Will Target Field Station Ever be a Rail Hub?

St. Paul Union Depot is a natural choice as a regional and intercity rail hub for St. Paul as the station is already in use and there’s plenty of room to expand when needed. However, Minneapolis is a different story. Amtrak doesn’t directly serve Minneapolis, but Target Field Station does have the Northstar Line providing commuter service to/from Big Lake and convenient light rail service to the central business district. In addition the Northern Lights Express, an intercity rail service to Duluth, could serve the station in the near future. However Target Field Station also has one major flaw; lack of room to expand, and that makes it questionable if Target Field Station will ever truly be a regional transit hub or if a replacement is needed especially if/when the region and state put more priority on regional and intercity rail services.

Before Target Field Station

In the pre-Amtrak era, Minneapolis had two major train stations; the Great Northern Depot and the Milwaukee Road Depot. In addition to the railroads with their respective name, both stations were also served by numerous other railroads. The Great Northern Depot was located on the present day site of the Federal Reserve Bank Building, and the Milwaukee Road Depot still exists and is used as a hotel. When Amtrak was formed in 1971 the Milwaukee Road Depot was closed to passenger service, and all trains moved to the Great Northern Depot. By this time there were only a few passenger trains still serving Minneapolis, and in 1978 all passenger operations moved to the Midway Depot in St. Paul and the Great Northern Depot was demolished. In 2014 Amtrak operations moved from the Midway Depot to St. Paul Union Depot.

The Great Northern Depot in Downtown Minneapolis. What were tracks and platforms are now West River Parkway and the Federal Reserve.

A small depot was also located near the present day site of Target Field. This was used by the Electric Short Line (also known as the Luce Line), the Minneapolis Northfield & Southern (previously the Dan Patch Electric Line), and the Minneapolis Anoka & Cuyuna Range. Passenger services at this depot ended by the late 1950s, and the building was demolished by the late 1980s.

In addition to the depots there were several rail lines and rail yards in the downtown area that have been wiped out of existence; one example being the area around Gold Medal Park, which used to be a rail yard. A large railroad network that used to crisscross Downtown Minneapolis and the surrounding area was gone by the late 1980s except for one rail corridor; BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision, which still exists and in addition to being used by the Northstar Line is used by approximately 12 freight trains per day.

1956 aerial photo of part of the North Loop/Warehouse District. Part of the Great Northern Depot can be seen at the right side of the image. The rail yard at the top of the image was redeveloped decades ago. The rail corridor starting at the bottom-left and going to the upper right of the image still exists and is BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision. That rail corridor has become narrower due to development and the Cedar Lake Trail. Source: University of Minnesota

Target Field Station and the Surrounding Area

Before Target Field (the stadium) was built the area was a large swath of surface parking that used to be a rail yard to serve the many warehouses. Along with the stadium, Target Field Station opened in 2009 and the Hiawatha Line (Blue Line) was extended a short distance north from Hennepin Avenue. In November of that year the Northstar Line began operations. In 2014 a plaza and second light rail platform were built at Target Field Station, and the Green Line opened soon-after. The surrounding North Loop area has rapidly developed with several new and renovated buildings along and near the railroad corridor. Next to the commuter rail platform two mixed-use towers have been proposed, and could start construction next year. The rail corridor, along with Target Field Station, have very little room to expand.

When the subject of what to do about Target Field Station in terms of regional and intercity rail operations comes up, people often say that regional rail in the Twin Cities will be slow to develop and that’s only if it develops so it’s too early to decide what to do with Target Field Station. Not thinking years and even decades ahead is what brought us this predicament in the first place. If the Great Northern Depot were saved and railroad right-of-way around Minneapolis were preserved for future transportation purposes then we may not be having this current predicament. Just as with Union Depot in St. Paul, the Great Northern Depot could’ve been renovated and reopened for passenger rail. However, assuming the Stone Arch Bridge would need to be used for a rail connection, there would likely be a long battle between those trying to provide better regional and intercity transportation and those trying to provide good bike and pedestrian infrastructure in Downtown Minneapolis (both of which are important). Rather than analyzing the many what-ifs from past decisions, we need to think about what we have now and what do we do with it. Assuming regional rail becomes more important in the Twin Cities and Minnesota we have to think about where all the trains serving Minneapolis will go, and it’s better to start asking that question now instead of scrambling for solutions at a later time.

