Local dignitaries and Minneapolis residents celebrated the grand opening of the new $85 million Target Field Station Saturday, which is designed to handle big crowds and amuse them while they wait, with a large video board, green space, an amphitheater and shops.
MPR News reports that the station, which will function as a transit hub, includes a platform that will serve the new Green Line trains that will start running between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul on June 14. Commuters will be able to connect to buses at the new hub. The Northstar commuter rail will provide service and once the Green Line opens and joins the Blue Line, there will be some 470 light-rail and commuter-rail trains arriving or departing daily from the transit station.
At the time the sweeping plan was announced, it was said that the hub would serve as "the Grand Central Station of Minneapolis."
An editorial in the Star Tribune praised the dimensions of the project, calling it both important and impressive and noting that "it already is having a positive impact on downtown development."
But the editorial goes on to say that promise of the expanded regional transit system will be realized only if the system expands with the planned Green Line extension (Southwest light rail) and the proposed Blue Line extension (Bottineau) to connect the city and the suburbs. The editorial calls on the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges to "...find a way to green-light the Green Line extension. The clock is ticking on granting the Metropolitan Council municipal consent. Negotiations are necessary, and plan modifications should be expected. But voting “no” would likely mean that ambitions to expand the existing transit system will not soon, if ever, be realized."
The editorial went on to fret that other similarly-sized metropolitan areas that are moving ahead with ambitious transit plans will gain a competitive advantage over the Twin Cities if the local transit system does not continue with a timely expansion.