Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bridge Design & The Central Corridor

Update: The Mayor has made it clear that he wants the bridge to handle light rail at a future date and doesn't necessarily have plans for a line now.

So the Mayor of Minneapolis and the Governor are having a bit of a spat over whether the I35W Bridge should include light rail. Initially the Gov and his lackeys said that there is no room, and emergency funds stipulate that the bridge must be built using the previous footprint. Ok, thats fine, so then why are you building a 10 lane bridge to replace an 8 lane bridge?? Personally I don't think that LRT should be on that bridge anyway but don't lie about what you can and can't do. Perhaps a provision that it could be built at a future date would suffice and priority transit lanes would be a good addition but it doesn't really make a lot of sense from a ridership standpoint for the Central Corridor unless you were going to build a line to the Northeast at some point.


If you look at the picture, the red line is how the light rail would work over the bridge in a sorta kinda way. The orange line is the existing Hiawatha Line and the Yellow is the planned central corridor line. Look how the yellow line goes through the University (Yellow Boxes) rather than around it. (Hmmm, lesson for Austin?) Basically they got it right the first time so they shouldn't be trying to fix it wrong.

Now there are whole other issues at play with the retrofitting of the existing bridge to handle Light Rail and the possible tunneling under the University but really any cost savings that would have come by crossing the I-35W bridge would have lost a lot of ridership because people would have had to walk further. So Mayor Rybak, i love your spirit and willingness to fight for LRT, but save your chips for another day.

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