Station Options in Minneapolis

Expanded Target Field Station

As part of the Northern Lights Express project, Target Field Station’s commuter rail platform would be extended east and a third platform track would be built, but that’s as far as Target Field Station could expand without building tracks and platforms underground. Building underground would require tunnel portals at either end; from the west this shouldn’t be an issue, but from the east this would be difficult with the Mississippi River not far from Target Field Station and the surrounding area being mostly developed. In addition to the issue of diesel trains using those tunnels, there would also still be the issue of the constricted rail corridor and sharing tracks with freight trains.

Img 3705

The commuter rail platform at Target Field Station. This photo is a few years old, as the T3 development is under construction in the background. To the left is the Ford Center, and to the right may have two towers going up in the next couple of years. As you can probably see, adding more commuter rail platforms and track couldn’t be done at-grade.

Assuming each regional rail route operates at a frequency of every 30 minutes during rush hour, Target Field Station with two through-tracks and one stub track from the east could handle at most three regional rail lines including the Northstar Line as well as the Northern Lights Express to/from Duluth. Anything beyond that would be virtually impossible from an operations standpoint both for the regional rail routes and BNSF Railway.

In terms of connections to other transit routes, there’s the easy transfer to both light rail lines, but bus connections are limited. There are around a dozen bus routes near Target Field Station (several of them are express routes that only operate at peak time in peak direction), but they don’t directly serve the station.

East Minneapolis Station

Located just northeast of TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank Campus, this site has a lot of room for an intercity and regional rail hub. While not exactly close to downtown, it would directly serve the University of Minnesota. The Green Line’s Stadium Village Station is a 5-minute walk from the site, and the University’s shuttle bus service could easily serve the station. Another benefit of this station is Amtrak’s Empire Builder would be able to directly serve Minneapolis without the complications of trying to route in and out of Target Field Station. For local bus connections there is only the Route 6 bus nearby, while the Route 2 bus is half a mile away. However the E Line could have a stop at Stadium Village Station, so while not directly serving East Minneapolis Station it would be close by.

Screen Shot 2019 10 22 At 7.40.55 Pm

Site of East Minneapolis Station (shaded in red at top right of image) with the surrounding area. The Green Line’s Stadium Village Station is at the bottom-center of the image.

West Minneapolis Station

Located on what is currently gravel pits and a large impound lot, in a few years this will be the Green Line Extension’s Basset Creek Valley Station on Van White Memorial Boulevard. While West Minneapolis Station would be farther from downtown than Target Field Station, the site has plenty of undeveloped land for a regional and intercity rail hub, and passengers would be able to transfer to the Green Line and be in downtown in less than 10 minutes. Shuttle buses from the station to downtown could also be provided. Local bus connections at this site are currently non-existent, and when the Green Line Extension opens there will likely be a local route operating to/from North Minneapolis.

Image 36145424110 O

The site of what would be West Minneapolis Station, viewed from the Van White Memorial Boulevard Bridge. The Green Line Extension will be to the right of the right-most tracks. The track on the left is the Monticello Subdivision, and the Wayzata Subdivision is on the right (both owned by BNSF).

The main reason the Green Line Extension is being routed through here is the development opportunities. With the Green Line Extension under construction, development plans in the area should be coming in the near future, and then we’ll know if this station site will have the same issue as Target Field Station in terms of room for growth.

In addition to possible development taking up land there are a couple of other issues. Just like Target Field Station this station site would have the issue of regional trains sharing tracks with freight trains through the constricted downtown rail corridor, and this severely limits the amount of regional trains that could be operated. Another issue is having to transfer to reach downtown. While this should be easy with the Green Line Extension and shuttle buses, less people would be willing to ride than if regional trains directly served downtown and their journey was a one-seat ride.

Minneapolis Central Station

This is the most expensive option, but is also the most efficient from an operations standpoint and would be convenient for the majority of riders. This station would be underground in the middle of Downtown Minneapolis, and rather than being a layover station it would have just two platforms and four platform tracks with regional trains continuously passing through all day. Light rail and many local and express bus routes are within easy walking distance of this station site.

Since this would be in a tunnel, only trains that can run on electricity could operate to this station, so intercity trains wouldn’t be able to serve Minneapolis Central Station. Whether or not this station is built it should be a goal to have regional trains run completely or partially on electricity instead of diesel to be more environmentally-friendly and cut emissions. With battery technology continuously improving our regional rail lines could utilize battery electric multiple units (BEMUs) so overhead wires would only need to be installed on certain short segments to charge the batteries. Routes too long for BEMUs could use hybrid locomotives that run on electricity from batteries in urban areas and tunnels, and diesel outside of the urban area.

