The Central Corridor lightrailâÄôs construction phase has had its problems. It has been painful for many businesses, and there is still room for improvement on traffic flow and signage on University and Washington avenues.
But the Metropolitan Council has so far put forth a worthy effort in mitigating some of the worst effects of this major infrastructure investment. They have tried in good faith to incorporate public feedback into the planning process and have provided consultants, grants and forgivable loans to local businesses.
No matter what, some will still be displeased with the project. Some dislike the effect on traffic flow or the inevitable loss of certain businesses while others just might not like government-sponsored change. But through economic growth and improved access to transit, the Central Corridor project will be a boon to University of Minnesota students and the region.
First, students will have a wider range of housing options to choose from, since the light rail will make it possible for students to tap into lower-rent neighborhoods in St. Paul. Second, the light rail will widen job and internship opportunities for University students by improving access to both downtowns. Commuting by bus or parking in either downtown is no picnic, besides being tough on the average studentâÄôs budget. The light rail will also open up wider entertainment options for students.
It is our hope that the loss of business is minimal, but the finished Central Corridor project will be worth the pain.