1-14-16: Last open house on the Red Rock Corridor was yesterday regarding the massive route change to DOUBLE the station stops We were there, but the technical analysis data to help residents understand the detailed cost and other differences between the routes was not. Lyssa Leitner, the corridor planner said they plan to post them for the public in two days. See Part 2 to this article: Proof Washington County Mislead us all about the Red Rock Corridor
2-26-16: The Implementation data was finally posted nearly a month after the January 28th Commission vote.
Part 3 to this story:
Red Rock Corridor Faces Delays as 7 Facts Become Undeniable.
Washington County Commissioners and Public Works Director Don Theisen added another major stumbling block for the project when they backed corridor planner Lyssa Leitner after she refused to explain inconsistencies between their own corridor studies. Leitner responded on 12-9-15 with the aid of a county attorney in this email (also below) refusing to directly answer fair questions requesting clarification regarding the cost and impact of the newest RRC route known as Alternative 2 in the "implementation plan".
The email was also sent to the County Commissioners, Leitner's supervisors, and South Washington County legislators . None of them spoke up in defense of tax payers.
We found the following massive problems on initial inspection of what little corridor planners have decided to release and we asked Leitner to explain in the letter below (also linked above):
I: Diverting Alternate 2 way off 61 totally loses it's title of being a "Bus Rapid Transit" route (by definition) into being like an express bus route... which the area already has 3 of. Taking over an hour to go from Hastings to St. Paul is not "Rapid" (64 minutes according to p. 15 of 11/2015 RRC meeting). According to google such a trip from Hastings to Union Depot by car would be 4x faster at about 20 minutes: https://goo.gl/maps/
II: This new alternative Route 2 which diverts further off 61, doubles the amount of stations from 6 to 12, and goes further into Hastings over doubling the "acreage served" (750 to 2,100) some how costs less than the original BRT plan of $45.8 million in the Alternative Analysis Update(p.14 of AAU pdf)?
Read the simple questions asked and Leitner's responses below (or on this link) to show as sourced proof the answers were not only evasive by avoiding the questions through the guidance of the assistant County attorney, but also manipulating us all by making it appear the answers were in front of us the whole time. we assure you, they are not, and prove it.
Red Rock Corridor Plan Falls Apart Now Wants to be Called Route 363
Washington County Refuses to Disclose Latest Red Rock Corridor Cost Analysis
To Ms. Leitner:
we're surprised at your responses for all of us. In front of the County Commissioners and area legislators that hold the keys to the project funded by our tax dollars. The six questions were thoroughly thought out and sourced to show every effort was made to find the answers independently. The questions stem from the inconsistencies between the 2014 Alternative Analysis Update (AAU) and your most recent estimates for the same route option (alternate 1) in the 2015 implementation plan. Your responses are no different than what the senior citizens in Oakdale experienced from you on October 15th when you were brought to tears when caught smirking while they pleaded with you to listen and answer similar questions about the Gateway Corridor: http://alphanewsmn.
1.) First question asked you to please send out raw data to your email pool on the info used to come to the alternate route decision so they can be better prepared at the open house. Your answer is not only no, but you acknowledge that the data is not readily available (as you offer to allow an appointment with the data rather than post it online). Furthermore you do not indicate that the "technical data" will be posted. The data requested is not an outrageous expectation. It's posted for every other corridor study in the past for this corridor and the gateway. ie: the AAU study for the RRC: 2013 Technical Memorandum #4 Capital Cost Evaluation Why not post the implementation plan data too? Especially if you are not willing to answer any questions?
Again, it does state that the alignment choice was discussed at all the outside TAC, BAC, and "map meetings"; however the Red Rock Corridor doesn't share any of those meeting minutes like the Gateway corridor does.
6.) Perhaps the most fair question of all: How can this new route possibly cost 62% less than the $112 million dollar Red Line Corridor in Apple Valley, have the same number of stations, yet be over twice the length (13 vs 30 miles)? Like your answer for question three regarding cost, you come up with an arrogant and insulting response:
You email below has been forwarded to me for response as the Washington County Data Practices Officer. I reply to your inquiries in the green font directly below each inquiry. To the extent you desire to inspect any of the referenced data you may contact me to arrange for those logistics.Richard HodsdonAssistant Washington County Attorney15015 62nd Street NorthStillwater, MN 55082651-430-6119 direct
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2015
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Lyssa Leitner; Jan Lucke; Transportation; Don Theisen
Cc: Lisa Weik; Fran Miron; Ted Bearth; Gary Kriesel; Karla Bigham; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Red Rock Corridor Alternative 2 is not in AAU...starting from scratch? cost and ridership info looks way off?To: leaders involved in the Red Rock Corridor planning... it's complicated to say the least. Please ensure Ms. Leitner can "reply all" for us as it's in your best interest to also understand her answers to these six simple questions. Failing to obtain a response for all of us is an assumption tax payers should have blind trust and that you care not to understand that tens of millions of tax dollars could be wasted on this. we ask in this manner with all you involved because the corridor planners refuse to answer funding and logistical questions and respond by stating they are only required to respond to data practice act requests. we thank you ahead of time for your support:
To: Ms. Leitner,
