, the only intercity rail service in Minnesota, will be reduced from daily to tri-weekly service beginning in October due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided to take it one more time before the cuts went into effect, as there’s no way of knowing how long it’ll be before daily […]

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Old Shakopee and 98th: From Death Road to Multimodal Corridor

The Old ShakopeeRoad/98th Street Corridor is one of the east-west thoroughfares of Bloomington. It’s also an outdated roadway. Several segments are a four-lane death road, the sidewalks are narrow and buckling, and traffic typically goes 5 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The route has several high-traffic destinations, including the Mall of […]

Mn Regional Rail Routes

A Comprehensive Transit Overhaul for the Twin Cities: Part III

This is the final entry of a three-part series detailing the rapid transit and regional rail requirements for the Twin Cities to become a transit-oriented, climate-neutral metropolitan region. The prior two weeks looked at rail rapid transit and bus rapid transit, respectively. This article will focus on regional rail in the Twin Cities and Greater […]

A Comprehensive Transit Overhaul for the Twin Cities: Part II

This is the second of a three-part series detailing the rapid transit and regional rail requirements for the Twin Cities to become a transit-oriented, climate-neutral metropolitan region. Last week covered rail rapid transit. Today’s entry focuses on bus rapid transit, while next week the final article will look at regional rail. The previous rapid transit and […]