Bottineau Vision had one eye closed – or covered?

May 8, 2013 at 11:16 am 1 comment

By Norann Dillon

In reviewing Bus Rapid Transit as an option for the Bottineau line, they looked at running only one bus on the line at the time, much like is constrained by light rail.

Station platforms should be 120 feet long in order to accommodate two 60-foot articulated BRT vehicles stopped at the station at the same time.

What small thinking!

The real strength and absolute advantage of buses over trains is that the former can pull over and be passed. If each of the stations along the exclusive busway were designed with a curb cut-out, then multiple routes can use the corridor at the same time.

Here are the alternative routes that were advanced to the ‘second round’ of study and consideration.

Bottineau alternative routes advanced to second round

Bottineau alternative routes advanced to second round

The study team considered having both Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park as termini. But the ridership numbers weren’t additive maybe because they were locked into the one-train-at-a-time paradigm.

Some of the study areas where buses “lost” to trains were in time travel savings and reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). If there were curb cuts at the stations, then express routes could use the corridor, zipping past local routes at the stations, and that would greatly improve travel times. The VMT assumption was that commuters would drive down I-94 and board at Maple Grove if it were a train, but not a bus. If it were a dual termini bus line, riders would have faster travel times and more station options! Imagine a worker from St. Michael who could board in Maple Grove, transfer at the station where the lines join and continue to his job at the Target campus in Brooklyn Park.

LRT costs twice as much as BRT, but doesn’t come close to delivering twice the benefits. The price tag of each light rail line is around $1 billion, so taxpayers and commuters should demand consideration of the more flexible, less cost option.

Unless it’s not what “the powers that be” want. This is from the “Bottineau Land Use Planning Framework:”

The Bottineau Corridor has been studied for future transit since 1988. A Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project was explored from 2000 through 2005… After seeing the success of the Hiawatha LRT line, the Partnership changed its focus from BRT to championing LRT and remains committed to integrating transit and land use efforts in the Bottineau Corridor.

Could it be that “the fix was in” as far back as 2005?

Some history on the planning for the Bottineau Corridor

Read more from Norann Dillon here


Entry filed under: Agenda 21, Brooklyn Park, City Government, County, Crystal, Environment, Golden Valley, Hennepin, Met Council, Robbinsdale, Transportation.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. michaellibby  |  May 9, 2013 at 9:35 am

    “If there were curb cuts at the stations, then express routes could use the corridor, zipping past local routes at the stations, and that would greatly improve travel times.”

    This doesn’t make sense. You’re going to run the local buses on the BRT right of way? The local buses stop often. In some areas once per block. You’d need curb cuts for all of those stops. Further, the payment methods for local service are different than for BRT.

    You’re actually proposing a much more expensive build out that doesn’t even make sense as a BRT design. So you’re erasing any possible cost benefits to BRT with this.

    The reason the study didn’t include buses passing one another is that it defeats the purpose of BRT. If you have multiple termini, but restrict intermediate boarding/departure opportunities you run a much higher risk of running nearly empty buses for the entire route, rather than allowing those taking shorter trips to fill all the buses as much as possible for as much of the route as possible. The buses may be able to pass at the stations (and really how many stops is that?) but they will have to slow way down since there is no way they can continue to cruise at 55MPH when passing a stopped bus.

    From what I can tell, you all are opposed to any form of mass transit that isn’t 100% privatized. If you manage to defeat LRT, I have a strong suspicion that your support for BRT will evaporate into “why should we have to pay for that either” rhetoric.


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