Nearly 200 officials and supporters of Northstar Commuter Rail broke ground today for the Fridley station, which will be located off of East River Road and 61st Way NE.
“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony is a celebration of hard work and the local dedication to this project,” said Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA). “Today the long-awaited Fridley station officially becomes part of Northstar Commuter Rail Line construction. Fridley area residents, who have been eager for a smart transportation option, soon will have a convenient location to gain easy and safe access to Northstar trains.”
The Fridley station is expected to be fully functional when Metro Transit begins Northstar train service late this year. Last fall, the Counties Transit Improvement Board granted $9.9 million to build the previously deferred station.
“Residents of Fridley and the entire Northstar Corridor are grateful the Counties Transit Improvement Board has recognized the benefits Northstar Commuter Rail will provide to the local community and the entire region,” Erhart said.
The Fridley station was one of several projects in the metro area to secure funding as part of the Counties Transit Improvement Board’s first round of transportation grants, funded by the 1/4-percent metro sales tax. The Fridley station is the first project supported by the board to start construction. More information about the board can be found at www.mnrides.org.
“This is an exciting day for the Counties Transit Improvement Board and future Northstar Commuter Rail riders,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board. “Northstar’s Fridley station will benefit our entire regional transportation system. Seeing the results of the grants made possible by metro counties, as well as the public support for Northstar and the Fridley station, proves this is a smart investment.”
Today’s ceremony is the final groundbreaking on suburban Northstar stations. In 2008, station groundbreakings were held at Coon Rapids-Riverdale, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake. Construction at these and the downtown Minneapolis sites are about 75 percent complete, while construction of the vehicle maintenance facility in Big Lake is entirely complete. Finishing work on all of the stations, including concrete, lighting and landscaping work, will begin this spring. Project construction is on time and on budget.
Among the people gathered at the Fridley site for the ceremony were past and present NCDA members, chamber of commerce members, representatives from BNSF Railway and Metro Transit, state and local policymakers, Counties Transit Improvement Board members and other local officials. The ceremony was followed by an open house at Fridley City Hall, during which the public reviewed construction plans and information about the station.
The Fridley station will feature:
- A pedestrian tunnel for safe crossing under the train tracks
- Automated ticket kiosks that accept Go-To Cards and Metropass
- On-demand heating in covered and enclosed platform shelters
- Bicycle lockers
- Fully ADA compliant platforms and trains
- Security cameras on the platforms
- Well-lit parking and station facilities
“The Fridley station is a great success story,” said Anoka County Commissioner Jim Kordiak. “The cooperative spirit and long-time commitment of local officials, residents, the business community and the Counties Transit Improvement Board are the reasons we are celebrating today.”
The station will be ready when Northstar service starts late this year partly because the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority and Fridley completed initial site preparations in May 2008. The Rail Authority paid for construction of the pedestrian tunnel under the BNSF train tracks, and the Fridley Housing and Redevelopment Authority acquired land for the east side park-and-ride lot at the site. The station will include park-and-ride lots on both the east and west sides of the tracks.
“The City of Fridley and Anoka County have long known that Northstar Commuter Rail will ease commutes to and from our community and provide seamless transportation connections to communities throughout the region,” said Fridley Mayor Scott Lund. “This is a big win for our residents, area commuters and our local businesses.”
About the Northstar Commuter Rail Project
Northstar Commuter Rail, operated by Metro Transit, will provide service starting late this year on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. Northstar trains will offer commuter service during prime morning and evening week day rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.
The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is a joint powers board of 30 governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
To sign up for more information about final construction and service start-up, please visit www.mn-GetOnBoard.com. Specific questions from the public about Fridley station construction may be submitted to Brandt Richardson at (651) 366-5829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (right) and Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart (left) address a crowd of more than 200 public officials, business leaders and Northstar supporters.
Fridley Mayor Scott Lund (right) and Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart (left) were among the keynote speakers at the March 3 groundbreaking ceremony.
Northstar Project team members and local public officials break ground on the Northstar Fridley station site.