1. _6.7 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5)
neutral, to (10) strong agreement, what is your view on Halstead's
contention that LRT speed on the Central Corridor will be too slow to
attract enough new transit riders?
2. _6.2 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5)
neutral, to (10) strong agreement, what is your view on Halstead's
contention that a faster, more expensive, route should chosen for the
Central Corridor LRT?
Roger Heegaard (5) (5)
Clarence Shallbetter (8) (6)
I'm not sure a faster route such as along the existing rail lines
north of University Ave. would be more expensive than the proposed
route on University Ave. Scott's research suggests there will be
little congestion relief for I-94 and only some additional transit
riders primarily from new development along University Ave. I'm not
persuaded these additional riders justify the added cost of investing
in rail transit along University Ave.
David Broden (5) (7)
The Halstead comments bring out some very valid issues but the
analysis in itself seems too focused on the speed issue. Based on this
report there seems that there are some serious missing metrics in the
decision process and perhaps a rush to get the $450M from the feds
without selecting the best plan only to have to make some other
serious infrastructure changes and change the public interface with
local activities in many cases such as at the U and with businesses
along U avenue--and a high safety risk.
It appears that the Process to define the Central Corridor has had a
vision perhaps of linking the two cities but not looking at what was
going on between.
My comments on this are perhaps the most strongly stated of any I have
written. I believe the Central Corridor must be established as a
"Light Rail Format" --but I have evolved to the position that
approving the current plan would be a major mistake and that the
impact would be to be spending redo money for decades. We need a plan
that gets this right and begins with approving the corridor concept
but only when it meets some well defined visionary metrics.
Speed has to be a very high criteria but it would be a serious mistake
to make the decision on the Central Corridor only on speed—decision
metrics must be broad based and should include convenience, safety
accessibility, impact/benefits to the community at each end and along
the way, disruption of normal regular traffic, impact on related
infrastructure etc. I am most concerned that the number of stops and
the route along University Avenue may delay normal traffic more than
reasonable and have a serious safety issue. Speed can be secondary if
all the others provide benefits. Analysis once again tends to
say--approval the corridor but only with a different route that has
been fully addressed with the broad based metrics--If this costs a
year + in time and more money to do it right then it should be done
right. Some input from the people along U avenue --not from the U
area-- would be a good input. Regarding the U --it is hard to see how
ground level really works and how the current bridge will do the job.
As stated above I tend toward a faster route but only based on full
assessment using some broad based metrics which do not seem to have
been a factor. I can see that the I94 route would be very
costly--makes sense but cost--on the other hand is it clear why the
existing rail route north of U avenue was not selected for all or part
of the route. The comment in the latter part of the discussion with
Halstead suggests that a second line would be considered later--This
may be reasonable but I would think --delaying 1-2 years and building
a single faster—more fully designed line makes sense. The comment
about walking a few blocks to get to the line is not a valid point
--light rail cannot exist or should not be viewed as a "bus stop' it
is a longer distance vehicle and thus has a speed factor along with
other parameters--buses do the local.
I have traveled on elevated trains, under the streets, through
mountains and under significant bodies of water and wondered "why was
it worth the money to take trains off street level?" The train was
installed in the short distance between the Rayburn building and the
US Capital without opening the ground. The distance was much longer
when the tunnel was dug under the English Channel. Three times what is
needed here. They never stopped traffic on Independence Avenue or the
ship traffic on the Channel. There is some fantastic equipment that
could be rented to do the job. That would enable the most people to
travel the route by train, bus and auto.
Arvonne Fraser (9) (10)
Consider the Northern Alignment through the Dinkytown trench. It won't
be more expensive but it will certainly be faster.
