Met Council and Hennepin County unveil new Blue Line Extension route options

Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County have released new potential route options for the planned METRO Blue Line Extension. The extension will connect the cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, and Minneapolis to the existing Blue Line light rail route.

The potential routes grew out of technical and community discussions over several months since project partners announced a new direction for the project last August. The route options are a starting point for upcoming conversations. The goal is to identify a single community-supported route by the end of 2021 to advance through official design and review processes.

Illustration of route options between Brooklyn Park and Minneapolis. The four northern stations are likely to remain the same as the previous route. It connects to Bottineau Boulevard, and then shows two main options at the southern end, with five additional options to reach Target Field.

“The routes released today are a big step forward for the Blue Line Extension Project,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “The Blue Line Extension is an important element of the region’s transportation system. While these potential routes are a good first step for seeing this project to completion, much work remains.

“We need community input from all of our neighbors and businesses, because while these routes begin the discussion, there will be more questions than answers at this early stage,” Zelle said. “For me the biggest measure of project success is community support, and the Met Council is determined to deliver a project the community feels is an investment that directly benefits those who currently live and work in the corridor cities.”

Blue Line Extension is guided by consensus principles

Last fall, project partners worked together with stakeholders and community and business members to create a set of project principles to guide project work and engagement, including:

  • Maintain the existing alignment as much as possible

  • Engage, inform, and consult diverse communities to co-create project solutions that reduce disparities

  • Complement existing and planned transit investments

  • Mitigate negative impacts

  • Meet Federal Transit Administration New Starts criteria

View the full project principles

Project leaders believe the new route options meet those goals and are supported by our engagement conversations thus far. Presenting these possible options is a next step in a larger process of choosing a revised route and implementing a project that benefits corridor communities and the region.

Extension will “change the trajectory” of what’s possible for residents

“As a Hennepin County Commissioner and North Minneapolis resident, I’m excited about the transformative benefits light rail projects can bring to communities,” said Irene Fernando, Hennepin County District 2 Commissioner and chair of the Regional Railroad Authority. “The new direction of the Blue Line Extension is positioned to serve among the most racially and economically diverse communities in Hennepin, while also connecting transit-reliant residents to the broader regional transit system. This will change the trajectory of what’s possible for so many of our neighbors — connecting students to education, patients to healthcare, and workers to jobs.

“To pursue this work equitably, we must also recognize that large-scale public investments can accelerate patterns of residential and economic displacement, and work together to ensure this investment benefits corridor residents, builds community wealth, and meaningfully addresses decades-long patterns of disinvestment,” Fernando said.

New phase of community engagement begins

As project work continues, a new phase of engagement will kick off in the coming weeks. Project partners will work closely with community consultants to support engagement efforts. The focus will be collecting community and business leaders’ input on the new route options, as well as potential community and economic development strategies and initiatives.

Project leaders want to hear from the community about the new routes, potential station locations, important destinations, and what they want to see from the transit system. Reach project staff:

  • Virtual townhall meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 30 for community members to learn more, ask questions, and provide feedback on the project.

  • A community survey is available on the project website for community members wanting to give feedback on the initial route options by April 30.

  • Project staff are available to provide presentations to community and business groups.

  • Submit general project comments online.

  • Follow the project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn about upcoming community townhall meetings, additional outreach efforts, and to keep informed about upcoming Blue Line Extension project announcements, visit the Blue Line LRT project website.

Posted In: Transportation