Bottineau Vision had one eye closed – or covered?
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
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?
Read more from Norann Dillon here