Bottineau Transitway - Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT PLANNING DOCUMENTS HAVE ADDRESSED THE BOTTINEAU TRANSITWAY?

Transportation and land use studies along the Bottin­eau Corridor began in 1988 with the Hennepin County Comprehensive LRT System Plan. Since then, the Bottineau (Northwest) Transitway has consistently been included in regional transportation system plans.

A study of the “universe of alternatives” for the Bottineau Corridor was initiated by Hennepin County in 2008. This Alternatives Analysis study was the beginning of a federal process to identify mobility problems and other locally-identified objectives in a transportation corridor; evaluate ways to address transportation needs; and evaluate the costs, benefits, and impacts of transit alternatives. The study identified the transitway types (mode) and locations (alignment) to be ad­vanced for more focused study and development. The process concludes with the selection of a locally preferred alternative (LPA) mode and alignment that are amended into the regional long-range transportation plan, the 2030 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP).

Our region’s TPP was amended in May 2013 to include an LPA for the Bottineau Transitway of light rail transit (LRT) along West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad corridor, and Olson Memorial Highway/Trunk Highway 55 in Minneapolis (called the B-C-D1 alignment).

WHAT IS A LOCALLY PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE?

The locally preferred alternative (LPA) is the transitway alternative that the corridor’s cities, counties, and the Metropolitan Council recom­mend for construction. The LPA specifies both the type of transit that will be used (mode) and the location (alignment). Other elements of the project, including exact end points and final station locations, are established formally during the project’s design phase based on ad­ditional information, including opening year ridership forecasts. The selection of an LPA tells the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) which alternative local agencies expect to be the most competitive in achieving support at the local, regional, and federal levels.
The selection of an LPA for the Bottineau Transitway al­lows the project to pursue federal funding. It is ex­pected that the region will pursue federal funding for the Bottineau Transitway through FTA’s New Starts program.
The Twin Cities region’s 2030 Transportation Policy Plan was amended in early 2013 to include an LPA for the Bottineau Transitway of light rail transit (LRT) along the alignment of West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad corridor, and Olson Memorial Highway/Trunk Highway 55 in Minneapolis (called the B-C-D1 alignment).

WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE SELECTION OF THE LOCALLY PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE?

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), in consultation with the Metropolitan Council and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is serving as the local lead agency for the Bottineau Transitway Alternatives Analysis and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) processes. Throughout these processes, there has been active engagement with the public and project advisory committees. Public open houses were held at various stages to gather public input on the proposed alternatives. Local agency partners, including staff from corridor cities, Metro Transit, MnDOT and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, participate on these project advisory committees:

Advise, Review, and Communicate Committee (ARCC)
Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)

The PAC and HCRRA recommended the LPA for consideration by the Metropolitan Council. The Metropolitan Council adopted the LPA into the region’s Transportation Policy Plan in May 2013.

WHAT CRITERIA HAVE BEEN USED TO MAKE DECISIONS?

Three sets of evaluation criteria form the frame­work for decisions leading to the selection of a locally preferred alternative (LPA):

  1. The Bottineau Transitway purpose and need, and goals and objectives (local criteria)
  2. The Metropolitan Council transitway capital invest­ment criteria, discussed in the Metropolitan Council’s Regional Transitway Guidelines (regional criteria)
  3. The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts project justification criteria (federal criteria; proposed guidance for the MAP-21 surface transportation authorization has been issued,  but is still under development)

WHAT IS THE PROJECT SCHEDULE?

The timeline for development of the Bottineau Transitway is dependent on a number of factors, including receipt federal funds for construction from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Competing with other projects throughout the nation for federal funds, the project falls under the latest surface transportation authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Implementation of MAP-21 is likely to have implications on the Bottineau Transitway’s project development process, but it is currently uncertain what the implications will be as guidance for the new authorization is still being developed. An explanation of the phases within MAP-21 can be found here.

The Bottineau Transitway project has not yet applied for entry into the Project Development phase under MAP-21. Once started, the Project Development phase may take up to 2 years, after which Engineering may take 1-2 years, and Construction an additional 3-4 years to complete. The line could be open for service as soon as late 2020.

HOW WILL MY NEIGHBORHOOD BE IMPACTED BY THE BOTTINEAU TRANSITWAY?

Plans for the Bottineau light rail transit line are still in the beginning stages and will be further developed and refined as the project moves along. Because of this, all project design details are not known at this time. Big projects like light rail can bring growth and change to communities. As plans for the transitway move from the early stages to the final design, project partners will work closely with the communities to support positive changes and minimize negative impacts.

Current development plans include a Hennepin County Public Library at the corner of 85th Avenue and West Broadway and the Target North campus in Brooklyn Park. Land use plans for the areas around the stations will soon be underway. These plans are critical in making sure the surrounding communities take full advantage of the Bottineau LRT line.  The plans will identify and consider transportation and circulation issues, potential zoning changes, urban design and placemaking, and public infrastructure that make for great neighborhoods and high quality transit-oriented development.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO BUILD THE BOTTINEAU LRT LINE?

Current concepts for the Bottineau Transitway are preliminary in nature. However, costs for the light rail line as currently envisioned are estimated at around $1 billion (2017 dollars). At this time, it is anticipated that funds for capital costs will come from four sources: the Counties Transit Improvement Board’s transit sales tax in the metro area (30 percent), the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (10 percent), the State of Minnesota (10 percent), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) (50 percent).

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL RIDE THE BOTTINEAU LRT?

Bottineau light rail transit (LRT) is projected to provide 27,000 daily rides by the year 2030, with anticipated annual ridership of 8,500,000. Bottineau LRT will be an extension of the METRO Blue Line (formerly called Hiawatha LRT), and will provide a one-seat ride from Brooklyn Park, through downtown Minneapolis, to the Mall of America.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RIDE THE BOTTINEAU LRT BETWEEN BROOKLYN PARK AND DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS?

A trip between the proposed Oak Grove Parkway in Brooklyn Park (the northern end of the line) and Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis on the Bottineau Transitway will take about 29 minutes.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED OR OFFER INPUT?

The next opportunities for the public to offer comments and input will be when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) is released in late 2013. After the Draft EIS is released, there will be opportunities for the public to submit comments and offer input at public meetings and formal public hearings, and by submitting written comments via mail or email. Station Area Planning efforts will also be ongoing in 2014 and 2015 and will offer additional opportunities for public input and comment.

 

 

 

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