Links, links, links!
1. The Washington City Paper has a great expose on street food in DC called “Inside D.C.’s Food-Truck Wars” with the subtitle “How some of Washington’s most powerful interests are trying to curb the city’s most popular new cuisine.”
2. Mary Newsom at the Charlotte Observer thinks it’s a bad thing that Charlotte allowed so much density around its wildly popular new light rail line because it’s driving up property values. The Overhead Wire says that this is natural when land is scarce, and that “if you built all the [proposed] lines at once, that pressure gets relieved five or six ways instead of one way.” This is to some extent true, but another solution to the scarcity of transit-oriented property is to allow more even development around the existing line by loosening zoning and parking rules.
3. Ryan Avent finds research that finds that congestion pricing in Stockholm, where citizens voted on the plan after a seven-month test period, became more popular after they experienced it. Then again, congestion pricing in New York and elsewhere depends not only on people living in the city, but also people living outside of it, who are much less likely to warm up to it. Also, it looks like Stockholm expanded transit (mostly bus) service along with congestion pricing.
4. The pilot private van initiative in NYC that we discussed earlier has been floundering, and Cap’n Transit has been all over it. Literally every post on the front page of his blog is about it. There seem to be many reasons for the vans’ failure, and I might write something on it in the future, but in the meantime read Cap’n Transit if you’re interested.
5. Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron praises recently-fired Philadelphia Housing Authority boss Carl Greene’s successes in razing decrepit high-rise housing projects and replacing them with low-rises, and boasts that “PHA houses cost about the same to build as private houses.” But if that’s true, then what’s the point in owning buildings directly in the first place? If you’re not going to produce at lower prices than the market and you’re tearing down your properties anyway, then why not just sell them off to developers and give the displaced residents vouchers to live where they want?
palvar saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm
Inga Saffron has no idea what she is talking about on most topics.
Anonymous saysOctober 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm
“another solution to the scarcity of transit-oriented property is to allow more even development around the existing line by loosening zoning and parking rules”
Picky point: I’m all in favor of loosening zoning and parking rules but that will increase the values of land near stations that get the loosened standards not decrease them. It could decrease the cost of housing units or square footage. It could also dampen increases (and perhaps this is what you’re getting at) in the value of land (say single family houses) farther from the stations if more of the housing demand can be met close to the station. So basically it might concentrate the increases whereas zoning limits would cause the impacts to be less intense but more widespread.
Ms. Newsom is complaining because they likely already have loosened the zoning rules and encouraged high density development relative to what they were before resulting in redevelopment which for her seems to be an evil in itself. Nevermind that multiple new businesses and housing units take the place of those removed (though not necessarily at the same price point). Unlike the government, developers don’t remove hundreds of units of housing and replace it with nothing.
The only way to prevent any increase in property values would be to not build a train. That seems to be what Ms. Newsom is missing. The increase in land value comes, primarily, from the train, not the zoning change. A train could be classified as what Jane Jacobs might call a “catastrophic” investment rather than an incremental investment; but I hope Ms. Jacobs would on balance see the value of train as taking precedence.