Frederick Melo | Pioneer Press

Strong transit serves communities well, but there is little incentive for developers to build low-income housing along transit lines.On Sunday afternoon, a NorthStar Commuter Rail train rolled into the St. Paul Union Depot to greet the mayor of Salt Lake City, top administrators from the Boston, Dallas and Denver public transit systems, and some 600 assorted politicians and planners.

So began Rail~Volution, an annual public transit conference that draws industry insiders from across the country. After an opening session on Kellogg Boulevard, the NorthStar train will take conference-goers to Target Field Station in Minneapolis, concluding the first of four days of transit trips, discussions and workshops.

“We’re going to set a record for participants in this conference,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who has been pressing for Rail~Volution to come to the Twin Cities for the past several years.

The conference, which is celebrating its 20th year, will be based at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, but mobile workshops are drawing more than 1,400 attendees to sites across the metro area.

A session titled “Play Ball!” will take conference-goers along the Green Line to see how Metro Transit’s new light-rail corridor was designed to link the new stadiums of the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and the St. Paul Saints. Read more