Walk a mile in Minnesota winter? Carrying a baby or groceries? No problem, thought the Central Corridor planners. Then the Stops for Us coalition gave a voice to the folks who live and walk or take the bus home along University Avenue. Because of their efforts, the Hamline, Victoria and Western stops on the Central Corridor line were added to serve the people living in the heart of the Frogtown and Summit-University neighborhoods. On December 15, the federal Environmental Protection Agency recognized the work of Stops for Us, naming it one of five winners of the 2010 Environmental Justice awards
for its efforts to form a broad-based partnership to secure the construction of three new light rail transit stations, which will provide access for the transit dependent communities of East University Avenue and connect residents to housing, jobs, education, and the many amenities located throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
The coalition’s members include:
- Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
- Asian Economic Development Association
- Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
- Community Stabilization Project
- District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul and Minneapolis
- Got Voice, Got Power!
- Jewish Community Action
- Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
- Transit for Livable Communities
- UFCW Local 789
The official award describes the work of Stops for Us partners:
The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project, a nearly $1 billion investment connecting downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, will provide improved transit service through the heart of the region, particularly for residents living in environmental justice neighborhoods located along the planned route. Construction of the three light rail transit stations will directly benefit the 8,331 people who live within a quarter mile of the stations (81% minority; average median household income for homes near the three stations is $32,000). The Coalition worked extensively to: influence public officials; research station spacing; map demographics; participate in and leverage to the fullest extent possible the National Environmental Policy Act process; draft state legislation; monitor public meetings; testify at public hearings; and implement a media strategy. Moreover, the Coalition has been able to establish a Central Corridor Community Agreements Coordinating Committee to ensure equitable community benefits from related development.
A press release from Stops for Us cites ongoing issues that remain, including “to help small businesses survive, preserve an adequate supply of affordable housing, and enable low- and fixed-income residents to stay in place.” An awards ceremony is being planned for the Twin Cities in 2011.