Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Maple Grove Celebrates 10 Millionth Ride

Maple Grove Transit will celebrate providing its 10 millionth ride May 22

On Tuesday May 22, Maple Grove Transit will be celebrating its 10 million ride provided since beginning operations in June 1990.

Maple Grove Transit Administrator Mike Opatz commented the milestone. "It is validation that the public will use a bus system as commuting option when you offer a system that includes flexibility, reliability, comfort and safety," he said. "It also shows that we have made wise investments in transit facilities, buses and services that meet the needs of our customer. Overall, I think it says were not only do the right job, but a good job as our riders keep coming back."

The city established the Maple Grove Transit in 1990 under special legislation that allowed certain suburban communities to "opt-out" of the Metro Transit system to manage and control its own locally-based transit system.

Central Corridor Transit Service Study Concept Plan

Central Corridor Transit Service Study Concept Plan presentation to the Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee on Monday, May 14, 2012

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Interchange Update

Interchange Update to the Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee on Monday, May 14, 2012

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Central Corridor LRT Construction Half Done

Central Corridor LRT construction reaches halfway mark on schedule

ST. PAUL - May 14, 2012 - Construction of the Central Corridor LRT Project is 50 percent complete and on track to be 75 percent done by year's end.

"The contractors really hit the ground running in March. We now have work occurring in all areas of the nearly 10-mile long project, employing more than 3,000 workers to date,'' Met Council Chair Sue Haigh said.

Praise also goes to the Midway Chamber of Commerce for encouraging patronage of corridor businesses, to banks and other businesses that use their signs to promote University Avenue businesses, and to the city of St. Paul and U7 for administering the forgivable loan fund, Haigh said. Through 2011, 98 business assistance grants had been approved, totaling $1.34 million.

"And then there are the patient businesses that work with the project office to maintain access and share information with their tenants and the citizens who serve on the construction communication committees," she said

As a result of this cooperation, the project is on schedule to substantially complete utility relocations, roadway removal and replacement, track installation and the structural elements of all 18 stations by the end of this year, said Mark Fuhrmann, program director for New Starts rail projects.

"Overall, the project remains on schedule to open in 2014 and within budget," Fuhrmann said.

Installation of the electrical, signaling and communications systems as well as testing the operation of trains will occur in 2013 and 2014 before revenue service begins in 2014. When exactly service will begin depends on how the testing goes.

Since heavy construction in late summer 2010, crews have:

Relocated about eight miles of public utilities so they won't be under the tracks and any work on them in the future won't disrupt rail service.
  • Removed and replaced five miles of roadway, sidewalks, curbs and gutters from building front to building front.
  • Installed 3.5 miles of the 10 miles of double track.
  • Begun work at 15 of the 18 station locations.
  • Completed nearly two-thirds of the work on the Washington Avenue Bridge. Traffic is expected to resume this summer on the outside lanes of each side of the bridge in their final single-lane each way configuration. Double tracks will be installed in the inside lane of the bridge.
  • Completed 35 percent of the work on the operation and maintenance facility in Lowertown St. Paul.
  • Completed construction of the Interstate 35W flyover in Minneapolis where Central Corridor tracks will join Hiawatha LRT tracks. (Passengers will be able to continue their trip into downtown Minneapolis on the same train from the Metrodome to Target Field Station.)
  • Demolished the former Bremer Bank and completed the skyway connection over Fifth Street in St. Paul.
  • Completed two of the foundations for the 14 traction power substations that will convert electricity into a form that can be used to power the trains.
  • Assembled the shell of the first new light rail vehicle, which is expected to arrive this fall in Minnesota.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

let there be light rail: Welding magic

From Blog let there be light rail: Welding magic: Ok, fellow rail nerds, this is pretty cool. I wonder how long this would take without this awesome piece of machinery! From the Union Depot ...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Southwest Corridor Not in Bonding Bill

Southwest Corridor not on bonding bill passed by Minnesota House today. This is a blow to the Southwest Corridor.

 Minnesota House passes bonding bill
"As before, the bill tilts heavily toward bricks-and-mortar projects like flood mitigation and bridge repairs, and leaves out most local projects like convention centers, the Southwest rail corridor, a face-lift for Nicollet Mall or a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints.
“Let’s not tell Minnesotans that we’re preparing for the future, because we are not,” said Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, lamenting some of the items that were left out of the bonding bill – including funds to fight invasive Asian carp in the rivers and funds for the Southwest light rail corridor.
The bill does contain a $55 million pot of money that can be used for capital project grants – grants that communities might be able to apply for to build, say, a minor league ballpark or a civic center. Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, offered an amendment that would have locked up that $55 million for road construction projects instead, but was voted down."

Supporters say Southwest Corridor LRT could lose federal funds

Saints Ballpark, Southwest LRT Not in MN Bonding Bill
"On Monday night, the Minnesota House and Senate passed slightly different versions of a $496 million bonding bill—but neither version includes money for a new Saints ballpark or the Southwest Corridor Light Rail line.
Still, that isn’t a sure sign that both projects are dead."

Light-rail safety is a shared responsibility

Light-rail safety is a shared responsibility. How many time I see people walking in front of moving train or horse playing on the platform. It is the great work of operators that more people are not injured on the Blue Line (Hiawatha Line). Just last month  a Man Injured at American Blvd Station. If the train was at a different station where the speed limit was not 15 MPH. This man would have had more serious injuries than a gash on his leg. BE SAFE AROUND TRANSIT

 Bloomington Today does a story on LRT safety

 Watch this video from Operation Lifesaver:

 Metro Transit Safety Video:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Buses to substitute for LRT in downtown May 4-7

Route 55 buses will substitute for light-rail trains between Target Field Station and Franklin Avenue Station from about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, through 3:30 a.m. on Monday, May 7.
The work is part of planned maintenance projects on the Hiawatha Line on select weekends this summer. Learn more.
Buses will operate more frequently than trains, but bus trips will take longer than train rides. Please plan accordingly.
These light-rail stations will close during the service interruption: Target Field, Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue, Nicollet Mall, Government Plaza, Downtown East/Metrodome and Cedar-Riverside.
Rider Alerts will be posted at stations with details and maps to direct customers to Route 55 bus service (for maps). Metro Transit staff will be on hand at key train stations to direct customers to buses.
Customers can learn of any last-minute changes to the weekend plan by calling the Rail Maintenance Hotline at 612-373-3333, option 6.

Southwest LRT Alignment