Community weighs in on newest Blue Line Extension route option

Community weighs in on newest Blue Line Extension route option

Community weighs in on newest Blue Line Extension route option

People in Minneapolis are reacting to the newest route option for the Blue Line Extension project through North Minneapolis.

This project extends the existing Blue Line at Target Field to Brooklyn Park, with several stops along the way. But there’s been plenty of backlash to the idea of running the train through a stretch of North Minneapolis.

“We just don’t feel comfortable with a light rail plowing down all of those homes,” said Kristel Porter, executive director of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

RELATED: ‘It’s time to speak up’: Businesses in north Minneapolis oppose light rail plan on West Broadway Avenue

The new route would have trains cross a bridge along 21st Avenue instead of a longer stretch of West Broadway Avenue. But eventually, the route does join West Broadway at James Avenue.

KMOJ radio’s General Manager Freddie Bell says, based on where they’re at on West Broadway, they’re in trouble.

“I’m concerned about our folks and what the continued impact could be,” Bell said. “We have to be concerned about where we move, where do we go, how do we have continuous operation?”

“The plan is . . . it’s just not going to work,” Porter said.

Porter says they have partnerships with many in the nearby neighborhoods along 21st Avenue.

“Anything that happens in those neighborhoods still affects us,” Porter said. “The fact that they re-routed it, it still doesn’t address the fact that it’s still going down West Broadway, it’s still going to displace a lot of businesses and residents as well.”

If this option does move forward, the Met Council says there’s a plan to fully reconstruct West Broadway and make improvements that would benefit businesses and residents. The Met Council adds this is on the table because of all the community feedback it received. That’s something Bell hopes continues.

“I’m excited that people are speaking up and saying what they feel about the entire project,” Bell said.

Nothing is finalized on the route yet and residents can weigh in by clicking here.

Met Council also sent a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that reads, in part:

“The Blue Line Extension is a critical piece of our light rail network that will serve areas with the highest number of households in the state who do not own a car and rely on transit to meet their everyday needs. These communities have been underserved by transportation and transit investments and continue to experience significant racial and economic disparities related to historic patterns of disinvestment. These staff recommendations are another important step in our effort to better serve these communities. Ultimately, having a preferred, community-supported route will be a significant milestone that sets the stage for additional environmental analysis, engineering, and design needed to identify potential impacts and opportunities associated with the project.”