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The Green Line Walkability Survey: Routes to Rails in the Central Corridor

Vargo, Scott.

In 2014, the 11-mile light rail Green Line will open for service in the Central Corridor transitway. Running through the core of the Minneapolis-St Paul Metropolitan Region, the line’s 18 new stations will serve eight urban neighborhoods; two downtowns each with a multi-modal transportation hub; several educational and health institutions; the state capital complex; and a diverse mix of retail, commercial, and industrial districts.

Transportation models forecast 40,000 weekday riders by 2030. Models also predict that a significant majority of light rail riders will be walking to their stations — in the case of the Dale Street Station it is 80% — and that riders will be walk up to a half mile or more to reach their station.

Clearly, achieving Green Line ridership projections will depend heavily on riders who walk to the stations, yet residents have identified many concerns about inhospitable pedestrian environments, missing sidewalks, poor pedestrian-scale lighting, and unsafe street crossings. Problems such as these are especially prevalent in neighborhoods with a history of disinvestment and large numbers of people who depend on public transportation to get around. This creates an inequality in the pedestrian realm, making it more difficult for those with the greatest need, including the elderly, disabled, and families with children, to access public transit.

The District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis (DCC) undertook the Green Line Walkability Survey as a community-based initiative to develop and implement well-informed strategies to close this gap. The survey was designed with a four-fold purpose:

  1. to motivate people to walk to and from their future light rail station and to empower them by increasing their awareness of the good and bad aspects of the pedestrian realm that they interact with regularly and by engaging them in a process to make improvements;
  2. to gather on-the-ground, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, concrete feedback from residents about the walking environment;
  3. to use data collected through the survey to inform and add detail to general plans for pedestrian realm improvements in station areas and throughout the corridor; and 7
  4. to advance work with community members, public officials, and the private sector to establish priorities and implement improvements.


Publication date: 
Conducted on behalf of District Councils Collaborative of Saint Paul and Minneapolis & Anne White, DCC Walkability Coordinator. Supported by Neighborhood Partnerships for Community Research (NPCR), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
176 pp.
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