More than 100 CMT members and friends turned out to hear Dena Belzer, national TOD expert and President of Strategic Economics, last week in St. Louis for the Economics of Building Around Light Rail. Ms. Belzer highlighted economic benefits of building around light rail as well as what happens in communities that do not thoroughly think through their investments in all modes.
She highlighted benefits at the regional level with investment in and around transit including:
- Consumer savings for transit riders
- Environmental quality
- Efficient land use
- Economic Development
- Public Health.
An investment in an outer ring highway/roadway like the 101 Loop Road in Phoenix is an example of not thinking through good investment in infrastructure for the region. While on the one hand, Phoenix continutes to work to build the downtown with its first light rail line, the 101 had the opposite effect of drawing many of the jobs (More than 153,000) from the urban core to areas around the 101 Loop. Lesson learned: road and transit planners need to work together to think through the effects of any new addition to a region’s multi-modal system to ensure it is having the desired effect on economic development, land use, public health, and overall health of the region.
Special thanks to our sponsors Development Strategies, Metro, URS and U.S. Bank Community Development Corporation.
Ms. Belzer’s presentation is now available: TRANSIT: What’s in it for me? What Value Can Transit Add in the St. Louis Region.