Creating Real Transit Improvements in Uptown: Part 1

The future? photo by flickr user: Mulad

The future? photo by flickr user: Mulad

The routing decision for the Southwest LRT is basically done.  I’ve previously bemoaned what seemed like the inevitable choice of Route 3A by the County because I (and others) had unanswered questions about ridership and the long-term logic of bypassing Uptown.  Critics of 3C suggested that a more appropriate transit solution for Uptown would be a Greenway streetcar, and that transit advocates in Uptown should really wait their turn for what was surely a better alternative.  However, this argument doesn’t make sense, because the major destinations LRT would connect are the U of M and Downtown with Uptown, not Hiawatha Avenue with Uptown.

After some disparaging for the future, I decided that I should try to be positive and proactive, rather than gloomy and snide.  So Uptown and south Minneapolis are not going to benefit from the new LRT line.  So what would it take to get substantial improvements to the transit system in the Hennepin/Lyndale/Nicollet corridors?  Is there a cost-effective way to overcome, or at least minimize, the limitations now faced by the bus system (traffic congestion, inclement weather and slow fare collection)?  Can we create a bus corridor that would rival LRT for speed and desirability?

I have some ideas, but I don’t pretend to be an expert.  So, in a Net Density first, I’ll be asking a few very knowledgeable (and gracious) individuals to describe how they would improve the existing system in the Uptown/LynLake area.  I will ask that they restrain themselves to improvements that could really be implemented, and are not wildly expensive (no subways). And, of course these improvements should have the potential to significantly increase ridership and make the overall transit experience in the area better.

The first guest post comes from a Metro Transit planner who has been involved in transitway planning throughout the region.  From the conversations we’ve had so far, his post promises to be intriguing and give clear strategies for greater ridership and better service.  He’ll also have some good real world examples of how improvements he is suggesting have been implemented in other cities.  Stay tuned.

7 thoughts on “Creating Real Transit Improvements in Uptown: Part 1

  1. Sounds like a promising series. I’m looking forward to reading (and commenting on) these coming posts. Maybe you can get a comment from incoming Council Member Tuthill?

  2. “Critics of 3C suggested that a more appropriate transit solution for Uptown would be a Greenway streetcar, and that transit advocates in Uptown should really wait their turn for what was surely a better alternative. However, this argument doesn’t make sense, because the major destinations LRT would connect are the U of M and Downtown with Uptown, not Hiawatha Avenue with Uptown.”

    Of course, there are also plenty of 3C critics that are also critics of a Greenway Streetcar, instead preferring a Streetcar (or other technology) that connects Uptown to Downtown.

  3. Great idea Brendon!

    Also agree with Reuben’s point. I would classify myself into that category of people who oppose 3C as well as the idea of a Greenway Streetcar. If we are going to build an east-west streetcar, it should be on Lake Street where the people and businesses are, not in the Greenway trench. But what Uptown really needs is improvements in all three major north-south corridors into downtown (Hennepin, Lyndale, Nicollet) either by enhancements to bus service, streetcars, or a mix of both. In my opinion, 3C did not do well enough in that regard to justify its financial cost.

    Look forward to seeing what some experts in the field propose for Uptown transit improvements.

  4. A Greenway Streetcar would be a poor allocation of resources as it would be highly unlikely that it would spring much more retail, commercial or residential development than what is already planning and Uptown Travelers would not very likely utilize it to traverse to Hiawatha or West to St. Louis Park. All major destinations would require a transfer, and studies have shown ridership drops off heavily if a transfer is needed.

  5. Pingback: Net Density » Creating Real Transity Improvements in Uptown Part II: The Potential of Arterial BRT

  6. Pingback: Net Density » Creating Real Transity Improvements in Uptown Part 2: The Potential of Arterial BRT

  7. Pingback: Net Density » NYC gets first separated busway, why not in Southwest Minneapolis?

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