The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco held conference entitlted Capital Solutions for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development. The purpose of this conference was to examine the practical realities of financing equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and presenting best practices for equitable TOD financing to the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) sector.
In this video, recorded at a national streetcar workshop in Los Angeles last year, Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, talks about why affordability isn’t just about housing costs anymore: In the early 1920s when every US city of more than 5,000 residents had at least one streetcar line, households spent an average of just 3 percent of household income on transportation. Today families spend an average of 19 percent.
In this 17-minute video, Michael Powell of Powell’s Books talks about why he led the effort to convince property owners in Portland’s Pearl District to tax themselves to build a streetcar line, and what that streetcar has done for economic development in Portland. He calculates the benefits this way: The number of pedestrians in the crosswalk in front of his store numbered three an hour before the line opened in 2001, he says, but when he counted again in 2008 there were 938 pedestrians. Meantime, 400 new businesses opened in the Pearl, 90 percent of which are locally owned – the vast majority by women and minority entrepreneurs. In the meantime, property values have increased more than tenfold.
Now more than ever Americans realize change is possible, that we can act together to set this country on a new course that better responds to today¹s realities. The current economic crisis, instability in the Middle East, the wave of foreclosures and increasing evidence of climate change all suggest it is not our parents' reality anymore. The American Dream is alive and well but it is evolving, and we must push forward with an agenda that keeps America competitive and makes us all more financially secure. If the single-family home in the suburbs was the American Dream of yore, the new American Dream also includes lofts, townhomes, live-work spaces and apartments in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods near high-quality transit -- neighborhoods that will go a long way toward setting America on the path to fiscal and environmental sustainability and security. America has become more diverse and we must build and retrofit our cities and our suburbs to keep up with this new reality. At…