The main issue with this option is the cost and complexity of building tunnels and an underground station in downtown. However this may be simpler with approximately a third of the tunnels under I-394 instead of a developed area.

Minneapolis Central Station would have a similar configuration to Oslo’s Nationaltheatret Station; two platforms and each having two tracks, and outside of the station area there would be twin tunnels with each having one track. Just like Oslo’s T-Bane (Metro), our light rail would also be underground to increase capacity and make transfers between the light rail and regional trains easier.

Build-Out Scenarios

A map of the build-out scenarios can be viewed here.

Minimum Build-Out

This assumes a few regional and intercity rail routes are built that serve Minneapolis. While Target Field Station could be expanded for this, it would likely be cheaper and easier to build West Minneapolis Station, and this would allow room for growth later on. Due to track capacity issues through downtown most trains from the west would terminate at West Minneapolis Station and require riders to transfer to the Green Line Extension or shuttle buses to reach downtown. Most trains from the east would terminate at East Minneapolis Station and riders would have to transfer to the Green Line if they wish to continue to downtown. One regional rail line would be through-routed and connect West Minneapolis and East Minneapolis (i.e. Northfield-West Minneapolis-East Minneapolis-St. Paul Union Depot-Hastings).

Base Build-Out

The Base Build-Out assumes a few more regional rail and intercity rail routes are built than the Minimum Build-Out. Under this scenario West Minneapolis Station and East Minneapolis Station would be built, but both stations would be larger than the Minimum Build-Out. There would be slightly more regional trains through-routed between West Minneapolis and East Minneapolis, but it would still require riders to transfer to reach downtown. The downtown rail corridor, including across the Mississippi River and Nicollet Island, would have to be double-track or possibly even triple-track to allow more regional trains in addition to freight traffic.

Maximum Build-Out

This assumes a fully built-out regional rail network in the Twin Cities region with several routes meeting in the urban core and a frequency of every couple minutes in each direction. This would require dedicated track on several segments including in Downtown Minneapolis where regional trains would operate underground and serve Minneapolis Central Station. Trains bound towards Big Lake and White Bear Lake would turn north from Minneapolis Central, emerge at-grade just north of the North Loop, and cross the Mississippi River on a currently lightly-used trestle in Northeast Minneapolis. The rest of the regional train traffic would continue east from Minneapolis Central and cross the Mississippi River on the Northern Pacific Bridge Number 9, serve East Minneapolis Station, and continue towards St. Paul Union Depot and points further east. From Minneapolis Central going west trains would either go on BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision or turn north onto BNSF’s Monticello Subdivision. Regional trains to/from the Monticello Subdivision would go underneath the Wayzata Subdivision and the Green Line Extension near the Basset Creek Valley Station.

Recommendation

A mix of the Minimum Build-Out and Maximum Build-Out is recommended. Target Field Station would be kept for certain intercity rail services as well as two potential regional rail routes; from Medina to Target Field Station and then continuing north to Big Lake, and from Monticello to Target Field Station and continuing east to White Bear Lake. The rest of the regional rail routes would serve Minneapolis Central Station and East Minneapolis Station. East Minneapolis Station would also handle intercity rail services.

Img 2716

Northern Pacific Bridge Number 9, now part of the Dinkytown Greenway, would be used by regional trains operating between East Minneapolis Station and Minneapolis Central Station.

While the existing rail corridor through Downtown Minneapolis and across the Mississippi River would still need upgrades, it would need substantially less to handle the traffic in this recommendation. Transferring between Target Field Station and Minneapolis Central Station would be easy via underground light rail (since we’re building a tunnel for regional trains, the light rail lines also deserve a tunnel to increase capacity and allow new light rail routes).

Conclusion

Target Field Station already exists, so we should take advantage of that as best as possible. While not necessarily being a regional transit hub, it should still serve a purpose while the main regional rail hub is located somewhere else, preferably right in the middle of Downtown Minneapolis. Minneapolis Central Station wouldn’t only be useful for commuters who live in the suburbs, as regional rail would be an all-day service that allows urban residents to access jobs in the suburbs that are currently difficult to get to without a car, plus suburban residents with jobs in other suburbs. As already stated, a light rail tunnel should also be part of this, and in no way should this be a regional rail tunnel vs light rail tunnel debate. Both are important in order to provide the necessary capacity and convenience of service that we need if our regional transit system is to be improved.

