Midtown corridor: A grade separated central corridor

The Midtown LRT/Streetcar has joined the growing number of high efficiency corridors planned for the Minneapolis, St. Paul metro area. The Midtown LRT/Streetcar will run on the Greenway rail trench from the planned SW Green line station at W Lake Street to the Lake St station on the Blue line. Though the transit in the greenway is being classified as a streetcar, the fewer stops and connections to both the Green and Blue line means that it will function more as a light rail. Continue Reading

Planning efforts continue on Midtown local transit enhancement

The final meeting of the Midtown Corridor Alternative Analysis, a two-year public input process led by Metro Transit to determine the benefits, costs and impacts of creating a transitway in the Midtown Greenway or on Lake Street was held February 12th. A fifteen member Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), which includes Ward 9’s City Council Member Alondra Cano, voted to continue planning efforts for dualtransit options: enhanced bus service on Lake Street; and, rail service on the Midtown Greenway.

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Esfuerzos de planificación a continuar para mejorar el tránsito local de Midtown

Se celebró 12 de febrero la reunión final del Análisis Alternativas del Corredor de Midtown, un proceso de entrada pública de hace dos años dirigido por el tránsito del metro (Metro Transit) para determinar los beneficios, los costes y el impacto de la creación de un tránsito central en el Midtown Greenway o en la calle Lake. El Comité Asesor de Política (PAC), de quince miembros que incluye la concejal de Ward 9, Alondra Cano, votó a favor de continuar con los esfuerzos de planificación para las opciones sobre un sistema de doble tránsitos: mejorar el servicio de autobuses en la calle Lake y al a vez ofrecer servicio ferroviario en el Midtown Greenway.

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Midtown Corridor transit: Streetcar, enhanced bus, or a little of both?

Last week, neighbors gathered at the Colin Powell Center and Whittier Clinic to view the latest transportation plans for the Midtown Corridor.Transit OptionsThere are three options that are in consideration at this point:Enhanced bus service, which would run along Lake Street between the light rail stations at Midtown (Blue Line) and West Lake (Green Line).Streetcar, which would run along the Midtown Greenway between the Blue and Green Line.A hybrid of the two, which includes a streetcar that would operate on the Greenway between the Blue and Green Line, as well as an enhanced bus line along Lake Street that would offer service to St. Paul.The third hybrid option is a result of considerable resident feedback at Metro Transit’s February open house. Metro found that many people were interested in service into St. Paul. This third option would allow Metro Transit to extend enhanced bus service to the Midway shopping area at University and Snelling.Meeting Project GoalsMetro Transit Project Manager Michael Mechtenberg said that the option they chose will need to meet the project’s goals, which are toincrease transit use,improve mobility and access to jobs and activities,be a catalyst for housing and economic development,be cost-effective (capital and operating costs) and well-positioned for implementation, andbuild upon the vibrancy and diversity of the corridor by supporting healthy, active communities and the environment.What’s NextProject planners will be working on completing a more detailed analysis of the three options. Continue Reading

Planning for Minneapolis Midtown Transit Corridor gets underway

Residents of Minneapolis came together at the Whittier Park Recreation Center on January 29 for an open house on a proposed Metro Transit project connecting the Hiawatha and Southwest light rail lines, by using either light rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit, or a dedicated busway. Meeting facilitators emphasized that, “Everything is on the table currently.”The project will provide faster east-west service for transit users, and increase accessibility to major employment and commercial centers in the area. Michael Mechtenberg, the project manager and a planner at Metro Transit, said transit investments would also “catalyze and support economic development,” as well as to “support a healthier community.” A general excitement about the project was unmistakable as a regular flow of attendees circulated amongst the poster boards and maps on display.The Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, officially launched in September 2012, will study the potential benefits, costs, and impacts of developing a transitway either on Lake Street or along the Midtown Greenway. During the Alternative Analysis phase of the project, Metro Transit along with project contractors will evaluate different routes and types of transit modes to determine what the best fit for the corridor is.Once completed, the new transit corridor would provide expanded transit service between the Hiawatha Light Rail line and the Southwest Light Rail line, on which construction is slated to begin in 2015. Additionally, the transitway would connect with the existing Chicago-Lake and Uptown Transit Centers, as well as the proposed I-35 Bus Rapid Transit Orange Line.Metro Transit sees this as an opportune moment to move forward on the project for several reasons. Continue Reading

Grazing along the Greenway: Freewheel Midtown Bike Center Cafe and the Sonora Grill

I have been biking a lot lately, and taking the opportunity to explore some of the hidden gastronomic gems along my favorite bike trails.  I bike to work regularly along the Minneapolis Greenway, which runs east to west from Lake Calhoun to the Mississippi River Road, which means I ride past the Midtown Bike Center all the time. But until recently I had never really bothered to explore the offerings at the Midtown Bike Cafe. Continue Reading

Hiawatha high voltage lines: Xcel proposes, community questions, council considers on Monday

During a pair of open houses on January 15 at Plaza Verde on Lake Street, Xcel Energy revealed details about its proposed Hiawatha Project — a plan to build two new substations connected by a pair of 115 kilovolt power lines in the Midtown area of South Minneapolis. Xcel says the new infrastructure is needed to “meet capacity deficiencies” amid increasing demand in the area and to update the area’s existing delivery system, which was designed and installed in the 1940s and 1950s. The project will add 100 megawatts of power. One megawatt can provide power for 750 homes, according to Betty Mirzayi, project manager for Xcel. Just days earlier, on January 12, community members, neighborhood organization leaders and public officials met in the very same room to air their questions and sometimes-common concerns about the project and to try to organize a united effort to work with — or perhaps against — Xcel on the issue. Continue Reading