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.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Firefighter vaccine refusal as a reorganization opportunity

In the past I've written about how fire departments these days mostly respond to medical calls, but most departments haven't reorganized to reflect this fact, in part a result of labor contracts which mandate stasis.

-- "Rationalizing fire and emergency services," 2011
-- "Fire department issues in municipalities," 2014
-- "DC's fire department is in the same situation as WMATA in terms of the necessity of a redesign of culture and behavior through a human factors approach," 2015

A column in the Los Angeles Times, "To anti-vax firefighters, bye-bye. Now let's build back better at the LAFD," suggests that the Los Angeles Fire Department has an opportunity to do some reorganization in view of the likelihood that 300-400 firefighters will be put on permanent leave for refusal to get vaccinated.  From the article:

That’s why Andrew Glazier, a former member of the Board of Fire Commissioners, sees a potential mass departure as an opportunity rather than a problem. 

“If you lose several hundred people, and you refuse to change your operating model, then, yeah, you’ll have a big problem,” said Glazier. “But … if they were willing to add single-function paramedics to the department, you can hire them up and have them in the field in six weeks or less, and you can continuously hire them as needed.”

About 85% of the calls for the fire department are medical.  The Firefighters Union represents firefighters not paramedics, and firefighters get paid more.  So the union continues to advocate for firefighters being cross-trained as paramedics, rather than hiring paramedics specifically and reorganizing services to focus on paramedics.  

Although cross-training makes sense too, the reality is that fewer firefighters and related equipment are required to serve the average city today than in the past.

And as it is, comparable to crime analysis approaches in police departments, if fire departments put some resources into "fire suppression" by providing assistance to communities and households where buildings have characteristics indicating the potential for catastrophe, house fires especially would be less of a problem.

As I wrote in 2017, in "I get tired of all the talk about rewarding "failure" because it shows people are trying, and won't be penalized for it":

... [the] article ("Cities Are Having a Data and Analytics-Driven Moment, and It's Likely to Stay") in Government Technology [describes] an initiative in  New Orleans, where the firefighters decided to be proactive in distributing smoke alarms in neighborhoods with a higher rate/risk of fires. From the article:

In New Orleans, the city has been saving lives by using data to predict which of the city’s buildings need to be equipped with fire alarms. Using data collected by the Census and New Orleans Fire Department, the city identified building age, building inhabitant income, and building inhabitant occupation length as strong predictors for determining if a structure may not have a smoke alarm installed. It then mapped this information along with fire risk calculated from resident age data and fire data over the previous five years. The program’s results now inform NOFD’s door-to-door program to install free smoke alarms.

To me the issue isn't big data, but first, the decision (1) to be proactive in distributing smoke alarms, (2) not willy-nilly, but in those neighborhoods with a higher risk for fires.

I find it hard to believe that the Fire Department doesn't analyze runs and fires already to know what types of properties and situations are high risk.


I do note that DC Fire Department has recently undertaken such an initiative ("Neighbors offer support for family of 7-year-old who died in D.C. rowhouse fire," Washington Post).  But likely such efforts could be more systematic.  From the article:

As the investigation continued into what caused the blaze, D.C. fire officials and firefighters returned to the neighborhood Wednesday morning in hopes of preventing future fires. They arrived with free smoke alarms in hand and printed sheets of fire safety tips, and were welcomed by neighbors, who said they are making efforts to help the family moving forward. 

 “Any time something happens to any of the neighbors, it affects all of us,” said Geoffrey Tate Sr., 65, who has lived in the community for nearly 50 years.... 

Visiting nearly 200 homes Wednesday, groups of fire officials talked to residents on Quebec Place, Rock Creek Church Road, Princeton Place and Warder Street NW. Fire Inspector Celina C. Primus went door-to-door on a block of homes, making sure residents checked for working smoke detectors and had a fire escape plan. 

“When a tragedy like this happens, they want to know someone outside of immediate family cares for them,” Primus said. “We care.”

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Thursday, December 02, 2021

State bicycle trail networks as an element of bicycle planning

For a long time, I've argued that bike-related tourism needs to be covered in bicycle master plans, at the city, county, and state scales.  Quebec's Route Verte is one of the models, a route system designed to promote bike-related tourism across the province, supported by a companion tourism development initiative.   

It's over 3,000 miles long and the VeloQuebec, the provincial bike advocacy organization, includes a travel agency focused on bike touring, located in its headquarters (and coffee shop) on a major Montreal separated bike path.

I frequently tout Pennsylvania's Great Allegheny Passage, a route from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, which then connects to the C&O Canal trail to DC, and the related Trail Towns economic development initiative ("Study: Great Allegheny Passage is 'an economic highway' that generated $121 million in 2019," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).  

Amtrak now will transport bikes on the trains between DC and Pittsburgh, to accommodate trail tourists.

