Monday, May 13, 2013

Transit Oriented Development

Recently the Center for Neighborhood Technology evaluated cities with big transit systems and found that population growth near passenger rail stations in Chicago is lagging behind its peers:

"New York, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco achieved stronger growth in their transit zones — the land area within a half mile of a rail station — than in their overall metropolitan areas, the study found.

Only the Chicago region experienced the reverse, in which residential development around rail stations was overshadowed by growth in the broader region."

Not a surprising situation.  One need only take a ride on the CTA's Green Line to see this in action.  Many neighborhoods near rail stations are experiencing decline in Chicago.  In the much publicized Englewood neighborhood where the Green Line rolls, housing is being demolished continually as residents flee.  Compare too the western leg of the Blue Line, the southern leg of the Red Line, and large portions of the Green Line through the west side with the violent crime map of Chicago.

Therefore it is no surprise that Chicago's rail lines aren't seeing development as a whole.  The development is asymmetric.  Despite this indemic problem, Chicago has a large potential for development.  There is a lot of undeveloped real estate near transit within the Loop itself and even in low crime north side neighborhoods.

Indeed a quick tour through Curbed Chicago's development watch shows just how far Chicago has to go with infill in downtown areas with moderate to low violent crime and well served by transit.  Getting these projects to fruition is in part a political problem for Chicago, and one that is contributing to the reduced purchasing power of its citizens.