About the Blue Line Extension

Full route map from Oak Grove Parkway in Brooklyn Park at the north, south and then southeast at Brooklyn Center, to Lyndale Avenue, south to Target Field.The METRO Blue Line Light Rail Transit (BLRT) Extension is proposed to operate on 13.5 miles of track connecting downtown Minneapolis to the communities of North Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park. The proposed project would provide transit improvements in the highly traveled northwest area of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and a one-seat ride from Brooklyn Park to MSP airport and Mall of America. The BLRT Extension project provides an opportunity to invest in BIPOC communities and reduce regional disparities.

Connecting with the existing METRO Blue Line at Target Field Station, the BLRT Extension and its 12 new stations will be part of an integrated system of transitways serving the region, including connections to METRO Green Line, Northstar Commuter Rail line, bus rapid transit lines, existing bus service, and proposed future transitways.

This route will:

  • Connect people to new opportunities and destinations.
  • Link people more efficiently to educational and employment opportunities, reduce transit commute times, and increase access to goods and services in an area where building community wealth is a priority.
  • Improve public health and reduce pollution by connecting people to quality health care and providing clean active transportation options.
  • Make a generational and unprecedented transit investment in a corridor that has experienced a history of systemic racism and high percentage of zero-car households.

Environmental next steps

The new route requires additional environmental analysis to understand the potential social, economic, and environmental impact that may occur because of the design, construction, and operation of the light rail. This process will determine how to avoid or reduce those impacts. If impacts cannot be avoided, then mitigation will be considered. Learn more about the environmental review process.


Design and engineering next steps

  • Final location of the light rail tracks
  • Station locations
  • Impacts to property and the surrounding areas
  • Pedestrian and bicycle connections to the station areas
  • Identifying parking needs

Learn more about the design and engineering plans.

Station area planning next steps

The area within a half-mile radius (or a 10-minute walk) of planned light rail transit stations is commonly referred to as the “station area.” Typically, this is where investments in transit infrastructure are expected to generate the greatest community opportunities and impacts.

Station area planning typically happens once engineering and design are underway and could include walking, biking, and rolling connections between stations and station area neighborhoods, landscaping, lighting and other infrastructure improvements.

Local partnerships

Planning for the Blue Line Extension has spanned over a 10-year time period. Throughout these efforts, there has been a strong level of collaboration and partnership with agency and community partners at all levels. The Met Council and Hennepin County are working jointly to develop this project.

Anti-displacement efforts

The Met Council and Hennepin County are committed to delivering an LRT investment that benefits current corridor residents and businesses. As part of this commitment, the project selected University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) to lead an anti-displacement initiative. CURA is working with community and agency partners to identify strategies to minimize displacement, and to support equitable development and community wealth-building. Learn about our anti-displacement efforts.

Alignment principles

Meet Federal Transit Administration New Starts criteria

  • Maintain BLRT Purpose and Need
  • Maintain mode
  • Minimize travel time
  • Maximize ridership
  • Maximize community and economic development
  • Maximize project rating
  • When appropriate, pursue opportunities to serve even more people and destinations, especially areas with lower rates of car ownership/vehicular access and those with mobility challenges

Maintain existing alignment as much as possible

  • Maintain existing termini: Target Field Station in Minneapolis and Oak Grove Station in Brooklyn Park
  • Serve the existing corridor cities of Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, and their major destinations

Mitigate negative impacts

  • Complement existing and planned METRO transitways
  • Minimize residential, commercial and environmental impacts
  • Support safety and connections prioritizing people walking, biking, and rolling
  • Maximize carbon pollution reduction

Engagement principles


Meaningfully engage stakeholders

  • Honor and build on previous robust community engagement
  • Tailor engagement practices to meet the needs of the individual communities in the corridor

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

  • Ensure corridor communities of all races, ethnicities, incomes and abilities are engaged so all communities and corridor cities share in growth opportunities, with an emphasis on low-income and cultural communities
  • Use community goals, priorities, and criteria for growth to inform decision-making
  • Adjust strategies and approach as needed to ensure corridor communities are fully represented in engagement efforts

Identifying a community-supported route

Since August 2020, the project has held more than 75 events and connected directly with more than 18,000 people. As part of this outreach, the project contracted with community and cultural organizations to increase feedback and representation from low-income and communities of color.

Major themes heard from outreach participants:

  • Avoid impacts/disruption to communities and the environment
  • Safety on transit and in communities served
  • Easy pedestrian access to and from stations
  • Anti-displacement efforts are a priority
  • Support for businesses during construction
  • Access to regional destinations
  • Support economic development
  • Improve the transit experience
  • Improve access for and serve transit dependent populations

Learn more about our past and upcoming engagement efforts.

Hennepin County’s Bottineau Community Works program is a collaboration between the county, corridor cities, and other public partners. Since 2015, Bottineau Community Works has convened cities and other partners to coordinate planning, policy, and infrastructure improvements that support equitable development and meet community goals and desires.

In 2021, policymakers reconvened the Bottineau Community Works Steering Committee to align resources, explore best practices and identify actions to help maximize the community and economic development benefits that light rail can bring.

September 2023: Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County recommend track alignment and general station locations to be studied in the Supplemental Draft EIS.

June 2022: Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County advance route recommendation.

April 2022: Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County release recommended revised route

December 2022: Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County release draft route modification report.

March 2021: Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County release revised potential route options.

2020 – 2021: The project team explored community-supported alignments that mitigate the use of freight rail property.

August 2020: Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council issued a joint statement on advancing the project without using 8 miles of freight railroad right-of-way.

2017 – 2018: Engineering phase, including advancing design and engineering plans for the line.

January 2017: FTA approved the Blue Line Extension project to enter the Engineering phase of the New Starts process. The Engineering phase includes completing third-party agreements and finalizing design, including coming to agreement with BNSF regarding co-location of freight and light rail for approximately 8 miles in the corridor.

September 2016: FTA issued a Record of Decision. Metropolitan Council approved the final scope and budget and the environmental Determination of Adequacy, and submitted application to enter the Engineering phase of the FTA’s New Starts funding process.

July 2016: FTA and Metropolitan Council published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

March 2016: In the Municipal Consent process, cities along the Blue Line Extension route and Hennepin County reviewed and approved preliminary design plans.

August 2014: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the Blue Line Extension to enter the Project Development phase. The Metropolitan Council became the project lead with the transfer of Responsible Government Unit status from Hennepin County.

Spring 2014: Station area planning work, led by Hennepin County, began in the spring of 2014. Station area plans were developed for each station and were adopted by their respective cities in 2015 through 2016.

March 2014: The Bottineau Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was published.

May 2013: The Metropolitan Council adopted the route and mode recommended by HCRRA as the Locally Preferred Alternative in the regional 2030 Transportation Policy Plan.

June 2012: The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) recommended construction of light rail along West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park, the BNSF Railroad (BNSF) corridor, and Olson Memorial Highway/Trunk Highway 55.

March 2010: Final Alternatives Analysis Study report published.


Request a presentation

Project staff are available for conversations and presentations to your community/neighborhood/business groups.


Nkongo Cigolo

METRO Blue Line Extension

Blue Line Extension Project Office
Park Place West Building, Suite 600
6465 Wayzata Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55426