Rethinking I-94 — Minneapolis to St. Paul

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The Rethinking I-94 site has a new look!

This platform provides new engagement and feedback tools. Stay tuned for additional opportunities to participate in the future.

About

Rethinking I-94 study area map from Marion St. in St. Paul to Hwy 55/Hiawatha Ave in MinneapolisView full-size image

MnDOT's responsibilities on I-94 include preserving and repairing bridges, walls and pavement and enhancing mobility, safety, and connectivity. Rethinking I-94 is a long-term effort to engage with those who live, work, and play along the corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul. We’re doing this to understand the needs and hopes of people, so our work also builds and sustains healthy, equitable communities.

We recognize the actions 60 years ago devastated communities, and those impacts are still felt today. MnDOT and our partners are prioritizing the well-being of people. Our work the last few years has focused on understanding the communities in these neighborhoods, especially Indigenous people and people of color.

Rethinking I-94 improvements will support the broader community goals that those involved in our engagement efforts identified between 2016-2018. Those goals include:

  • Incorporate the livability framework and identify opportunities for establishing a sense of place, community connections, economic opportunities, equity, safety, and a healthy environment for the communities that live, work, and play there.
  • Develop and execute a community-based approach focused on reconnecting neighborhoods, revitalizing communities, and ensuring residents have a meaningful voice in transportation decisions that affect their lives.

Moving Forward

We are following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, mandated in federal law, to revise the draft goals, purpose and need, and the criteria we use to evaluate projects. MnDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration, engaging the expertise of technical committees, working groups, and an advisory committee of policymakers to inform that process. We will have those revised documents by the end of this summer, 2022. Following the revisions, alternatives will be developed.


The Rethinking I-94 site has a new look!

This platform provides new engagement and feedback tools. Stay tuned for additional opportunities to participate in the future.

About

Rethinking I-94 study area map from Marion St. in St. Paul to Hwy 55/Hiawatha Ave in MinneapolisView full-size image

MnDOT's responsibilities on I-94 include preserving and repairing bridges, walls and pavement and enhancing mobility, safety, and connectivity. Rethinking I-94 is a long-term effort to engage with those who live, work, and play along the corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul. We’re doing this to understand the needs and hopes of people, so our work also builds and sustains healthy, equitable communities.

We recognize the actions 60 years ago devastated communities, and those impacts are still felt today. MnDOT and our partners are prioritizing the well-being of people. Our work the last few years has focused on understanding the communities in these neighborhoods, especially Indigenous people and people of color.

Rethinking I-94 improvements will support the broader community goals that those involved in our engagement efforts identified between 2016-2018. Those goals include:

  • Incorporate the livability framework and identify opportunities for establishing a sense of place, community connections, economic opportunities, equity, safety, and a healthy environment for the communities that live, work, and play there.
  • Develop and execute a community-based approach focused on reconnecting neighborhoods, revitalizing communities, and ensuring residents have a meaningful voice in transportation decisions that affect their lives.

Moving Forward

We are following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, mandated in federal law, to revise the draft goals, purpose and need, and the criteria we use to evaluate projects. MnDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration, engaging the expertise of technical committees, working groups, and an advisory committee of policymakers to inform that process. We will have those revised documents by the end of this summer, 2022. Following the revisions, alternatives will be developed.


  • Full Schedule

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    The project is in the environmental process phase. The environmental process is an orderly process. We will update the information and materials on this site as we continue through the process.



  • Background

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    Overview

    Construction of I-94 in the 1960s destroyed homes and disconnected neighborhoods, including the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul. This led to a pattern of community distrust with the Minnesota Highway Department, which would later become MnDOT.

    More than 50 years later in the summer of 2015, MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle joined a group of community members and elected officials at a healing ceremony in the heart of the Rondo community. Commissioner Zelle publicly acknowledged past transportation policies and practices that disrupted and dismantled the neighborhood, and formally apologized to the community. This acknowledgment recognized the decision-making process in the 1960s that led to the destruction of a vibrant community. As a result, MnDOT formed Rethinking I-94 as part of a promise to the Rondo community — and all the communities in the I-94 corridor — to do better.

    What is Rethinking I-94?

    Rethinking I-94 is a long-term effort to improve MnDOT’s engagement and relationships with communities along a 15-mile stretch of I-94 between Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis and Hwy 61 in St. Paul. The geographic limits of Rethinking I-94 reflect both portions of the two cities most impacted by the freeway’s initial construction and areas where traffic, safety and highway improvements are most needed.

    MnDOT initiated Rethinking I-94 in 2016 to develop a new vision for I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through public engagement, stakeholders and MnDOT partners will help define and develop a plan for the corridor. Rethinking I-94 prioritizes the well-being of those who live, work and play along the corridor with the goal of enhancing mobility, safety, and interconnectivity.

