Click for next page ( 25

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 24
24 into condominiums and apartments. Moreover, in 2000, the Changes in Future Land Use Plans and Regulations National Basketball Association's FedEx Forum was com- pleted, which upgraded and replaced the old Pyramid Arena. The city of Memphis did not change zoning or parking Additionally, the area has gained several large hotels, a per- requirements before implementation of the trolley system, as forming arts center, the National Civil Rights Museum, the a mixed-use zoning designation was already in place. Cur- renovation of the Cook Convention Center, a retail center, rently, the city is in the process of adopting a form-based and Beale Street Landing, a $27 million docking facility on zoning code that will correspond to the trolley routes. This the Mississippi River. zoning, which will encourage and create more pedestrian access, wider sidewalks, rear parking, and lower parking Madison Avenue and the city's Medical Center complex requirements, will follow historic building patterns, taking also have seen substantial development activity since the advantage of the trolley system transit. implementation of the Madison streetcar line. Examples include the GenX Inn, a 32-room hotel with a construction value of $12 million, two new for-sale residential projects Seattle, Washington with a total of 45 units ($11 million), and investment by the University of Tennessee at the Medical Center, including The Seattle Streetcar has led to a renaissance of interest in $500 million in a research park and College of Pharmacy, developing a citywide streetcar system. It has been an integral and $25 million in a biocontainment lab. factor in the redevelopment of the former light industrial South Lake Union area into Seattle's hottest new area for develop- In all, since 1991, more than $3 billion in development ment, attracting major corporate headquarters campuses such projects have been completed, are planned, or are under way as, as well as a range of biotech and high-tech on or near the three trolley corridors, leading to a transfor- uses along with extensive residential development. The city mation of the physical environment. However, as the man- council has adopted a concept for expansion of the streetcar ager of planning at MATA noted during an interview for this route to areas north, south, and east of South Lake Union. study, the trolley system was one of several critical factors contributing to the overall urban resurgence in Memphis; he Streetcar System considers the trolley system as a vital component, demon- strating public investment to improve the area. The Seattle Streetcar is a newer system, consisting of 1.3 mi in a combination of single- and double-track segments Impacts on Economic Development through the South Lake Union area, with stops every three blocks or up to 0.25 mi apart (see Figure 13). The route runs The city incentivizes development through the Center City between the city's new Lake Union Park at its north end Commission (CCC), the city's main economic development and the Westlake Transit Hub downtown. The streetcar line body. The CCC, through various tools, facilitates downtown opened in December 2007, with ridership to date running development by creating partnerships to implement projects approximately 30% above original projections. and by administering financial incentives that can help lower the costs of downtown development projects. The CCC's The South Lake Union area has been the target of exten- PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Program encourages sive public and private investment to create a regenerated property renovation or new construction by freezing prop- urban neighborhood, focusing on biotech R&D, including erty taxes at predevelopment rates. The CCC's development facilities occupied by the Fred Kettering Cancer Research loan program lends up to $90,000 for building renovation, Center, the University of Washington, and support uses such further leveraging federal historic tax credits in some cases. as urban lofts, retail, office space, and privately occupied The city also issues tax-exempt and taxable bonds, provides R&D space. The streetcar operates the Inekon TRIO 12 financial assistance to downtown for faade improvements streetcar, a double-ended, three-section articulated electric and signage, and offers forgivable loans to certain retailers. streetcar with a low floor center section (this is the same vehicle as used in the Portland system, with modifications). An interview with the vice president of planning and devel- The cars have capacity to carry up to 140 passengers (29 opment for the CCC, conducted for this study, indicated that seated), and feature an on-board passenger information whereas CCC's incentives have attracted small to mid-size system with audible announcements and digital displays, local developers to renovate historic properties, downtown and Global Positioning System (GPS) system for real-time Memphis has not attracted the larger national retailers it seeks. arrival information at stations and on the web. They also In the past few years, as national interest in transit-oriented feature regenerative braking. The streetcar stations feature development has accelerated, the vice president reported that raised platforms for easy boarding and digital displays of interest in retailing downtown has increased, attributable in real-time arrival information. part to Memphis's successful streetcar system.

