The City Space

Cultivating Urban Understanding

What Happens to Small Businesses During Light Rail Construction

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It’s always exciting when I get to post on the Strong Towns blog. This week, I wrote about an issue I tackled a couple years ago on this blog: Summer Construction and Small Business Struggles. I expanded on it and dealt specifically with light rail construction on the Strong Towns blog, asking the question: How should we handle situations where the long-term goals of one entity–in this case the government and the city–clash with the short-term, day-to-day existence of another–small businesses? There’s already a lot of good ideas shared in the comments section. Here’s how it starts:

Four years ago, I sat in a small Caribbean restaurant called Caribe, in St. Paul, MN enjoying some phenomenal tostones and cuban sandwiches with an old friend and thinking to myself, “How did I not know about this place before? I’m definitely coming back soon.” A couple months later, I learned that the business had been forced to shutter its doors. What happened so suddenly that this beloved cafe had to close? If you’ve been following the public transit scene in the Twin Cities for the last few years, you know the answer: a light rail line was built in front of this business and hundreds of others on University Avenue. Getting to these diverse small businesses by car–and even on foot–became a serious challenge during the construction phase, thus many businesses saw a severe downturn in profits…

Read on for the rest.


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