More parks and green spaces needed in neighborhoods along the Green Line, TPL says

A new report today from the Trust for Public Land looks at ways the Twin Cities can improve the communities along the new Green Line light rail route with more parks and green spaces.

The group’s 34-page report, “Greening the Green Line” (pdf), says that improvements along the 11-mile route that connects downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along University Avenue “will be undermined without a significant investment in a corridor-wide green space system as the area redevelops.”

The vision is for a connected and complementary system of parks and other privately owned but publicly accessible open spaces that ensures higher quality development and weaves neighborhoods together between stations to equitably enhance livability in the Green Line corridor.

The report says:

  • The Green Line needs a connected system of parks and open
    spaces that are both publicly and privately owned. Redevelopment in the Green Line corridor will be significantly enhanced through a mix of new public parks and open space that is private owned but publicly accessible.
  • Parks and open spaces will serve as a catalyst for development.
    Parks, trails and natural areas can be sited where development can
    benefit from their proximity.
  • The Green Line system should include a variety of parks and open
    spaces specifically designed for their sites that complement and
    serve the neighborhoods. This varied approach will better meet the
    multiple goals for parks and open spaces in the corridor: amenities for
    residents and workers, access and connectivity to the Green Line, TOD
    real estate value enhancement, park access for underserved groups,
    and potential branding for the neighborhoods and the corridor.
  • The parks and open spaces should contribute to a sense of place
    that enhances the emerging identities of the station areas. Given
    the diversity of land uses, businesses, and cultural nodes, a variety
    of parks and open spaces are needed to serve present and future
    residents as well as new riders and workers. These parks and open spaces should be strategically located to best meet the needs of the community.

And it suggests directions for the public and private sector:

  • City and public agency leaders need to take a leadership role in
    pursuing a connected parks system for the Green Line Corridor.
  • Developers must incorporate privately owned public spaces (POPS)
    into their new developments and at existing sites.
  • Park advocates and public agencies should work with developers to
    utilize mechanisms, tools, and resources to assist in the development
    of public parks (such as parkland dedication, value capture approaches,
    and more).
  • Together, public and private partners must supplement with
    non-public approaches for park stewardship (maintaining and
    programming parks and POPS, such as parks conservancies and
    business improvement districts)

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