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“You can’t conclude that we’ll never measure an effect,” West said. “You can’t conclude that there’s no effect. You can’t conclude that the Green Line will be exactly identical to this.”
Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said that the history of the Hiawatha corridor shows the impact of light rail. There was little meaningful development along the route for decades, and now, 10 years after the Blue Line opened, the corridor is dotted with new development.
Gauging the success of the Blue Line as a catalyst for development by a study period that ends in 2010 doesn’t give an accurate picture, he said, because the recession brought development “to a halt for about three years.” The 7,200 new housing units projected for construction along the corridor have already been exceeded, he said.
“Nothing happened in that corridor for 30 years. And then, all of a sudden — I don’t think it’s a coincidence — you have residential development after residential development,” McLaughlin said. “To me, the history is eminently clear.”
Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz