Twin Cities Light Rail Transit (fantasy transit)

This page details the Twin Cities Light Rail Transit (LRT) system of my overall fantasy transit system.  This system builds upon the existing Hiawatha LRT line and proposed Central and Southwest LRT lines to create a full system through the core of the Twin Cities metro area.  8 lines branch out from downtown Minneapolis, one of which connects to downtown St. Paul.  4 additional lines branch out from downtown St. Paul.  In addition, there are two "crosstown" lines serving the core of southern Hennepin County.  These 15 LRT lines (plus one line subset) not only feed off each other, but also serve to tie into the intercity, commuter rail, and streetcar networks in my fantasy transit system.

The below table shows a quick description of the LRT lines in my fantasy system.  Included are links to each corridor page and maps of each corridor.

Line Name Location Description Map Links
n/a Downtown Minneapolis This page describes the Downtown Minneapolis portion of my fantasy LRT system.
n/a Downtown St. Paul This page describes the Downtown St. Paul portion of my fantasy LRT system.
Hiawatha Downtown Minneapolis to Mall of America This line follows the real-life Hiawatha LRT line.
Hiawatha Express Downtown Minneapolis to MSP Airport This subset of the Hiawatha LRT line would be an express train running between the Downtown Multimodal station at the new Twins Stadium and the Lindbergh Terminal at Minneapolis/St. Paul Int'l Airport.
Cedar Mall of America to Apple Valley

This line is an LRT-ized version of the planned Cedar BRT line and would be an extension of the Hiawatha line.

Lakeville Downtown Minneapolis to Lakeville This line generally follows the I-35W corridor from downtown Minneapolis to Burnsville, then along the old Dan Patch corridor to Lakeville.  It would replace the real-life-planned I-35W BRT line.
Hennepin Downtown Minneapolis to Bloomington via Southdale This line connects downtown Minneapolis with Uptown Minneapolis, the Linden Hills area, 50th/France, Southdale, and the Centennial Lakes area.
Southwest Downtown Minneapolis to Chaska This line generally follows Alternate 3A for the real-life-proposed Southwest Line, with some changes and a lengthy extension from Eden Prairie to Chaska.
Bottineau Downtown Minneapolis to Maple Grove Town Center This line follows the under-study Bottineau corridor, and generally follows the most likely routing via Olson Hwy, Robbinsdale, and extending to Maple Grove Town Center.
Osseo Spur Downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park via Osseo Part of a spur off the Bottineau line, this line follows the under-study Bottineau corridor, and generally follows the routing proposed for the Northwest LRT line in the 1988 LRT studies, with an extension through Osseo to the new Target North campus.
Northtown Downtown Minneapolis to Anoka This line runs from downtown Minneapolis to Anoka via Fridley and Northtown Mall.  The southern half of the line is loosely based on the ca. 1990 Northeast LRT studies.
Roseville Downtown Minneapolis to White Bear Lake This line connects downtown Minneapolis with White Bear Lake, generally following a corridor previously studied as the "Northeast Radial".
University Downtown Minneapolis to Downtown St. Paul This line follows the real-life-proposed Central LRT line.
White Bear Downtown St. Paul to White Bear Lake This line is an offshoot of the Rush Line corridor, providing service between downtown St. Paul and White Bear Lake.
Woodbury Downtown St. Paul to Woodbury This line follows I-94 East from downtown St. Paul to near 3M, then cuts southeast to near Woodbury City Hall.
Inver Grove Downtown St. Paul to Inver Grove Heights This line is based on the 1991 Scoping Document for the then-proposed St. Paul South line.  It extends to Inver Hills Community College.
Riverview Downtown St. Paul to Mall of America This line is based on Alternate 4 from the 2000 Riverview Corridor study, running from downtown St. Paul to the airport and the Mall of America.
Midtown Hopkins to Midway Center This line is an LRT-ized version of the proposed Midtown Greenway Streetcar, with extensions west to Hopkins and eastward to the University Line at Midway Center.
Bloomington Southwest Transit Station to Mall of America This line follows the I-494 "Bloomington Strip" corridor between Eden Prairie Center and the Mall of America.


Continuous Line Connections

The setup of my fantasy Light Rail system allows for continuous connection between adjoining lines.  These continuous connections could be further identified by a color coding or other type of system.  Below is a table showing an example of how the individual lines could be combined and color coded:

Line Name (Color) Associated LRT Routes
Red Lakeville, Northtown
Blue Bottineau, Hiawatha, Cedar
Green Southwest, University, Inver Grove
Orange Hennepin, Roseville
Yellow Bloomington, Riverview, Woodbury
Purple White Bear
Silver Midtown
Gold Hiawatha Express


Rough Cost Estimates

The below chart shows a rough cost estimate for each line, based on a planning-level cost of $100 million per mile overall, and $200 million per mile for the downtown Minneapolis tunnels.  The "University Line" estimate is based on cost estimates for the real-life Central LRT line and including a tunnel through the University of Minnesota.  This list excludes the "Hiawatha Express" mentioned above.

Line Name Location Mileage Cost
Downtown North-South Line Convention Center to University Ave 2.1 $420 million
Downtown East-West Line Twins Stadium to Metrodome 1.7 $340 million
Hiawatha Improvements to existing Hiawatha line N/A $200 million
Hiawatha Express MSP Airport to Twins Stadium 5.3 $530 million
Cedar Mall of America to Lakeville 10.5

$1,050 million

Lakeville Convention Center to Lakeville 25.0 $2,500 million
Hennepin Convention Center to American Blvd 9.7 $1,290 million
Southwest Twins Stadium to Chaska 24.5 $2,450 million
Bottineau Twins Stadium to Maple Grove 13.2 $1,320 million
Osseo Spur 77th Ave N to Target Campus 4.1 $410 million
Northtown University Ave to Anoka 18.9 $1,890 million
Roseville University Ave to White Bear Lake 14.5 $1,450 million
University Metrodome to Capital City 8.8 $1,100 million
White Bear Capital City to White Bear Lake 11.6 $1,160 million
Woodbury Capital City to Woodbury 8.9 $890 million
Inver Grove Capital City to Inver Grove Heights 9.1 $910 million
Riverview Fort Snelling to Capital City 7.1 $710 million
Midtown West Lake to University Ave 8.0 $800 million
Bloomington Eden Prairie Center to Mall of America 10.9 $1,090 million
Totals   193.9 $20,510 million

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Page last modified 31 October, 2009