Researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have found a definite link between the construction of the Green Line and economic development activity along its route.
An earlier report by the Metropolitan Council noted several billion dollars of new development along the Blue and Green light rail lines but didn’t address whether the development would have taken place regardless of whether the lines were built.
In a CTS-funded study, Jason Cao, an associate professor in urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School, and researcher Dean Porter-Nelson looked at real estate development plans along the Green Line in the years before it began operating.
They found that as soon as final funding plans came together in 2011, applications for building permits along the Green line increased significantly, compared to permit applications for new construction and remodeling along existing transit routes.
The number of building permits issued within walking distance of St. Paul’s 13 Green Line stations went up by 24 percent compared to some high-frequency bus routes in St. Paul with similar major intersections, and the value of those building projects increased by 80 percent.
However, the researchers note that successful economic development requires a lot more than building new light rail lines.
“Transit-supportive land-use policies are also critical to success,” said Cao. “The City of St. Paul’s planning efforts, including its Central Corridor Development Strategy and zoning code amendments, played an important role in facilitating the economic activities along the corridor.”
(Adapted from an article published on April 27, 2017, by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.)