    I-94: The heart of the Twin Cities metro area

    Rethinking I-94 Study Area Infographic.

    Click image for larger PDF version.

    Neighborhoods along I-94 are home to nearly 750,000 people, several colleges and universities, libraries, art galleries, theaters, parks and museums. These neighborhoods, which the area's earliest residents called home, are experiencing a resurgence of activity. Residents are raising families, building businesses and civic leaders are reinvesting in public amenities as diverse as a major league soccer stadium and parks and community gardens that help build and sustain the community.

    • This stretch of interstate includes 80+ miles of pavement, four tunnels and more than 145 bridges, many of which were built in the 1960's and 1970's.
    • 1.75 million people live in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. Of those, 250,000 live within one mile of I-94.
    • There are 23 rich and diverse neighborhoods with 70 schools, 24 theaters, 10 stadiums/arenas, 54 parks, and 7 municipal and county libraries.
    • Traffic volumes along I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul currently exceed 150,000 trips per day; Average of 4+ hours of congestion each day.
    • More than 2 million transit riders use this stretch of interstate every year.

    I-94 Documentary

    A two-part documentary about I-94 aired on a local Twin Cities television station in April.

    Part One - Interstate 94: A History and Its Impact

    This video focuses on the construction of I-94 in the middle of the 20th Century and the affect it had on the communities it bisected.

    Part Two - Interstate 94: Today and Tomorrow

    This video focuses on the here and now as it relates to I-94 through the Twin Cities, as well as continuing work to engage with communities along the interstate in an effort to develop a comprehensive, community-based vision for the corridor.


  • Livability

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    Rethinking I-94 is a long-term effort to improve our engagement and relationships with communities along I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. The geographic limits of Rethinking I-94 reflect both portions of the two cities most impacted by the freeway’s initial construction and areas where traffic, safety and highway improvements are most needed.

    We started Rethinking I-94 in 2016 to develop a new vision for I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through Rethinking I-94, we are prioritizing the well-being of those who live, work and play along the corridor with the goal of enhancing mobility, safety and interconnectivity.

    For more information, visit the livability webpage.

  • Phase 1

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    Public engagement toolkit

    The Rethinking I-94 public engagement toolkit is an adaptable process that guides MnDOT project teams public engagement.

    Zone profiles

    MnDOT divided the corridor into six zones based on anticipated future design and construction projects. These Zone Profiles feature information about each zone including demographics, survey responses, community organizations and events, local media and elected officials.

    Community culture and history overviews

    These overviews provide historical and cultural background about key groups of stakeholders along the I-94 corridor, as well as information about broader cultural characteristics of the different groups and their history of engagement on transportation and planning issues in the Twin Cities.

    Phase 1 Study
    Rethinking I-94 Phase 1 report

    Rethinking I-94 Phase 1 report details two years of technical research and engagement activity centered on the corridor including a wide range of engagement and technical tasks establishing the foundation for future planning and project work.

    If you require any of these documents in an alternate format, contact us.

  • Educational materials

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    Rethinking I-94 video tour

    Gloria Jeff presented a video tour of the project for the AASHTO Peer Exchange on Public Engagement in October 2020.

    Project process introduction

    Nicole Peterson presents an introduction to the project and project processes.

    Livability Framework

    Gloria Jeff presents an introduction to the Livability Framework.

    Educational handouts

    The documents below were created to help project staff, partners, and the public learn more about the environmental process.


    NEPA Process


  • Committee Process

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    Technical documents that form the basis of the Scoping Decision Document are developed by project staff then reviewed by committee before review by the broader public.
    General deliverables process graphicView full-size image


