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 in an effort to develop a new vision for I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through public engagement, stakeholders and MnDOT partners would help define and develop a plan for the corridor. MnDOT’s responsibility is to preserve and repair bridges, walls, tunnels and pavement along the corridor, with the goals of enhancing mobility, safety and interconnectivity. However, Rethinking I-94 also prioritizes the well-being of those who live, work and play along the corridor.
I-94: The heart of the Twin Cities metro area
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 if interstate every year.