Monday, April 6, 2009

Chris Leinberger Says It

I've seen a lot of these quotes recently.
Rail transit drives walkable urban places. I've never seen one dollar of real estate investment invested because of a bus stop. But if you have [rail] transit, it's a different story altogether.

12 comments:

John said...

I don't doubt that rail generates more investment, but to say buses generate zero is ridiculous. There is plenty of evidence of development around BRT in Cleveland, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Boston, Curitiba, Bogota, etc...

Jude said...

A sense of permanence yields investment. Bus stops/routes come and go.

Kyle - Boston said...

Where exactly in Boston has this BRT development occurred? The seaport was planned before the Silver Lie and and is still very sparse.

M1EK said...

Buses don't generate anything - they can, sometimes, give enough political cover to raise zoning from previously artificially low levels to something the market would already have built anyways.

Just like commuter rail here in Austin - being used as an excuse for long overdue upzonings of land close enough to the city core to be unprofitable at low-density zoning.

You don't get real TOD without high-QUALITY rail transit - not just rail transit in general (VTPI's distinction - fast/frequent/reliable - and going to good destinations without transfers).

arcady said...

John: I don't know about any of the other cities, but in Boston, the development came before the busway, and largely independently of it. The waterfront area happened because it's the mayor's pet project, and most of it is very auto-oriented anyway. Also, even if true, all your examples show is that if you make an investment comparable in size to a rail line, you get a similar amount of associated development. If, on the other hand, you just have a bus stop, then you don't.

John said...

"Throughout the planning and construction of the Silver Line Phase I project, development has accelerated along the corridor, resulting in at least $93 million in new development. Projects includes a mix of retail, housing, and institutional uses, including police stations and medical facilities. Most projects include retail on the ground level.

Phase II of the Silver Line (also known as the South Boston Piers Transitway) consists of an underground bus tunnel (planned to open late 2004) beginning at South Station, which is also served by the Red Line subway, commuter rail, Amtrak, and inter-city buses. This facility was conceived as a way to enable the expansion of downtown Boston to the east to former industrial land along the South Boston Piers. More than $500 million has been invested in real estate in this area, and more development is expected. Larger projects include the Joseph L. Moakley Federal Courthouse and the 980,000 square-foot Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Other built and planned projects include office buildings, hotels, retail, and condominiums."

Source: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/CBRT.pdf
Page 4-20

Justin said...

he is correct. No one is going to invest because of a BUS STOP. A streetcar stop will attract real estates dollars, because once you plunk the rails down, the rail will be there for a long time.
John, you are getting confused with BRT, and a regular bus route.

John said...

Justin,
Thanks for the clarification in semantics. I am referring to BRT. Perhaps those are bus "stations." Nevertheless, I suspect that money somewhere at some time in history HAS been invested because of a bus stop, even if Mr. Leinberger hasn't seen it. We can all agree though that high quality rail transit attracts far more development.

Kyle - Boston said...

Silver Line Phase 1, runs only on the street level of downtown Boston, out to Dudley Square. Businesses, housing etc...already existed. I can say without hesitation that not a single bit of development has occurred from phase I; that development info is completely incorrect and is nothing more than a justification to build a poorly designed and cheaper transit system. They probably added all the businesses and housing that has been sold as part of normal business cycles and since the Silver Line drives on the street in front of it (along with every other car), they will gladly consider this as economic development relating to the Silver Line BRT.

For phase II, like Arcady stated, that was all occurring before the Silver Line phase II was built. They wanted to redevelop the waterfront and unfortunately they have done a very poor job. So, the DOT and the MBTA consider this development as related to the Silver Line, which could be nothing further from the truth.

Justin said...

I have seen pics of the development in the Boston waterfront, and the development along the waterfront look horrible. It's like they plunked a suburban office space downtown. If I was MBTA, I wouldn't want to be associated with that sort of development. It's definitely not TOD.
John: Since most bus stops are either a pole, or a simple shelter, it's unlikely any bus route spurred any sort of development.

Matt Fisher said...

John: In response, here in Ottawa, there may be some examples of what is considered TOD around Transitway stations, but not as much. Light rail would have brought more. Besides, around the three Transitway stations terminating, Baseline, Blair, and South Keys, big box opened.

And a lot of the development around Cleveland's HealthLine BRT is more government oriented, according to Edson L. Tennyson. The Seaport redevelopment in Boston does look auto oriented indeed.

Matt Fisher said...

Justin, my man,
I saw satellite images of the South Boston Waterfront on Google Maps, and this looks bad. I really should have added this in my comment. Oh, well, this looks like crap. Acre after acre of parking spaces. But since you and I are both Canadian, we would use hectares as the equivalent unit, as in the metric system. It looks more like sprawl in the typical Texas suburb than true TOD.