The Center for Transit-Oriented Development is continuing it research and technical assistance efforts. Reconnecting America and our CTOD partners at the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Strategic Economics are excited by our efforts to provide new tools and methods for planning for TOD and capturing the benefits of transit investment.
Reconnecting America and its partners in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development have been fortunate to have worked in the Twin Cities region for the past six years. The region has been a leader in planning a successful regional transit system and incorporating opportunities to create transit-centered communities.
Welcome to the Fall 2010 issue of Platform. The staff of Reconnecting America has been busy all year. We have gone through a rebranding process and are currently overhauling our website, and have a number of accomplishments in transit-oriented development and policy work. In addition, we have expanded our talent roster to fulfill our mission of transforming promising ideas into thriving communities.
In our Fall 2010 newsletter, Policy Director Sarah Kline discusses work the led to development of 10 recommendations for federal program changes to more effectively leverage federal funding in support of equitable TOD, and other policy work. Project Director Abigail Thorne-Lyman explains our work in Portland on the integretion of transportation and land use. CTOD Director Sam Zimbabwe offers a glimpse at our work researching and providing technical assistance on equitable TOD, reducing GHG emissions and identifying the links between TOD and employment. Chief of Staff Allison Brooks says goodbye to some old friends and welcomes new members to the staff. And Policy Associate Sasha Forbes explains the Mixed-Income TOD Action Guide tool.
As our issues have evolved, our staff has as well. I have had a busy year of interviewing to search out the best talent for Reconnecting America as opportunities have arisen.
It was with a mi xture of sadness and happiness that we bid farewell to Reconnecting America’s vice president of public policy, Mariia Zimmerman, who left in May. Mariia opened our D.C. office five years ago and was instrumental in developing a reputation for Reconnecting America as a TOD expert and “go to” resource for the federal government. Though we were sad to see her go, we were elated that she was selected to serve in the Obama Administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, alongside our former president, Shelley Poticha. Mariia is now the deputy director for sustainable communities. A new opportunity also arose for our program and policy associate, Annie Finkenbinder. She went to Capitol Hill to handle housing…
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development partnership — Reconnecting America, Center for Neighborhood Technology and Strategic Economics—has been hard at work researching and providing technical assistance on equitable TOD, reducing GHG emissions and identifying the links between TOD and employment.
CTOD continues to lead the way in defining and achieving equitable TOD through our work on the role of Community Development Financing Institutions (CDFIs) in achieving equitable TOD with the Low Income Investment Fund. We have also been advising HUD on ways to better link affordable housing and transit.
In the spring, we released “Transit Oriented Development and The Potential for VMT-related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction.” The report showed that households living within a half-mile of transit have lower transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from auto use, 43 percent lower than households living in the average location in the Chicago…
As we return to Portland, Ore., for Rail~Volution, we have many lessons to learn when it comes to the integration of transportation and land use. One lesson is that even in a place with great success, there is still work to be done to bring the principles of livability to scale on a regional basis.
In late July, Reconnecting America worked with partners in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development to respond to the Federal Transit Administration’s request for comments on project evaluation criteria in the New Starts and Small Starts program – the largest discretionary federal grant program that funds transit capital projects. CTOD developed these recommendations in coordination with several other partner organizations, including the Center for Housing Policy, Transportation for America, Smart Growth America, and others.
One key idea contained in CTOD’s comments is that the metrics used to measure the economic development potential of New Starts and Small Starts projects should be revised to move away from land value increases as a measure of economic activity, and move toward measuring employment and transit connectivity. CTOD’s work with regions around the country has shown that higher land values might be the result of speculation that will inhibit…
Modify and Expand the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to work better for transit and TOD
Create a Livable Communities Credit Enhancement Program
Modify US Tax Code to Create Location Efficiency Incentives
Establish a “Self Starts” Companion Program to Section 5309 New Starts and Small Starts
Create a Multimodal Access Program for New Capacity
Support Integrated Long-Range Regional Planning
Expand eligibility of transportation funds for TOD
Create Multimodal Office of Livable Communities at USDOT
Modify the Federal New Starts and Small Starts Program
Establish affordable housing replacement requirement for all transportation projects
Reconnecting America’s work around the country has shown that there is increasing demand for walkable, mixed-use communities served by reliable public transportation. In March 2010, Reconnecting America convened experts to discuss federal housing and transportation funding sources for…
Equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) promotes healthy and inclusive communities, but creating such communities is not an easy task. Often the financial reality of the economic and commercial benefits of development near transit wins. Higher-end housing wins. Luxury condos win. Jobs geared toward higher paid professionals win. But they don’t have to.