Walk the Talk: Celebrate BRT and LRT Milestones

Editor’s noteWalk the Talk is Streets.mn’s carefully curated, highly partisan collection of both serious and fun-loving events, community meetings and opportunities for engagement that we think will interest our readers. Email your ideas to Hawken Habig, one of our daily editors, at [email protected].

Rail Anniversary Celebration — Tuesday, June 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The METRO Green Line at Target Field Station on opening day. Photo by Mike Doyle for Metro Transit under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Twenty years ago this month, the Blue Line opened for service as the Twin Cities’ first light rail line. Ten years later, in June 2014, the Green Line began operation. To celebrate these momentous occasions and the success of both rail lines, Metro Transit will be set up at Target Field Station for lawn games, music, food, giveaways and more on June 18, immediately preceding the Minnesota Twins game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Stop by and take a chance to celebrate, and wear blue or green in a show of support!

Walk Around Highway 280 — Tuesday, June 25, 6:30 p.m.

Highway 280 is a state highway that connects I-94 in St. Paul and I-35W in Northeast Minneapolis via the Midway neighborhood and Lauderdale. Like I-94 (and pretty much all highways), 280 may contribute to negative impacts on the health and well-being of those living and working in its vicinity. Given its connection to I-94 and the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) current redevelopment plans, the St. Anthony Park Community Council Transportation Committee will be conducting a community walk around the southern part of Highway 280 on Tuesday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m. Participants will meet at South St. Anthony Park near the intersection of Territorial Road with 280 for the chance to learn more about the highway’s history and its effects on the surrounding neighborhoods, and weigh whether the highway should be included in current discussions on the future of I-94.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project Updates

The Twin Cities has been spearheading the development and implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) in recent years, with multiple corridors in various stages from pre-planning to construction. This includes what is dubbed arterial BRT (aBRT, the lettered routes) and BRT on highways or fixed guideways (the non-LRT color routes). Almost a year ago on Walk the Talk, we provided an update on the system — so now, especially as we get into the thick of construction season, is a good time to follow up!

B Line: Set to operate primarily on Lake Street in Minneapolis and Marshall and Selby avenues in St. Paul, the $65 million B Line is currently under construction and is expected to open next June, largely replacing service from Route 21. Comprehensive construction updates — including maps of new stations and tips on how to navigate the labyrinthian construction zones — can be found here.

E Line: Also currently under construction is the $60 million E Line, which will largely follow the path of Route 6 (or at least one of its many branches). Station construction is underway on France Avenue and the University/4th corridor, and work will continue next year with development near Downtown Minneapolis and on University Avenue. See more info on construction impacts here.

F Line: Those of us excited to see Route 10 along Central and University avenues receive a significant upgrade in BRT were disappointed to hear that F Line construction was pushed back to 2028. This was done to coincide with roadway upgrades planned by MnDOT, which have also been in the works for the past several years. All this to say: don’t expect to hear any major updates on the F Line anytime in the near future. (But still sign up for email updates in case there are!)

County Road 42 BRT: The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), which provides transit to part of the south metro, is currently developing plans for a BRT route along County Road 42. The project is currently in its “study” phase, during which comments may be received via an online interactive map or shared via email with [email protected]. The project would be a first of its kind as the region’s only suburb-exclusive BRT line.

Gold Line: After starting construction last spring, the Gold Line is expected to wrap up the bulk of the work by the beginning of next year, with an opening date of March 22, 2025. Unlike other BRT projects in the Twin Cities, the Gold Line will run on approximately 70% bus-only lanes, largely along the I-94 corridor, providing quicker service and a better experience for riders. Note that Gold Line staff held construction tours last summer, which will (we hope!) resume this season. Keep an eye on updates and construction impacts here.

About Hawken Habig

Hawken is a student of Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a copy editor at Streets.mn. He also composes Streets.mn's bi-weekly event listing "Walk the Talk;" email any ideas for events or opportunities to [email protected]!