Beyond the jobs created by building new light rail transit, good transit connections can stimulate new development, make workplaces more accessible to workers, increase foot traffic and customers for area businesses, and connect everyone to opportunities via the larger regional transit network.
The economic stakes of Green Line-spurred development vary up and down the line. In particular, University Avenue, from Prospect Park to the Capitol, features a mix of under-used industrial and commercial land that could benefit from revitalization — and diverse neighborhoods that could benefit from greater employment opportunities.
In addition, hundreds of small businesses, many of which are owned by first or second generation immigrants, are located along the corridor. From the beginning, the Funders Collaborative and its partners focused on ensuring that these businesses were prepared for LRT construction, provided resources to survive this disruption, and positioned to thrive after the Green Line’s opening.
While the economic development story of the Green Line will continue to unfold in the coming years, the Funders Collaborative sought to:
- Minimize the involuntary relocation or disruption of existing businesses.
- Reduce construction disruption.
- Strengthen the identities, appeal and offerings of local business districts.
- Encourage development that creates new job and workforce opportunities.
- Encourage training that prepares people for the expanded job opportunities available via transit.
The Funders Collaborative supported four Working Groups geared toward increasing economic opportunities for small businesses, minority-owned businesses and residents along the corridor.