Draft 2018-2021 Duluth-Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Now Open for Comment

We’re working to line up funding for Duluth-Area projects for the next four years

Federally-funded transportation projects can be big, expensive, and time-sensitive — which means they need to be planned in advance.  Projects have been approved in previous years for 2018-2020, and we’re working now to line up funding for Duluth-area projects in 2021.

We are taking comments on the Draft 2018-2021 Duluth Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) through August 22.  The new projects for 2021, as approved by the MIC Policy Board and the Northeast MN Area Transportation Partnership, include:

Project: Bridge improvements at junction of State Highway 35 and 27th Ave W. in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $2,100,000 million ($1,890,000 federal, $210,000 state funds)

Project: Culvert Improvements at US Steel Creek in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: Culvert improvements at Gogebic Creek in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: I-35 Drainage System improvement at Lakewalk in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: Upgrade fiber optic cable and traffic cameras in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $425,000 ($382,500 federal, $42,500 state funds)

Project: Resurface Lismore Road, 5.5 miles from North Tischer Road to Ryan Road
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County
Project Cost:
$3,143,825 ($1,285,000 federal, $1,858,825 local funds)

Project: Resurface roadway, storm sewer, curb and gutter repairs and sidewalks along Railroad Street from Garfield Ave to 5th Ave W.
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost: $992,788 ($742,936 federal, $249,852 state funds)

Project: Resurface roadway, storm sewer, curb and gutter repairs and sidewalks along Railroad Street from 5th Ave W to Canal Park Drive
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost: $724,362 ($542,064 federal, $182,298 state funds)

Project: Duluth Dial-A-Ride Transit Operating Assistance
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $1,400,000 ($1,400,000 local funds)

Project: Duluth Operating Assistance – Regular Route
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $14,040,000 ($1,000,000 federal, $13,040,000 local funds)

Project: Rehab/Renovation of Transit Terminals and Shelters
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $50,000 ($40,000 federal, $10,000 local funds)

Project: Transit Signal Priority (TSP) System Improvements
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $150,000 ($120,000 federal, $30,000 local funds)

Project: Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Improvements
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $100,000 ($80,000 federal, $20,000 local funds)

Project: Support and Facilities Equipment Purchase
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $690,000 ($552,000 federal, $138,000 local funds)

Project: Purchase Nine Standard 40-ft. Replacement Buses
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $4,695,000 ($3,756,000 federal, $939,000 local funds)

Project: Facility Rehabilitation
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $400,000 ($320,000 federal, $80,000 local funds)

We want to know what you think!

Give us a call: Talk to Planner Chris Belden at (218) 529-7502

OR –

Attend a Drop-In Open House:

WhenTuesday, August 8 from 10:00 am to noon or Thursday, August 10 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

WhereARDC/MIC office in downtown Duluth at 221 West First Street (skywalk level)

 

 

Seeking Comments on Proposed 2021 Transportation Projects

We’re working to line up funding for Duluth-Area projects in 2021

Federally-funded transportation projects can be big, expensive, and time-sensitive — which means they need to be planned in advance.  In fact, we’re working now to line up funding for Duluth-area projects in 2021.

The following projects have been proposed by eligible Duluth-area jurisdictions for construction in the year 2021.  They will be submitted for review and approval by the MIC Policy Board and the Northeast MN Area Transportation Partnership for inclusion in the Draft 2018-2021 TIP, and we are seeking public input or comment by March 15:

Project: Bridge improvements at junction of State Highway 35 and 27th Ave W. in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $2,100,000 million ($1,890,000 federal, $210,000 state funds)

Project: Culvert Improvements at US Steel Creek in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: Culvert improvements at Gogebic Creek in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: I-35 Drainage System improvement at Lakewalk in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $1,100,000 ($1,100,000 state funds)

Project: Upgrade fiber optic cable and traffic cameras in Duluth
Jurisdiction: MnDOT
Project Cost: $425,000 ($382,500 federal, $42,500 state funds)

Project: Resurface Lismore Road, 5.5 miles from North Tischer Road to Ryan Road
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County
Project Cost:
$3,143,825 ($1,285,000 federal, $1,858,825 local funds)

Project: Resurface roadway, storm sewer, curb and gutter repairs and sidewalks along Railroad Street from Garfield Ave to 5th Ave W.
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost: $992,788 ($742,936 federal, $249,852 state funds)

Project: Resurface roadway, storm sewer, curb and gutter repairs and sidewalks along Railroad Street from 5th Ave W to Canal Park Drive
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Cost: $724,362 ($542,064 federal, $182,298 state funds)

