Moving the Blue Line Extension Forward: December 15, 2020

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Moving the Blue Line Extension forward

In August 2020, the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County announced the need to advance the METRO Blue Line Extension Light Rail Transit (BLRT) project without using approximately 8 miles of freight railroad property, as initially planned.

We are optimistic this new direction presents an exciting opportunity to revisit and improve the project by serving even more people and destinations, while maintaining as much of the existing route as possible.

Advancing this project will require continued strong partnerships and sincere collaboration.

Map of study areas for new Blueline Extension Alignment

Project principles

To guide our collaborative work moving forward, project partners and stakeholders developed a set of project principles, that set the project scope and guide decision-making and engagement.

These principles were adopted by the Corridor Management Committee at their December 10, 2020 meeting.

Find out more about the project principals.

What to expect in 2021

By the end of 2021, the project team aims to have a new route option that has the support of corridor residents, businesses, and cities. This alignment will then be advanced for environmental review and engineering work to be completed in coming years. 

Over the next year, we will have ongoing conversations with community stakeholders about possible LRT route options. First, from now into spring 2021, project sponsors are focused on understanding community desires, concerns and needs, like identifying important destinations and development opportunities. This information will inform route options for further analysis and community consideration through the summer and fall of 2021.

Timeline of Blue Line Extension Milestones

Building on a history of robust engagement

This is your light rail, and we will build this together. Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County are committed to ensuring equitable engagement by reaching out specifically to diverse groups in the corridor and adjusting outreach strategies to ensure we are meeting the needs of the community.

To shape future engagement in 2021, Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council are currently working with Juxtaposition Arts and the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability to develop a community-informed engagement framework.

The unique challenges of COVID-19 present a need and opportunity for us to come together in new ways. As we plan engagement activities for 2021, we are exploring ways to involve as many voices as possible in the BLRT planning process, while maintaining the health and safety of our communities.

There are many ways to get involved and shape this project as we move forward together. Here are a few easy ways to get started:

1. Take a community survey

Provide input on community priorities and help shape future engagement work by completing a short online survey

2. Serve on a project advisory committee

We are currently seeking residents and business representatives for two volunteer advisory committees. The Community Advisory Committee and the Business Advisory Committee provide guidance to the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County as we advance the Blue Line project and assists in the development of communications and community engagement activities.

Applications to be appointment by the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County are welcomed through January 8, 2021. Apply now. For more information about committees visit the Blue Line Extension Committees website.

Corridor cities are also seeking appointments to these committees. Please note that each city has a separate process for selecting their members.   

3. Attend an upcoming listening session

In January 2021, there will be virtual listening sessions to learn more about the project and give your input. The events will feature a project update and robust time to share your ideas. See upcoming meetings.

4. Keep informed

Please encourage others in your community to sign-up for project email. You can find us on social media, too:

Twitter: @BlueLineExt

Facebook: Metropolitan Council

Project staff are also available for conversations and presentations to your community/neighborhood/business groups. To request a presentation or for questions, email