Regional leaders gathered Thursday morning to break ground on renovations to the state's busiest transit hub. Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff was joined by officials from Metro Transit, the City of Bloomington, Hennepin County, and Mall of America at a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction at the Mall of America Transit Center.
“This transit center is a critical hub for our entire region,” said Chair Tchourumoff. “Thousands of people come here every day, whether headed to work, to shop or take in entertainment, or simply a connection point as they head home for the day. This renovation will provide a safer, more efficient, and overall more enjoyable experience for those customers who know that transit provides accessibility to jobs and opportunity.”
Safety is a major factor in the redesign. The current vehicle entrance to the transit center is used by regular mall employees and contractors, in addition to transit vehicles. The renovation will create a bus-only entrance, cutting down on the time delay created by traffic back-ups. Also, buses will no longer cross the light-rail tracks, providing improved safety for bus customers. The transit center will also provide customers with a direct connection to the mall’s east entrance.
This is the first major renovation for the 25-year-old transit center, which was last upgraded in 2004 when the METRO Blue Line opened. The transit center sees more than 5,600 boardings a day, as a connection point for light rail, the Red Line, and dozens of Metro Transit and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority bus routes.
“Bloomington is thankful to the partner organizations working on this project that made it a reality,” said Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead. “The new transit station will be an amenity the region can be proud of.”
The $25 million project includes funding from the City of Bloomington, as well as Metro Transit, Minnesota State bonds, federal CMAQ grants, and the former Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin was the Chair of CTIB before it disbanded in 2017.
“Transit hubs like the Mall of America are critical elements of the regional system that all the partners are building. They magnify people’s mobility by geometrically increasing the number of destinations accessible by transit. That’s our shared vision. And this project helps make it more of a reality,” said Commissioner McLaughlin.
The Triple Five Group, which owns Mall of America, is providing the land for the new transit center. Mall of America officials say they’re looking forward to the completion of the project. The transit center will be easier to find, with greater aesthetic appeal, improving the visitor experience.
“Creating a memorable guest experience has always been a hallmark of Mall of America,” said Senior Vice President of Development for Mall of America Kurt Hagen. “Not only will this transit station offer the convenience that consumers have come to expect, but it will act as beautiful pedestrian pathway from the Mall to the gateway of the South Loop district of Bloomington.”
The transit center will also include improved lighting, a family restroom, emergency telephones and NexTrip real-time departure signs. Inside the building, there will be a new police substation along with a new operator breakroom.
“Millions of Metro Transit riders, the Mall of America and our region have been well-served by this transit center and those that developed it,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “For that we are thankful. Now, thanks to our commitment to those same people, we can look forward to the next step in the evolution of transit service here at the Mall of America.”
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2019. During construction, customers will board at temporary locations adjacent to the transit center. Learn more at metrotransit.org/mall-of-america.
Total project budget: $25 million
- MN State Bonds: $8.75 million
- Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ): $7 million
- City of Bloomington: $5 million
- CTIB: $2.25 million
- Metro Transit: $2 million
Contact: Howie Padilla, 612-349-7089, email@example.com