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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

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“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown

TODs Increase Trafic Congestion

Below  is from Near the rails but still on the road, By Sharon Bernstein and Francisco Vara-Orta, Times Staff Writers,

LAtimes,  June 30, 2007, http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-transit30jun30,0,2432973,full.story?coll=la-tot-topstories

Before the 67-unit project was built, the land on which it stands held two bungalows, according to South Pasadena officials. If each household had two cars, that would mean a maximum of four cars going in and out each day.

But on the four days The Times counted cars entering and leaving the complex, the picture was quite different. From 6 to 9 a.m. on four weekdays earlier this year, 50 to 60 cars left the residents' parking lot. An additional 75 pulled into the streets around the development on each of the mornings so their drivers could patronize the coffee shop that is built into the project. Still more vehicles — about 50 by 9 a.m. — pulled into a parking lot at the development for people who drive there to use the nearby Gold Line station.

There is another issue facing transit-oriented development: Regional statistics gathered by the Southern California Assn. of Governments show that job centers are moving away from transit lines rather than toward them. At Academy Village in North Hollywood, which sits about a third of a mile from the North Hollywood transit station, about 120 cars left the building each morning, while fewer than half a dozen residents set off on foot.

In Pasadena, a 350-unit building sits directly over the Del Mar Gold Line station; it was two-thirds leased when The Times did its survey. Of 225 people who got off the train on a recent evening, just one, Cheanell Henderson, headed toward the apartment complex.

Link to the story       Archived Copy

TODs are ineffective - people who want to use transit choose to live in TODs

The below description is from:  http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=185#more-185

TOD residents are five times more likely to use transit than other people in the same city. But the researchers concluded this was mostly due to “self selection,” that is, that people who want to use transit choose to live in TODs. Just the fact that someone lives in a TOD does not make them use transit significantly more than they would otherwise.

The study found the smallest bump in transit ridership in Los Angeles, with the largest being for TODs along the BART line in the east San Francisco Bay Area. San Diego TODs did not do very well either.

The study correctly notes that there is nothing wrong with building transit-oriented developments to attract people who want to ride transit and to give them more opportunities to do so. Of course, no one objects to transit-oriented developments per se.

The objections are to the huge subsidies that cities are giving to these developments. As mentioned previously in the Antiplanner, transit is not necessarily more energy efficient than driving, nor does it necessarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So why should cities give hundreds of millions in subsidies to a tiny group of people who are willing to use transit?

Here is the study that the antiplanner is writing about:  Travel Characteristics of Transit-Oriented Development in California   (Archived)