Hennepin County’s Department of Housing, Community Works and Transit (HCWT) conducted an HIA to inform planning decisions on the proposed Bottineau Transitway. The transitway proposal would create a new bus or light rail line extending from downtown Minneapolis through North Minneapolis and into neighboring suburbs. The HIA was coordinated with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that will serve as a key mechanism for the County in making decisions on the transitway. The DEIS will also serve as the basis for the Federal Transit Administration’s decision on whether to fund the project.
North Minneapolis has high rates of health problems such as obesity, asthma, diabetes, and disability. The proposed transit system has the potential to benefit the health of residents along the corridor by, for example, improving air quality through relieving traffic congestion, creating opportunities for exercise, improving access to grocery stores, employment, and health services, and spurring reinvestment in housing and retail services. At the same time, increased pedestrian traffic near transit stops can lead to traffic injuries, and rising housing prices can displace low-income families.