About the current Blue Line Extension plan:
...a part of the largest public works project in Minnesota history
The Blue Line Extension is Light Rail. Municipal Light rail is intended for passenger service, but unlike a subway, it mostly travels above ground. Light rail projects are visible all over the Twin Cities.
The Blue Line Extension plan extends from Brooklyn Park in the North, to Target Center, in Minneapolis, with multiple stops along that route, incuding Crystal, North and South Robbinsdale, and multiple stops in Minneapolis' north side areas. The project connect the Northern suburbs with the city center and the existing Blue Line, which terminates at MSP Airport.
A signifcant part of the current route travels along County Road 81, becoming West Broadway Avenue, further south.
Brief History - the former Rail Corridor plan
Approximately 6 years ago, the MetCouncil anticipated that the opening date for the Blue Line Extension Project was mid-2022. This was based on the anticipation that the Burlington National Santa-Fe Railway Co. would agree to a lease agreement with the Met Council, permitting colocation of light rail passenger service along an eight mile stretch of freight line on the Bottineau corridor right-of-way. (Represented on image below by the yelllow line).
South of Robbinsdale, the original route would have had a stop in Golden Valley, and then deviate from the right-of-way at Hwy. 55, Olson Memorial Highway, thereby skirting the densely populated areas of North Minneapolis. However, in the summer 2020, those negotiations effectively ended, forcing the MetCouncil to consider other routes.
The Present - County Road 81 & Minneapolis's North Side
In the spring of 2022, roughtly two years from the point that negotiations with the BNSF Railroad were ended, the Met Council revealed their new, preferred route. As seen on the map below, South of downtown Robbinsdale, the route would include a stop at North Memorial Hospital and continue along West Broadway Avenue from County Road 81 through North Minneapolis, before heading south towards Target field, along either Lyndale Avenue or alternatively, further east, along I-94.
as of Feb 1, 2023
The new alignment - County Road 81
Where we are going?
The Met Council asserts they have performed due-diligence in seeking broad feedback regarding the new alignment by virute of an environmental review process, the work of various advisory committees and community meetings held in North Minneapolis and the suburbs to the north.
The old alignment - BNSF Rail Corridor
"One of the project’s guiding principles is that we move at the speed of trust. We will not move forward until we have meaningful community buy-in...."
Met Council website, Metro Blue Line Extension Meetings and Events