UPDATE: MnDOT is now designing the project options for Rethinking I-94 and will reveal unveil them in 2023.
These options, called “project alternatives”, are the proposed designs that will continue to be studied for the corridor. Ultimately, one will be selected as the “preferred alternative.”
MnDOT is expected to unveil the initial project alternatives in early 2023, as part of the project’s draft Scoping Decision Document, and is currently collecting community feedback. Now is the time to make your voice heard to ensure that these options repair the highway’s harms and reconnect the entire project corridor!
We learned some key information about MnDOT’s alternative design process during recent project meetings. Here are three things to know:
1. A boulevard conversion option IS being studied.
It has been confirmed that a highway-to-boulevard conversion is one of the ideas that is being studied for the upcoming project alternatives. This is an important step and is a direct result of the thousands of residents who continue to share their support for the Twin Cities Boulevard with MnDOT and project decision makers. Your voices are being heard!
2. It is important that a wide variety of boulevard conversion alternatives are studied.
The Twin Cities Boulevard is a working, high-level vision for a future without the freeway. Our goal is for the final project design to be created in partnership with each community in the project corridor. To provide the flexibility for this to occur, a wide variety of boulevard conversion options should be included in the project alternatives.
We are concerned that MnDOT will initially include one boulevard conversion option in the project alternatives, only to strike it from consideration early in the process. MnDOT will likely include many different configurations for a rebuilt highway in the project alternatives. The same should be done for boulevard conversion options.
3. The Rethinking I-94 transit study places non-highway options at a disadvantage.
Last month, MnDOT and project consultants presented an initial list of transit options for the Rethinking I-94 project. As outlined in this update post, all but one of the recommended options would rebuild the highway and its harms. The study proposed eliminating many rapid transit options from future consideration, including light rail, streetcar, and a passenger rail connection.
Furthermore, the process that MnDOT is using to evaluate transit options is fundamentally flawed. MnDOT staff said that the ridership modeling for the boulevard conversion option does not consider any new housing or businesses that would occupy reclaimed highway land. In other words, MnDOT’s ridership modeling assumes that land surrounding a converted boulevard would remain vacant. This flawed analysis is certain to underestimate transit ridership for boulevard conversion options and unfairly places them at a competitive disadvantage.
The next few months are critical. Tell MnDOT what you want to see!
During door knocking conversations, community events and in the community feedback survey, many exciting ideas and suggestions have been shared for the Twin Cities Boulevard. Now is the time to share those ideas with MnDOT to make sure that they are included in the initial project alternatives.
Take action by contacting MnDOT & Rethinking I-94 decision makers about the upcoming project alternatives.
We are calling on MnDOT & project decision makers to include a wide variety of boulevard conversion designs in the upcoming project alternatives.
These project alternatives should:
- Reconnect every neighborhood in the 7.5 mile project corridor
- Be designed to function as a city street, not an at-grade highway
- Incorporate the principles of universal design to ensure that the boulevard is safe and accessible for all users
- Add new rapid transit service that operates in dedicated right-of-way
- Repurpose the remaining highway right-of-way for reparative housing and businesses development
- Include linear park space to improve access to greenspace
We are also seeking the following changes to the Rethinking I-94 transit study:
- Study comprehensive transit solutions that include a combination of new local, rapid and express transit service and serve every neighborhood in the project corridor
- Restore consideration of light rail and streetcar options and study a new Amtrak connection between the downtowns
- Add transit options that repurpose the I-94 trench for grade separated transit, including a new subway tunnel and busway
- Amend ridership modeling to consider new residents & businesses that would result from a boulevard conversion
There are three ways to take action:
Your message will be sent to MnDOT leadership and project staff as well as the elected officials, agency heads and decision makers that make up the project’s Policy Advisory Committee.
2. Call project decision makers
|MnDOT District Engineer Mike Barnes
|Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle
|Mayor Jacob Frey
|Ward 2 Council Member Robin Wonsley
|Ward 6 Council Member Jamal Osman
|District 4 County Commissioner Angela Conley
|Mayor Melvin Carter
|Ward 1 Council Member Russel Balenger
|Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali
|D3 Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo
|D4 Commissioner Toni Carter
Tips for calling:
Share your support for the Twin Cities Boulevard.
What is one reason why you support the Twin Cities Boulevard for MnDOT’s Rethinking I-94 project?
What features do you want to see included in the Rethinking I-94 project?
This could include:
- A subway or passenger rail connection for fast transit service between the downtowns
- A bikeway connecting Minneapolis & Saint Paul
- Parks & greenspace
- Affordable housing & space for small businesses
- Reconnecting every neighborhood in the project corridor
Ask for their support.
We are calling decision makers to support the Twin Cities Boulevard and include it in the upcoming project options.
3. Help us spread the word!
We will continue to knock the project corridor to inform community members about the project and to connect them with decision makers. If you are interested in joining a future door knock, sign-up here!