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28 Responses to Will Target Field Station Ever be a Rail Hub?

  1. John Maddening November 6, 2019 at 9:57 am #

    Why not just use Union Depot as the hub it already has the ability to be? We have a massive terminal that we spent $243 million to renovate, it’s already a bus and train stop, the Green Line terminates right out front — it’s silly to not just add service there. No tunnels or reclaiming pedestrian bridges then, no adding an additional passenger stop to even further slow down the Empire Builder.

    It just makes sense to use what we have. Get off the Empire Builder in Union Depot, get on another train on the next set of tracks to head up to Duluth.

    • Eric Ecklund November 6, 2019 at 10:37 am #

      Less people will take the train if it stops short of Minneapolis and they have to transfer, and almost no one coming from the north and west will take the train to St. Paul and then backtrack to Minneapolis.

      • John Maddening November 6, 2019 at 10:47 am #

        …yet plenty of people board and arrive at 8:00am and 10:20pm every day. A direct train or express bus to DT Minneapolis or the airport would be just fine.

        DT Saint Paul is growing, and we have the ability to add Duluth service much more easily and and much more cheaply than doing it in DT Minneapolis.

        • Eric Ecklund November 6, 2019 at 11:57 am #

          Plenty of people board and arrive at SPUD because it’s the only Amtrak stop in the Twin Cities.

          More jobs and more people are in Minneapolis. That is something we can’t just ignore.

          • John Maddening November 6, 2019 at 2:13 pm #

            It takes about the same amount of time for a direct express bus from DT MSP to DT SP than it does to walk from security to the end of the G concourse. Anyone who is put off by an express bus trip to end up in Minneapolis is not likely someone who would choose to commute by train anyway.

            • Eric Ecklund November 6, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

              It’s perfectly acceptable that if we’re investing money in a regional rail network that Minneapolis is directly served as it’s the economic hub of Minnesota.

              Do you think it’s acceptable for people coming from Wayzata, Burnsville, Plymouth, etc. to go all the way to St. Paul and then backtrack?

              • John Maddening November 6, 2019 at 3:00 pm #

                Do you think it’s acceptable for people coming from Woodbury, Hastings, Hudson, White Bear Lake , etc., to go all the way to Minneapolis to get up to Duluth when there’s already a perfectly good rail station already here and running?

                We’re talking about two downtown areas that are about as far apart as DT Minneapolis is from the airport. Saint Paul is 2-3 miles closer to the airport. On top of that, the terminal is already here.

                I don’t know, man, we’re not going to agree, but we both want what we think is best for the future of rail transportation in MSP, we just disagree on how to get there.

                • Eric Ecklund November 6, 2019 at 3:39 pm #

                  There’s a pretty simple solution; have some trains do Minneapolis-Duluth and others St. Paul-Duluth. Now will you answer my question?

                  • John Maddening November 6, 2019 at 4:10 pm #

                    (serves me right for trying to bow out politely)

                    I absolutely think that it’s totally fine to have to travel “all the way” from Wayzata/Plymouth to Saint Paul to get on a train, if that’s the regional train/bus hub. It’s fifteen more minutes by car.

                    Hadn’t noticed your “Burnsville” before. That’s a weird example, because it’s 1) not a “backtrack”; and 2) closer to DT Saint Paul than DT Minneapolis. So on that one, definitely.

                    I can’t imagine there being enough trains per day to justify two separate endpoints, nor the massive additional expense of creating a new hub just to make it slightly easier for the subset of travelers who would be horribly put out to have an additional bus/train connection.

                    • Monte Castleman November 6, 2019 at 10:24 pm #

                      Fifteen more minutes by car *

                      *Unless it’s rush hour, it’s snowing, there’s a crash, there’s road construction, there’s a major sporting event, or some combination of the above.

                    • Eric Ecklund November 7, 2019 at 8:26 am #

                      You can bow out at anytime, but I’m going to make the argument that ignoring Minneapolis is not how a Twin Cities regional rail system should work.

                      In regards to Burnsville, yes it would be a backtrack from St. Paul to Minneapolis. There’s two rail lines through Burnsville; Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific (the Dan Patch Line). Taking the Union Pacific route would get you to St. Paul but then you have to go back east to get to Minneapolis. The Dan Patch Line goes into Minneapolis but with your thinking it seems trains would skip over Minneapolis, stop in St. Paul, and people have to backtrack on a bus or the light rail. Not many people would be willing to do that whether they live in a western or southern suburb and work in Minneapolis or they live in Minneapolis and work in a western or southern suburb.

