Two years after it first “rolled” out, the results of the “Green Line” train between the downtowns are, put diplomatically, “mixed”:
As Metro Transit’s $957 million Green Line project marked its second anniversary on June 14, even die-hard transit advocates acknowledge jobs, housing and commercial development have been a mixed bag.
“I think we’re on a great track with housing, and we always knew that housing was an area that would grow first,” said Mary Kay Bailey, director of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.
Well, of course they knew that housing was an area that’d grow first; it’s being subsidized by various levels of government.
If you pay people to do something, someone’ll probably do it.
“But I think it’s time to keep our eyes on job growth. … We want to see it improve with more job-focused development. That’s an important piece for us as a city.”
While Minneapolis and St. Paul have increased their job base by 7 percent since 2011, the collaborative found that job growth averaged less than half that along the Green Line corridor, with wide variation from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some segments of the Green Line have yet to regain jobs lost since light rail construction began nearly six years ago.
The article mentions not a word about the crime rate in the neighborhood. I’m not going to blame reporter Frederick Melo for that just yet – he does a generally conscientious job of covering Saint Paul.
But while the city’s various spokespeople will downplay it for all they’re worth, the general sense in the neighborhood is that crime is up, especially south of Thomas Avenue, four short blocks north of University. And one undeniable fact – which, to be honest, may be a fluke; only time will tell – is that many of the city’s murders this year have happened up and down University Avenue. Of course, it’s early to tie that statistically to the train (notwithstanding one victim who literally died alongside the tracks last March) – but when you see smoke, it’s not unreasonable to think there’s a fire down there somewhere.