A New Light Rail Line with Stops in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Advocating transit and transportation policy to expand economic opportunity and access to healthy food in the Twin Cities

Field of Work: Faith-based advocacy to combat childhood obesity

Problem Synopsis: Equitable transit and transportation policies can increase access to healthy foods, parks, jobs and schools, especially in low-income communities of color. However, a planned light-rail system in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. eliminated three stops in poor neighborhoods.

Synopsis of the Work: Through its Healthy Communities, Healthy Kids Project, ISAIAH mobilized a coalition of neighborhood associations, bus riders, housing advocates and faith-based instutitions to restore the three light-rail stops and to identify other opportunities to expand economic development and access to healthy food by improving transportation.

Key Findings/Results

  • ISAIAH formed the "Stops For Us Coalition" to ensure that the new light rail transit line known as the Central Corridor included stops in the Rondo and Frogtown neighborhoods of the Twin Cities. The stops were restored after the coalition held public meetings, attended hearings of the local planning commission and met with local and federal public officials.

    ISAIAH also helped to strengthen the community’s voice on issues related to health food and transportation by providing forums and bringing stakeholders to zoning meetings.

    Building on those efforts, ISAIAH conducted a Health Impact Assessment to examine the relationship between community health and the planned light-rail system. RWJF, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota provided additional funds.