Where are the transit riders in Southwest?

Where are the transit riders in southwest Minneapolis?

Where are the transit riders in southwest Minneapolis?

The very first Southwest Transitway open house happened tonight, but hopefully some of you intrigued transit nuts will come home and want even MORE data to think about.  Based on comments from one of my previous posts, I realized I hadn’t done any analysis of where people are riding transit.

Thanks to the amazing Data Finder, you can see where transit trips are happening by bus stop.  To make this map, I summed all the weekday trips from bus stops within 1/4 mile of each planned LRT station.  Station areas are labeled with their totals.  As you would expect, downtown stations show the most trips, with Uptown and 28th Street next.  The 3A alignment shows very few trips.  The Met Council data for Van White shows a stop, but no routes and no trips are assigned to it.

I’ll be attending Thursday’s open house in Minneapolis and I’m excited.  It’s great to be on receiving end of a public meeting once in a while.  The gossip I’ve heard is that 3A and 3C ridership would be the same, which is something I would like explained in detail.  Anybody out there go to Hopkins tonight and have any post-meeting thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Where are the transit riders in Southwest?

  1. Brendon, you’re not accounting for future bus ridership. The Data Finder numbers mean nothing because those routes are what exist today. They will be significantly different with SW LRT.

    The proper way to do this is to run the complex ridership models the county and Met Council use to estimate ridership. The FTA has gone over and over those models countless times and have approved them. We can speculate all we want, but the engineers have the only data that matters, and according to them, the ridership on each alternative is the same.

    You asked where I got the information about the Royalston station. It’s direct from the SW project office. You can go talk to them yourself if you want to.

    Route 3C doesn’t work for many reasons. Here are just a few:

    – Equivalent ridership to 3A and $600 million more cost

    – It impacts countless historic properties, each of which will need mitigation.

    – It disrupts minority-owned businesses along Nicoillet with no appreciable
    benefit (since the train’s in a tunnel there). That’s a big no-no to the feds.

    – It has a major impact on the Greenway because the train will cut across it to
    enter a Nicollet tunnel. That means a very large bridge to carry bikes over the
    train and Nicollet Avenue. The entire character of the Greenway would be
    altered in that area.

    – It does not fit with the Marq2 transit redevelopment or the Minneapolis
    transportation plan.

    There are also lots of misconceptions about Route 3A. I’ll try to clear some of them up:

    – It does not serve fewer riders (see above).

    – It does not bypass the density in Minneapolis (North Minneapolis/Royalston has
    just as many transit riders today as Uptown).

    – It does not “destroy” “pristine” parkland. There’s a freight rail line there
    TODAY, for God’s sake!

    – It does not bypass Uptown. West Lake is a key station and will have bus routes
    that serve Uptown and many other places south of downtown. In addition, a
    Greenway streetcar would connect Hiawatha to SW and avoid all the bothersome
    ripping up of the existing bike infrastructure.

    I think it’s fundamentally immoral to tell people in North Minneapolis that we’re going to continue their isolation begun with I-94 and I-394 simply because we’d rather not run an LRT through parkland that already has a freight rail corridor in it.

    Especially when the alternative serves an area that already has the best transit service in the entire state.

  2. Point-by-point:

    “- Equivalent ridership to 3A and $600 million more cost”
    This is questionable. One of the biggest issues is that 3C ridership models are based on old Mpls Comp Plan numbers. The newer ones, still awaiting Met Council approval, include thousands of more residents in traffic analysis zones within a 1/2 mile of 3C LRT. The same is not true for Kenilworth neighborhoods.

    “- It impacts countless historic properties, each of which will need mitigation.”
    There will be similar issues on Kenilworth, and not just with historic properties. Some condo owners have already been investigating legal options that could slow down or add expense to a Kenilworth LRT.

    “- It disrupts minority-owned businesses along Nicoillet with no appreciable
    benefit (since the train’s in a tunnel there). That’s a big no-no to the feds.”
    LRT would stop at each end of Eat Street. Stations could be engineered to feed in closer to 27th & 22nd streets, rather than 28th St & Franklin Ave, just by having exits on those sides. This would promote the continued expansion of Eat Street up and down Nicollet and make it easier for visitors to come and spend their money there. I don’t go there much now because there is no non-transfer transit option for me and parking is a headache.

    “- It has a major impact on the Greenway because the train will cut across it to
    enter a Nicollet tunnel. That means a very large bridge to carry bikes over the
    train and Nicollet Avenue. The entire character of the Greenway would be
    altered in that area.”
    TAC members have commented that this is not set in stone. They have noted that with some concerted effort, the engineers could make this work without requiring a large burden for cyclists. In any case, do the concerns of Greenway cyclists outweigh the needs of tens of thousands of transit riders? Keep in mind the Greenway is owned by the HCRRA.

    “- It does not fit with the Marq2 transit redevelopment or the Minneapolis
    transportation plan.”
    I don’t see why not. Marq2 addresses bus transit (buses are loud, heavy, and need to be able to pass each other downtown). Both 3C and the 3C Sub-Alt would not conflict with Marq2’s transit-related goals of allowing those buses to pass eachother and not disrupt Nicollet Mall businesses.

    “There are also lots of misconceptions about Route 3A. I’ll try to clear some of them up:

    – It does not serve fewer riders (see above).”
    The ridership figures are still not up to date (see above).

    “- It does not bypass the density in Minneapolis (North Minneapolis/Royalston has just as many transit riders today as Uptown).”
    Your numbers here are questionable, and in any case, one must consider ALL alignment-specific existing/choice riders, not one station to another. The *overall* population density of greater Uptown vs. near-North/Kenilworth clearly supports choosing 3C (see the Transport Politic post for more — http://bit.ly/sJcri).

    “- It does not “destroy” “pristine” parkland. There’s a freight rail line there
    TODAY, for God’s sake!”
    This is sort of a weak point, but I will say that Kenilworth is closer to being parkland than the Greenway. The Greenway, despite its name, was a freight corridor for 100 years and is still relatively industrial, though it is continually being filled in with residential development (a fact which once again supports 3C).

    “- It does not bypass Uptown. West Lake is a key station and will have bus routes that serve Uptown and many other places south of downtown. In addition, a Greenway streetcar would connect Hiawatha to SW and avoid all the bothersome ripping up of the existing bike infrastructure.”
    It does bypass Uptown. The Calhoun Village strip mall is not Uptown. Most riders will not transfer to the route 12 bus to go to Uptown. I doubt most would transfer to a streetcar either, when they can just drive. I don’t have the numbers on hand but the Mpls Streetcar Feasibility Study wasn’t too supportive of heavy transfer ridership between Kenilworth LRT and a Midtown Greenway Streetcar. And this is a major issue: what purpose does a Greenway Streetcar serve? The businesses on Lake Street are unlikely to support it, instead preferring enhanced transit in front of their shops. Commuters to the SW suburbs & Downtown will see little to no improvement of travel times (esp. compared to 3C LRT). It seems to me that those people supporting a Greenway Streetcar have little experience with how transit works in major metropolitan areas. A cute, partially single-track trolley in a trench should not be seen as a better option than high-capacity fixed-rail transit between major residential, entertainment, and job centers.

  3. I mean the models that today correctly predict the ridership of Hiawatha. The engineers learn and adjust the models. Give them at least a little credit.

  4. Pingback: Train in the Woods | Net Density

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