Bottineau Community Works

Collaborative corridor planning for the METRO Blue Line LRT Extension

To prepare for the planned METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) light rail transit project, Hennepin County is partnering with cities in the northwest metro to identify and pursue community and economic development opportunities.

Through the Bottineau Community Works program, Hennepin County and cities in the Bottineau corridor (Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, and Robbinsdale) are making policy and infrastructure improvements that benefit our communities.

Open all

Project partners announce new direction for METRO Blue Line Extension

Hennepin County media contact: Kyle Mianulli, 612-596-9875,

Metropolitan Council media contact: Trevor Roy, 218-590-2465,

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - August 3, 2020 - After years of unsuccessful discussions with BNSF Railway regarding colocation of light rail transit and freight rail in the Bottineau Corridor, BNSF Railway remains unwilling to allow the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Light Rail Transit) project to be built on its property. Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council now feel it is time to work with agency and community partners to explore opportunities to advance this critical project without using BNSF Railway right of way.

Hennepin County and Metropolitan Council staff, along with elected leaders, have worked hard to build on a long history of cooperation with BNSF Railway on this project. Unfortunately, over the last four years, this cooperation stopped, and the railway is unwilling to find solutions to move the project forward together.

Our commitment to the METRO Blue Line Extension LRT project has not changed. We are frustrated and disappointed in this outcome, and we recognize the time and effort agency and community partners have invested in this project over many years. These investments will remain valuable. We look forward to working together to find ways to complete this project as soon as possible.

We are optimistic that moving this project in a new direction presents an exciting opportunity to revisit and improve the METRO Blue Line Extension project to serve even more people and destinations, while maintaining as much of the existing alignment as possible.

The need for light rail that serves corridor cities, including North Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park, is greater than ever. As the next leg of our planned regional light rail network, this line will connect people to opportunities for employment, education and health. The economic benefits the METRO Blue Line Extension will bring to these communities, the Twin Cities metro and the state of Minnesota cannot wait any longer.

The communities this project will serve are the most diverse in the metro area and have the highest rates of transit-dependent households. People in these communities continue to be harmed by historic patterns of systemic racism that are compounded by a lack of transit and transportation infrastructure. Now, in the face of multiple crises disproportionately impacting communities of color, transformational investment is more urgent than ever.

"This project is a critical element in meeting our transportation needs for a growing region,” said Metropolitan Chair Charlie Zelle. “Our commitment to the Blue Line Extension has not changed and I look forward to working with project partners and community stakeholders as we chart our new pathway forward."

“For more than a decade Hennepin County has led planning for the Bottineau LRT line in close partnership with agency and community partners at all levels,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, District 1. “The cities have been particularly strong partners and done amazing work to prepare for this transformative project. Local elected leaders have been more than patient as we tried to complete a deal with the railroad, who once conducted themselves as partners in this endeavor. BNSF’s new obstinance cannot deter our work any longer. The time to forge ahead is now. These cities and the region, as a whole, need this LRT project.”

“This light rail line is more than just a project to advance—it is a commitment to the residents and communities along the corridor for robust engagement and investment for years and decades to come. The Blue Line Extension will further our region’s transit vision, and it will connect students to schools, workers to jobs, and patients to health care,” said Hennepin Commissioner Irene Fernando, District 2.

We remain deeply committed to working closely with community and city partners to determine the best course forward for the METRO Blue Line Extension project. Advancing this project will require continued strong partnerships and sincere collaboration.

Given current public health constraints, we recognize the need to be thoughtful and flexible in engaging communities. We are committed to a full and open public engagement process that honors and builds on the years of previous community work.

As a next step, Met Council will convene a meeting of the Corridor Management Committee on August 13, where project partners will discuss next steps including community conversations and engagement opportunities in the weeks and months ahead.

Project partners announce new direction for METRO Blue Line Extension (PDF)

FTA grant for transit oriented development planning

Hennepin County recently completed work on a multi-year $1.2 million planning grant from the Federal Transit Administration to support advanced planning in several key subject areas to prepare for the opportunities of light rail in the Northwest Metro. Key tasks, reports, and outcomes are included below.

Task 1: Development plans

Task 2: Infrastructure

Task 3: Housing

Task 4: Economic Development

Marketing and Branding:

Bottineau Corridor Development Guide:

Tying Theory to Practice:

Youth Internships:

Small business support:

Task 5: Innovative Financing (led by Metropolitan Council)

Task 6: Community engagement:

LISC CDI work:

Infrastructure CE:

Development & Housing CE:

Small business CE:

Marketing and branding CE:


Report back community engagement:

Communications materials:

Cultivate Bottineau

Cultivate Bottineau: Culture, Community, and Commerce was a collaborative effort to activate spaces, build connections, celebrate diversity, and promote opportunity through local artist-led creative placemaking projects in the Bottineau Corridor. Supported by the McKnight Foundation, this project was coordinated by Hennepin County Bottineau Community Works and Springboard for the Arts in partnership with the cities of Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park, and other community partners from January 2018 to October 2019.

Some highlights:

  • Over 200 local artists were engaged, from a few hours at an information session or an art activity, to over dozens of hours to create a large commission.
  • The nearly 50 lead artists worked with another 50 artists.
  • Over 50% of the lead artists are artists of color.
  • Nearly 50 collaborators worked with local artists.
  • Over 4800 community members attended, participated in, or encountered a local artist-led project activity. This does not include people who view permanent projects (installations, murals) as they pass by.

View the final report.

View the one page overview.

Learn more on the Cultivate Bottineau website.

Check out Cultivate Bottineau on Instagram or Twitter.

Preparing businesses for light rail

The planned METRO Blue Line Extension will connect customers, employees and investment to area businesses. To help businesses prepare for light rail, Hennepin County is working with several local organizations to provide free technical assistance to businesses near the planned LRT route.

Local businesses can access free one-on-one individualized consulting tailored to your specific business and needs.

Services offered include:

  • Accounting and record keeping
  • Budgeting
  • Financial and business analysis
  • Business plan development
  • Financial planning
  • Marketing and branding
  • Website and social media
  • And much more

View the business resource list

To access these services, contact:

Denise Butler
African Career, Education and Resource (ACER)

Natalia Halls
Neighborhood Development Center (NDC)

Anna Schmiel
Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON)

The area within a half-mile radius or a ten-minute walk of planned light rail transit stations is commonly referred to as the “station area.” Typically, this is where investments in transit infrastructure are expected to generate the greatest community opportunities and impacts. Most Bottineau Community Works program activities are focused on enhancements within station areas. Activities include:

  • Improving mobility and connections for people walking, biking and rolling
  • Increasing the impact of public and private investments in housing, commercial development and infrastructure
  • Creating economic opportunity through increased access to jobs, as well as business recruitment and development
  • Fostering healthy communities connected to regional services and amenities, educational institutions, public spaces and natural places

Map of planned station areas (PDF)

Minneapolis stations

Van White Boulevard

Penn Avenue station

Golden Valley/Minneapolis stations

Plymouth Avenue station

Golden Valley Road station

Robbinsdale station

42nd Avenue station

Crystal station

Bass Lake Road station

Brooklyn Park stations

63rd Avenue, Brooklyn Blvd, 85th Avenue, 93rd Avenue, Oak Grove Parkway stations

Bottineau corridor cities

  • Minneapolis
  • Golden Valley
  • Crystal
  • Robbinsdale
  • Brooklyn Park

Agency partners

  • Blue Line Coalition
  • Connect Blue Line Now! Coalition
  • Metropolitan council
  • Metro Transit
  • Three Rivers Park District
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
  • Urban Land Institute Minnesota
Open all