Bottineau line: Most Promising Alternatives
Bottineau line: Most Promising Alternatives

I heard a nice presentation by Kim Zlimen on Friday concerning the proposed Bottineau Transitway.
Bottineau Transitway is a proposed line from downtown Minneapolis to the Northwest. Currently planners and decision-makers are evaluating technologies and rights-of-way. They seem to have two proposed alignments through Minneapolis, one along Penn Avenue (D2 in the figure) and another through Theodore Wirth Park (D1). If LRT, and that is the direction things seem to be going, the Penn Avenue alignment requires taking houses. There are alternatives (e.g. using Oliver Ave for one or both tracks) that were ruled out that did not require taking houses, but obviously required taking roadspace from parked (and moving) cars. To say those were too disruptive (by requiring people to park a block away), and that taking houses was not, is strange.
Maybe I am just cynical, but I think that the planners were cynical by defining the on-street alternative as requiring the taking of houses on Penn Avenue. In the context of a post-Rondo Twin Cities, house takings, especially in a poor neighborhood make that an unacceptable alternative, and thereby force the alignment through the Theodore Wirth Park.
In the end, if the aim is to serve suburban commuters to downtown, using the Park alignment is probably better for those travelers. If the objective is to serve transit dependent populations in North Minneapolis, this completely misses. The claim is that both objectives are important, but clearly there is a conflict here.
I suspect this is an application of the Overton Window, by framing the choices in a particular way to get the desired outcome.
This does clear North Minneapolis from LRT, making it more amenable to streetcars, which is perhaps the objective (… See, North is underserved by LRT, we simply must provide Streetcars).
[Alex Bauman also has a nice series of posts with another take at Getting Around Minneapolis: Bottineau-no for North, part I part II, and part III.]

Assessing Alternative Methods for Measuring Regional Mobility in Metropolitan Regions

Recently released: NCHRP 08-36, Task 102
Assessing Alternative Methods for Measuring Regional Mobility in Metropolitan Regions

“The objective of this project is to assess methods for defining and measuring mobility in metropolitan regions. How an agency or jurisdiction defines and measures mobility greatly determines selection of strategies and ultimately investment decisions. In metropolitan areas, measuring mobility at the system level is often limited to the measure of traffic congestion and resulting delay on the freeway and signalized arterial networks. Although traffic congestion does inhibit mobility, it alone may not be a sufficient measure of system performance, particularly as transportation agencies strive to embrace a more multimodal approach to transportation planning.”

The report supports the use of accessibility as a standard performance measure.

h. Accessibility as an integrated transportation-land use measure. Trip- based mobility measures are the starting point for accessibility measures, but they are blind to trip purpose or opportunity; they just measure the performance of trips within a given time window. Accessibility measures layer on the trip purpose or type of destination represented by the trip and are meant to measure the ease of reaching opportunities – goods, services, activities and other destinations. Three factors affect accessibility: congestion (or impedance), transportation system connectivity, and land use patterns. Thus, accessibility measures capture all four of these simultaneously; it is still important to understand the contribution of components, especially mobility as this is under more direct control of transportation agencies and easier to communicate to a general audience for a greater range of purposes. Note the accessibility can apply to the ease of getting to activities (such as jobs, recreation, shopping) or aspects of the transportation system itself (freeways, transit route, bike facilities).

[The lead was Cambridge Systematics, with Dowling Associates and TTI, I was on the project team]

Linklist: February 21, 2012

KurzweilAI: Traffic intersections of the future will control autonomous vehicles : “Intersections of the future won’t need stop lights or stop signs. They’ll look like a somewhat chaotic flow of driverless, autonomous cars slipping past one another as they are managed by a virtual traffic controller, says computer scientist Peter Stone, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin.” [Interesting, but I disbelieve this is the likely technology path, there are 1 million signalized intersections and lord knows how many stop signs in the US, autonomous vehicles will develop protocols with each other before most jurisdictions fix their pathetically antiquated traffic signal controllers.]

Joe Verdoorn @ Newgeography Unintended Consequences of the Neo-Traditional City Planning Model: “This tactical criteria of the Neo-traditional model, however, can create unintended negative consequences. The criteria to which I refer includes:

  • grid street patterns
  • connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods
  • mixed, non-residential land uses
  • alley access/rear loaded house

The inflexible application of these tactical criteria enhances opportunities for criminal activities to occur.”

Via Martin Engel: CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL on Vimeo: “a short, fun jaunt through history comparing the Ca. High Speed Train budget to other big ticket national projects.”

Bradley Heard @ GGW Ride The Tide of light rail, Virginia Beach – Greater Greater Washington: “Dubbed “The Tide,” South Hampton Roads’ light rail system made its debut in Norfolk on August 19, 2011. The initial $338 million segment, operated by the regional transit agency, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), is 7.4-miles, has 11 stops, and is currently located only within Norfolk’s city limits.

Initial weekday ridership during the first year was projected to be only 2,900. However, the 6-month data shows that those early projections have been blown away. About 4,642 people ride The Tide during an average weekday. An even higher number—4,850—use the system on Saturdays, with 2,099 usually riding on Sundays.” [Dumbing Success Down: If they forecast Zero Riders, it would have been Infinitely more successful]

Mazda CX-5 joins the cast of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Does this appall anyone else?
From Autoblog Green: Mazda CX-5 joins the cast of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: ” The computer-generated film from Universal will feature a “Seuss-ified” Mazda CX-5 rolling through a forest of lollipop-like truffula trees.
It’s a slightly strange movie for a car company to call its own, since the original book was a enviromentalist tale and the Lorax – who spoke for the truffula trees against the industrial ambitions of the Once-ler – complained even more when trucks began rolling into the forest. The case is aided by the fact that Universal got rid of that storyline almost completely, and Mazda’s Skyactiv credentials are what’s really in play here.”