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University of Minnesota Dual Track Planning Efforts Northern Alignment and Washington Ave At-Grade Alignment Briefing for Central Corridor Management Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "University of Minnesota Dual Track Planning Efforts Northern Alignment and Washington Ave At-Grade Alignment Briefing for Central Corridor Management Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 University of Minnesota Dual Track Planning Efforts Northern Alignment and Washington Ave At-Grade Alignment Briefing for Central Corridor Management Committee and Metropolitan Council May 21, 2008

2 2 Why is this important to the U? CCLRT will shape the regional transportation system, the campus, and the surrounding neighborhoods for the next 100 years. Transit is essential to the functioning of the University and its community. Placement of the line will impact mission-critical activities, the future campus, academic programming, and the development of the community. Ease of access is an urgent requirement for the future of the hospital and clinics.

3 3 University Commitment to Public Transit The University is a national leader and already a transit oriented community –68% of daily commuters walk, bike, bus or carpool –Over 20,000 students use U-Pass –2,000 faculty and staff use a Metropass –Almost 30% of the projected daily Central Corridor riders will be generated by the University (According to Central Corridor project estimates for 2030) The University is committed to the CCLRT and its funding

4 Board of Regents Resolution NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the University recommends that the following alternatives be evaluated for the Central Corridor: –A feasible northerly Light Rail Transit alignment over the existing # 9 railroad bridge that provides for excellent connectivity with University intra-campus shuttle bus service and future development; –A modified Bus Rapid Transit alignment on the Avenue that provides improved bus service to the University, with East and West Bank stations, and with no exclusive transit lanes through campus; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the Central Corridor planners decide to study a Light Rail Transit alignment on the Avenue, the University requires that the alignment and station be below grade in a tunnel; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if the Central Corridor planners proceed with an alternative that proposes to close a section of the Avenue to automobile traffic through the campus, that the section of the Avenue to be closed be vacated and the land become a part of the campus; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that if a section of the Avenue is vacated and becomes a part of the campus, the University would grant the necessary utility and surface easements needed to accommodate acceptable transit service.

5 5 Guiding Principles The optimal operation of the Central Corridor LRT line is vital to a strong, regional, multi- modal transportation system. Safety is fundamental to the success of the operation of the line. The Central Corridor should realize development opportunities while reducing impact to the urban environment. The functionality and aesthetics of the University campus must be enhanced.

6 6 Dual Track Planning Approach University working with CCPO and partners to further the definition and planning of: Northern Alignment Feasibility Analysis Washington Ave at-grade with Pedestrian Mall –Design and operation of pedestrian mall –Mitigations plan –Critical research impact mitigation –Bus operations in University Community

7 7 “Feasible and Reasonable” Alternatives CCLRT line through campus currently has two “feasible and reasonable” alternatives under consideration. 15% of engineering complete for both alignments Each has risks and unknowns that must be addressed prior to narrowing the plan to one alternative. Required environmental review process will provide insights into issues and their resolution. University will continue to support the advancement of both alternatives.

8 8 Washington Avenue At-Grade Alignment with Pedestrian Mall

9 9 At-Grade Mitigation Principles 1.Provide a total transportation system with increased capacity and improved access for the central city area. 2.Provide safe, direct access routes to the University that can accommodate daily visitors and have the surge capacity to handle event traffic. 3.Avoid negative economic impact to the University's Academic Health Center, hospital and clinics. 4.Create a traffic plan that is understandable and usable by those unfamiliar with campus. 5.Preserve emergency and service vehicle access to the University and surrounding business. 6.Ensure a safe environment and efficient operation of LRT through the campus. 7.Retain the vibrant and aesthetically inviting streetscape that respects and enhances the University's historic character and campus environment. 8.Transform Washington Avenue on the West Bank into an arterial street that unifies and connects the neighborhood and campus. 9.Ensure that the total transportation system unifies neighborhoods, promotes a sense of community, and fosters economic and University-related development. 10.Provide safe, functional bypass routes for non-University-destined through traffic that do not negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

10 10 Washington Avenue Opportunities Removal of cars from Washington Avenue will enhance the pedestrian environment and dramatically change the East Bank campus. Has the potential to become a vibrant public space that integrates the East Bank rather than dividing it. Supports Cass Gilbert’s vision to connect Northrop Mall to the River. Fulfills the Metropolitan Council’s vision for the line.

11 11 Washington Ave Risks and Challenges Permanently eliminates one of the two main arteries that serve campus and the surrounding communities. Interferes with the U’s highly sophisticated research equipment and mission-critical activities located along Washington Avenue in very close proximity to the line. Reduces ease of access to hospital and clinics, discouraging patients from coming. Ultimately, this would undermine Medical School funding. Increases traffic throughout other areas of campus and neighborhood streets. Creates permanent impacts to the historic Northrop Mall, Knoll area, and East River Road. Creates safety conflicts between trains and pedestrians. Negatively impacts Stadium Village businesses.

