While there certainly isn't a lack of interesting construction projects happening on and around campus these days, the Central Corridor light rail project is definitely the one everyone is talking about. Once completed, the Central Corridor will connect Downtown Minneapolis to Downtown St. Paul via light rail rapid transit. More importantly (from the perspective of a U of M student), the Central Corridor will connect the East Bank and West Bank of our Minneapolis Campus. It's a pretty big deal. The campus portion of the project runs along Washington Avenue, which was once the busiest area of campus - like super busy, I'm talking tens of thousands of people circulating through that area each day. Washington Avenue was a well oiled machine of people, coffee shops, and rapid transit. It was truly a change in lifestyle for a lot of us when the road was closed and underwent some pretty serious excavation. Bus lines were re-routed and life went on, and now the Central Corridor is about half way completed.
As the skeletons of new transit stations are beginning to appear next to the newly laid tracks, local housing developers are already predicting a rise in students wanting to live near this new public amenity. The Stadium Village area is the most notable example, where a handful of new, relatively upscale student apartment complexes are under construction or newly opened near the light rail project. I'm going to go ahead and guess that once the Central Corridor is complete and operating, Stadium Village will be the new hot neighborhood for off-campus living. Trust me, having a light rail within a few blocks of your apartment would be better than owning a car if you have classes on the West Bank. I'm jealous of the future students who will be the ones actually using it!
Housing Studies, B.S.
pics: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/04/20/centcorridor1-delays/, http://dorancompanies.com/the-edge-on-oak/