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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

Work on Rethinking I-94 Project Continues

By CIRIEN SAADEH

An image created by Minnesota Department of Transportation showing the area under consideration for the Rethinking I-94 Project. SOURCE: MNDOT

MNDOT released alternatives to Interstate 94, as part of the Rethinking I-94 Project, in a meeting held July 16th. Attending that meeting was the MNDOT Policy Advisory Committee and Twin Cities residents including elected officials.


The high-level alternative plans presented several options including keeping the freeway as it currently is, an expanded I-94, and other combinations of roadway and transit changes.


According to reporting from the Minnesota Daily, the plans were met with some pushback from participants, including a response from Saint Paul Council Member Mitra Jalali (Ward 4).


“If the goals and the project’s master vision is to have equity, climate and resiliency, freeway expansion is actually categorically in opposition to those things, and I’m trying to understand how it even got into the mix,” said Jalali.


Other community members also spoke up on both the equity and climate impacts of the proposed alternatives.


The construction of I-94 between Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 1968 cut through Black and Brown communities, including Rondo and North Minneapolis.


MNDOT has noted that there is not yet a preferred alternative and the proposed plans will continue to be refined.


One community organization, Our Streets Minneapolis, has released an alternative to the alternative plans offered by MNDOT. The Campaign is called Twin Cities Boulevard and it asks MNDOT “to use the reclaimed freeway land to prioritize better economic and housing opportunities and improved accessibility for those who have been harmed or displaced by I-94.”


More details on the Our Streets Minneapolis campaign can be found here: https://www.twincitiesboulevard.org/
“MNDOT can seem like this big, bad, bureaucracy but at the end of the day, they are supposed to be accountable to the citizens that are impacted by the projects and that use the infrastructure,” said Alex Burns, Advocacy and Policy Manager with Our Streets Minneapolis in an interview with Wedge Live!
A boulevard alternative is included in MNDOT’s list of alternatives.


The full conversation can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-C1vyRM8ds


The Rethinking I-94 project is currently in phase 2 with an alternative design expected to be chosen in 2024. A scoping document and an Environmental Impact Statement are also planned to occur during this phase.


MNDOT had several other meetings in August and early September, with the latest meeting to be scheduled on Sept. 14 at the Rondo Community Library. More details on past and future meetings can be found here: https://talk.dot.state.mn.us/rethinking-i94/news_feed/public-and-stakeholder-meetings
To learn more about the Rethinking I-94 project, or to complete a survey on the project, folks can visit: http://talk.dot.state.mn.us/rethinking-i94

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