Is there a link between gentrification and light rail? (Photos)

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Take the train with us.

KCRW  explores the link between building new light rail and subway systems and community development and gentrification.

Do trains really bring more economic opportunity and new residents to neighborhoods, as some people claim?

There are more than 80 miles of light rail and subway lines in Los Angeles County and more are being built or planned. Beyond taking care of people’s transit needs, many officials hope they can also be powerful engines for neighborhood development. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
Light rail supporters often advocate transit oriented development, putting residences and new businesses near transportation stops. This apartment building is just steps away from a Gold Line station in L.A.’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. It’s thought such developments both encourage mass transit ridership and new outside investment in communities. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
Metro, Los Angeles County’s transportation agency, says the opening of the Red Line subway in the 1990s is largely responsible for the recent commercial boom along Hollywood Boulevard, with trendy stores, hotels and restaurants opening near the stations. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
Heather Presha lives in L.A.’s Leimert Park neighborhood. She hopes when a new light rail line opens in the area in 2019 it will bring new retail and community amenities to her largely black and Latino neighborhood. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
There are plenty of critics who say building light rail and subway lines doesn’t generate the kind of development and investment many people expect. This Gold Line stop in L.A.’s Boyle Heights neighborhood was supposed to bring retail and residential development around it, but so far that hasn’t happened. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)