Thanks for the info on the Alternative Route 1 vs Route 2 in the email that was sent for the RRC below. You promise that Route 2 is the "most efficient" and that the public has the opportunity to review the option at an open house after the decision was already "unanimously approved".1.) Could you please send out raw data to your email pool on the info used to come to that decision so they can be better prepared at the open house?... Now that the corridor is traveling far off hwy 61, doubling the amount of stations from 6 to 12, and going further into Hastings I'm sure the costs and impact data are far different since "BRT" routes require road enhancements on non-freeways.... ie: the $35 million dollar "preferred highway 61/ CSAH 19 interchange concept" on page 11 of the May 30th, 2013 RRC Commission meetingThe data provided to the Commission is included in the December 2nd meeting packet that is posted online. Technical reports on capital cost, operating and maintenance costs, and service plan are available for viewing if you want to set up an appointment at the Washington County Government Center.2.) According to the November 2015 RRC commission meeting (p.3) it looks like considering this one extra route is costing $400,000. Why is such a back roads route being considered? Why no feeder lines? Diverting Alternate 2 way off 61 totally loses it's title of being a "Bus Rapid Transit" route (by definition) into being like an express bus route... which the area already has 3 of. Taking over an hour to go from Hastings to St. Paul is not "Rapid" (64 minutes according to p. 15 of 11/2015 RRC meeting). According to google such a trip from Hastings to Union Depot by car would be 4x faster at about 20 minutes: https://goo.gl/maps/
DArYfhXaVcK2... add the time BRT riders would take driving to a BRT station and walking to their final stop from the destination and you have the nightmare ridership of 835 people a day on the Red Line Corridor in Apple Valley (MNDOT Status Guideways Report p. 26).The data provided to the Commission and conversations that lead to the decision making are included in the July and September meeting packets and meeting minutes. Both are on the Red Rock Corridor Commission website and we trust you have the skills to avail yourself of that resource as it thereby be at no cost to you..3.) Will it cost tax payers at least $400,000 every time you come up with a new route option? The Gateway corridor you're planning had 3 BRT routes considered in it's AA study and many more alignments for each in the Scoping data.There is no public data responsive to this question no does the inquiry seek existing data.Because in the AAU it sates the BRT route, aka Alternative 1, would:-Have a total combined (BRT and express) daily ridership of 2,420/day (p.13 of AAU pdf)This subject was discussed verbally at the December 2nd Commission meeting. Data in the form of a video recording of that event can be obtained from South Washington County Telecommunications Commission and meeting minutes will be posted and available to you with the January Commission packet.Yet in your new implementation plan you say the same route (alternate 1)Only would have cost $28.6 million?Had an operating cost of over $6 million/yr!and combined (BRT and express) Ridership was 2,750?5.) How is it history is seemingly rewritten to make it look like this new alternative Route 2 which diverts further off 61, doubles the amount of stations from 6 to 12, and goes further into Hastings over doubling the "acreage served" (750 to 2,100) some how costs less than the original BRT plan of $45.8 million? To make this new alternate look even better on your page it looks like you nearly doubled the operating cost of the original route from the AAU ($3.8 million/yr) to what you now quote (as $6 million/yr)... The same for ridership... in the AAU ridership never separates BRT from express (wildly assuming no riders of express will be lost to BRT) and say ridership was higher than originally calculated for a number of 2,750 instead of 2,420... (if the answer is 2030 vs 2040 data than why do you only gain 330 riders over 10 years?)Data on the capital costs for both the BRT in the AAU and the BRT alternatives for the Implementation Plan can be viewed in technical memos available by appointment at the Washington County Government Center.6.) How can this new route possibly cost 62% less than the $112 million dollar Red Line Corridor in Apple Valley, have the same number of stations, yet be over twice the length (13 vs 30 miles)?Washington County does not possess data in response to this request.Please explain as to ensure a fair understanding is had by the public on what you are doing with tens of millions of tax dollars at stake... If we pour hours over this and can't understand your math I'm sure the legislature will continue to easily be convinced to refuse to fund this corridor directly (since 2011).If in two weeks you can't explain I'll see if the Met Council, CTIB, or the FTA can explain. Being on phase one of CTIB next to the Robert Street and River View Corridors looks like strong competition since both serve way higher density populations (p.366 of Met Council 2040 plan).
From: Red Rock Corridor <info=redrockcorridor.com@
mail213.atl171.mcdlv.net> on behalf of Red Rock Corridor <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, December 4, 2015 3:24 PM
Subject: We Want Your Feedback!
We Want Your Feedback!
The Red Rock Corridor Commission has made a recommendation for the corridor’s bus rapid transit route and is seeking feedback on the route and station locations for the project.
Prior to the Commission’s action, two bus rapid transit route alternatives were reviewed comparing travel time data, projected ridership, capital costs, and operating considerations. Route Alternative #1 travels primarily along Highway 61 while Route Alternative #2 provides more direct access to the corridor communities by deviating from Highway 61 in appropriate locations.
On December 2nd the Commission unanimously recommended Route Alternative #2 as the most efficient manner to server the southeast metro communities.
Click on the image above to view full size PDF document.
The recommended route will provide convenient access to the largest number of riders, offers the lowest operating cost per rider, serves the most jobs in relation to the station locations, and stays true to the overall vision for transit in the southeast metro.
Attend the Open House
The commission invites the public to attend an open house to provide their feedback:
January 13, 2016
5:00 to 7:00 pm
DeForth Community Room at St. Paul Park City Hall
A brief presentation and information boards will help participants understand the differences between the two alternatives. Staff will be available to answer questions.
Other Ways to Comment
If you are not able to attend the open house, comments will be accepted by phone, email or mail through January 20, 2016 at::
Project Manager – Lyssa Leitner, AICP
Washington County Public Works Department
11660 Myeron Rd North
Stillwater, MN 55082