Study says Central Corridor will increase housing costs along routeby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A growing number of people living along the Central Corridor light rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis are already dealing with high housing costs, according to a new study released by a coalition of community groups.
The study concludes that light rail-related development will make those housing costs go up even higher.
Kate Hess Pace, a spokeswoman for ISAIAH, one of the groups sponsoring the study, said housing costs for some poorer residents along University Avenue take half or more of their income.
"What we found is that 45 percent of corridor residents today are paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing," she said.
Hess added that for some, the cost of their housing consumes up to 60 percent of their incomes.
The study also looked at how businesses along the route will fare once the trains begin running. It concluded that more than 80 percent of the affected businesses are small, and the loss of parking to make room for light rail will cause them economic hardship.
On the other hand, the study finds light rail will increase transportation options for residents.
"Nearly a quarter of corridor residents do not have access to a vehicle," she said. "The light rail can be a huge opportunity for people to connect to jobs, services, education -- and to connect to extending arms of transportation to reach other parts of the Twin Cities as well."
The Central Corridor health impact study recommends elected officials work to preserve and create affordable housing along University Avenue.
The study's findings will be discussed at a community meeting at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul on Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.