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    Group29 Discussion Board :: View topic - Light Rail Finally Running in the Twin Cities
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    Group29 Discussion Board Forum Index -> Group29 General -> Light Rail Finally Running in the Twin Cities
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    Light Rail Finally Running in the Twin Cities
    PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 4:41 pm Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    After 10 years of anticipation, it is almost anti-climactic. The Metropolitan Council is about to begin operations of the First Light Rail Line in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The line runs from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America. It stops at the Mpls/St. Paul International Airport and descends into a tunnel under the runways.
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    Just a followup from opening day.
    PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:42 am Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    I rode it, and it was cool. I parked at Minihaha falls and boarded the northbound train on the opening day run. There were festivities on the plaza at the Hennepin County Government Center. The train is fast, quiet, and comfortable. Even when it is overcrowded, it is rideable.

    Last edited by BB on Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Completed Segments of Hiawatha light Rail
    PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:06 pm Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    I finally rode the Hiawatha light rail line again. This time I was able to see the complete segment from Downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America. It was packed at 3:00pm on March 25th, all the way from downtown to the airport. There are many cool features of the Light Rail that I would like to point out:

    - When it runs in the tunnel under the airport, it moves quite fast. It was a neat feeling to ride in the first subway in the Twin Cities.
    - There is no ticket required for riders between the two airport terminals Lindbergh and Humphrey. Eventually the Humphrey terminal may be for all other airlines but Northwest. So a fast connection will be needed.
    - There are lots of sophisticated crossing gates along the route, even at the pedestrian crossings.
    - The Lake Street/Midtown station is an 'El' or elevated railway. It was also a neat feeling to ride on the first El in the Twin Cities.
    - There is street running in Downtown Minneapolis and also by the VA hospital. It was neat to ride on a trolley in the Twin Cities. Here is link to a short history of the Twin Cities Trolleys. The trolley cars have been gone since 1954. Although vestiges of them remain in the Como-Harriet Streetcar and still-buried track under the streets. Central Ave Northeast was rebuilt and the old trolley track finally removed in the summer of 2004. So the trolley lines have pretty much been in existence this whole time.

    I have some criticism of the Hiawatha line as well.
    - The street running is a bad idea. There already have been accidents downtown where drivers trespassed on the tracks. Fifth Street in downtown has been eliminated as a through way in an area which already suffers from periodic gridlock.
    - The grade crossings are a bad idea. Within the first three months of operation, there has been a fatality where a driver ignored the crossing gate and was killed in when the train crushed his car.
    - The Mall of America Station is a dead-end terminal in the bus garage. You have to cross the bus traffic to get to the lobby, climb the escalator, go back outside across the traffic again and then you are finally in the mall. It is a good two blocks of walking. It seems to be the same distance and hardship as the orange line is for Midway Airport in Chicago.
    - Parallel running with Hiawatha Avenue/MN55 is a bad idea. Even though the signals and gates are pre-empted for the Light Rail, you are still crossing and interfering with traffic. Plus you are not able to operate the trains at their optimum speed in the residential neighborhood.
    - The pedestrian crossing around 26th street does not make any sense. The pedestrian bridge takes you over MN55, but then you have to cross at grade. Why wasn't the pedestrian bridge built over the tracks?
    - People are struggling with the ticket machines at rush hour. I would like to be able to use my bus pass
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    Minneapolis Hiawatha Line second fatality
    PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:49 am Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    Tue, Apr. 26, 2005
    Unidentified pedestrian killed by light-rail train

    Excerpts from an Article:
    Pioneer Press

    A pedestrian crossing the Hiawatha Avenue light-rail tracks at 26th Street in Minneapolis was struck and killed Monday night by a light-rail train traveling about 55 mph, a Metro Transit spokesman said.

    The male pedestrian, whose identity was not immediately known, apparently saw the train but was indecisive about whether to go forward or retreat, said Bob Gibbons of Metro Transit.

    "The train operator saw the pedestrian just for an instant and had the impression the pedestrian was in an indecisive moment," Gibbons said.

    The pedestrian was walking west along 26th Street when he was struck about 8:15 p.m. The gate arms and warning lights were working properly at the high-speed crossing, where the northbound train was accelerating on its way toward downtown Minneapolis, Gibbons said.

    Gibbons said there wasn't enough time for the train operator to try to stop before striking the pedestrian, who was thrown about 30 yards by the impact. The 100,000-pound train, whose operator sounded its horn, came to a stop about 100 to 150 yards north of the collision site, Gibbons said.

    On Sept. 25, Hilmer Iverson, 87, of Minneapolis was killed when he drove his car under a safety arm and onto the tracks at 42nd Street.

    There are going to be more fatalities on the street running and grade crossing portions of the line.
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    Light Rail Finally Running in the Twin Cities
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