Thursday, June 29, 2017

Transit Oriented Development will it solve public the transportation problem? – Part 1

In addition to paying an outlandish price for these “more efficient transit systems” who picks up the tab when ridership drops?

  
In a recent editorial, the Tampa Bay Times laments Hillsborough County’s taxpayer’s unwillingness to support “more efficient transit options for the future.” See Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes.

You can read that as disappointment that the last two major light rail driven transit initiatives that bombed in the Bay area are somehow responsible for the current funding crisis that is causing Hillsborough County’s HART and quite likely Pinellas County’s PSTA to reorganize and cut some routes.

What the editorial does not address is that public transportation usage in the Bay area has dropped dramatically as the economy improved giving people the option to use more convenient methods of moving about the area.

Light rail systems cannot be restructured, routes eliminated, track picked up and costs lowered when the ridership drops, likewise they cannot be quickly expanded when ridership suddenly increases.

Bus systems can as we see.

In addition to paying an outlandish price for these “more efficient transit systems” who picks up the tab when ridership drops?

The taxpayers.

A good public transit system should be driven by market pressures and be required to adjust service and budgets as their market and usage changes.

What the editorial is really saying is Hillsborough County Taxpayers should have funded the Go Hillsborough transit boondoggle so we would now have a very fat HART with fewer riders but no doubt a growing budget.

Why are all the politicians, big money players and developers all about rail?

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

Here is a phrase you will see repeatedly as the “New TBARTA” lobbied into existence purely to eliminate voter referendum control of public transit rolls out Transit Oriented Development.

Some definitions:
Transit-oriented development, or TOD, is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.
Or
Transit Oriented Development is the exciting fast-growing trend in creating vibrant, livable, sustainable communities. Also known as TOD, it's the creation of compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities centered around high-quality train systems.

From WIKIPEDIA
In urban planning, a transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport.

A TOD typically includes a central transit stop (such as a train station, or light rail or bus stop) surrounded by a high-density mixed-use area, with lower-density areas spreading out from this center. A TOD is also typically designed to be more walkable than other built-up areas, through using smaller block sizes and reducing the land area dedicated to automobiles.[1][2]

In Part 2 of this post I take a look at Transit oriented development, how it works who pays and who benefits.

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Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

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