The New York Times recently wrote about New York's Empire State Trail  ("There’s a New 750-Mile Bicycle Route in New York. Take a Look"), which made me think about it.

Many counties across the country have bike tourism programs.  Maryland counties like Carroll, Caroline, Talbot, and Wicomico are particularly exemplary.  Ankeny, Iowa wants to become a bike tourism hub, in association with the nearby High Trestle Trail ("Can Ankeny become central Iowa's bicycle tourism hub?," Des Moines Register, 2019 Ankeny Bicycle Tourism Plan).

Generally, cities are laggards on bike tourism, although some city visitor promotion programs do promote bicycling and cities with bike sharing programs end up supporting tourism too (the profits generated by tourists using DC's bike sharing program provide the bulk of annual operating revenues), but usually there aren't focused promotional programs.

For cities, inspired by the Velo Quebec headquarters, and Arlington's "Commuter Stores" and commuter bike centers like in Santa Monica, LA's Union Station, and elsewhere ("LimeBike and "scooter lifestyle stores" as an example of forward marketing for sustainable mobility"), I've believed for a long time that cities should create mixed use "bike hubs."

Bike Center Santa Monica is located a couple blocks from the beach and has a big bike rental business.  It operates a commuter center (parking and showers) and is located on the ground floor of a city parking structure, probably at reduced rent.  I've never seen a busier bicycle shop.

Not just with secure bike parking, repair, and maybe even sales operations, but coffee shop, biking information, bike tourism functions, bike rental, etc.

When we were bidding on bike share systems, our proposals included the suggestion that the "front end" of "back end" repair and operations center could be this kind of bike hub.  And as part of bike tourism, some towns in Iowa are creating similar kinds of bike hubs too ("Windsor Heights bike hub could have cafe, art, music," Des Moines Register).  From the article:

The study, conducted by PROS Consulting and Confluence Landscape Architecture & Urban Design, recommends that Windsor Heights' trail hub include: 

  • A restaurant or cafe with indoor and outdoor seating for 30 to 40 guests; 
  • Restrooms with lockers, a changing room and bike storage; 
  • A bike repair station with air pump, hand tools and repair stand; 
  • Lawn or event space with a covered pavilion or stage; 
  • An interactive art display or a nature play area.

While plenty of cities publish bike maps, I haven't seen many examples of cities setting up routes for bicycle-based tourists as a way to explore a city.  

Salt Lake is exceptional with its the Cycle the City route, signage, and brochure.  

But it needs to make the brochure into signage too, comparable to the Alexandria Waterfront or Newcastle mobility wayfinding signage.

Ideally, state, multi-county, and county bike trails would be backbone infrastructure to which sub-county and city bicycle paths and trails would connect.

Subsidies for bike shops.  Separately but related, Will comments on the decline of bicycle shops in high cost commercial districts like Capitol Hill, DC.  

On transportation demand management grounds, I've thought that bike shops ought to get a property tax break and/or rent subsidies.

Getting such subsidies, in return for support of bike commuting and bike tourism, could be a way of supporting bike shops.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NFL settles with St. Louis for $790 million

 In "Stadiums and arenas as the enabling infrastructure for "money-making" platforms" (2014), we discussed owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals point that stadiums and arenas "are platforms" for the teams.  To me that means that public entities providing funding for such deserve some recompense when teams sell.

Miami had a clause wrt receiving a portion of the revenue from the sale of the baseball team because of public funding of the stadium ("Sports teams shenanigans in Columbus Ohio and Miami," 2018), but it turns out they settled for a paltry sum, about $5 million ("Miami-Dade commissioners approve Marlins settlement after Loria agrees to pay more," Miami Herald), which makes the $790 million settlement in St. Louis quite remarkable, even if 40% will be scooped up by the law firms representing the city, county and stadium authority.

While St. Louis had a good case that the NFL contravened their guidelines for relocation ("Business of Football: The NFL Is Losing Its Lawsuit Against St. Louis, But Has Been in Situations Like This Before," Sports Illustrated), and they could probably have gotten more money if they went to court, by contrast the NFL could have fought the case, appealed etc., making a payout many years away ("Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL will pay St. Louis $790 million as part of a settlement for moving the team to Los Angeles," AP, "Did other NFL teams secretly help St. Louis with suit against Rams?," Los Angeles Times).


-- "Framework of characteristics that support successful community development in association with the development of professional sports facilities," 2021

Since this piece was published, new hockey arenas have opened in Seattle (Climate Pledge Arena) and Long Island (UBS Arena.  As mentioned ("Seattle Kraken expansion hockey team sets new standard for transit benefits in transportation demand management: free transit with ticket"), the Seattle Arena is particularly noteworthy for how it includes free transit use with tickets for games (hockey and women's basketball) and other ticketed events (concerts, etc.).

