Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Time + improvements in transit infrastructure = increased housing values

Condo mention in Express, Digs, 6/29/2012, p. E5
Today's Express has a feature in the "Digs" section called "Price Point," comparing prices for the same types of properties--in this case condos--from around the region.

One of the write ups features a 1,160 square foot condo at 7333 New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland for under $260,000.

The article makes the point that the building is located 2 miles from the (Takoma) Metro so that living there, a car is required to get around.  (Plus New Hampshire Avenue there is damn hilly, terrible for bicycling.)

But the article doesn't mention that the Purple Line light rail line will have a station located just 1/2 mile away.

Granted it will take many years for that line to be built and operational, but when it is, the properties located within 1 mile of that station (and along the line) will go up in value significantly.

And this property will be an "easy"--don't forget those hills and the nasty quality of the streetscape and walking environment there currently--walk to and from that light rail station.  (Although Takoma Park has a big initiative to improve this.)

Purple Line routing and station mapOf course, I've been meaning to write an omnibus entry about opposition to improvement in transit infrastructure being couched in arguments around maintaining affordability.

And there are issues, some of which, in a market economy, can't be fully resolved.

Above Right: Washington Post graphic of the proposed Purple Line light rail line and station locations.

But the basic affordability argument is that if you maintain a "low quality" neighborhood, rather than improving it, housing demand doesn't increase (you could also say that housing demand is "depressed") so affordability is maintained.

But at the same time this is an illustration of the point I've been making that the Purple Line offers Prince George's County especially, the opportunity to reposition its land use and transportation planning paradigm around pro-transit policies and practices, rather than around automobility.

Prince George's County, unlike Arlington County, didn't make that choice when the WMATA subway system was planned and built, but unlike most communities, now gets a second chance.

Also see:

- (blog entry) "Another lesson that Prince George's County has a three to five year window to reposition based on visionary transportation planning," November 2011
- (blog entry) "A recommended new planning direction for Prince George's County," March 2011
- (blog entry) "The future of mixed use development/urbanization: Part 3, Prince George's County, where's the there?," March 2011
- Puget Sound Sage report, Transit-Oriented Development that’s Healthy, Green and Just
- "Prince George’s targets Green Line’s southern leg: County seeks development near busy rail stops," Gazette

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