Proposal to End 24-Hour Service on the Green Line
Just last month, a new report from Wilder Research confirmed that the number of people experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities grew by 9 percent from 2015 to 2018 — and the number of unsheltered homeless spiked by a staggering 93 percent.
Many of our community members with these urgent housing challenges find shelter on public transit, including our light rail lines. While not a solution to our region’s dramatic gap in affordable and accessible housing, pushing vulnerable populations from the trains to the streets in the dead of night only exacerbates these challenges for directly impacted riders and our communities at large.
Yet, last night, the Metropolitan Council heard a proposal from Metro Transit to eliminate 24-hour service on the Green Line light rail starting later this year.
A key reason? In a presentation on “People Sheltering on Transit,” Metro Transit outlined the hygiene and safety concerns to operators, staff, passengers and people experiencing homelessness, and highlighted efforts to integrate harm-reduction strategies and more permanent housing solutions into the Metro Transit Police Homeless Action Team model.
Outlining a number of “Service Developments,” Metro Transit shared its proposal to eliminate weekday service on the Green Line from 2 to 4 a.m. Despite the significant impact this would have on riders and residents who rely on the trains, at the meeting last night, Met Council Chair Nora Slawik informed Met Council members that even they would not get to vote on the service cut.
So what’s next? According to Metro Transit:
- Review: Including customer service needs; maintenance and other operational interests, conduct and safety concerns between 2-4 a.m.; use of Green Line for shelter; and costs
- April 16 presentation to the Equity Advisory Committee
- Continue work of connecting people with other shelter options
- Continue active participation with partners seeking solutions
- Report back to Metropolitan Council on its April review
- Final operational decision on schedule for August implementation
We know that a key component to addressing this challenge is planning for and producing more affordable housing for people living at or below 30 percent of the area median income. In addition to working with our coalition partners toward systemic solutions to housing instability and inequity, the Alliance will continue to actively monitor the situation and share our questions and concerns with you and with decision-makers. We encourage you to do the same.
Met Council Chair
Governor Tim Walz