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Happy Birthday Light Rail!

7 July 2009

Okay, happy belated birthday – a little over two weeks ago the Hiawatha Line light rail, which runs between the Mall of American and downtown Minneapolis, celebrated it’s fifth birthday.  The line is much more successful than initially predicted with ridership already 20% ahead of what it was expected to be 11 years from now. Holy moly.  43 million rides later, the line is having to adapt to cope with such marvelous success, including adding more cars and expanding light rail stations to accommodate rush hour traffic.  The line is also expanding in Downtown to reach out to the new Twins stadium and the hub for the Northstart commuter rail, which will serve the northwestern suburbs.

There are a few more light rail projects on the horizon: of course, the drama-magnet Central Corridor to connect the Twin Cities’ two downtown areas (set to finish in 2014) and four commuter rail projects to connect suburban areas with downtown areas.

Congrats, Hiawatha Line!  It’s been a pleasure to see you grow beyond expectation for five years, and we look forward to many more.

:: Minnesota Public Radio

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