CMT & Creating Whole Communities partnered on March 12 to present Transportation’s Impact on the Neighborhood. The program featured Rosa Ortiz with Enterprise Community Partners on transit’s role in creating equitable development opportunities in a community. Enterprise Community Partners has worked in communities across the country to ensure TOD is attainable along transit infrastructure corridors. Ms. Ortiz serves as a program director where she leads energy efficient initiatives and community development projects.
CMT’s Executive Director Kim Cella introduced Ms. Ortiz and asked attendees to consider 3 key variables that could affect this discussion in St. Louis:
- Does the political will exist to make a project happen in this corridor?
- Do stakeholders have the capacity to move a project forward?
- What is the transportation mix in this corridor? Currently, there is MetroLink and a connecting bus system, a future Loop Trolley by late 2016 – not to mention good bicycle/pedestrian access. Is this enough investment to leverage development in the corridor?
Ms. Ortiz highlighted Enterprise Community Partner’s work in the south suburbs of Chicago. She shared some of their lessons learned to date:
- Municipalities with a shared vision and strong leadership have been able to define their priorities effectively and present a clear vision for outside stakeholders.
- The creation of innovative partnerships and funding streams have also helped create unique opportunities to advance TOD development. Enterprise has set aside $150,000 for the SS Land Bank and Development Authority to advance coordinated predevelopment work.
- There is an ongoing need to identify and address barriers to TOD development.
- They continue to convene key stakeholders to address barriers and advance the TOD efforts.
- It is highly important to continue to attract and to support CDC’s and developers to the area in focus.
Following Rosa’s presentation, the presentation narrowed to focus on the multi-modal transportation corridor extending from Forest Park to UMSL along the MetroLink system and the prospects for mixed-used development. The corridor raises the question of how to extend the prosperity of the Central Corridor to the disadvantaged communities of North St. Louis City and County through transportation infrastructure.
A local panel of experts including Mary Campbell, with Washington University; Ken Christian with Stellar Management; Don Roe with the Urban Planning and Design Agency; and Kevin Triggs with St. Vincent’s Greenway addressed the challenges and opportunities from their perspectives on leveraging transportation to revitalize the surrounding communities. Panelists talked about the missing link to move development forward including:
- A champion/ lead organization
- The need for a plan/program developers can get on board with around a station
- Market readiness
- Demonstration of results
- Each station needs to be viewed independently – different opportunities at every station
- Need for creative collaboration and financing.