Project: Duluth Dial-A-Ride Transit Operating Assistance
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $1,400,000 ($1,400,000 local funds)

Project: Duluth Operating Assistance – Regular Route
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $14,040,000 ($1,000,000 federal, $13,040,000 local funds)

Project: Rehab/Renovation of Transit Terminals and Shelters
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $50,000 ($40,000 federal, $10,000 local funds)

Project: Transit Signal Priority (TSP) System Improvements
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $150,000 ($120,000 federal, $30,000 local funds)

Project: Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Improvements
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $100,000 ($80,000 federal, $20,000 local funds)

Project: Support and Facilities Equipment Purchase
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $690,000 ($552,000 federal, $138,000 local funds)

Project: Purchase Nine Standard 40-ft. Replacement Buses
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $4,695,000 ($3,756,000 federal, $939,000 local funds)

Project: Facility Rehabilitation
Jurisdiction: Duluth Transit Authority
Project Cost: $400,000 ($320,000 federal, $80,000 local funds)

We want to know what you think!

Give us a call: Talk to Planner Chris Belden at (218) 529-7502

OR – Send us an email 

OR- Stop in and talk to us in person at the ARDC/MIC office in downtown Duluth at 221 West First Street (skywalk level)

 

 

Last Call: Seeking Comments on Proposed Projects

We’re working to line up funding for Duluth-Area projects in 2020

Federally-funded transportation projects can be big, expensive, and time-sensitive — which means they need to be planned in advance.  In fact, we’re working now to line up funding for Duluth-area projects in 2020.

We are taking comments on the Draft 2017-2020 Duluth Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) through July 30.  It includes two new proposed projects:

Morris Thomas Road – Pavement Preservation
Jurisdiction: St. Louis County
Project Description: The resurfacing of Morris Thomas Road between Highway 2 and Piedmont Avenue. The project will also include ADA implementation and safety improvements.
Project Cost: $2 million ($1 million federal, $1 million local funds)

Third Street – Pavement Preservation
Jurisdiction: City of Duluth
Project Description: Consists of a mill and overlay of 3rd street between 12th Avenue East and Mesaba Avenue. Project will include repairs to storm water system, curbs and gutters, and sidewalks, as well as ADA improvements
Project Cost: $1.1 million ($860,000 federal, $240,000 state funds)

We want to know what you think!

Give us a call: Talk to Planner Chris Belden at (218) 529-7502

Attend a Drop-In Open House:

WhenTuesday, 7/19 or Tuesday, July 26 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

WhereARDC/MIC office in downtown Duluth at 221 West First Street (skywalk level)

 

 

The INTERNal Outsider: Collaboration Between (seemingly) Opposing Mindsets

An Intern’s-Eye View of the MIC

When you listen to the news long enough, you’ll find a recurring theme at the base of many major news stories: the environment versus the economy. You can find these opposing ideas in stories impacting regions as large as the nation, all the way down to our own city streets (google “TransCanada pipeline”, or “4th Street long-eared bats in Duluth”).

HTAC Mtg1The MIC, however, does put these two opposing views together in a room at least four times a year at the Harbor Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC) meetings. As one of the MIC’s three advisory committees, the stakeholders of the harbor are brought together for presentations and discussions with other stakeholders of the harbor. The 31 voting members of the HTAC include business owners, environmental groups, and local and state federal officials. Non-voting stakeholders are also invited to meeting to participate.

During my internship I attended two HTAC meetings and have also been helping out with tasks from the Port Land Use Plan. Topics at the HTAC meetings encompass both the environment and the economy and demonstrate how they are not mutually exclusive.  At these meetings we heard about what the regulatory agencies in the area are doing to take the harbor off of the national Area of Concern list, followed by a summary of how the economic development of the port supports the region and connects our economy to the rest of the world. A report on research done on the economic impact of ports throughout the Great Lakes is followed by a description of the habitat restoration being done in Radio Tower Bay and a discussion on the impacts of ballast water.

Beyond these quarterly meetings, the MIC staff facilitates subcommittee meetings that get into even more depth of how the decisions of each side impacts the other.  The Open DuluthHarborAerialViewWater Mitigation subcommittee, for example, creates a working group for the regulatory agencies and the investors of the port to discuss their individual goals of restoration within the St. Louis River estuary and development within the harbor.  The objective of this group is for the Minnesota DNR and PCA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, to help other entities such as the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, port businesses, and engineering and planning firms, understand how to get through the environmental permitting process for new construction.  Although much of the discussion went over my head, the desire to understand each other and wanting to be better understood was palpable.

