Regional leaders joined the Metropolitan Council and Minnesota’s Metro Transit to break ground on renovations to Mall of America Transit Center — the state's busiest transit hub.
“This transit center is a critical hub for our entire region,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “Thousands of people come here every day, whether headed to work, to shop or take in entertainment, or simply a connection point as they head home for the day. This renovation will provide a safer, more efficient, and overall more enjoyable experience for those customers who know that transit provides accessibility to jobs and opportunity.”
Safety is a major factor in the redesign. The current vehicle entrance to the transit center is used by regular mall employees and contractors, in addition to transit vehicles. The renovation will create a bus-only entrance, cutting down on the time delay created by traffic back-ups. Also, buses will no longer cross the light-rail tracks, providing improved safety for bus customers. The transit center will also provide customers with a direct connection to the mall’s east entrance.
This is the first major renovation for the 25-year-old transit center, which was last upgraded in 2004 when the METRO Blue Line opened. The transit center sees more than 5,600 boardings a day, as a connection point for light rail, the Red Line, and dozens of Metro Transit and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority bus routes.
The $25 million project includes funding from the City of Bloomington, as well as Metro Transit, Minnesota State bonds, federal CMAQ grants, and the former Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin was the Chair of CTIB before it disbanded in 2017.
The Triple Five Group, which owns Mall of America, is providing the land for the new transit center. Mall of America officials say they’re looking forward to the completion of the project. The transit center will be easier to find, with greater aesthetic appeal, improving the visitor experience.
The transit center will also include improved lighting, a family restroom, emergency telephones, and NexTrip real-time departure signs. Inside the building, there will be a new police substation along with a new operator breakroom.
“Millions of Metro Transit riders, the Mall of America and our region have been well-served by this transit center and those that developed it,” Metro Transit GM Brian Lamb said. “For that we are thankful. Now, thanks to our commitment to those same people, we can look forward to the next step in the evolution of transit service here at the Mall of America.”
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2019.
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