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20 in Portland at that time, such as increased developer demand Riverfront line cars operate in a one-way loop, using the Main for more densely developable sites, the real estate boom for Street line as one leg of the circle. MATA opened the 2.5-mi- condominiums offering urban lifestyles with high amenities extension on Madison Avenue in 2004. The Madison Avenue in downtown Portland, and rising land costs, likely influ- Loop connects the existing downtown system with the Medi- enced development patterns and resulted in denser develop- cal Center complex, linking the city's two largest employment ment in the past few years, irrespective of the streetcar (as centers by rail transit. The Madison line operates in mixed demonstrated by the average new development FAR of 6.4 traffic along Madison Avenue, generally on tracks located at the three-block distance). Hovee recommends that a more in the inside travel lanes. This extension also included two thorough statistical model be constructed to better verify the major bridge projects: a parallel two-bridge rail-only system causal relationship between the construction of the streetcar at Danny Thomas Boulevard (one rail bridge on each side of and before-after development patterns. the existing street bridge), and a reconstruction of the existing bridge at I-240, with tracks placed on the bridge. Memphis, Tennessee System Development The city of Memphis, Tennessee, with approximately 650,000 In initial planning for the trolley system, MATA strategi- residents, is the central city within a metropolitan region that cally placed the Main Street line between two intermodal encompasses 1.27 million residents. With a rich history, and transportation terminals: Central Station to the south, and world fame as a center for music (e.g., blues and rock and the proposed new North End Terminal to the north. These roll), Memphis has long attracted substantial tourism. two transportation terminals facilitate several types of intermodal connection and house joint development ten- Streetcar System ants. Central Station, a historic train station renovation and mixed-use project on the south end of the Main Street/Riv- The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) began opera- erside Loop, serves MATA buses, the trolley, Amtrak, and tion of the city's trolley system in 1993, approximately 50 automobile park-and-ride. The new North End Terminal pro- years after the city's original trolley system had been dis- vides a MATA bus, trolley, and an automobile park-and-ride mantled. Today, the system consists of 24 stations along transfer point, as well as a mix of residential and commercial three lines: the Main Street Trolley, the Madison Avenue uses (11) (see Figures 9 and 10). Loop, and the Riverfront Loop. Together, these lines total 7 mi in length. The system provides daily service, using According to the manager of planning for MATA, the mostly rehabilitated vintage cars (see Figure 8). initial goals for the development of the Main Street and Riv- erfront lines were to bring life and investment back to Main Street, which had been a deteriorating pedestrian mall. The trolley was meant to connect the north and south transporta- tion terminals, while providing shoppers with convenience to shops and access to some jobs along the pedestrian mall. Other considerations in designing the system included connecting major points of trip generation such as residences, restaurants, parking facilities, hotels, the Cook Convention Center, the Pyramid Arena, the Memphis Civic Center, and riverfront parks. Although MATA evaluated the option of a transit way for a bus system, an electric trolley system was chosen for con- struction, because it was considered more consistent with the city's goal to minimize downtown air pollution. The primary goal of the third line, along Madison Avenue, was to connect Memphis's two major employment centers: the downtown with about 40,000 jobs and the Memphis Medical Center with FIGURE 8 Memphis streetcar. (Source: John Smatlak.) approximately 60,000 jobs located east of downtown. The 2.5-mi Main Street line was implemented initially, System Management including a 0.8-mi double track on an exclusive trolley-pedes- trian mall, and with the remainder sharing the street with traf- The Memphis trolley system operates as a full service sys- fic. The Riverfront Loop is a 2-mi-long parallel line that runs tem, with service provided 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. to primarily on a double-track railroad right-of-way traversing 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 6:00 a.m. to 1:30 the edge of downtown near the Mississippi River. One of the a.m. on Friday; 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday; and tracks is dedicated to MATA use, and the other to Amtrak. from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The trolley oper-
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21 ates on roughly 10-min headways during the week, with less MATA conducted a trolley rider survey in 2001, with frequent service during off-peak evening weekday hours results showing that the average ridership over the business and on weekends. Ridership has significantly grown since week was split about equally between residents (58%) and the mid-1990s, when the system had approximately 500,000 nonresidents (42%). Over the weekend, the survey showed riders annually on the Main Street line alone, to more than more nonresidents riders, with 38% local and 62% visitors. 