Stay in the Loop

Light Rail Extension Through North Loop Being Considered

The Blue Line of Metro Transit’s light rail system–which currently runs between Target Field and Mall of America–is about to be extended north another 13 miles through Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park, with construction beginning in 2026.

The latest plan under consideration has trains going down 10th Avenue in the North Loop and north from there on Washington Avenue. It would dramatically change the two block area of 10th Ave between 4th Street (by the Salvation Army) and Washington Avenue.

Dan Soler, Hennepin County’s director of Transit and Mobility, told a meeting of the North Loop Neighborhood Association that an earlier plan to send the trains through Lyndale Avenue instead no longer seems viable because they received a “tremendous amount of negativity from neighbors.”

Dan Soler, right, speaking at NLNA meeting

But this newer route is facing pushback now from some North Loop residents, particularly in 918 Lofts who raised concerns about noise, safety and potential damage to their historic building. They’re collecting names on this petition to express their opposition to the plan.

One option: keeping one lane for vehicles

If the plan does go through, it would eliminate at least one lane of vehicle traffic on that section of 10th Avenue–and perhaps both lanes if officials decide to put in bike lanes and eliminate vehicle traffic altogether there.

Another option: trains and bikes only

Metro Transit points out that “this route serves some of the most racially and economically diverse communities in Hennepin County, and will connect people to jobs and opportunities along the line.”

There is another route being considered that would avoid much of Washington Avenue as well as that section of 10th Avenue (pink line on the map above) by running the trains closer to Interstate 94, behind Twin Cities International Schools. This would be in a much less populated area, which Soler pointed out would make it less accessible to users of the line.

The proposal is still in the planning stages and residents are invited to take part in a survey (link here) of which route they prefer.

The projected opening date for the extension is 2030.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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