John R. Finnegan, Sr. (5) (8)
Jim Hetland (9) (9)
Dan Loritz (2) (2)
Joe Mansky (7) (10)
I largely agree with Scott Halstead's work. In my view, a viable rapid
transit system must be fast, frequent and direct. Light rail does not
meet these standards. If the goal is to provide a high-speed,
all-weather method of linking (from east to west) downtown
St Paul, the state capitol complex, the Snelling-University area, the
University of Minnesota and downtown Minneapolis, then the most
appropriate option would be a rail line that would run down the median
of I-94. University Ave could then be redesigned for more frequent and
efficient bus service without disruption to the area businesses.
However, even this proposal is far too modest. If we are going to
implement a proper transit system, it can't just be an 11 mile stretch
between St Paul and Minneapolis. At a minimum, we should be looking at
a trunk system that would follow the following routes: 1) I-94 from
Minneapolis to Hudson; 2) 35W from Minneapolis to Burnsville Center;
3) Minneapolis to Excelsior following the Hennepin County
I-494 from Eden Prairie to Eagan; 5) I-394 from Minneapolis to Long
(and so on).
How to finance all this? Let me leave you with this thought. If our
roads are constantly congested, perhaps it is because we make it too
easy and too cheap to consider any other alternatives. The solution:
enact a substantial increase in the gas tax and reduce the state sales
tax by a commensurate amount. I am also an advocate of a parking tax,
the cost of which could be defrayed by a commensurate reduction of the
"fee" paid annually to obtain license plate tabs.
The bottom line: if I can drive door to door at little cost whenever I
want, why in the world would I ever choose an alterative mode of
transportation? The question is, can we afford to have this kind of
I have had doubts about LRT in the past, starting with the Hiawatha
line; it just seems so expensive when we have the infrastructure in
place throughout the metro area for rubber tired vehicles. But I've
come to think of it as I do the Greening project's belief about
planting trees: the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago,
the second best time is now. That is, the best time to not take up the
street car tracks was 70 years ago (or however many it was); the
second best time to replace them is now.
Joe Lampe (10) (0)
Met Council says the trip time will be 38 minutes, Scott predicts 45
minutes. If we use 42 minutes, the speed will be 15.7mph, way too slow
to attract new riders. Most riders will be existing bus passengers
moved over to costly LRT. Long trip time and not enough
origin/destination station pairs attracts few new riders. LRT also
destroys University Ave bus system and parking capacity, causes
traffic congestion, etc, etc.
LRT can't have high ridership because it violates the "Physics of
Transit." High ridership requires low trip time and many stations.
Central Corridor trip time is about 11 * square root of # of stations.
So fast (express) LRT with 3 stations has trip time of about 19
minutes. LRT with 15 stations has trip time of about 42.6 minutes. But
3 stations have only 3*2=6 trip pairs (low ridership), and 15 stations
have 15*14=210 trip pairs, but the long trip time causes low ridership.
A lose/lose proposition.
We are 5+ years too late in the planning cycle to be discussing a
high-speed Central Corridor LRT route.
A $900 million PRT system in the Central Corridor would have an
end-to-end trip time of 19 minutes, with 180+ stations spaced less
than 1/2 mile apart (with many circulator loops into adjacent
neighborhoods, U of M, etc). Both factors combine to produce 5-10X
more daily trips than LRT.
Alan Miller (1) (1)
Vance Norgaard (10) (10)
I believe this whole thing is moving along too fast, almost like a
knee jerk reaction instead of a well thought out long term process
that will be the best solution for long term needs.
Will all of the pieces fit 30 years down the road or will the system
be fragmented with different types of transportation that will not fit
and/or not compliment one another?
Is this project an employment project first, and economic project
second and a part of a transit system last????
Has the Personal Rapid Transit system been considered? If not, why
Is it fair to all people in the metro area? With so many people living
"Out Metro" why is the concentration on putting rail lines in
locations to serve downtown areas? Why is it necessary to keep jobs
downtown in skyscrapers? Who is to say that skyscrapers may not become
obsolete in the near future? That smaller well placed high tech
buildings along an outer circle of the metro area near a greater
populace will not replace the current structure that seems to serve
only the very wealthy?
