Monday, November 03, 2008

Make a nuisance of yourself.

The housing paradigm shift continues, unacknowledged by urban planners and transit authorities alike. As I predicted two and a half years ago, those neighborhoods which have electric trolleys and streetcars, light rail and commuter rail, and/or access to "high speed" rail continue to defy the overall deflationary trend.

Urban planners and city governments, however, are not smart enough, apparently, to realize they can stop the sinking values of their outlying neighborhoods and bedroom communities and re-inflate their tax revenues (not to mention lessen traffic congestion) by providing such mass transit opportunities to every neighborhood.

The Denver Post
Light-rail can turn into money train
Homes near light-rail lines tend to increase in value
By Margaret Jackson

...Homes near light-rail stations along the southeast line, which opened in November 2006, have increased by an average of nearly 4 percent over the past two years, according to an analysis by Your Castle Real Estate. But the rest of the Denver market declined an average of 7.5 percent...

...The closer a home is to the station, the more its value increases, according to the Your Castle analysis. Homes less than a half-mile from a station increased an average of 17.6 percent, while those 1 1/2 to 2 miles away increased just 0.1 percent on average. The data varied widely among stations, however.

Under its FasTracks program, the Regional Transportation District plans to create six new commuter-rail and light-rail corridors and extend three existing corridors by 2017, potentially creating other pockets where values are driven by proximity to rail.

In other markets with rail lines, single-family home values have increased anywhere from 2 percent in San Diego to 32 percent in St. Louis, according to data gathered by the Regional Transit District...

..."Every project is different, but what we've seen historically is a 15 to 20 percent premium (near TODs [Transit Oriented Developments])," Utter said. "Because of the desire for different kind of product and the movement toward sustainability, I think Denver will see 20 to 25 percent premium over what the other products are doing. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

It is imperative that we all get involved in mercilessly harassing our city and county governments to install electric mass transit to all of our neighborhoods. This is the only way we are going to be able to make our communities viable and sustainable for the future. It's not something that the city planners are going to wake up one morning and realize they need to do, however.

In an already underfunded budget situation, you're going to have to fight a hard fight to make these public school dregs see that such mass transit systems create increased revenue for them over the long haul by reducing the need for new roads and bypasses, by increasing property values, and by increasing employment taxes, etc. These guys are too indoctrinated to think outside the box - you will have to be active and be ready for a long campaign.

Because doing what is right is never as easy as doing what is less trouble - and more of the same, the status quo, is way less trouble than planning for a new European style paradigm. It's a sacrifice we have to make now, to secure our future - one of several such sacrifices that are needful for us to make. So get your head out of the sand and act. For starters, go online tonight and check out the webpages of all the state, county, and local candidates for the offices of your area and don't vote for ones who denigrate or brush off mass transit. And then, after the elections are over, make a nuisance of yourself - make appointments to see them, write to them, email them, call them on a regular basis to push for electric mass transit to your neighborhood. And get your neighbors to do the same.

Sitting around waiting for other people to solve your problems has not and will never be a viable strategy, class. If you want something, you have to work for it. The sooner we get that through our heads, the better off our communities will be.

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