About the Blue Line Extension

The METRO Blue Line Extension maps a path from downtown Minneapolis through North Minneapolis, Crystal, and Robbinsdale, and landing in Brooklyn Park. Extending this line provides a one-seat ride from Brooklyn Park, through Minneapolis, to the airport and the Mall of America.

This route serves some of the most racially and economically diverse communities in Hennepin County, and will connect people to jobs and opportunities along the line.

Learn about the Route Modification Report

Local partnerships

Planning for the BLRT 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

Maximizing the benefits of the Blue Line Extension means making sure those benefits are enjoyed by current corridor residents and businesses. Project partners are working with a wide variety of partners to develop and implement robust anti-displacement strategies. 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 300 events and connected directly with more than 11,000 people. As part of this outreach, the project contracted with 12 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 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.

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

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

2020 – 2021: The project team exploreed 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.

Contact

Sophia Ginis
sophia.ginis@metrotransit.org

METRO Blue Line Extension

Blue Line Extension Project Office
Park Place West Building, Suite 500
6465 Wayzata Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55426