Author Topic: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?  (Read 1305 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« on: April 01, 2011, 03:09:23 AM »
Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?



Does rail-based mass transit really stimulate growth in urban core neighborhoods outside of downtown?  Metro Jacksonville takes a visual look at peer city 2010 urban core census results and lets you decide.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-apr-does-fixed-transit-really-spur-economic-development

rainfrog

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 07:39:16 AM »
Disclaimer: Forgive me for being in a somewhat negative and grumpy mood this morning. :)

I'm not so sure these maps make it clear that it's not a coincidence. I know there's other evidence, but I'm just challenging the strength of these maps in particular.

Some of the project examples are so short they hardly leave the downtown areas (Tampa, Kenosha, Little Rock, Memphis), which are districts that, if following the same trend as all their peer cities, Jacksonville included, most likely would have grown anyway. Others seem to have unsettling losses along the route (Austin, Charlotte) or have substantial growth in areas well away from the line that make me wonder how much of a factor rail played in those particular cities (Norfolk, Houston, Tacoma, Miami). Heck, that pretty much just leaves Salt Lake City that looks about how I would hope.

And then when I try to compare and contrast to cities without the new rail lines -- Columbus, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, Richmond, Hartford, Rochester, Birmingham, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Knoxville, Winston-Salem, Omaha, Louisville, and others -- I'm even less convinced. These all have similar gain/loss patterns to some of the examples shown here, with pretty solid growth in the downtown areas, and in other scattered inner-ring neighborhoods in most cases, and a rough donut of loss. Few are as bad as Jacksonville -- Indianapolis stands out as pretty weak. Overall, if I didn't already know where the rail projects were, I would never have been able to tell from the growth patterns.

Okay, sorry, time for coffee! :)

thelakelander

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 08:23:38 AM »
Great observations. More detail, in terms of absolute population growth in various census tracts, as well as exact station locations (cant have TOD in areas where stations don't exists), and a description of the various landscapes along certain corridors would provide a better picture. Density maps would also help. Hopefully, many of these things will be added in this comment section as the discussion moves along. However, in response to the short starter lines, whatever the reason, growth was strong in every census tract they were set up to serve. Also, a link back to our article on TOD, before and after, would help visually illustrate that the growth in tracts where these various lines serve, has been TOD oriented. Google Earth aerials of communities without them show recent urban growth being more spread out. I would post these things, but I'll be away from a computer until Sunday night.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

dougskiles

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 08:48:52 AM »
From the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), an editorial addressing the often not-talked about benefits of transit, that is to better mobilize the workforce.  What could be more pro-business than that?

Quote
In their quest to balance the state budget through an unbalanced, cuts-only approach, many Minnesota Republican legislators claim to be fighting on behalf of the business community.

But at least in the debate over transit funding, their draconian approach is not playing well with the businesses represented by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Effective transit is probusiness, creating the infrastructure that's essential for the expansion of existing businesses and making it easier to recruit firms to expand or start operations here.

Few things impede business growth more than paralyzed transit systems that don't allow employers to efficiently move their products and employees.

Minnesota needs more transit options, not fewer, and cutting funding isn't the answer, Todd Klingel, president and CEO of the Minneapolis chamber, and Matt Kramer, who holds the same positions with the St. Paul chamber, told the Star Tribune Editorial Board recently.

The GOP-controlled Legislature is moving in the other direction.

A bill passed by the Minnesota House would decrease general-fund money for light rail, commuter rail and buses by $130 million over the next biennium, and reduce expenditures on Greater Minnesota bus service by $7.6 million.

It authorizes the Met Council to tap other funds to pay for any shortfall.

The move is "motivated by ideology," said Kramer. "There's this notion that transit does not fund itself, and this enormous fallacy that somehow roads do. For our employers, transit does not represent a liberal agenda of social engineering -- it represents how employees go to work, and your ability to hire and retain talent. ...

"When you take transit out of the mix, you impact profitability, you impact hiring, you impact delivery, you impact competing against other markets. It's an extraordinarily simple argument for the business community to get their heads around." On whether the GOP majorities speak for business, Kramer says, "They may purport to, but they do not."


Support for improved transit isn't limited to existing Minnesota businesses: Transportation is one of three key criteria for site selectors advising businesses on relocation or expansion.

The proposed pullback on transit comes amid projections from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that the number of congested vehicle miles traveled in the Twin Cities will spike from 7.8 million in 2010 to 15.4 million in 2030.

Already the cost to the average commuter is $970 a year in lost time and wasted fuel. Reducing transit options that would mitigate the clogged roads hardly seems smart for businesses and the employees they depend on.

Klingel accurately summed up the House proposal this way: "It's an assault on transit and its viability in driving jobs and the economy. ... There is a need for a lifeblood circulatory system for the heart of the economy."

If, as expected, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoes whatever transportation funding bill comes out of a conference committee, some sort of compromise will be suggested.

But it won't be enough to just keep the Central Corridor light-rail project on track. That project was planned as part of a long-overdue, systemic approach to a transit system.

We're competing in a national and global economy. An incomplete, insufficient transit system puts Minnesota at a competitive disadvantage. Business leaders know that. It's time legislative leaders do, too.


http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/119027994.html

rainfrog

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 09:14:37 AM »
Great observations. More detail, in terms of absolute population growth in various census tracts, as well as exact station locations (cant have TOD in areas where stations don't exists), and a description of the various landscapes along certain corridors would provide a better picture. Density maps would also help. Hopefully, many of these things will be added in this comment section as the discussion moves along. However, in response to the short starter lines, whatever the reason, growth was strong in every census tract they were set up to serve. Also, a link back to our article on TOD, before and after, would help visually illustrate that the growth in tracts where these various lines serve, has been TOD oriented. Google Earth aerials of communities without them show recent urban growth being more spread out. I would post these things, but I'll be away from a computer until Sunday night.

You're absolutely right; more info would probably isolate the difference much better. The pairing of tracts with as little as 21% growth as the same color as ones with 1000%+ growth is probably hiding a lot of the TOD presence. That's something we see often with TODs, because of industrial areas lining tracks, they will often put down roots where little to no residential had been the previous decade. And that would be huge in terms of percentage growth for the tract. Miami, for example, has a tract downtown that grew by 2,069% (tract 37.03) very near one that apparently could not even be calculated due to having 0 residents in 2000 (tract 37.05, now with over 1,000 people).

I can't wait for the Census website to have customizable thematic maps for the 2010 data. That's when we'll really be able to dissect our cities' evolution this past decade. The NYTimes mapper is nice, but it bugs me when anyone lumps race and ethnicity into the same layer for the purposes of showing "non-hispanic race X" without labeling it as such, and then there's the 5,000 to infinity ppsm upper category on their density map, never mind that tracts in NYC top 200K ppsm! Oops... more coffee... lol

urbaknight

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 01:02:38 PM »
A heads up for whoever reports on monthly urban construction updates, I rode the bus into DT this morning. On Forsyth st near the convention center, I saw a crew painting the front of an old 2 or 3 story building. They were painting it yellow. But so far, they only painted the front. What could they be doing with it? Check it out and hopefully, if there's a reason to report, you could tell the rest of us about it. Thanks.

obsidian

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Re: Does Fixed Transit Really Spur Economic Development?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 06:56:35 PM »
I have a table and map of 1/4 mile population for Metro Rail stations, Miami-Dade, but not sure how to post them.