12 12 Washington Avenue Unanswered Questions How do we ensure the adequate funding of the mitigation plan? Who pays for the mitigations outside the project costs? Who is responsible for addressing mitigations that arise after the LRT is operational? Who will own Washington Avenue from Pleasant to Walnut and the Washington Avenue Bridge? How will the mall design accommodate trains, bus, and emergency vehicles? Will the Met Council stage construction in order to minimize impact to U and surrounding community? Will U have design control over the mall? What is the extent of the impact and mitigation measures for our mission-critical research? What is impact to AHC and Fairview? How will bus routes be resolved?

13 13 Northern Alignment

14 14 University Urges Metropolitan Council to Consider Northern Alignment November 2007 – University reiterates 2001 request to study the Northern Alignment and inclusion in Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). Early January 2008 – Metropolitan Council agrees that it can be studied if paid for by the University. Early March 2008 – University contracts with SRF to begin feasibility analysis. Mid March 2008 – University provides official comments stating that the scope of the SDEIS should include the Northern Alignment. April 30, 2008 – University presents preliminary feasibility study to CCMC; receives comments from partners as to issues/concerns Early May – SRF alters alignment to address concerns raised by partners Last week – receive results of CEI and ridership analysis

15 15 Northern Alignment

16 16 Northern Alignment: West Bank

17 17 Northern Alignment: West Bank

18 18 Northern Alignment: Mississippi River

19 19 Northern Alignment: Dinkytown

20 20 Northern Alignment: Stadium Village

21 21 Findings Northern Alignment CEI: Ridership: 36,560 Ride Time: 40 min 26 sec Cost: Total: $889 M ($19M less than Washington Ave At-Grade) Percent Engineering Completed: 15-20% Washington Avenue At-Grade CEI: Ridership: 42,170 Ride Time: 40 min 15 sec Cost: Total: $909.1 M (will reduce budget by $17.1 M to get CEI to Percent Engineering Completed: 15%

22 22 Detailed CEI Data Northern AlignmentNorthern Alignment "Enhanced Access" Incremental Change vs. Modified Baseline894M Capital Cost 889M Capital Cost894M Capital Cost 889M Capital Cost Annualized Capital Cost $60,483,290 $60,072,658 $60,483,290 $60,072,658 Annual Operating and Maintenance Cost $1,277,310 Total Annualized Cost $61,760,600 $61,349,968 $61,760,600 $61,349,968 Using Alternative-Specific Baseline Weekday User Benefits CEI (Annualization factor 331) $28.44 $28.25 $24.74 $24.58 CEI (Annualization factor 319) $29.51 $29.31 $25.67 $25.50 Weekday Ridership35,240 36,560

23 23 Use of “Enhanced Access” Ridership Model Impacts of Northern Alignment cannot be measured without bias unless enhanced access forecast is used. –U of M is an important generator of transit trips with unique characteristics –The use the Campus Shuttle system increases accessibility of the stations and should be factored the model –AECOM developed a method to mimic the effects of the shuttle system on campus access

24 24 Northern Alignment Opportunities Using existing railroad right-of-way minimizes disruptions to our integrated transportation system on and around campus Reduces conflicts with pedestrians, autos, buses, and emergency vehicles Better serves the campus and the Southeast Minneapolis and West Bank communities by strengthening connections Future U medical biosciences facilities and private research will bring 4,500 researchers and technicians to the area Supports new housing and business revitalization in Dinkytown and Stadium Village Minimizes disruption to Stadium Village businesses Maintains access to the hospital and clinics Avoids negative impacts to two historic districts: Northrop Mall and the Historic Knoll area Avoids construction schedule disruptions

25 25 Northern Alignment Risks and Challenges Potential impact on mission-critical research Future costs of LRT traffic signals intersections at road connections along Granary Road Potential challenges with obtaining railroad right of way and insurance requirements due to proximity to line that carries U’s fuel. Emergency vehicle access in the trench Reconstruction of Bridge #9 – required approvals, use of trail Replacement of 4 units of affordable housing on West Bank

26 26 Northern Alignment Unanswered Questions How might the northern alignment be factored into the project schedule? If northern alignment does not fit into schedule, there is potential $40 million inflation impact due to delay and feared loss of the project.

27 27 Conclusion CCLRT line through campus currently has two “feasible and reasonable” alternatives under consideration. 15% of engineering complete for both alignments Each has risks and unknowns that must be addressed prior to narrowing the plan to one alternative. Required environmental review process will provide insights into issues and their resolution. University will continue to support the advancement of both alternatives.


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