Moving the Blue Line Extension forward
The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County recently released revised route options for the planned METRO Blue Line Extension which will connect communities from Downtown Minneapolis northwest to Brooklyn Park.
Based on technical considerations, community input, and past project work, we believe these routes present the best opportunities to deliver a light rail project that maximizes community benefits and connects even more people to jobs, education, healthcare and other key destinations. They are also consistent with the project principles adopted by the Corridor Management Committee in December 2021.
These routes are intended to advance a conversation many years in the making with the goal of identifying a single community-supported route by the end of this year to advance through official design and review processes.
What to expect in 2021
We will move at the speed of trust. The release of the revised potential routes is a first step in a much larger process before construction of the Blue Line Extension begins. Over the coming months, project partners will be active in your community, attending neighborhood meetings and conducting direct outreach. We are working with 17 community and cultural organizations to support a robust engagement process and ensure all voices are heard.
The project’s goal is to identify a single community supported route option by the end of 2021. We will continue to work closely with communities to align technical and engagement work as well as identify station locations.
Following the identification of a single community supported route, environmental review and engineering work will begin. This can be a long process and construction of the line is still likely many years away.
The success of the Blue Line Extension Project dependends on community support, so project leaders want to hear from the community about the new routes, potential station locations, important destinations, and what they want to see from their transit system. Project staff will be performing outreach work in several different ways:
- 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 for community members wanting to give feedback on the initial route options.
- Project staff are available to provide presentations to community and business groups. Contact Sophia Ginis at email@example.com.
Maximizing benefits to community, preventing displacement
The METRO Blue Line Extension creates exciting opportunities to advance community visions for investment and economic development that can help residents and businesses build wealth in place and improve quality of life. Major infrastructure investments can also raise concerns about displacement of residents and businesses. Project partners hear these concerns and take them seriously. We are committed to working together with communities to maximize benefits that transit can bring.
These are critical and complex issues that require a wide variety of partners coming together in good faith to think creatively. Work is already underway to identify existing resources and tools that can support businesses and residents today. Stakeholders and partners will also work over the coming months to identify additional needs and gaps, and implement strategies that support equitable development, community wealth-building and address market pressures that can lead to displacement.
Hennepin County Bottineau Community Works
Hennepin County’s Bottineau Community Works program is a collaboration between the county, corridor cities and other public partners. Since 2015, Bottineau Community Works 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 will reconvene 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.
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Request a presentation
Project staff are available for conversations and presentations to your community/neighborhood/business groups. To request a presentation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.