Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Development

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 31, 2014

There is a lot of talk about the streetcar generating development. The following information attempts to shed light on this issue. Answers have been gleaned from the sources indicated below.

This article will be updated periodically as we become aware of additional information and the series will be available on the website under the tab “Special Topics” – Sense or Nonsense?

Construction along Cleveland's Health Line

Construction along Cleveland’s Health Line

Only light rail systems generate development.

Thumbs downNOT SO.

 As the photo of the Cleveland Bus Rapid Transit system makes clear, development can be encouraged by any form of mass transit, whether light rail, streetcar or bus-rapid-transit. More important than the transit mode, keys to development around transit are additional government incentives. These are most typically in the form of rezoning and traditional development subsidies, but can also include tangible improvements such as streetscaping, in the case of Cleveland, or Denver’s $1.4 billion redevelopment of their Union Station as a transit and commercial hub.

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Sources:

 Streetcars

1. System(s) studied: Streetcars in Tampa, Seattle and Portland

Summary of findings: Vacant and underdeveloped land just beyond walking distance to the city center offers the most potential for appreciation. However, much depends on local conditions. The increase in average property values along the Tampa streetcar, although large, were less than increases in the county as a whole. A large component of property appreciation is the effect of rezoning to higher use. In the case of Seattle and Portland increases in value were due to a major development project in each city which included development of a streetcar along with other infrastructure, and up-zoning of a large swath of under utilized land.

Institution: Center for Transit Oriented Development, Reconnecting America

Contact: http://www.ctod.org/

Title: “Value Capture and Tax-Increment Financing Options for Streetcar Construction”

Authors: Not given, Date: circa 2009

Cleveland's BRT-1

Cleveland’s BRT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Yes, MAX style buses can be used effectively for development. 

(Listed in chronological order of publication.)

2. System(s) studied: 21 different systems including the Kansas City MAX (BRT), Cleveland HealthLine (BRT), Portland MAX (light rail), Portland Streetcar, Seattle South Lake Union Streetcar, and 16 more.

Summary of findings: Strongest predictor of success in achieving development around transit is government support – financial, regulatory and marketing. The second most important factor is the strength of the land market surrounding the transit corridor prior to the introduction of new transit service. Light rail, streetcars and Bus Rapid Transit can all stimulate major investment in a corridor. But, Bus Rapid Transit is far more cost-effective.

Institution: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Contact: (212) 629-8001, www.itdp.org

Title: More Development For Your Transit Dollar, an Analysis of 21 North American Transit Corridors

Authors: Walter Hook, Stephanie Lotshaw, and Annie Weinstock, Date: 2013

3. System(s) studied:. Cleveland HealthLine, Bus Rapid Transit

Summary of findings: The HealthLine has been a catalyst for development along the route. A key factor was designing the system with amenities more typical of light rail systems and upgrading the streetscape all along the route.

Institution: Urban Land Institute

Contact: Trisha Riggs, Vice President of Communications: 202-624-7086; e-mail: priggs@uli.org

Title: “HealthLine Drives Growth in Cleveland”, in “UrbanLand”

Authors: Jason Hellendrung, Date: July 13, 2012

Cleveland's BRT - 2

Cleveland’s BRT – Amenities at Station

4. System(s) studied: BRT in Seoul, South Korea

Summary of findings: “Land price premiums of up to 10% were estimated for residences within 300 m of BRT stops and more than 25% for retail and other non-residential uses over a  smaller impact zone of 150 m. The research findings underscore the importance of introducing zoning and other land regulatory changes prior to the initiation of BRT improvements….”

Institution: Elsevier

Contact: Tel.: +1 510 642 1695; fax: +1 520 642 1641

Title: ” Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and land values in Seoul, Korea”, in “Transport Policy”

Authors: Robert Cervero, Chang Deok Kang, Date: 2011

5. System(s) studied: Boston, Silver Line BRT

Summary of findings: BRT generated an average price premium on the sale price of condominiums along the route of 7.6% – comparable to what is seen for light rail.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Phase II….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Steven Reader, Ph.D, Date: July 2012

6. System(s) studied: Pittsburg, BRT

Summary of findings: Values of single-family homes increase as the property gets closer to a BRT station.

Institution: Federal Transit Administration / University of South Florida, National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

Contact: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute, http://www.nbrti.org

Title: “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity….”

Authors: Victoria A. Perk, Martin Catala, Date: December 2009

Contributor: Mark McDowell

 

 

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