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Twin Cities Green Line and Central Corridor

The Metro Green Line is an 11 mile two way-commuter rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis to Saint Paul. The rail extends the length of the Central Corridor which was historically used for transit and a mix of industrial, manufacturing and commercial uses. The various uses left a legacy of contamination in the soils and groundwater. The abandoned industries and brownfields were taken into account when reconsidering the redevelopment and investment in the projects.

The Green Line was intended to spur growth, increase access to the labor force, decrease roadway congestion and encourage economic development. An important goal of the redevelopment was making the corridor more sustainable by incorporating green infrastructure into the redevelopment plans. The 11 mile corridor is comprised of different sites with the goal to connect the various neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, sports venues, the University of Minnesota East and West Bank campuses in Minneapolis and the State Capitol. The different sites that can be found along the Green Line and the Central Corridor are below.


TCF Bank Stadium (Gopher Stadium)

image TCF stadium
A garden outside of TCF Bank Stadium utilizes water runoff. Photo courtesy University of Minnesota.

The Gopher Stadium opened in September 2009 on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank Campus in Minneapolis. Sustainability was a key element in this project and stormwater management was important in the site’s overall management. The landscape incorporates a variety of green infrastructure techniques including a raingarden with native plants which is planted on a whole city block. There is also porous pavement and roof rainwater catchment infrastructure to help capture rainwater for plants to filter before running into the Mississippi River. The stormwater runoff from the 3.75 acres of drainage area is first directed to the plants and any excess is collected in the underground filtering system before being released into the storm sewer.


Towerside District Stormwater System

The Towerside District has become known as the MSP Innovation District. The 370 acre site spans across the Minneapolis and St. Paul border. Public, private and nonprofit partners are working to make Towerside a model for sustainable urban development. Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) has been working with developers in the area to implement stormwater infrastructure that crosses property lines in order to treat runoff from a two-block area. The Tower District Stormwater System is comprised of biofiltration basins which are connected to a 206,575 gallon underground storage tank that can hold an 8-acre area before the water is needed for reuse. The system came online in 2016 with four properties and since then has added two additional properties to the agreement. The landscape improvements aimed to create open space and habitat corridors in the boulevards. The Surly Brewery can also be found in the Towerside District. The site is an 8.3-acre brownfield site divided into 7 parcels of land between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The brewery uses stormwater basins to represent 5, 10 and 100 year storms. There is a raingarden installed to catch rainwater from the sloped roof. The green infrastructure practices in place are seen by the many visitors visiting the brewery.

Photo of the Towerside District in 2018. Image Courtesy Mississippi Watershed Management Organization


Photo of the front of Surly Brewery. Image Courtesy of Explore Minnesota

Allianz Field from above. Image Courtesy the City of St. Paul

Allianz Field

The Allianz Field is home to the soccer team, Minnesota United. The facility is 34.5 acres and is located at Snelling and University Avenue in Saint Paul. The water from the stadium’s roof and other surfaces will flow into a 675,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system underground. The conveyance lines are 19 feet underground due to surrounding buildings and protection from Minnesota’s harsh winters. The system will feed 192 trees surrounding the stadium and the public green spaces. The green spaces around the stadium connects the stadium to University Avenue.


photo for tree trench system, Central Corridor Light rail project
Photo of the completed tree system for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project, St. Paul, Minnesota. Image courtesy of the Capitol Region Watershed District.

University Avenue in Saint Paul

University Avenue in Saint Paul is a highly urbanized area with a high percentage of impervious surfaces. These features made it ideal for green infrastructure practices. There are four types of green infrastructure practices installed. Capital Region Watershed District (CRWD) installed four rain gardens in the boulevard and stormwater planters in five of the side streets. The City of Saint Paul constructed infiltration trenches in two of the side streets. Tree trenches line both sides of University Avenue in Saint Paul with over 1,000 trees. The tree trench was constructed by the Metropolitan Council. The projects were all complete in 2012.


The different projects mentioned in this page make up the Metro Green Line and the Central Corridor. Each project strives to use green infrastructure techniques when considering stormwater management. The overarching goals are improved water quality and controlling runoff volume pose as opportunities to economic growth, the diversification of neighborhoods and ways to create a sustainable urban environment.

This page was last modified on 22 May 2019, at 08:47.

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