Can transit-oriented development work along Wasatch Front?

Great Recession likely to blame for lack of success at some sites

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  • welcomethemall Nampa, ID
    Aug. 4, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    You go ahead and measure the government subsidy for mass transit on a per-capita basis. But then you have to compare it to the government subsidies for the freeway/highway/local road systems. The State of Idaho has gone into huge debt it can ill afford (re: Garvey Bonds) to upgrade the highways in the "metro" areas in its three major regions.

    Now that I think about it, maybe it's time you rural folks in Roberts started paying your own way rather than constantly asking us in Southwest Idaho to pay for your roads with our taxes. Time to get off the evils of the dole my friend.

    Go for it Wasatchians - maybe the rest of us in the backwaters can learn something from your efforts. (Though my guess is probably not based on the history of hippiephobians and Beckites in my state.)

  • milhouse Atlanta, GA
    April 11, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    UTA is trying to get into the property development business so it can reduce the subsidy it requires from the state.

    There is only one transit agency in the first world that makes money from its operations- Hong Kong. They do it through real estate development, not fares.

    UTA is required to own a certain amount property to provide its services. Why should they be forbidden from developing that property in a way that will bring revenue?

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    April 11, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    I find it kind of funny that people say that Trax, Frontrunner and now Transit Oriented Developments are social engineering and they want nothing to do with it.

    They may be shocked to find that the largest social engineering experiment is the continued push that everyone must have a house out in the suburbs. This push started in the 50's by developers and some members of the government. It was a way to increase productivity in the country.

    With this increased productivity, we saw an increase in wages, vehicles owned per person and most importantly, Construction. New roads were needed, oil for gas and other products was needed. What wasn't needed? Orchards, farm land and of course, no thought to the design of the houses as everyone can look the same except for the color.

    One day, people will come to realize that this experiment has failed. It is time to regroup, figuratively and literally. The return of a central point has been occuring throughout the country for the last 25 years and has recently sped up the speed at which it is returning.

    Gone are the days of quarter acre lots, tomorrow is Transit Oriented Developments.

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    April 11, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    Liberals, hippies, and new urbanists aren't conspiring to take away your car. The physical realities of population, geology, thermodynamics and resource depletion are conspiring to take away your car. The new urbanists are just trying to provide viable places to live after that happens.

  • govt rocks Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    Bomar, social engineering is all around us. For some of us, we prefer to live in close proximity to others, prefer to not need a car, like to walk and bike, and aren't afraid of our kids living in an urban environment. It isn't for everyone, but then again, living on a quarter acre and having to drive a car every where you go isn't for everyone either and is also a form of social engineering. Social engineering is not for everyone, and it is the very concept that led to the formation of cities since the beginning of time.

    Why not let an individual decide the type of living and transportation arrangements they want and allow the free market to fulfill the desires?

  • Bomar Roberts, ID
    April 11, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    We need to open our eyes. This is no more than social engineering. These politicians are trying to push "High Density" housing near mass transit so little people,(that's us), don't need to own a car. That limits our freedom to come and go as we please because we are limited by the schedule of Mass Transit. You can also check out how few parking options are available at these developments. While you're at it, check out who owned these parcels of real estate prior to their plans to development.

    If you want to live like a sardine and enjoy the hum of the TRAX and FrontRunner trains, then you should certainly purchase on of these pill boxes

    We should also insist that the amount of government subsidy be printed on every ticket purchased to ride these heavily subsidized trains.

  • Lowonoil Clearfield, UT
    April 11, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    I expect growing numbers of Utahns, especially young adults starting households, are going to be priced out of the auto dependent suburbia game and the scope of their daily lives will be where transit will take them. They will seek housing, schooling, shopping, and employment along transit corridors, and the stores and employers will also gravitate toward the transit corridors to reach employees and customers.
    In the coming years property value will be mostly about how close you are to transit. Suburbia and the road networks that support it will go into decline.
    The days of nearly every adult buying a car and feeding it over a thousand gallons of gasoline every year will be coming to a rather abrupt end due the end of cheap oil.

  • AxelF Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    Why is the UTA getting involved in property development in the first place? The entity was originally organized to provide mass transportation. Now they are using our tax dollars to compete in the private development sector. Why isn't the legislature doing something about it? Why doesn't the press do some investigative reporting?

  • windsor City, Ut
    April 11, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    "...there's little activity at Hamlet Homes' residential and commercial development, Birkhill at Fireclay."

    Thats because real people want to live at a nice-sounding place---not somewhere with a hoity-toitey, ridiculous, made up to show how upscale and exclusive we think we are, name.

  • Plebeius Holladay, UT
    April 11, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    I am sure though things are going so well though that the exorbitant wages of UTA Execs will go up because we need to pay the best salaries for such foresight, or at least let the ones on the board who want to buy and sell land next to track locations without any oversight. ;)

  • ER in EUR Belgrade, Serbia
    April 11, 2011 5:16 a.m.

    The type of developments discussed here are usually pretty, sometimes wildly, successful in other parts of the country. Portland & DC are 2 such places that I personally have experience that prop values go through the roof once stops get announced.

    I believe it is the times, not the concepts that are causing the problems right now. Like the article said, give it ten years and a more complete system and you will see the values of prop near stops grow at a disproportionate level to surrounding similar areas.

  • Eco-Weenie Dayton, OH
    April 11, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    The major problem with this type of development is the lack of real jobs. Planners tend to think that everyone either works in an office like they do or at a retail job - these are the only jobs that are provided by TOD. For most people that's not so. Retail jobs are largely minimum wage - no one who works at one could afford to pay the premium housing cost typical of TOD.

  • Considering Stockton, UT
    April 10, 2011 10:56 p.m.

    Belmont Station, next door to both a Trax stop and a high school football stadium and parking lot. A person would need to be legally deaf or just stupid to live there.

    I really don't get so-called transit oriented developments. If someone wants to live an urban lifestyle with no yard and close to mass transit or downtown work/nightlife, why not just live down town and at least be within walking distance of lots of restaurants, bars/clubs, entertainment, and shopping?

    On the other hand, if someone is willing to live some distance away from work or the downtown night life, why not enjoy some room, a real yard, some privacy and peace & quiet?

    But to take all the downsides of urban living plus be a 45 minute train ride away from downtown? Seems like the worst of both possible worlds to me.

    But hey, to each his own as long as I an and my taxes are not subsidizing those choices.