To help communities benefit from existing or planned public transportation projects, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) selected nine cities to receive technical assistance to encourage economic development around local transit service. As part of the FTA’s nationwide transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative, the technical assistance will create opportunities that jumpstart local economies and strengthen communities, with a focus on boosting disadvantaged areas.
“Helping local leaders leverage their transit investments to attract more affordable housing, commercial development, and jobs is a critical priority for the Department,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We’re also extending ladders of opportunity directly to residents, using strategies that support equitable, appropriate development linked to transit service. In these communities, people will now more easily get to where they need to go without relying solely on cars.”
After a competitive process, FTA chose communities in Stamford, Conn.; Honolulu; Moline, Ill.; Louisville, Ky.; Kansas City, Mo.; Oklahoma City; San Antonio; Lynwood, Wash.; and Richmond, Va. for TOD technical assistance, ranging from in-depth, multi-day visits to one-day, targeted workshops.
FTA engaged Smart Growth America to provide a variety of planning and analysis tools tailored to meet local needs. The technical assistance will include planning for and managing economic development near transit through effective zoning and land use as well as expert advice on preserving affordable housing and securing advantageous commercial development, among other opportunities.
Examples of the work going on in some of the selected cities include:
- Technical assistance will help Lynnwood, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, create strategies to attract development along a planned extension of the Lynnwood Link light rail line. Lynnwood leaders want to plan for a dense, mixed-use community with affordable options for home buyers and renters, as well as ways to attract new businesses to complement local commercial uses.
- In Oklahoma City, city leaders will use the technical assistance when they host a series of workshops and neighborhood planning sessions to prepare for the restoration of the city’s historic Santa Fe station transit hub. The project will transform the station into a regional transit center, expanding the Amtrak station and bus depot to include connections to future streetcar, light rail, and commuter rail as well as offices and retail shops. The station renovation project received a $13.6 million 2013 U.S. DOT TIGER grant.
- Richmond, Va. also was chosen for technical assistance to further the city’s work to spur TOD along its planned 7.6-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line. Richmond’s “Pulse” BRT project received a $24.9 million TIGER grant in 2014. Last year, Richmond was named a LadderSTEP city, part of U.S. DOT’s initiative that focuses on revitalization as part of future transportation projects.