            • Monte Castleman November 7, 2019 at 7:17 am #

              There’s a lot of people that refuse to ride buses but are willing to ride trains. Rail bias is so strong in our reason that at one point we were considering removing a lane on I-35W for light rail.

              Of course if we wanted to build a rail link that was more usable than the Green Line for downtown to downtown commuting- something that doesn’t have stops so close together you can see them and gets caught at every red light- I’d support that.

              • John Maddening November 7, 2019 at 8:21 am #

                I love trains, but even I can’t justify spending another billion dollars to duplicate service that already exists — only faster — because some people think they’re too good for buses. A BRT line between the downtowns (maybe with one stop at Snelling) is far more feasible, and much more likely to get funding.

                I’m all in, though, on fixing this ridiculousness about trains not overriding signals. (standing in sub-zero temperature at the Lexington station when a train juuuuuuust misses the light and having to wait for another whole cycle is something I experience far too often).

                • Eric Ecklund November 7, 2019 at 8:38 am #

                  There’s several reasons for rail-bias:
                  1) Trains are bigger than buses, so more room to sit and relax.
                  2) Trains only go where there are tracks, whereas a bus could change routing and leave people stranded.
                  3) A bus route can easily disappear whereas a train route can’t. Less people want to depend on a bus that can easily change or be discontinued.
                  3) Trains handle blizzard conditions better than buses. Whenever there’s a blizzard Metro Transit continuously updates on bus and train delays; while buses are delayed the light rail and Northstar almost always have little to no delay.
                  4) Road construction season.

                  Of course, trains can’t be built everywhere. However, buses aren’t always the solution either. In terms of downtown-to-downtown I think we should have BRT (likely an extension of the Gold Line from St. Paul) and regional rail, but regional rail is connecting two suburban regions (i.e. Wayzata-Minneapolis-St. Paul-Stillwater).

  2. Scott November 6, 2019 at 11:04 am #

    Interesting post.
    1. What about the 394 trench running beneath the B & C parking facilities as space for rail platform expansion? Both actually lose money and are more than 30 years old. Could that trench be repurposed for rail platforms and even connected through a tunnel to Target Field Station? There seem to be other options for motorists to enter and exit downtown via 394 with that space being better utilized.
    2. Do you know whether any level of government is considering passenger rail facility expansion in downtown Minneapolis such as the MNdot rail office, Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority, or the City of Minneapolis? In fact Minneapolis is drafting their 10-year Transportation Action Plan right now to be released next year.

    • Eric Ecklund November 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

      That would be useful for trains to/from the west, but a tunnel under the river would likely be needed for through-routing trains.
      MnDOT’s 2015 State Rail Plan acknowledges the lack of room for expansion at Target Field Station and that a new rail station may be needed, but it didn’t go into detail on possible locations.

      • Joe November 11, 2019 at 8:53 am #

        People talk underground. Both STP and Minneapolis have skyways. Elevate a line up and have an Express route train go to Union to downtown Minneapolis

  3. Anon November 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm #

    Target Field and the Depot are both disappointing in that they force passengers to transfer between trains outdoors. Trudging through snow salt while pushing a suitcase really kills the romance of train travel.

    Put it all underground and connect it to the skyway. Just like the airport.

    • Andrew Evans November 7, 2019 at 8:43 am #

      That depends on how you define train travel, and if it’s local or not. It also depends on how a person gets to the train station and what they are doing once there.

      In France taking the TGV from the CDG airport is a confusing mess, and way more frustrating than having a transfer outdoors in the same area like Target Field. Especially when a flight is late enough to miss the train, then buying new tickets adds another layer of frustration. Arriving in the south of the country (usually Nice) requires more walking although the weather isn’t usually that bad.

      Learning that lesson, flying into CDG and staying at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center for a night means a short hour ride in the Metro, extra time in Paris to be a tourist, and quarter mile walk or so from the Denfert-Rochereau stop, after a transfer. From there it’s that same walk back, another transfer, and more walking at the Gare due Nord, oh and then the platform is somewhat or mostly out in the open to finally get to the train.

