6 thoughts on “Southwest LRT fliers hit the streets

  1. This flyer is very misleading. It says both alignments will likely cost $1.2 billion or more but fails to mention the 3C alternatives are at least $500 million more expensive than the 3A alginment. Ther flyer also claims 3A doesn’t serve Minneapolis but that’s only true if you don’t consider west Calhous, the north side and downtown part of Minneapolis. Which, I suppose for some Kenwood and Uptown residents is probably true.

    The whole 3C campaign is disgusting. Anyone hear Art Higinbotham at the Sep. 17th hearing? Coded language all over the place and this guy sits on the Minneapolis civil rights commission!

    • David,

      While you may believe some arguments for 3C are “disgusting”, what I have tried to present here are rational arguments and concerns based on the best available data. Of primary importance, the County has never publicly explained how ridership counts for each line were developed, in particular how they developed assumptions on who will switch from bus to rail along the 3C alignment. An acquaintance of mine shared with me a ridership memo (which did not address this point), but this memo is not being shared on the project website. There has been no public meeting with the consultant who worked on the modeling to explain the methodology. These ridership numbers are key in developing the cost effectiveness index (CEI), which given your concern about cost, I assume you care about.

      While many people may feel comfortable accepting the numbers developed by the County without a clear understanding of how they were developed, I do not given the future impacts this line could have. This project has significant long-term implications for the City of Minneapolis and I believe we deserve a transparent process.

  2. The problem here is that these lines aren’t created in a vacuum. Given no other planning, one would be hard-pressed to say that the line shouldn’t be 3C, even with the higher cost, because it would seem to get more folks out of their cars and have a higher daily ridership.

    That being said, the 3C plan handicaps the ability of Minneapolis to build-out a network of streetcars/LRT in that area. Hennepin, Nicollet, & the Greenway are all under study for streetcar implementation – and SW LRT should be a complement to that streetcar solution, not either/or. I have no doubt that SW LRT would not come close to meeting the transit needs in the area as streetcars would.

    I, for one, am glad that 3A is the preferred choice. Not because it bypasses Uptown, but because it keeps intact a much better transit solution for Uptown. Granted it may not be one that happens, but everyone in Uptown shouldn’t be clamoring for SW LRT to be the “at least it’s something” choice. We should be clamoring for the right solution in Uptown – which is streetcars filling in the triangle between the SW & Hiawatha LRT lines.

    • Streetcars as I have seen them implemented do not seem to solve the problems plaguing buses currently running through Uptown: on-street congestion and speed. If you want to improve transit service in the area, it seems to me you need dedicated right-of-way, or at least a fundamental change in how buses, streetcar or whatever vehicle you choose is operated. It seems unlikely to me that the City of Minneapolis will be doing this on their own.

      As for the network alignment, you cannot equate a connection to Hiawatha with a connection to downtown Minneapolis. Yes, a connection to Hiawatha via the Greenway or Lake Street would be great, but the destinations and intensity of use are entirely different.

  3. I don’t understand the argument that what Uptown “really” needs is a streetcar between the SW and Hiawatha lines. How does that speed up ease a trip to downtown?

    I support 3C and don’t consider it to be the “at least it’s something” choice. I’d say that would be 3A. 3C connects Uptown with both downtown AND suburbs, as well as creates easy, fast connections with Lyn-Lake and Eat Street. A Greenway streetcar connection doesn’t do any of that.

    If there were to be a connector streetcar, I’d much rather have it on Lake Street than in the Greenway, although I suppose that’s a different topic.

  4. I also don’t understand why a Midtown Greenway streetcar is the answer to Uptown’s transit issues. If you look at the data (and I don’t have it in front of me but can put something together soon), most people in the greater Uptown area work downtown. Traffic counts are ~30,000 on Hennepin and Lyndale, rising over the past decade and sure to rise more with added residents in the coming decades. Buses take 20-25 mins between Uptown and downtown at rush hour. These are huge challenges not remotely addressed by a Midtown Greenway streetcar — but they were to be aided hugely by 3C.

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