METRO Blue Line Extension
Minneapolis & northwestern communities
METRO Blue Line Extension Route Recommendation Adopted by Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County Board
June 22, 2022 – The METRO Blue Line Extension officially has a new route after the Hennepin County Board and Metropolitan Council voted to adopt the revised route modification this week. These actions allow project leaders to move forward on this important transit project by continuing environmental, design, engineering, and anti-displacement activities in preparation for the eventual full funding grant agreement application to the Federal Transit Administration.
Metropolitan Council Chair Charles Zelle said, “When I began my tenure as the Metropolitan Council Chair, the METRO Blue Line Extension was different from the route that was adopted today. When we made the tough decision to move away from the original freight rail aligned route, we quickly realized we had an opportunity to reevaluate not only the route, but also our priorities for the project. I believe the benefits of the new route exceed the original route, from providing needed transit connections in North Minneapolis to serving North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale and the growing communities of Crystal and Brooklyn Park. This is a critical transportation investment for our communities and region.” Chair Zelle continued, “With the new route officially recognized I look forward to continuing our conversations with community partners and bringing this project across the finish line.”
The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County Board actions come after more than 18-months of robust community engagement where project staff held hundreds of community meetings, virtual open houses, and thousands of face-to-face community interactions. Feedback received guided decision making through the route selection process. As the project moves into this next phase, project staff will continue to solicit feedback and communicate with the community to ensure the project delivers maximum benefit.
“I am proud of the work Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council have done to identify and now adopt the new route for the METRO Blue Line Extension” said Hennepin County District 2 Commissioner and Chair of the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority Irene Fernando. “The new proposed route for the Blue Line Extension Light Rail project will bring transformational benefits to residents from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park, the communities served by the route are transit-reliant and racially diverse and have experienced historical disinvestment. The proposed route will connect students to education, workers to jobs, patients to healthcare, and families to resources, while connecting the corridor to the broader transit network. This project will ignite economic development for small businesses, result in more affordable housing options, increase access to educational opportunities, and build wealth for working families.”
“The impacts of this project are transformational for our communities, our county and our region” said Jeff Lunde, Hennepin County District 1 Commissioner. “I am proud of my vote to adopt the new route and I hope others recognize what this project means for our communities. It will not only connect people to opportunity, but also provides much needed infrastructure benefits such as improved pedestrian access, utility upgrades and roadway improvements. This is a once in a generation opportunity to meaningfully change people’s lives.”
As the project moves forward to the start of construction sometime in 2025, the project anti-displacement efforts will continue. The Anti-displacement Workgroup led by the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County and facilitated by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs has been meeting to discuss actionable policies to minimize the potential displacement that may occur due to the project.
Metropolitan Council Member Reva Chamblis shared, “I fully support the new Blue Line Extension route, and I believe it is important to ensure the historical displacement these projects can bring are not repeated. To that end, I support the project’s anti-displacement efforts and thankful for the project’s willingness to recognize past wrongs and work towards a solution that secures tangible community benefits. My hope going forward is we continue our deep work with community and find real solutions to real issues.”
The project staff would like to thank everyone who has provided comments, input, and suggestions during the past 18 months. The project would not have reached this important milestone without the passion and interest from the community.
To share your Blue Line Extension story, provide additional comments, see what your neighbors are saying, or learn more about the projects anti-displacement efforts visit mybluelineext.org.
For the latest project news and information please visit bluelineext.org.
Route Modification Report
The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County are pleased to announce the release of a route recommendation for the METRO Blue Line Extension. After carefully reviewing community input and findings from technical analyses completed to date, the project recommends extending the existing Blue Line light rail transit from Target Field station along West Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis to County Road 81 in Crystal and Robbinsdale, and along West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park.
This recommendation comes from nearly two years of community outreach, technical analysis, and stakeholder interaction, and is a major milestone for this transformational investment in our community.
“The METRO Blue Line Extension project is an essential part of our region’s transit infrastructure,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “Our partners at Hennepin County and the METRO Blue Line Extension staff have done an admirable job in balancing the feedback we have heard from the community, engineering challenges, and route analysis in making this recommendation. The route is not without its challenges, but I sincerely believe they are not insurmountable. When complete, the METRO Blue Line Extension will be an investment our community can be proud of.”
METRO Blue Line Extension Route Recommendation Comment Period Concluded
Thank you everybody that shared their input during the comment period. We will have more to share in the coming weeks. This will not be your last chance to give feedback on the project.
You will still be able to share your comments, tell your story and following along with project developments at MyBlueLineExt.org. While there you can see what your neighbors are talking about and share your ideas about the future of the Blue Line Extension.
The end of this comment period is just the beginning of developing this project. Our project team will begin the long process with the community of designing the route, studying station areas and pedestrian access, continuing our anti-displacement efforts, completing environmental work and digging into the details of how light rail may look and operate in your neighborhood.