METRO Blue Line LRT Extension FEIS

METRO Blue Line

METRO Blue Line LRT Extension FEIS

Final Environmental Impact Statement Relied on Collaboration with Parks, Historical Property Agencies 

The Metropolitan Council in the Twin Cities area plans to extend its light rail system from downtown Minneapolis through north Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park. This is a major expansion of transit services for the region, an investment that local officials hope will promote equity, economic development and affordable housing. HDR was selected to develop the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the original locally preferred alternative. 

Parks and Historic Properties

The proposed 13-mile route took the double-track light rail through several highly regulated areas, including parks and places with a significant amount of historic properties. It featured 11 stations, four new park-and-ride lots, a new operations and maintenance facility, as well as new or restructured local bus routes.

NEPA issues that required particular attention with respect to technical, stakeholder, and regulatory issues included historic resources, noise and vibration, Section 4(f), Section 6(f), environmental justice, and wetlands and floodplains. The HDR team delineated wetlands, identified impacts, evaluated mitigation strategies, and coordinated with federal, state, and multiple local agencies to facilitate the wetland impact permitting process. HDR also facilitated discussions about impact mitigation with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Three Rivers Park District, the cities along the corridor and the State Historic Preservation Office.

The project involved acquiring a swath of land from Theodore Wirth Regional Park, along with impacts to several other parks and historic districts. The report identified several mitigation measures including:

  • Enhancing the station designs with features that emulate the setting and feeling of the parks
  • Adding a trailhead to Theodore Wirth Park at a park-and-ride site
  • Creating preservation plans for 12 different features within the park

The FEIS was published in July 2016 and the Record of Decision was signed by the FTA two months later. The alignment is currently under review due to a change in accessibility of right of way within the corridor, and our team continues to assist with the environmental process through 2021.

METRO Blue Line
Metropolitan Council

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
United States