Maybe Jonathan Sage-Martinson says it best: “I think the real story might appear a year from now.”
By that Sage-Martinson, coordinator of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, means construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Line will send waves beyond the rail itself into nearby business and residential communities and somebody needs to keep a tab on its effect.
To that end the collaborative today releases the Central Corridor Tracker, a set of 13 so-called Central Corridor indicators, baseline data to compare this year with the years ahead.
The indexes include residents’ income levels, their access to shopping and services, the health of existing local businesses and appearance of new business and housing, increased employment opportunities, walkability, community involvement in the process and the racial and ethnic makeup of the community.
The markers, Sage-Martinson says, will be used to objectively measure the effect of change along the corridor and progress toward four desired outcomes: “ensuring access to affordable housing, building a strong local economy, creating vibrant transit-oriented places, promoting effective coordination and collaboration.”
Find details here and an in-depth presentation of the study prepared by Wilder Research.
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“It’s our perspective that light rail in other communities has brought about great opportunities. It often attracts economic development. It brings access to living wage jobs. It brings access to services, but we have also learned that often low-income communities are priced out…” Sage-Martinson said. “When we were founded the goal was to maximize the opportunity brought by LRT to the Central Corridor and to make sure those are available to people of all income levels.”
Numbers to watch
The report includes “numbers worth watching,” including these, some of which are included in other studies about the CCLRT:
Low income households along the line pay 50 percent of their income for housing and transportation; 45 percent of Central Corridor businesses have fewer than five employees; the area includes 42 percent of Minneapolis and St. Paul business address but 15 percent of residential addresses, and the median household income is $7,000 below the Twin Cities median.
The collaborative is comprised of 13 local and national philanthropic funders, listed on its website, “working with others to unlock the transformative potential of the new light rail transit line.” The collaborative has provided a grant to MinnPost to support Cityscape. The group includes The Minneapolis Foundation, which helps fund but does not direct editorial content of Community Sketchbook.
The tracker is another in a thicket of surveys documenting the way things are for those who live and work along and near the 11-mile Central Corridor line stretching from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis.