Transit for Livable Communities
Transit for Livable Communities is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization leading the movement for transportation reform in Minnesota. Through advocacy, community engagement and collaboration, innovative programming, and research, we promote a balanced transportation system that encourages transit, walking, bicycling, and thoughtful development.
Founded in 1996 and located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, we are the largest transportation advocacy organization in Minnesota, with nearly 10,000 advocates and members and a staff of 8 employees.
Transform Minnesota’s transportation system to strengthen community, improve health and opportunity for all people, foster a sound economy, and protect our natural resources.
We envision a Minnesota where people, employers, and communities thrive because:
• Minnesota has world-class public transportation and communities designed for walking and bicycling.
• Agencies and policy-makers put people first—not cars—and seize the full potential for transportation to improve quality of life.
• A broad-based, diverse movement advocates for healthy and affordable transportation and supportive land use.
We look beyond the status quo to imagine new possibilities.
We value a transportation system that affords all people economic opportunity and inclusion in community life.
We believe the best solutions are achieved by careful listening, shared learning, and empowered collaboration.
We are guided by rigorous research, innovative thinking, and community dialogue.
We value responsible use of public investment and our shared natural resources to preserve these assets for future generations.
How We Work
Transit for Livable Communities links grassroots action with both short and long-term policy reform efforts. We educate key audiences, testify on transportation issues, monitor transportation news and trends, communicate with journalists, and team up with allies to achieve our shared goal: a balanced transportation system that encourages transit, walking, biking, and transit-oriented development.
Transportation Policy & Funding
Transit for Livable Communities staff is named co-chair of Move MN statewide campaign to increase transportation funding for all modes.
TLC staff successfully advocates for a greater emphasis on social equity in transportation funding decisions made by the Transportation Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Council.
Minnesota’s new State Highway Safety Plan elevates bicycle and pedestrian safety, a result of advocacy by Transit for Livable Communities.
Transit for Livable Communities completes 7 Transportation Options workshops with staff from 29 social service organizations. Partners refer first individuals for direct transportation assistance. Prior to this program, the only transportation assistance available to lower-income individuals has been car repair or car loans.
In partnership with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, TLC launches Transportation Leadership Certification, a new program focused on nonprofits along the METRO Green Line in the Twin Cities.
Projects & Corridors
A final Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program Report to Congress summarizes the results of the Bike Walk Twin Cities program administered by Transit for Livable Communities. In the last full year of funding for Bike Walk Twin Cities, new project openings include Phase III of the Dinkytown Greenway, the 7th Street North pedestrian project, and three new bikeways in Saint Paul, on Charles Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, and Griggs Avenue.
Transit for Livable Communities helps plan celebration activities at Raymond Station to mark the grand opening of the METRO Green Line light rail line connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
With support from Transit for Livable Communities and our members, Southwest LRT wins municipal consent from cities and counties along the line.
Transit for Livable Communities documents the community vision for the Franklin Avenue corridor with a video to push for greater safety for all users.
Transportation Policy & Funding
Transit for a Stronger Economy, a coalition led by Transit for Livable Communities, grows to more than 50 organizations united behind the goal of increased funding for transit, bicycling, and walking. A bill supported by the coalition passes in the Minnesota Senate but is stopped in the House of Representatives. After the session, Transit for a Stronger Economy comes together with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance to form the Move MN coalition.
Transit for Livable Communities and Minnesota Environmental Partnership hire a bipartisan polling firm to survey Minnesota voters on transportation. A statewide survey of 500 voters (+/- 4.4%) finds that 91% of Minnesotans believe public transportation is a good investment for the state and 69% favor including bicycle and pedestrian projects in transportation funding proposals.
Transit for Livable Communities chairs the Coalition for a Stronger Region, working to influence the details of the Metropolitan Council’s long-range plan, Thrive MSP 2040.
Transit for Livable Communities pilots our new Transportation Options program with Neighborhood House and North Hennepin Community College.
Projects & Corridors
Administered by Transit for Livable Communities, Bike Walk Twin Cities celebrates the opening of the Dinktytown Greenway and issues a 2013 Bicycling and Walking Count Report. In the Twin Cities, walking is up 16% and bicycling is up 78% since 2007. Bike Walk Twin Cities also sponsors and participates in five Open Streets events between June and September, in Saint Paul and in Uptown, Northeast, Longfellow, and North Minneapolis.
The Red Line, the region’s first BRT line, opens in south Metro, connecting Apple Valley to the Mall of America. Transit for Livable Communities participates in the June launch event and involves members in a group ride on opening day.
Also in 2013
Transit for Livable Communities collaborates with Eat for Equity on a fundraising dinner that brings together 150+ people and raises awareness of transportation as an equity issue.
TLC launches Transportation on Tap, a new series of happy-hour discussions about transportation topics.
Administering Bike Walk Twin Cities federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).
The program, authorized in the 2005 federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, was the brainchild of former Minnesota congressman and chair of the House Transportation Committee, James Oberstar. The program injected $25 million into four communities around the nation (Columbia, Mo.; Minneapolis & surrounding areas; Marin County, Calif.; Sheboygan County, Wisc.) to increase bicycling and walking and report back to Congress on the ability of these modes to carry a significant portion of transportation. Transit for Livable Communities, the only nonprofit organization to administer a pilot location, created the Bike Walk Twin Cities initiative to run the program. Bike Walk Twin Cities added 100 miles of new bikeways and sidewalks, provided start-up funds for new programs, and lead to an increase of 78% in bicycling and 16% in walking between 2007-2013.
Quarter-cent sales tax for transit in metro.
Over Governor Pawlenty’s veto, the Minnesota legislature passed in 2008 a transportation bill that included a significant, dedicated source of transit funding—over $100 million to be exact. Transit for Livable Communities was instrumental in shaping the bill, leading the Transit Partners coalition and mobilizing the organization’s action network to pass it. The bill funds a good portion of the Transportation Choices 2020 vision.
Transit for Livable Communities co-founded the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition, along with Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, Fresh Energy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Center for Prevention. The coalition had a big victory in 2010 when Complete Streets law was passed making it the policy of the state of Minnesota.
Changing state goals for transportation in 2010.
The legislature amended the state’s transportation goals to make them more specific and measurable. The changes included: direction to provide transit service in all counties in the state, ensuring that the state’s transportation infrastructure is maintained in a state of good repair, reducing fatalities and injuries for all modes of transportation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the share of trips by transit and walking (bicycling was previously included in goals).
Helping to secure funding for the Hiawatha light rail line (now called the METRO Blue Line).
Transit for Livable Communities and its action network met with legislators and generated strong community support for the Hiawatha light rail line. TLC’s education and outreach efforts helped the public understand the benefits of light rail transit.
Preventing cuts to transit funding during the 2004 and 2011 budget shortfalls.
Twice in the 2000s, Transit for Livable Communities’ strong policy and fiscal analysis, combined with its well-mobilized action network, successfully limited budget cuts that would have increased transit fares and reduced service.
Working to pass the Minnesota Transportation Amendment.
TLC’s action network and community alliances helped lead grassroots efforts to successfully pass the Minnesota Transportation Amendment, which provided the first state source of dedicated funding for transit in Minnesota.
Produced key community advocacy tools. Policy briefs, reports, and handouts help local leaders shift regional thinking about transportation in Minnesota. For example, the “pennies brief,” about transportation funding in peer regions, builds the case for a dedicated sales tax for transit in the metro. Reports include The Myth of Free Parking, Citizen’s Agenda for Transportation in the Twin Cities, and Share the Road: Encouraging Bicycling and Walking in Minnesota.
Packing hearing rooms with community advocates.
Transit for Livable Communities has more than 10,000 people in our network and more than 5,000 active members who can be counted on to speak up for transit, bicycling, walking, and thoughtful development in their communities. Our members regularly turn out for public hearings and other key meetings where transportation and land use decisions are made. Our work and our members connect local leaders to cutting-edge transportation information and to each other.
This is an exciting time at Transit for Livable Communities as we look to become even stronger and more vital leaders in the movement to transform transportation in Minnesota. For an overview of our recent work, browse TLC’s latest newsletters and annual reports.