With the start of rail service on the 11-mile Green Line light rail line less than two months away, scores of Central Corridor community members are asking themselves the same question: Are we ready for the train?
Stakeholder contributions in helping their communities prepare were highlighted April 23 at the Fifth Annual Stakeholder Event hosted by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. In addition, Wilder Research presented results from its Key Outcomes for the Corridor 2014 Indicators Report, an annual look at changes in Central Corridor since the inception of the research project in 2010.
Highlights from the meeting include:
- Businesses are prepared. Thanks to assistance and their own preparation, most businesses along the line have weathered construction of the Green Line and are ready for the train to run. Over the past four years, more street-level businesses fronting the Green Line have opened than have closed or moved from the Corridor.
- Greater job access remains to be seen. The construction phase met goals for hiring and engaging Corridor businesses and several new pathways to careers programs have opened, but until businesses grow or locate near transit lines, not much change in job access will be seen. Two-thirds of low- and moderate-income residents still do not have jobs located within a reasonable (45 minute) commute.
- Housing affordability remains relatively stable so far. Over the last four years, the percentage of households in the Corridor earning less than $30,000 has remained unchanged. The Corridor is still among the most affordable places to live in the region, but housing trends are mixed. Rents are relatively stable at the low end of the market, but the median rent has increased 24% while housing valuations have dropped 13%.
- Transit access is improving. It’s still too early to tell how easy it will be for riders to connect with the Green Line. Closer-in infrastructure and walkable connections are largely already in place, with more to come as neighborhoods get involved in envisioning friendlier streets and green space that encourage transit use. Still unknown: how well the line will serve those living farther from the Corridor and along ‘feeder’ transit routes.
- Investment in new development is off to a good start. Community plans for the dozen neighborhoods along the Corridor call for $7 billion in new investment over the next 30 years. With nearly 90 projects worth more than $1.7 billion completed or under way within a mile of the LRT line, development is coming to nearly every station along the Corridor.
Take a few minutes to watch this video highlighting examples of how we're collectively getting ready for rail.