About the Project | Regional Transitway System | Timelines | Fact Sheets
WHAT IS THE BOTTINEAU TRANSITWAY?
The Bottineau Transitway is a proposed project that will provide for transit improvements in the highly traveled northwest area of the Twin Cities. The Bottineau Transitway is located in Hennepin County, Minnesota, extending approximately 13 miles from downtown Minneapolis to the northwest serving north Minneapolis and the suburbs of Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, Brooklyn Park, and Maple Grove. The transitway investment is anticipated to serve a broader area to the northwest, including the communities of Dayton, Rogers, and Hassan Township. (Hassan Township was annexed into the City of Rogers on January 1, 2012.)
The Bottineau Transitway will connect north Minneapolis and the region’s northwest suburbs with the region’s system of transitways that consist of light rail transit (LRT) on the Blue Line (Hiawatha) and Green Line (Central Corridor and the planned Southwest line), bus rapid transit (BRT) on the Red Line (Cedar Avenue) and Orange Line (I-35W South), the Northstar commuter rail, and express bus routes. The Bottineau Transitway also will maintain or enhance local and express bus service throughout the corridor.
WHAT HAS BEEN STUDIED ON 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. In 2008, the Bottineau corridor was one of 29 corridors analyzed for their potential for commuter rail or LRT/BRT investments in the Metropolitan Council’s Transit Master Study. The study concluded that the Bottineau corridor should continue to be advanced toward implementation. This conclusion is reflected in the region’s current long-range transportation plan, the 2030 Transportation Policy Plan (adopted in 2010), which identifies the Bottineau Transitway as one of the transit corridors to be developed by 2030 as either LRT, Busway, Highway BRT, or Commuter Rail.
An Alternatives Analysis (AA) of the Bottineau Transitway was initiated by Hennepin County in 2008. An AA is a federal process for the local evaluation of the costs, benefits, and impacts of transit alternatives designed to address mobility problems and other locally-identified objectives in a transportation corridor. It is used to identify the transitway type (mode) and location (alignment) to be advanced for more focused study and development. The AA process concludes with the selection of a locally preferred alternative (LPA) mode and alignment that are amended into the regional long-range plan, the 2030 Transportation Policy Plan.
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 end points and final station locations, are established formally during subsequent engineering based on additional information, including opening year travel demand forecasts. The selection of an LPA tells the 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 and its amendment into the region’s long-range transportation plan marks the end of the AA process. Concluding the AA process allows the project to pursue federal funding. It is expected that the region will pursue federal funding for the Bottineau Transitway through the FTA New Starts program.
Currently, a recommended LPA for the Bottineau Transitway (LRT from Brooklyn Park, down County Road 81, and down Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad right-of-way adjacent Theodore Wirth Regional Park) has been identified by the Bottineau Transitway Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). This recommended LPA has been supported by a Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority resolution, along with resolutions by the cities of Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park. The City of Golden Valley has not passed a resolution of support for the recommended LPA. Local support for an LPA is an important factor for the Metropolitan Council to consider when adopting an LPA into the regional long-range plan.
WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE LPA SELECTION PROCESS?
The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), in consultation with the Metropolitan Council and the FTA, is serving as the local lead agency for the Bottineau Transitway AA. Throughout the AA process, there has been active engagement with the public and project advisory committees. Public open houses were held at various stages throughout the AA process to gather public input on the proposed alternatives. Local agency partners participate on these project advisory committees:
Advise, Review, and Communicate Committee (ARCC)
Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)
WHAT CRITERIA WERE USED TO MAKE DECISIONS?
Three sets of evaluation criteria form the framework for decisions leading to the selection of an LPA:
- The Bottineau Transitway purpose and need, and goals and objectives (local criteria)
- The Metropolitan Council transitway capital investment criteria, discussed in the Metropolitan Council’s Regional Transitway Guidelines(regional criteria)
- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts project justification criteria (national criteria)
The purpose of the Bottineau Transitway is stated as follows: The purpose of the Bottineau Transitway is to provide transit service which will satisfy the long-term regional mobility and accessibility needs for businesses and the traveling public. Five factors contribute to the need for the project: growing travel demand, increasing traffic congestion, people who depend on transit, limited transit service to suburban destinations (reverse commute opportunities) and time-efficient transit options, and regional objectives for growth stated in the Regional Development Framework.
The Bottineau Transitway project goals and objectives were initially developed during the AA Study and used throughout the alternatives development and evaluation process:
Goal 1: Enhance regional access to activity centers
Goal 2: Enhance the effectiveness of transit service within the corridor
Goal 3: Provide a cost-effective and financially feasible transit system
Goal 4: Promote sustainable development patterns
Goal 5: Support healthy communities and sound environmental practices