For four days next week, everybody from elected officials to common citizens will gather in Minneapolis for the 20th edition of Rail-Volution, a four-day conference and discussion about transportation and its impact on the community.
Met Council Chairwoman Sue Haigh, MnDOT Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin are among those who will speak at conference's official opening session at 8 a.m. Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. But things actually get rolling Sunday with sessions called "Bicycle + Investment = Community Transformation" and "Focusing the Equity Lens on the Metro Green Line."
Throughout the week, Rail-Volution will feature 80 sessions and featuring speakers from around the nation. Among those on the roster are U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (pictured), Threse McMillan, acting director for the Federal Transit Administration, and experts from progressive transit cities such as Denver, Dallas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Boulder, Colo.
At least 24 mobile workshops will take attendees to various sites across the metro area and showcase the local urban farming movement, transportation equity, integrating transportation into sports facilities and hospitals, and other developments in the Twin Cities.
This conference comes at a time when the Twin Cities is seeing a lot of new transit development. Within the past year, the new Metro Green Line opened providing light-rail service between Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A new transportation hub opened at Target Field as did Union Depot as a new transportation hub in downtown St. Paul.
The region's first BRT line opened in June 2013 along Cedar Avenue and similar lines are in the works.
And planning is moving ahead for more light-rail lines, specifically the with Southwest and Bottineau
LRT lines advancing, along with Gateway Corridor Bus Rapid Transit and arterial bus
routes in St. Paul.