OCR for page 24
25 Average annual ridership has been approximately 450,000, and trends for this year suggest that it will reach or exceed 500,000 riders for the full year. In its second year of operation, weekday ridership has become the strongest, as opposed to earlier in its operation when many peak days would be on weekends. System Financing The total capital cost of constructing this route segment was approximately $50.5 million, including $25 million from a LID and the balance provided by local, state, and federal sources. FIGURE 13 Seattle streetcar. (Source: Seattle Streetcar.) The adoption of the LID worked well in this case, because this area has several major property owners participating System Development with the city of Seattle on revitalization, including Vulcan Properties (a private development company) and the Univer- South Lake Union is a former light industrial area that was sity of Washington. The University, as a tax-exempt entity, planned and rezoned for redevelopment to accommodate still pays the LID fee because of the benefits it receives from new office and R&D uses. It was designated in 2004 as one the streetcar line. of the city's six urban centers, where the city seeks to direct most of its residential and employment growth. The city of Seattle made its LID appraisal report available for review, a document that is interesting for several reasons Historically, the area lacked transit. Thus, the streetcar (12). Instead of taking a strict engineering-style approach to supported the development of jobs and housing in the area and allocating assessments to properties in a special assessment became an implementing action for the urban center. Neither district on a per square foot of land, distance from station, lineal bus nor light rail was considered; a community-based group foot, or some other physical relationship, this LID assessment Build the Streetcar advocated for a streetcar, and cited the approach values the before and after values of each property experience of Tacoma Link which showed higher ridership within the predetermined LID zone. However, the method- on a new streetcar line that replaced bus service. A streetcar ology cited in the report does not actually spell out how the also was more attractive to developers, who would not have transit improvements were applied to value each parcel. The to worry about its route being changed as they would with report notes that most parcels were valued "vacant, as is" for bus service, and as city staff noted, streetcars are seen as the before estimate, and to a highest and best-use value based public transportation with a sense of romance to it. A street- on comparables and income approach for the after series. The car was viewed as something that could be gotten up and Final Special Benefits Study found that in the aggregate, the running more quickly than a light rail system. before value of all properties in the LID zone totaled $5.385 billion, and the after aggregate value was $5.454 billion, for System Management a "special benefit" value difference of $68.4 million. Because the city of Seattle was seeking to assess a total of $25.7 million The system runs 7 days a week, Monday through Thursday through the LID assessment process, it would be capturing 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and 38% of the "special benefits" value indicated (e.g., difference Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Headways are approximately in before and after property values). 15 min throughout the day. Impacts of Streetcar on Built Environment Fares are $2.00 for adults, with reduced fares of $0.50 for seniors, youth, and the disabled; children under 5 years of Impacts on Existing Development age ride free. Other transit agency passes, such as PugetPass and Metro, are accepted, along with Metro transfers. Fare The South Lake Union area has seen extensive new develop- box revenues cover approximately 20% of operating costs. ment, with more than 3 million square ft of new office space and 6,000 new residential units either built or in various Based on fare checks, approximately 80% of riders have stages of development (including predevelopment). The area a transit pass, suggesting that they are regular local users of is seen as being highly successful in its goal of redevelop- multiple transit modes. Additionally, tourist traffic is signifi- ing the former light industrial area into denser, more urban cant--the streetcar itself is an attraction. Weekend ridership mixed use. The city, however, has not closely tracked changes is getting strong as riders use the streetcar to get to recre- in development, job attraction, or other aspects of the project ational opportunities. that would allow more detailed analysis of its impacts.

OCR for page 24
26 Approximately 60 acres in the area is owned by a single developers or businesses. The primary incentive it controls is major property owner, Vulcan, making a large number of zoning. Most new development in the area is being built to the sites available so that several buildings could be developed maximum zoning. The city is now working on a zoning plan at once, rather than more limited infill development. Vulcan for its comprehensive plan, with an emphasis at the site level, Properties is a long-term developer and the owner has pro- and is looking to increase height limits to allow high-rise moted the area as a hub for biotech uses. buildings and density. Part of the consideration in the plan- ning process is that the streetcar would support greater height Although retail and other businesses are struggling dur- and density. At the same time, certain portions of South Lake ing the current recession, the area continues to experience Union are seen as being more residential, and height and other active leasing of new space, unlike the rest of the city. incentives will be used to encourage that use. A variety of road and streetscape improvements were Impacts on Economic Development made in conjunction with the streetcar, including a variety of pedestrian improvements and enhanced signage. Devel- The South Lake Union has become the hottest new area for opers have privately funded streetscape improvements as development in Seattle, with the streetcar seen as an added part of their projects, and the city and developers are work- attraction. Without the streetcar or improved bus service, it ing together to green sidewalks in the area. More recently, would have been much harder to attract firms. The area has the city has made improvements to promote bicycle access, attracted company headquarters, including those of Ama- along with a redevelopment of Lake Union Park that is now, Group Health Coop, and PATH. Part of the attrac- under construction. tion for these companies is the campus feel of the area, and how the streetcar provides a convenient connection to the Impacts on New Development Central Business District, while allowing them to be located just outside it. The streetcar, as part of a broader strategy, is The city has not been tracking changes in land values or credited with giving the South Lake Union area an advan- rents, so quantitative information on the streetcar's impact is tage over other areas that these firms were considering at not available. The city designed the South Lake Union as one the time. of six urban centers to receive a majority of future residen- tial and employment growth, and increased height limits to The streetcar has had an impact on the marketing of devel- 90 ft (but not downtown heights) to permit denser develop- opments, with projects being sold and promoted as being on ment. Previously, height limits were specifically increased to the line or within one block of the line. One project put in a accommodate biotech--that is, to allow a five-story building mid-block crossing to provide better access to the streetcar to go up to 85 ft in height. line on the next block. All parking requirements were eliminated, with the mar- Vulcan, as the major land owner has been careful to bring ket allowed to determine what parking would be provided. the types of retail it considers most compatible, avoiding an The city has not yet applied the maximum limits on park- emphasis on national retailers. The attraction of a Whole ing in the downtown area to the other urban centers. Public Foods store was seen as huge boost to the neighborhood. parking garages are not available in the area, and the nearest City staff sees the success of the area as a combination of the garage is at the Seattle Center. urban center zoning, Vulcan's actions, and the development of the streetcar, with all factors reinforcing each other. Following Vulcan's lead in obtaining LEED building cer- tification from the U.S. Green Building Council, much of the Changes in Future Land Use Plans and Regulations development along the line is seeking LEED certification as well. The city is assembling data so the South Lake Union The city has adopted a concept for streetcar expansion to area can be designated as LEED-ND Silver or possibly Gold, continue the line north across Lake Union toward the Uni- although currently no city mandate is in place. Future zoning versity of Washington, as well as to other established urban changes that allow for greater downtown heights and densi- neighborhoods. Other lines would run through the down- ties may lead to a future City requirement for projects to town area to various destinations, and down through to West obtain LEED Silver certification to be eligible for bonuses. Seattle. Washington State does not allow tax increment financing and is limited on the types of financial incentives it can offer