The Transport Politic sums it all up

Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic has written an indispensable summary of the Southwest LRT routing alternatives. This is the post I wish I had written, plus his maps are prettier than mine!  His take on the FTA ridership accounting rules is especially interesting.

If you haven’t read it, go there now and arm yourself with talking points before you hit one of the open houses.

3 thoughts on “The Transport Politic sums it all up

  1. Freemark does a great analysis, including his interpretation of the FTA ridership accounting rules. His conclusion that the 3C is a better option for the SW Transitway than 3A is a non-sequitur. He demonstrates that Uptown and other south Minneapolis neighborhoods want and deserve high-quality transit. What he doesn’t demonstrate is that this need should be filled by the SW Transitway or that Light Rail is the right technology to do it.

    I think it’s also interesting to consider the logical extension of his arguments: based on his metrics for determining the route: Density, Poverty, & Mode Share – there is no need to extend the transitway to Eden Prairie at all. Using this methodology, the route should just zig-zag throughout South Minneapolis – since that’s where the Density, Poverty, & Mode Share are.

    I like his analysis a lot. But if anything, he’s demonstrated that transit planners should focus on other technologies that will better serve Uptown and other south minneapolis neighborhoods, rather than transit extending to the suburbs where there is no Density, Poverty, or Mode Share. (I’m not saying I agree with it, just saying that’s the take-home message from his analysis).

  2. Reuben–

    What technologies would those be? All I can think of is true rapid transit — a heavy rail subway line. Of course, that’s not at all realistic.

    Streetcars, which have been mentioned routinely, do not address the core problem facing existing transit users and potential (“choice”) riders in the greater Uptown area: traffic congestion. Having a separate-ROW, direct fixed-rail connection between greater Uptown and major job centers (DT Mpls, Eden Prairie), as well as the bedroom suburbs whose residents come to Uptown on nights and weekends (SLP, Minnetonka, etc.) is not achievable with shared-ROW streetcars or the ridiculously unhelpful Greenway streetcar idea.

  3. Ok, if you all want to go with speculation rather than the actual data, I can’t stop you. But this smells to me like a classic case of believing one things without any data to back it up and ignoring the data when it actually comes in.

    A month ago, I wasn’t sure which route is better. Now that the data is in and I’ve talked to the actual people who are working on the project, I’m convinced 3A is the absolutely best alternative for Minneapolis. For numerous reasons, some of which I’ve outlined before.

    The updated comp plan is a red herring. Central Corridor has had to continually update its ridership models as the project has progressed. Guess what? Nothing much changed. Those who are counting on some huge shift in the numbers when the model is updated with the new comp plans are going to be very disappointed.

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