      The most romantic was taking a train from Prague to Kosice. The hotel we stayed at in Prague was across the park from the train station. However, as a tourist there was quite a bit of walking in Prague, and the platform in Kosice was out in the open. From there it was a taxi to the Airport to rent a car. It was a cute 8 hour train ride, and beers were about a dollar, so there was that. Almost all the 20 stops on the way were outdoors, and most of the transit we saw in Slovakia was outdoors.

      In NYC some platforms are out in the elements, a person has to walk to them, and don’t get me started about the stations that have transfers which require walking a few blocks underground. Granted taking the airtrain from JFK to a subway station is covered, and from there it’s all underground to wherever. Although flying into Newark means that you need to grab a commuter train and that platform was outside in the elements.

      Taking a train from NYC to Philly was ok, but once there most of the smaller commuter stations are outside and would require walking in the elements.

      So I’m just not sure what you’re getting at by saying people can’t be outside for a transfer. Also quite a bit of traveling is pushing that suitcase through the elements and a lot of walking.

      Although not perfect, we really don’t have it that bad here.

  4. James Schoettler November 6, 2019 at 10:10 pm #

    Many good ideas, but involving numerous government agencies, counties and municipalities.
    So unlikely to go anywhere until the Metropolitan Council is persuaded to actually express some leadership, take the lead and develop some real plans.

    • Eric Ecklund November 7, 2019 at 8:45 am #

      Most infrastructure projects have several stakeholders involved, but you are right that the Met Council, as well as MnDOT, would need to champion this. As of now their leadership seems to be talking about how bad climate change and congestion are but continuing the same old philosophy of widening roads and allowing auto-dependent and sprawled development.

  5. Andrew Evans November 7, 2019 at 8:11 am #

    Not a huge rail fan or great rail mind, but there were articles when Union Depot was renovated to accept Amtrack that talked about the difficulties of switching passenger trans across those 4 to 6 tracks with all of the freight that moves through that line. The same issue somewhat applies to Target Field, that trans going from there would move through congested freight lines and yards. There isn’t the passenger rail infrastructure, or rail lines through town like there once were.

  6. Jerry Ratliff November 7, 2019 at 10:01 am #

    Great discussion- thank you.

    I have spent half my life in Mpls and half in St Paul. As a child in Mpls we loved the wrecking ball with the urban renewal in areas like Washington Avenue and as an adult I love the beautiful older buildings such as Landmark center & SPUD (St Paul Union Depot). I had mixed feelings over demolishing the mansions on the river near 57th Ave North- more areas to hike as a kid but they were gorgeous homes making way for an ugly I-94 freeway. Sad to see the GN depot demolished.

    Looking back one can see the consequences of short term thinking and lack of planning. However, cars & planes received huge subsidies along with urban renewal and the Target Field area is a classic example of all those forces coming together. In 1970s era railroads were going bankrupt and this was yet another force on public opinion.

    Today we are looking for better & more frequent train service to try and catch up with the rest of the world- think this kind of discussion is past due and great to see this happen. This needs to be seen by the general public asap.

  7. Evan Roberts
    Evan November 8, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

    This is an interesting overview of the situation—Target Field station has two problems
    1. It serves the edge of the city and not the center
    2. Although the tracks continue through the station, it operates like a terminus in which trains enter and leave on the same track, with a significant bottleneck across the river.

    A partial solution to 1 is to allow greater density around the station, and the removal of the 94 off-ramps which is being mooted can help with this. But as you note the other solutions to getting heavy rail into the middle of Minneapolis involve tunnels to bring tracks under downtown.

    A solution to 2 is to develop services that are through running east-to-west and vice versa, so that trainsets are not running back and forth across Nicollet Island competing for the same limited amount of track.

  8. Angela November 8, 2019 at 6:34 pm #

    This region it farm country most people perfer driving with subsidized parking and less 10% use mass transit.Look at LRT they have wait at traffic lights GL is 50mins ride between the downtowns comparable to #16 bus.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller November 9, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

      The metro is “farm country?” Um, no.

      And “prefer” means nothing when the preference is highly subsidized.

  9. Allen November 17, 2019 at 9:50 am #


    St. Paul Union Depot is a natural choice as a regional and intercity rail hub

    Something where LRT doesn’t come into the same shed, that cost a quarter of BILLION to make useable and sits on the single most congested segment of rail in the state may be a “natural” choice – whatever that means, but it wasn’t a smart choice.

  10. redtube November 19, 2019 at 10:40 am #

    The addition of Target Field extended downtown Minneapolis west past Interstate 394, McLaughlin said. And this project, he continued, will extend the urban core even farther.

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