The transit advocacy organization Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) hosted a virtual “Talking Transit” event on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 8:30 a.m. via Zoom. This event highlighted the role of Transit-Oriented Developments (TOD) – which is a concept that creates mixed-use developments in dense, walkable communities near public transportation – and the tools and policies necessary to create successful environments for these developments.
Those in attendance heard from developers, planners, and architects who are working in this arena. The panel featured Joel Fuoss, Principal with Trivers Architects; Cady Seabaugh, Senior Vice President at McCormack Baron Salazar; and John Langa, Vice President of Economic Development at Metro Transit. These leaders discussed a host of projects, and the associated policies and ordinances needed to create more pro-development environments around transit.
“In St. Louis, we don’t have mountains, we don’t have a San Diego climate nor an ocean,” commented Fuoss. “It’s our built-in environment, culture, and people that make this city a place that people want to spend time in. Each decision we make today will impact what our future generations will experience, and that is important.”
Fuoss went on to note that it costs between $20,000 and $30,000 to create one parking space in a parking garage. For a garage with 100 spots that translates to $3 million, just to house cars. That money could be used for other assets or amenities instead. According to AAA, the average yearly cost to own and operate a new vehicle exceeds $10,000. A Metro Pass is one-tenth of that cost. Using public transit saves money. A portion of the discussion addressed parking and associated ordinances and zoning requirements that could be in place prior to a development, saving projects time and money.
“When you have transit assets you have a wonderful opportunity to have them become anchors of the community,” noted Seabaugh with regards to McCormack Baron’s work in the East St. Louis community. “We are striving to work with HUD and the City of East St. Louis to connect parts of the community to transit stations.”
The panel went on to discuss why creating development near transit is a win, including saving on living and transportation costs, gaining accessibility and lastly, increasing quality of life.
“Accessibility and equality are important considerations,” added Seabaugh. “Quality of life increases, especially for those that can’t drive, with access to transit.”
Images courtesy of Trivers Architects or McCormack Baron Salazar
You can watch the event in full below or by visiting CMT’s YouTube page HERE.