With transit ridership at record highs across the U.S., transit agencies are cutting jobs and service and raising fares as the economic downturn wreaks havoc on their operating budgets. According to the New York Times there will be no more service at 2,300 bus stops in St. Louis; WMATA, which broke ridership records on inauguration day, is cutting 900 jobs; Charlotte, where ridership on a new light rail line is the envy of other transit agencies, is cutting service and raising fares; NYC’s MTA is contemplating the deepest service cuts in years; in California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating operating assistance for transit agencies altogether.
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has updated its “Realizing the Potential” study for the FTA and HUD, which assessed strategies to promote mixed-income housing along five transit corridors in Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver and Portland. The new study finds the downturn in the housing market is playing out very differently in the five regions, but that property along transit corridors in Charlotte, Portland and Minneapolis appears to be holding its value better than in the regions at large. The housing market has not been as active along corridors in Denver or Boston, in contrast, because they traverse lower-income neighborhoods and because the many transit corridors in each region spread the TOD opportunity out.
Hey ho, let's go, says Reconnecting America CEO Shelley Poticha, in the cover story about the growing national consensus that we need to rethink America's transportation investments. A separate article inside discusses the work of the Transportation for America coalition, which launched its Build for America initiative Oct. 15. In addition to a summary of recent news items, the newsletter also offers a look at recent and pending publications from Reconnecting America and Center for Transit-Oriented Development.
Inside Reconnecting America's Winter 2008 newsletter: read how property near transit is holding its value in the downturn; review a TCRP study that finds TOD Reduces Car Trips By 50 Percent; ULI Says TOD A Best Bet in '08; learn how using typologies can simplify complex planning decisions, explore TOD and Climate Change
Shelley Poticha warns that it’s not enough just to build transit and expect that development will come; and, conversely, that developers should realize the extent to which they can leverage the public investment in transit: the lesson is that public-private ventures can realize benefits for all. Shelley and Gloria Ohland explain “Why streetcars and why now?” Gloria discusses how Denver’s TOD Strategic Plan is being used to prioritize TOD projects that can catalyze the market. And Mariia Zimmerman writes about the importance of creating and preserving diverse and equitable TOD.
Shelley Poticha discusses lessons learned around the country about how the public sector can best “set the table” for TOD. Scott Bernstein and Carrie Makarewicz from the Center for Neighborhood Technology (a partner in the Center for TOD) discuss our Affordability Index, which calculates the sum of housing and transportation costs as a percent of income to show the savings that can result from living in transit-rich mixed-use communities. Gloria Ohland writes about how and where the private sector is helping finance new rail lines and stations. And more …