The highway system opened the door for suburban development. The Interstates blew the door off its hinges. The Federal Interstate Act of 1956 kicked off an era of high speed, high volume automotive traffic. These efficient asphalt rivers reduced the relative distance between fringe communities and the central cities.
During the early auto era growth favored the western Twin Cities. However, in the advanced auto era the northern suburbs would eventually find themselves in the lead. Interstates would facilitate unprecedented population growth and development. The relatively undeveloped land of the northern suburbs would provide an attractive clean slate for developers to meet the latest desires of consumers and home buyers.
During the wagon/horse era, locations on wide navigable sections of river or near waterfalls assumed the greatest situational advantage for commercial development. During the railroad era, towns connected to the rail network, especially at an intersection of lines, assumed the greatest advantage. During the early auto era, stretches of highway with high traffic volume, especially on the edge of Minneapolis/St. Paul and between the booming suburbs, were the most advantageous. In the advanced auto era, interstate exit ramps, and most advantageously, intersections of another interstate or major highways, defined development hot spots.
Whereas Anoka held an outright advantage over its neighboring suburbs during the railroad era, Highway 10 and 169 encouraged development in the southern edges of the northern suburbs. The northern expansion of I-35 in the mid 1970s (along Blaine’s eastern border) gave Blaine and other suburbs along I-35′s path new opportunities. Intersected by Highway 65 and adjacent to the new and improved Highway 10, Blaine sits at a particularly advantageous location.