Newsmakers: New Blue Line Extension Director Talks Community Engagement
The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County approved a new route for the Blue Line Extension in late June, and this week a new director for the project is on the job.
Christine Beckwith will guide the future of the METRO Blue Line Extension project as it moves toward the start of construction in 2025.
Beckwith previously worked on the Gold and Green Lines.
“Some of the things I’ve learned on that project is really just how you let the community really drive your project decisions,” said Beckwith. “There are a dozen significant changes or adjustments we made in the project on the same phase. The blue line has the opportunity to really have the community integrate with our team and drive those decisions. That’s one thing I’m really excited about implementing.”
Beckwith says her team will be at local festivals and farmers markets to connect with the public.
“As I join the Blue Line, there’s already a strong group of Hennepin County folks on the transportation side providing their expertise. Quite a bit of the Blue Line is on the County right-of-way actually. Having that team there to drive those decisions will be beneficial to the project as well,” said Beckwith.
Some cities along the Blue Line Extension have been vocal in their concerns with the new route. This past week, Robbinsdale even discussed another request to lawmakers to use their influence to help revert the route back along BNSF lines.
Beckwith says public involvement will help guide the final decisions for the project.
“As you get further along in our final design, the detailed design, the changes are fewer. Now we need to get public involvement, we need to get public input to influence those decisions. So we will be out in the community extensively as part of environmental process itself,” said Beckwith. “It’s a requirement of the environmental process. It also happens to be the right thing to do.”
To follow the process and learn more, click here.