People’s Transit is a coalition of individuals and organizations working to ensure equity is placed at the center of the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) debate. We see smart transit policy as a crucial opportunity for increasing economic opportunity and achieving racial equity across the city of Minneapolis and our region.
People’s Transit Equity
We believe that the Met Council, the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County must advance a vision of transit for our region grounded in equity, addressing transit as a public asset and basic community need. If the following enhancements were adopted, there is real potential that the SWLRT could become a tool to remove economic barriers for people across our region.
Buses at Van White and Penn stations
Without connecting bus lines at these stations, the real people who use transit will not get what they could from SWLRT.
Bus shelters that actually shelter people
It is unacceptable that we allow Metro Transit to have such a disparity in the quality of bus stops. We need warm, clean and accessible bus stops everywhere.
Speed up bus improvements
If SWLRT is moving now, bus improvements — including higher-frequency, rapid transit routes—must also be guaranteed.
Some corridors that were initially considered couldn’t fit LRT, but they could be served with a smaller, less expensive form of LRT: modern streetcars. The whole region would benefit if these communities could grow to their potential and reverse the disinvestment of the past with the new jobs and housing opportunities rail transit can bring.
Light rail is the central spine of an equitable transit system. But the bus system is the heart, efficiently pumping riders along the arteries. Unfortunately, for lower-income riders, bus fares have increased while services decreased over the years as we have become consumed with building light rail. For certain stops, we need free and reduced fares to promote a more diverse ridership.
Take a diesel train storage center off the table permanently
Polluting diesel trains should not be warehoused in Linden Yard next door to the Van White station. This needs to be removed from plans so it doesn’t undermine the ability of the Harrison neighborhood to develop diverse housing, small businesses and open space, and to carry its Bassett Creek Valley master plan forward.
Talking about Southwest Light Rail
Nearly every other day an elected official or business leader touts “equity” and “reducing racial disparities” as priorities in public pronouncements. Rarely do they actually turn their words into action to really improve people’s lives. We think just such an opportunity now exists for those working to resolve turf warfare over SWLRT.Dan McGrath and Paul Slack, Transit equity means more than light rail (April 11, 2014), Star Tribune
In the news
Star Tribune, April 12
by Dan McGrath & Pastor Paul Slack
Star Tribune, July 8
by Pat Doyle
Star Tribune, July 7
by Eric Roper
Insight News, May 8
MinnPost, May 6
by Marlys Harris
Star Tribune, May 6
by Nekima Levy-Pounds
Star Tribune, April 27
by Pat Doyle
MPR News, April 8
by Curtis Gilbert
MinnPost, April 8
by Vicki Moore, Ishmael Israel and Louis King I
Star Tribune, March 30
by Pat Doyle
Insight News, March 27
by Rep. Keith Ellison and State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion