Community members and a nationally acclaimed design firm are being invited to help imagine the next chapter for the Chicago-Lake Transit Center, one of the busiest boarding locations in the Twin Cities.
The 13-year-old transit center, just west of the Midtown Exchange, is being rethought in part because two new enhanced stations will be added nearby when Bus Rapid Transit lines open on Chicago Avenue and Lake Street, shifting boardings away from the transit center.
The stations will be part of the METRO D Line, which will substantially replace Route 5, and the METRO B Line, which will substantially replace Route 21. Pending full funding, the D Line is expected to be under construction as early as 2021; construction on the B Line could begin in 2022.
After the new BRT lines open, the transit center could be repurposed as a “mobility hub” where shared bikes, scooters and vehicles are centrally located. The City of Minneapolis tested mobility hubs throughout the city in 2019.
On an average weekday, around 2,700 customers now board at the Chicago-Lake Transit Center. The new BRT lines and nearby development are expected to bring even more activity to the site.
In addition to high-frequency transit, the site is close to the Midtown Greenway, one of the most popular bike trails in Minneapolis, and an array of healthcare centers, service agencies and businesses.
Community input will be sought during the design process. That work is being supported by the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), an international nonprofit dedicated to building great places and walkable, vibrant neighborhoods.
Through its Legacy Projects program, CNU member design firms provide pro bono design work on several local projects in the communities where CNU hosts is annual Congress. CNU’s 2020 Congress will be held in the Twin Cities.
The Chicago-Lake design work will be led by CNU member firm Van Meter Williams Pollack, LLP, based in San Francisco, Calif.
Shared mobility providers and Ryan Companies, the property owners, will also be involved in the design process. Preliminary designs are expected to be completed by next summer and ideas will likely be tested with low-cost or temporary changes ahead of any significant investment.
CNU will sponsor three other Legacy Projects in the Twin Cities region. Those projects will help advance plans for:
> An indoor-outdoor market in the Little Mekong district on University Avenue;
> Placemaking in the District Del Sol, on St. Paul’s West Side;
> A redesign of the intersection of Portland Avenue and Interstate 494, on the Richfield-Bloomington border.
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