Central Corridor and neighbors' rights

by Ann Jalonen and Lynnanne Warren, St. Paul

We are members of the Ramsey Chapter of MICAH, the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. We are very concerned about issues of racial and economic justice in the Central Corridor.

There are some serious concerns with light rail. The Title VI complaint filed by Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corp. and others addresses them ("Don't understate Central Corridor impacts — or the link to Rondo," June 17).

It's Jan. 15; wind chill is -5. A traveler boards the train at the airport and gets into downtown in warmth and comfort. Meanwhile, a mother with a child and two bags of groceries standing at Victoria Street and University Avenue has two options, an extra 20 minutes in the cold or a half-mile walk.

A common good — free street parking — is being taken from the community and businesses. The Met Council proposes a marketing program in response to business' concerns about parking, snow removal, narrowed sidewalks and restricted access.

A homeowner is told she will benefit because her home value goes up. But that only helps if she is willing to sell, to lose her neighborhood, her neighbors. For someone who survived the construction of I-94, the only way she benefits is if she moves out and someone richer moves in — and that's the essence of the complaint, the core of gentrification.

The University of Minnesota and Minnesota Public Radio flexed their muscle and got betterments from the Met Council. This complaint is one of the few ways for the neighbors to exercise their strength. We support their right to do so.

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