Signs of Progress Series: Wilder Research Associate Jane Tigan on Insights After Year 3 of the Tracker

December 5, 2013

The new vitality that’s developing along the Central Corridor comes from something more than the fresh concrete and shiny steel of the Green Line. Communities are transforming themselves — by learning together, coordinating across boundaries and working for impacts that benefit everyone.

At the Annual Stakeholder event in April, seven representatives of these efforts talked to other community stakeholders about the process and impact of the changes we see unfolding across the corridor. This is the last in a series of blogs featuring these signs of opportunity. Watch a short video clip of remarks by Wilder Research Associate Jane Tigan, and see below for her summary. 










Each year since 2011, the Tracker reports on a set of indicators that align with the four longer-term outcomes the Funders Collaborative seeks to achieve in the Corridor: Access to affordable housing; Strong local economy; Vibrant, transit oriented places; and Effective coordination and collaboration.

Some important changes occurred for this third year of the Tracker! One of the first things you’ll notice is that we have changed the Corridor segments. In previous years, we divided the Corridor into three segments (west, middle, and east), but we found that they were often too big to be meaningful for many of our users.

This year, the Corridor is divided into six segments that are closely aligned to neighborhoods, as well as other analyses currently being done along the Corridor. Fortunately, the geography of the overall Corridor has remained the same, so it’s not as though we’re talking about a different geography all together.








Another big change is that we have added indicators that came from the affordable housing working-group. Their report, The Big Picture Project, defined indicators of success for affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization along the Corridor. The addition of these indicators is telling for the phase the Corridor is in. As of this writing, construction is nearly complete and testing the trains has begun. Seeing these new indicators of development (rather than those that relate to construction or mitigation) are signs of the Green Line’s forward progress. The indicators that we’ve added from the work of the Big Picture Project (BPP) address the provision of housing that is affordable as well as neighborhood stability. The first two indicators track progress on the BPP’s 2020 goals and the next two provide context for understanding how both single-family housing and rental markets are changing along the Corridor.

1.      New or preserved long-term affordable housing units

2.      Households served by activities that help people stay in their homes

3.      Change in median estimated home market value (single family)

4.      Change in median rental rate (2BR)

What do these new indicators tell us about the Corridor?  Well, they tell us the following:

  • Since January 2011, financing has closed on the production or preservation of 2,159 affordable units. This is on track to meet the 2020 goals BPP set forth
  • During that same time at least 187 households (and likely more!) have been served by a variety of programs like foreclosure prevention, rehab loans, and the like. These programs, designed for home-owners and to stabilize the neighborhoods, are on track to meet numeric goals.
  • One of the reasons BPP sought to track median estimated market value of homes is because of the role the assessment of those properties plays in the long-term affordabilty for homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes. From 2011 to 2012, the estimated market value decreased by about 11 percent, so in this way we can see the squeeze of taxes is less likely to increase (at least not on the assessment-side—the measure doesn’t track the tax rates).
  • BPP also wanted to look at the rental market and if median rates were increasing. In fact, Corridor-wide, median rental rates for two bedroom units have gone up as much as 24 percent. However, it’s really important to note here that the 24 percent increase includes booming areas like Downtown Minneapolis as well as neighborhoods. When the BPP releases their two-year report, take a look at the segment by segment breakdown for a more detailed analysis.

Other notable points from the indicators:

  • By and large, the types of services available on the Corridor haven’t changed dramatically since the first Tracker. Residents and shoppers of the Corridor likely haven’t had to significantly alter the way they use the Corridor day to day as a result of changing mix of services.
  • However, there has been a net loss of very small businesses (-118 since Baseline) with the greatest number lost in Downtown Minneapolis. Notable is that the U of M area, Midway Central, and Midway East, all saw net gains in establishments.
  • Goals for minority and female work hours have been met and contract dollars awarded to DBEs are very close to meeting the goals.
  • We also know that with the transit system that will be in place in 2014 (including the Green Line and revised bus routes) about 1 of 3 residents will be able to get to their current job using transit within 45 minutes. The share of Downtown Minneapolis and UMN commuters who could arrive at their current job using transit, within 45 minutes is much higher.

To find out more about the Tracker visit