Metro Jacksonville takes a look at the heart of the Midwest's second largest economic center: Minneapolis.
Downtown West is the heart of downtown Minneapolis (and Minneapolis as a whole), containing the bulk of high-rise office buildings in the city, and is what comes to mind when most Minneapolitans think of "downtown". Its boundaries are as follows (going in a clockwise direction): 12th Street to the southwest, 3rd Avenue North, Washington Avenue North, and Hennepin Avenue to the northwest, the Mississippi River to the northeast, and Portland Avenue, 5th Street South, and 5th Avenue South to the southeast. It is bordered by the North Loop, Nicollet Island/East Bank, Downtown East, Elliot Park, and Loring Park neighborhoods. Downtown West is home to most of Minneapolis's most notable buildings.
The METRO Blue Line (commonly called the Hiawatha Line) is a 12.3 mile light rail corridor that extends from downtown Minneapolis to the southern suburb of Bloomington. The line was originally named after Hiawatha Avenue which runs parallel to portions of the line. Major connections on the line include the Mall of America, the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport, the Metrodome, and Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiawatha_Line
The Blue Line is operated by Metro Transit, which is also the primary operator of buses in the Twin Cities. The line accounts for about 13% of Metro Transit's total ridership. Less than two years after opening in 2004, the line had already exceeded its 2020 weekday ridership goal of 24,800. The line carried 10.4 million riders in 2012.
Nicollet Mall is a twelve block portion of Nicollet Avenue running through downtown Minneapolis. Working as a pedestrian and transit mall, it is also shopping and dining district. Along with Hennepin Avenue to the west, Nicollet Mall forms the cultural and commercial heart of the city.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicollet_Mall
Many iconic Minneapolis buildings line the Mall, notably the IDS Center, the former Dayton's flagship store (now Macy's), Orchestra Hall, and the Hennepin County Library. On Thursdays in the summer, Nicollet hosts a farmers' market; in the winter, the Holidazzle Parade traverses the Mall.
As a transit mall, Nicollet Mall has been served by many Metro Transit buses, including several high frequency routes. Aside from buses, only taxis and emergency vehicles are allowed on the two-lane road. Bikes have access during non-weekday rush hours, although this is expected to change in March 2010 when several express bus routes are moved to Marquette and 2nd Avenues in the second phase of the "Marq2" project. Metro Transit has also introduced a free circulator bus along Nicollet Mall that runs from the Minneapolis Convention Center to the METRO Blue Line Nicollet Mall station.
The Blue Line light rail, opened in 2004, has a Nicollet Mall station, and connects downtown Minneapolis to the airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington. The future Green Line to downtown St. Paul will also stop at Nicollet Mall.