Has peak oil been considered and all of it's ramifications on the
metro area and the entire state been considered? I have read where
there is much population growth and much auto growth predicted over
the next 10 to 20 years. Who are these people and what do they
study???? With the peaking of world fossil fuels I believe only one
thing can happen and has already started. Economic contraction until
we are in balance with the resources that our economic depends on in
order to function. See my website vancenorgaard.com.
I believe the state government, the met council and all forms of
government in our state should put all things on hold until "Peak Oil"
and its ramifications are reviewed and understood. See state
Representative Hilti's H.R. 995 as a beginning on this giant but
absolutely essential task.
Very interesting - thank you.
Donna Anderson (5) (7)
Carolyn Ring (6) (6)
Even if the Central Corridor passes the legislature and is signed by
the Governor, that is just the beginning. There will be need for a
great deal of "fine tuning" to the whole project.
Bill Frenzel (7) (1)
Sen. Jim Carlson (10) (10)
Although I may not agree with every detail Mr. Halstead offers, he is
absolutely correct that an inadequate amount of thinking and
comparison has dominated the planning for the Central Corridor Line.
This line will be used as the model for all future expansion,
surpassing the Hiawatha Line as the most often reference. If we make
some of the same or worse compromises, we will build a blunder and we
will never build another.
As Kathleen O'Brien (U of M V.P.) states, "This needs to be a 100-year
Placing this line on the surface of an already crowded major artery is
ignoring the most basic and obvious problems.
I obviously have not had the time to go through an analysis of the
present situation with the CCL, but there are basic disagreements even
among supporters. I have ridden public transportation in many major
cities or the world yet there seems to be a nationalistic feeling that
we are the first country to build rail.
I am not in favor of building a blunder. Mr Halstead's comments are
the best I've seen!
Charles Lutz (9) (10)
Larry Schluter (7) (3)
Mr Halstead raises some interesting questions and it would appear that
more response is needed from the Met Council. I am surprised that more
questions of this type were not raised earlier before coming down to
the last minute funding at the Legislature.
* * * * *
Following are additional comments on Scott Halstead's thoughts, based
on a one-page report that was distributed about a week before the
Great analysis. I agree completely.
We, in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood are very concerned about closing
Washington Avenue for the LRT and diverting bus, truck and cars onto
our streets and converting E. River Road into a highway. I hope your
analysis gets maximum publicity. Attached is the resolution our MHNA
As I read what Scott Halstead has written and if I read his thought
correctly he states support for the Central Corridor but not the
format as currently defined. If I accept this position, then here are
The Central Corridor should go forward but with a few conditions--for
light rail or other transit options to have real benefit the design
must move people efficiently and not impose delays or
slowdown/conflict with other transportation media --existing or new.
It has been know for some time that the central corridor has many
limitations due to the apparent excess number of stops and cross
If Scott's data is correct and the point he makes for an efficient
central corridor transition capability is support--and this is what I
believe most people do support then perhaps the issue is not the go/no
go on the light rail--but a more in depth look at how did a concept
get this far with the limitations it has relative to efficiency of
moving people without delay and impact on other modes and businesses
If this understanding is correct and wide support for a central
corridor capability does exist, then the issue is how do we fix both
the plan and the design process. It looks to me that if his comments
are correct the process has been localized and not based on perhaps to
much parochialism and not enough on what has to be done.
Can the State make some sort of statement that gets the funding but
allow a reasonable period for redesign and relocation to a more
dedicated and non-interference route?
I look forward to seeing the notes of others in the core group who may
have similar or differing opinion and then I may update my position or
Bottom Line -- Central Corridor --YES--design and route--Needs major
This sounds like every other critic, both national and local, opposed
to investments in transit, especially rail.. Remember Dick Day and the
"train to nowhere"? Did the writer of the e-mail not go to the
Hiawatha line and see what the ridership? And maybe note the
development impact. How about the long term cost of gas and the
opportunity for connecting jobs and housing. What about global warming
and the impact of reducing the number of cars on the road? In short,
let's make sure we talk about the complete impact of transit
investments and remember the naysayers from the Hiawatha line.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you like the play?