900,000 after the opening of the Riverfront Loop in 1997. Local riders cited using the trolley mostly for home-based Since the completion of the Madison line in 2004, ridership trips, followed by work trips and entertainment, whereas has grown to just over 1 million (2008) (see Figure 11). nonresidents cited using the system mostly to access their hotel, followed by access to entertainment. System Financing The nearly $45 million cost for the Main Street/Riverfront lines was funded by FTA funds from a prior interstate high- way project that was never built (I-40), and FTA Formula funds, along with state, local, and private funds. The Mem- phis Metropolitan Planning Organization allocated 12% of the Interstate Transfer funds for transit capital projects, which in turn funded roughly 70% of the initial Main Street line, and 44% of the Riverfront line (11). Funding for the Madison Avenue extension totaled $58.3 million, including $46.7 mil- lion from the FTA New Starts program, $5.8 million from the state, and $5.8 million from the city (see Table 6). FIGURE 9 Memphis trolley route. [Source : Memphis Area Impacts of Streetcar on Built Environment Transit Authority (MATA).] Impacts on Existing Physical Development According to the MATA manager of planning, because of the trolley's implementation of its first segment, the Main Street line, the corridor has experienced resurgence in residential uses and population. The trolley system, along with the rede- velopment of mixed-use Central Station completed in 1999, has played a major role in reinvigorating downtown. In addi- tion to serving as a major transportation hub, the renovated Central Station project included joint development consist- ing of 63 one- and two-bedroom apartments, Hudson Hall (a conference room for private functions), 12,000 square ft of commercial space, a public meeting room, an Amtrak ticket office and waiting room, and a police precinct station. This project totaled approximately $23 million in public and pri- vate investment in the downtown area (see Figure 12). Analysis of Value Premiums As part of a larger study for the city of Charlotte conducted by Bay Area Economics in 20082009, original research was conducted to analyze property value changes along the Madison Avenue line, with full data available before and after streetcar service was initiated. The analysis compared tax appraisal data for residential and commercial uses drawn from the Shelby County Ten- nessee Assessor's Office for the tax years 2002 and 2008 for properties within 0.25 mi of all stops along the Madi- FIGURE 10 Memphis trolley system. [Source: Memphis Area son Street line to determine change in property values over Transit Authority (MATA).]
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22 time. The analysis used Geographic Information System their fair market value, but assessed values can vary based (GIS) tools to isolate those parcels within 0.25 mi from stops on land use type (residential, commercial, industrial, agri- along the line. Since the Madison Street line opened in 2003, cultural). In addition, many properties are exempt from tax this data analysis compared the before values to after values assessment (i.e., institutional, religious, and government along the streetcar line, compared with the citywide data for properties). Additionally, the 0.25-mi distance from each the same time period. Madison Street line streetcar stop limited the scope of the analysis to only those parcels within easy walking distance The data analyzed were for appraised values, as deter- of the streetcar, excluding most of the nearby waterfront mined by the Shelby County Assessor's Office, rather than parcels undergoing value increases as well, but not associ- assessed values. All properties in the city are appraised at ated with streetcar accessibility at that time. FIGURE 11 MATA rail ridership. (Source: Presentation for Birmingham Economic Summit, Nov. 12, 2008, John Lancaster, MATA.) Table 6 Funding sources for Main Street and Riverfront Lines
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23 least in part, to the location near the streetcar (see Table 7). This dramatic difference between the Madison Street route and the city overall also reflects a substantial urban condominium building boom at that time. Existing com- mercial structures near the Madison Street stops, in con- trast, did not experience dramatic increase in property value per the county's appraisals; these existing structures actually decreased in appraised value from 2002 to 2008, whereas similar properties citywide rose 17%. (Notably, the Madison Street route contains 451 tax-exempt parcels out of 1,699 parcels within 0.25 mi of the Madison Street Trolley. These include five hospitals and the University of Tennessee biomedical research campus. Tax-exempt par- cels cover 56% of the area's total acreage, compared with 30% of citywide acreage classified as tax exempt.) When vacant, commercially zoned lands alone were analyzed, the Madison Street route experienced substantial value rises on the order of 70% for the period. Similar to other studies of transit-oriented value premi- ums, downtown Memphis along the Madison Street route shows varying results; residential properties as well as vacant commercially zoned lands experienced substantial increases in value before and after streetcar service. How- ever, existing commercial structures appear to have declined in value, opposite modest citywide increases during the same period. Because these findings are based on county apprais- als, rather than actual land sales, the data may reflect other factors affecting assumptions about commercial structures' FIGURE 12 Economic investment in Memphis. (Source: values during the period. Presentation for Birmingham Economic Summit, Nov. 12, 2008, John Lancaster, MATA.) Impacts on New Development As shown in Table 7, residential properties near the Madison Street route increased in aggregate value more The redevelopment of Central Station spurred additional than 780% for the period between 2002, before the street- residential development in the downtown core. After 1999, car opening, and 2008. Over the same period for the city the area emerged as an arts and entertainment district, with a as a whole, taxable residential properties rose just 24%, substantial amount of new residential uses, including several resulting in a potential premium in value attributable, at adaptive reuse projects that have converted historic buildings Table 7 Property Value increases along Madison Street Route (0.25 MI FROM STOPS)