As the Puget Sound region invests billions in a new light rail system, many stakeholders, including community leaders, workers, equity advocates and planners, are asking – who will benefit? Will the advantages of living along light rail be shared by households of all incomes and people of all races and ethnicities?
Transit oriented development (TOD), holds tremendous promise and opportunity for communities of color and low-income households. But, strong evidence of gentrification and the threat of displacement in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, accelerated by the light rail, threaten to undermine this promise. Rainier Valley represents one of the most racially diverse areas in the Puget Sound and is also one of the first communities to receive light rail.
Ensuring that TOD results in real equity outcomes requires a sharp focus on what equity means and a steady determination to achieve those outcomes. By including a racial justice framework in TOD planning and…
The federal government, through various transportation acts, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and, more recently, the Safe, Affordable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), has reinforced the need for integration of land use and transportation and the provision of public transit. Other federal programs, such as the Livable Communities Program and the New Starts Program, have provided additional impetus to public transit. At the state and regional level, the past three decades have seen increased provision of public transit. However, the public transit systems typically require significant operating and capital subsidies—75 percent of transit funding is provided by local and state governments.1 With all levels of government under significant fiscal stress, new transit funding mechanisms are welcome. Value capture (VC) is once…
Strategic Plan Overview & Purpose
This plan describes Sound Transit’s vision, goals and strategy for creating transit-oriented development (TOD) on and around its stations, transit centers and park-andride lots. TOD is compact public and private development that supports transit use by emphasizing pedestrian and transit access, such as the clustering of development and mixing land uses and activities at and around transit facilities.
Sound Transit, as a regional transit provider, builds and operates high capacity transit (HCT), as distinguished from local transit services. Sound Transit provides regional transit services that connect urban centers: commuter rail, light rail and express bus. Implementation of the Strategic Plan occurs in the context of Sound Move projects completed and under design and construction, and ST2 projects being planned. Sound Transit will implement TOD on its own properties, including forming development partnerships that increase…
By 2013, King County Metro Transit’s bus rapid transit (BRT) service, known as RapidRide, will be expanding to six lines covering 64 miles of high-use corridors. The Bus Rapid Transit and Land Use Initiative is the product of a partnership between ULI Seattle, King County Metro Transit, the city of Seattle, the city of Shoreline, and the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project. The partnership formed a team of ULI members and transit professionals to analyze and make recommendations about connecting RapidRide and land use opportunities. The team developed case studies of similar BRT service in other cities and analyzed three station areas in Seattle and Shoreline.
From the perspectives of multimodal corridors, neighborhood design, housing, jobs/workers, marketing, and stakeholders, the team developed specific recommendations for RapidRide and initiative partners, as well as recommendations for each station area. Three overarching themes emerged:
This study is one of the first to test the effect of sidewalks on travel patterns and the first we know of to relate sidewalk availability with VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) and GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. Recently, several large jurisdictions in King County have developed local sidewalk data layers, creating a new opportunity to look at pedestrian infrastructure alongside other investment and policy strategies associated with reduced VMT and CO2 (carbon dioxide). The study used travel outcome data from the 2006 PSRC (Puget Sound Regional Council) Household Activity Survey. The household-level analysis was restricted to households in King County cities where sidewalk data was already available, and modeled the association of urban form, pedestrian infrastructure, transit service and travel costs on VMT and CO2, while controlling for household characteristics known to influence travel.
The results provide early evidence in the potential effectiveness of …
Public Markets are key elements to urban revitalization. The number of markets in the U.S. has increased from roughly 1,500 markets in 1994 to over 3,500 in 2004. Markets can improve districts in the following ways: act as a small business incubator, spur economic development around the market, connect local producers to consumers, provide vital social services to low-income citizens, provide access to healthy foods, offer affordable housing, and create a sense of place in the community. In order to achieve success, markets develop community partnerships that focus on different areas of improvement, such as historic preservation, retail development, a link between food producers and consumers, social services, and affordable housing. They then structure their leadership in such a way that is responsive to that area of improvement. The most successful markets establish a variety of community partnerships that focus on a range of improvements and community needs.
A livable community has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive features and services, and adequate mobility options for people, regardless of age or ability. As communities address the general shortage of affordable housing, preserving affordable housing in transit-oriented developments (TODs) is one of the challenges that communities can address to increase their livability.
TODs are compact, walkable, mixed-use communities that are developed around high-quality public transportation. Residents often prize these places for the advantages created by the proximity to transportation and other amenities. One consequence of this desirability is that it can increase land and property values, exacerbating housing affordability challenges.
As policymakers try to extend the benefits of TODs to affordable housing locations, they must ensure that those benefits are available to people of low and moderate incomes and to those with different mobility…
The decision to construct and operate Central Link light rail at-grade on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South created widespread community concern about the impact that prolonged construction would have on local businesses. As a result, the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (CDF) was founded in 2002 to manage a $50 million fund established by the City of Seattle, King County, and Sound Transit. The Fund was established to mitigate lost revenues of the businesses impacted by light rail construction and to invest in long-term business and real estate development in the Rainier Valley.
To minimize the impact of the five-year construction project, the CDF created the Supplemental Mitigation Assistance (SMA) program in an effort to prevent business closures and vacant storefronts along the MLK corridor. The SMA program provided financial assistance in the form of grants to businesses that could document a loss in net revenues or to businesses that were relocated as a…