    1. Share existing, background and reference information: MnDOT staff and consultant project team members review background and reference information collected during Phase 1 or provided by city and county project partners.
    2. Data collection and analysis:
      Project team members identify what new data is needed. For example, new traffic data can be collected on the interstate, entrance or exits ramps, or adjacent street network. The team collects and analyzes the data.
    3. Discuss assumptions and rough framework: The project team discusses any assumptions made in the analysis and starts to develop a rough framework of the technical document.
    4. Draft for Technical Advisory Committee: A draft is shared with the Technical Advisory Committee for review and comment. Engineering and planning staff from MnDOT, Federal Highway Administration, Ramsey County, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, City of St. Paul, and other government entities serve on the Technical Advisory Committee. The committee provides technical advice to the project team.
    5. Coordination with Policy and Planning Committee Working Group: Coordination of technical information with the Livability Framework occurs at the Policy and Planning Committee (PPC). The PPC focuses on potential strategies for implementing the Livability Framework developed during Phase 1 (sense of place, community connections, economic opportunities, equity, safety, and a healthy environment for the communities that live, work, and play there). Professional planning staff from MnDOT, Federal Highway Administration, Ramsey County, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, City of St. Paul, and other government entities serve on the PPC.
    6. Revisions: At each step in the process the project team is taking in feedback and revising the draft.
    7. Engagement with Cooperating and Participating Agencies: The draft is shared with the Cooperating and Participating Agencies. This is a process requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act. Cooperating agencies are Federal agencies, other than the lead agency, with jurisdiction. Participating agencies are those with an interest in the project. There roles are defined by the Council on Environmental Quality which oversees the NEPA implementation.
    8. Revisions: The project team presents information, receives feedback, and revises the draft.
    9. Engagement with Community Leaders: The draft and/or staff developed education materials and questions are shared with community leaders to gather initial feedback on the information, the presentation of the information, and the plan for gathering broader public feedback. The Community Leaders, formerly Community Advisors, includes leaders from community organizations representing neighborhoods, business interests, and cultural associations.
    10. Revisions: The project team presents information, receives feedback, and revises the draft.
    11. Recommendations to Policy Advisory Committee: The project team presents the draft to the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC consists of elected and appointed officials who provide decision direction. Current PAC members include; MnDOT Commissioner, Federal Highway Administration Minnesota Division, Metropolitan Council (Committee Co-Chair), County Commissioners, Mayor and City Council Members, and State Senators and Representatives.
    12. Revisions: The project team presents information, receives feedback, and revises the draft.
    13. Engagement with Broader Public: The project team presents the technical information to the public in both it’s technical document form and in plain language format. Technical information and format is available on request. Engagement opportunities will be online and in-person using various tools. These will be opportunities for the project team to learn from the community’s lived experiences.
    14. Revisions: The project team presents information, receives feedback, and revises the draft.
    15. Report back to PAC; Continuing analysis and engagement as needed: The project team reports back to the PAC following the broader public engagement. Analysis, revision, and further engagement continue. The technical information becomes a base for the Scoping Decision Document that also flows through the committee and public review cycles.

    Phase 2 monthly meetings recap:

    Community Leaders Meetings

    February 22, 2022
    December 28, 2021
    October 26, 2021
    September 28, 2021
    August 24, 2021
    July 27, 2021
    June 22,2021
    April 27, 2021
    March 23, 2021


    February 23, 2021
    August 25, 2020
    July 28, 2020
    June 25, 2020

    Policy Advisory Committee

    Membership

    • MnDOT Commissioner (Committee Chair)
    • State Senators
    • State Representatives
    • Metropolitan Council (Committee Co-Chair)
    • Metropolitan Council Members
    • Ramsey County Commissioners
    • Hennepin County Commissioners
    • St. Paul Mayor
    • Minneapolis Mayor
    • St. Paul Council Member
    • Minneapolis Council Member
    • Federal Highway Division Administrator
    • MnDOT District Engineer
    • MnDOT District Area Manager

    Meetings

    February 22, 2022
    December 28, 2021
    October 6, 2021
    July 30, 2021
    May 7, 2021
    April 9, 2021
    February 5, 2021
    December 13, 2019
    September 16, 2019
  • Meetings

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    Upcoming

    Information about upcoming meetings will be posted as details become available.

    Past

    • Feb. 9: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee meeting
      • Written comments may be submitted on the contacts webpage for inclusion in the meeting summary until Thu, Feb. 24.

    2022

    • Dec. 10: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting
      • Written comments may be submitted using the form on the contacts webpage for inclusion in the meeting summary until Mon, Dec. 20, 2021.
    • Nov. 17: Rethinking I-94 Community Conversations - English with Karen translation
    • Nov. 17: Rethinking I-94 Community Conversations - English with Hmong translation
    • Nov. 16: Rethinking I-94 Community Conversations - English with Somali translation
    • Nov. 16: Rethinking I-94 Community Conversations - English with Spanish translation
    • Oct. 6: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting
    • July 30: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting
    • May 7: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting
    • April 9: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting
    • Feb. 5: Virtual Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting

    2021

  • Accessibility

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    Speakers and raised arrows on APS signals provide information about the intersection to pedestrians with hearing and visual impairment.

    All MnDOT projects - both new construction and rehabilitation projects - must include evaluation to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Components can include, but are not limited to adding curb cuts, truncated domes and accessible pedestrian signals. Read about MnDOT's transition plan to comply with the ADA.

    Specifics for this project

    • The I-94 Project, between Minneapolis and St. Paul aims to enhance facilities for all modes of transportation and improve connectivity leading to and across the I-94 corridor. This includes building new and enhancing existing pedestrian and bike facilities in the of I-94 area.
    • Improvements will also focus on existing ADA facilities and providing for additional accessibility facilities where they are needed. The input of all I-94 community members, organizations, stakeholders and leaders will be vital.
Page last updated: 02 May 2022, 12:01 PM