Partnering to maximize community and economic benefits of Bus Rapid Transit
Penn Avenue Community Works program leverages transit investment to revitalize Northside
The launch of the METRO C Line marks the second rapid bus line in the Twin Cities and the first all-electric buses in the Metro Transit fleet. It will provide faster, more frequent service connecting residents on Minneapolis’ historically underserved north side and Brooklyn Center with jobs and economic opportunities downtown.
The new 8.5-mile route is bringing major mobility improvements to the Northside, but transit investments of this scale also create opportunity for broader community investment and economic development.
To help communities realize broader C Line benefits, Hennepin County established the Penn Avenue Community Works program in 2012 by committing $15 million to invest strategically over time.
Community Works staff have worked closely with community partners and other agencies to stimulate and guide economic development, create jobs, and enhance beautification and livability along the Penn Avenue Corridor.
As part of this effort, the county invested $8.5 million to coordinate a full reconstruction of Penn Avenue between Lowry and West Broadway avenues with construction of the C Line to answer the community’s desire for a safer, more welcoming Penn Avenue.
Improving the corridor
Improvements along the corridor include:
- Adding green boulevards with trees and landscaping
- Narrowing the road and enhancing crossings to improve safety for all users
- Installing street lighting
Other current and future projects supported through Penn Avenue Community Works include affordable housing developments, new spaces for stores and businesses, and creating vibrant public spaces. There are also programs to support new and existing homeowners in the corridor.
Partnerships with Metro Transit, the city of Minneapolis and a broad coalition of north side residents, organizations and community partners made the work possible.
The C Line and Penn Avenue Community Works program is one example of how government agencies can work with each other and with communities to drive change, create opportunities for residents, and reduce disparities.