The atmosphere at both of the HTAC meetings, along with both Open Water Mitigation subcommittee meetings, amazed me. The classic ever-battling mindsets are getting together on a regular basis to understand one another and to create a better setting for growth on each side.

One function I’ve come to appreciate about the MIC is that, as a neutral transportation planning organization, it is uniquely situated to support this type of coordination and collaboration.  Because the MIC is tasked by federal highway legislation with a primary responsibility of creating opportunities for public participation for all modes of transportation, the MIC includes funding and staffing resources for this harbor group in its annual work program. It serves as a much-needed, often-lacking champion or sponsor to gather diverse and unrelated stakeholders together as one group.

This type of collaboration is almost unheard of throughout the rest of the United States. In fact, the other ports of the Great Lakes are looking to the HTAC as a model to create this same type of collaboration between these two opposing mindsets.

From what I’ve seen so far, other port communities could benefit from an HTAC-type of group if their goals include improved outreach, education, state and local level participation and grassroots support for maritime industry.

 

Erica H-150pxErica Hansen is finishing up her final semester at the University of Wisconsin – Superior in the Transportation and Logistics Management program. She is intrigued by looking at transportation from a different side than freight movement, and helping to create an efficient and safe transportation network for the Duluth-Superior area. The INTERNal Outsider is her account of some of her work and observations while working as an intern for the MIC.

 

The INTERNal Outsider: Adventures in Excel

An Intern’s-Eye View of the MIC

 

Bikes, peds…

Did you realize that on just fourteen streets in Duluth and Superior during one 12-hour period in September, there are around 1,240 uses of infrastructure by bicyclists, and 5,896 uses of infrastructure by pedestrians? The entire town I live in (around 900 people) would have to walk back and forth more than six times to get that pedestrian count.

I am going to guess that your answer is no, you had no idea the extent of the infrastructure used by alternative transportation in Duluth and Superior.

I’m also guessing that most of you also don’t know the extent of the effort that goes into this 5×19-cell table.BP Count Spreadsheet-314px

This is the fourth year of the biannual bicycle and pedestrian counts. James Gittemeier, senior planner at the MIC, and Shawna Mullen-Eardley of the Healthy Duluth Area Coalition determine count data sites, recruit and coordinate volunteers, and lead volunteer training. After attending training, each volunteer* is asked to sit for two hours at a count site and fill out a form noting direction of travel, users by demographic (male, female, child, using assistive device), and mode of transportation (walking, biking, “other”). (The method for the count was created by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project).

Are you getting a better idea of what goes into this seemingly simple chart?

After the day is over and all of the forms are gathered, the amazingly talented and intelligent intern (hey that’s me!) gets to decipher the notes of dozens of volunteers. The data gets entered into Excel by 15 minute increments for each demographic and each mode of transportation. Lucky for me, there is already an Excel spreadsheet that is set up to create the totals. I then finagle Excel to make those totals magically appear into this chart.

Don’t think this chart is the final product, either! After the data is entered and the totals are gathered, we begin an analysis of how the trends in the data will have an effect on future decision making for alternative transportation infrastructure. Excel is very useful in the analysis portion. So far I’ve created around 50 charts to get a better idea of visible trends.

Although I will concede that the data is not perfect – human error in counting and entering the data – the numbers tell an interesting story: The people of Duluth and Superior are outside and active.

*A huge thank you to all volunteers whether you did more than asked or did just as much as you could

…and buses (oh my!)

I can’t talk about all the time I’ve spent in Excel the last two weeks without also bringing buses into the mix.

Robert Herling, my supervisor and another senior planner at the MIC, has been researching the infrastructure use in the Lincoln Park for the Multi-modal Study that’s underway for that neighborhood.

One important aspect of this research is looking into the use of public transit.Garfield bus stop bus in sight-175px

Have you ever had to transfer between two city buses to find that either the last one left just minutes prior to your arrival, or you have less than five minutes to get to the bus stop on the other side of an intersection? You should try it some time.

Robert tasked me with finding out how often this occurs for a few of the major transfers in the Lincoln Park area, from the mainline at 21st Ave W and Superior Street to the mall lines, as well as the mainline at Superior Street and Garfield to the Superior, Wisconsin line. A misstep in scheduling is not a rare occurrence for these bus users, but don’t fret! Our loyal transit authorities are not overlooking this issue.

Thanks for taking the time to join me on my journey to find out what the MIC is all about. Now I must get back to my spreadsheets.