Bottineau Transitway Community Open House Set For Nov 12

Hennepin County is hosting a community open house for the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) North Minneapolis and Golden Valley station areas Wednesday, Nov 12, 5:30–8 pm, at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, 2001 Plymouth Ave. The presentation begins at 6 pm.

The open house will provide information about four station areas along the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) and share ideas for bike, pedestrian, and transit connections and development possibilities that will help neighborhoods near the stations thrive. Information will also be available about a related planning initiative for bus rapid transit on Penn Ave connecting to the Blue Line Extension’s Penn Ave station. In addition, staff from the Metropolitan Council and Metro Transit will have information on the Blue Line Extension alignment and next steps in project development, including preliminary engineering and completion of the environmental review process.

The open house is the next major opportunity for the public to be involved with planning the areas around the stations for the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension.

“These community open houses will help us maximize the benefits of LRT and promote our region’s economic vitality,” says Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins. The Nov 12 open house, organized by Hennepin County along with Minneapolis, Golden Valley, and several community organizations, focuses on planning efforts underway around the four proposed southernmost stations on the Bottineau LRT line: in Minneapolis along Hwy 55 at Van White Blvd and Penn Ave, and in Golden Valley at Plymouth Ave near the Theodore Wirth Park Chalet and at Golden Valley Rd.

Get more information or RSVP at 612-348-4454 or bottineau@hennepin.us.

Background

The METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) is a dedicated light rail transit (LRT) corridor proposed to extend from downtown Minneapolis to northern Brooklyn Park. The 13-mile LRT line will run adjacent to County Road 81 until Robbinsdale, then separate and continue along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad corridor adjacent to Sochacki Park, Mary Hills Nature Area, and Theodore Wirth Park. The route would then leave the railroad corridor and travel into downtown Minneapolis along Hwy 55. It has 11 proposed stations connecting North Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park to downtown Minneapolis and the regional transit system, and it is scheduled to open as soon as 2021.

A station area plan covers an area within a half-mile radius – or a 10-minute walk – around a proposed transit station. “This is the prime influence or opportunity area surrounding the LRT station,” says Andrew Gillett, a Hennepin County planner on the project. The plan addresses a number of issues, from transportation and circulation for bikes, pedestrians, cars, and buses to urban design and “placemaking” elements like lighting, benches, signage, and art. It also considers opportunities for new businesses, housing, retail, and other development. Getting ideas and comments from community members early on is essential to developing a plan that meets community needs and accurately reflects its characteristics, desires, and preferences. Adds Gillett, “Station area plans are a crucial tool for sustaining and enhancing surrounding neighborhoods while also accommodating access to high-quality transit that people can use – and want to use.”

For more information on station area planning, call 612-348-4454 or email bottineau@hennepin.us.

Short- And Medium-Range Planning Efforts

Outreach in communities will follow the Nov 12 open house to gather more feedback before a January 2015 meeting, where the public will examine and help refine preferred station area plans. Final Minneapolis and Golden Valley station area plans should be completed by late April 2015. Meanwhile, planning is also under way for stations in Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park and will be completed by March 2016.

For information on the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) project, visit BlueLineExt.org.

If you have questions about METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) and the meetings and activities that surround it, contact the City’s Planning Department at 763-593-8095.

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