Halstead's report has some very valid arguments. Central corridor
Light Rail seems to be the 'in' buzz word these days, but few have any
idea about where it actually will be, who it will serve, and what the
side effects will be.
I support joining the two urban centers with light rail, but have
quietly wondered if University Ave., with efficient and well-used bus
service, is the proper route.
Not being an expert on metro transportation (or anything else), I am
dependent on information such as you provide to help me understand the
issues. It is really important when you have been out of the area for
almost six months. So I am grateful for Halstead's reasoned argument
against the "Central Corridor" rail transit proposal. Perhaps, I will
see another article as reasoned and thorough in support of the rail
proposal. Until I do, I am persuaded by your article. Thanks again for
helping people like me try to be good citizens.
As a fan of all kinds of rail travel (they call me a “foamer”), I am
in favor of a high speed, high volume, limited stop light rail line
between the downtowns.
However, the Central Corridor Plan is a huge mistake – it is slower
than the #50 bus and it will seriously hamper auto and pedestrian
movement on University Avenue and on the U of M campus. Because of the
few stops, it will not support the redevelopment of University Avenue.
The better route, many people agree, is from the St Paul Union Depot,
along the Milwaukee Road Shortline, as currently used by Amtrak, to
the Minnesota Transfer tracks and the Amtrak terminal, then on the
Dinkytown route through the campus and across the river, then on to
downtown Minneapolis. This uses existing right-of-way, does not
interfere with trucks, busses, autos, and pedestrians, and is far less
The only disadvantage is the last item: it is less costly – that means
less money in the pockets of the contractors. However, that saved
money can be used for other rail routes, such as the Rush Line and the
Red Rock Line.
I never expect the exercise of common sense when major capital
projects such as the Central Corridor or the roofless Twins Stadium
are planned, so I won’t be fazed when this project is rammed through –
On this issue, those responsible should use their brain to make their
decisions not their feelings. Decide based on how transit will both
serve and shape the future. Thanks for sharing another view.
Scott Halstead says it better than I can. Actually John Derus says it
best, plus he has a design alternative which could actually achieve
the goals Scott sets out for connecting the twin cities - if that is a
necessary transit goal which, as a daily commuter on 1-94 I've yet to
appreciate. I've been at this mass transit policy stuff since the late
1960s and the time to act on many of the metro development proposals
for transit may have passed and been replaced by massive and
inadequate highways. Central corridor is a presumptive real estate
development project where commercial real estate is unlikely to
The LRT project is stupidity on a colossal scale, and it's being done
only because of "free" federal dollars from our pockets. In the
Watergate scandal Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to "follow the money,"
and that's what this is about. It will have a zero or even an adverse
impact on traffic congestion.
There is considerable cognitive dissonance and cognitive disconnect in
the statements coming from our current "transportation leaders and
authorities." "Bus-vs.-rail" and "development-vs.-congestion relief"
are unhelpful and unnecessary dichotomies. We can have our cake and
eat too, but only if more solutions are put on the table. You may or
may not be aware that only about 15% of metro area trips are "line
haul." The rest are relatively short random origin/destination trips.
Thus, building a "spine" oriented system, rather than a network or
mesh oriented system, is lunacy and cannot work. Plus, there is
7 dollars of construction demand for every dollar of federal money.
This means we have a Darwinian "winners/losers" situation that
guarantees failure to solve our transportation challenges.
I like the I-94 route idea. Has it come up before? Anything more than
an idea, i.e. analysis and costs? The University Avenue plan has so
many negatives and so few transportation benefits. But where is
ridership for an I-94 route? If we want primarily a connection between
downtowns how about the old Milwaukee Road tracks which down Ayd Mill
Road and into the Union Depot the old fashioned way? Granted the RR
might not welcome another user and it probably does less to tap
intermediate traffic than even I-94.
Schwarzkopf (6) (7)