The Buffalo Bills football team is looking for money for a new stadium ("Bills want new stadium to be completely funded by taxpayer money," NBC Sports).  An interesting report commissioned for the team in its negotiations discusses two options, a suburban location where they are now, or downtown.  I was shocked that the ancillary revenues to the city from a downtown location were so minimal ("Study recommends new Bills stadium, silent on Orchard Park vs. Buffalo location," Buffalo News).

The owners of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group, are going to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins ("In selling franchise to Fenway Sports Group, Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins found 'a vision that aligns with ours'").

Speaking of public funding "deserving" a cut of a sale, the primary owner of the Penguins is Mario Lemiux, a former player who because of deferred salary was a large creditor of the team, which went bankrupt, and he was able to get control of the team.

And the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks basketball teams are valued at more than $5 billion ("Are the Knicks and Lakers Really Worth $5 Billion?," New York Times, "FROM KNICKS TO PELICANS: 2021 NBA FRANCHISE VALUATIONS RANKING LIST," Sportico).

The Sportico website has a dedicated tab for articles on team valuations.

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving


Apparently the state of Utah is known as #1 in the nation for front yard holiday-related displays, which also extend to birthdays, school graduations, anniversaries, etc.

More Thanksgiving stuff:

Long before Black Friday shopping and Hallmark showing Christmas movies beginning in early October, stores and people didn't start promoting Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  Having Thanksgiving in early December shortened the now shopping season by one week.

2.  Apparently controversy over Thanksgiving goes back to the Civil War ("When People Thought the First Thanksgiving Was Too Woke," Politico).

3.  Thanksgiving is seen as a time for giving thanks ("Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself," The Hill).  These days I am not particularly hopeful about the state of the country and its direction, especially in terms of the authoritarian bent of the Republican party.  The post-Census redistricting process will only strengthen minoritarian control of Congress and state legislatures.

4.  Earlier this week I was watching an episode of "Pati's Mexican Table" on PBS. 

She got her "food start" teaching at the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC, which led to the tv show, cookbooks, articles in the New York Times ("Forget the Wall: Pati Jinich Wants to Build a Culinary Bridge to Mexico") etc.

The episode was on thanksgiving, including her Yucatan flavored take on the Thanksgiving turkey, which looked totally awesome.  To get the smoked, grassy taste of the Yucatan, she covers it for many hours with banana leaves.  The leaves she used were in sheets.  I hope that one of the nearby Asian markets carries them, and we could try this next year?

Recently she did a two-part program, "La Frontera" on cooking and culture along the border of the US and Mexico (reiterating some of the points from this entry, "A solution to the immigration crisis on the Southern border, but it's too politically fraught"), which is still available online.  The program illustrates the interconnectedness of the "border lands," reiterating that the "walling the country off" doesn't work.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Annual household energy resilience planning: a new imperative?

 For the past 10+ years, in December, I usually publish an entry on winter weather and "maintenance of way" for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit, as most snow clearance planning and practice prioritizes motor vehicles.

-- "Snow, winter and the Sustainable Mobility City," 2019 (includes links to many previous entries)

While there is a fair amount of writing about how many households are installing generators in places where the electricity system is likely to fail, I haven't been in a situation, either in DC or Salt Lake, where utility interruption is a frequent occurrence, therefore the cost isn't justified.

But we all know what happened in Texas last February, a record cold snap, and the state's regulatory regime's failure to require winter hardening for critical supply and transmission infrastructure, in particular natural gas, led to massive failures across the state, blackouts, water system failure, and many hundreds of deaths.

-- "Talk and lying versus doing: The electricity crisis in Texas is produced by state regulatory failure"
-- Cold wave: the Texas power debacle disproportionately impacts the less well off"
-- "It's not rocket science: 10 ways to fix the Texas power grid, according to experts (From the Houston Chronicle)"
-- "October is National Energy Awareness Month"

In response, mostly the State of Texas has done very little to mandate system hardening, even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission once again has recommended that they do so, just as they did after a similar but less deadly event in 2011 ("Feds call for more regulation of Texas power grid, natural gas industry," Austin American-Statesman).

So what's up for Texans this winter?

The Dallas Morning News reports ("ERCOT report says Texans face steep shortfalls in power capacity if extreme event hits this winter") that the state energy coordination ERCOT, is warning Texas residents that the state is still vulnerable to catastrophic utility interruptions, if this winter is particularly cold.

Texas’ grid operator on Friday released its predictions for peak electricity use in Texas for this winter that showed steep shortfalls in power capacity in an extreme event, despite not accounting for February’s deadly freeze. 

ERCOT’s power demand projection known as the Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy was already facing criticism for using data that did not account for climate change and did not take into account weather and outage data from February’s deadly winter storm. 

The main failure of the report, according to Texas A&M University professor Andrew Dessler, is that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas based projections of extreme demand on the 2011 winter event that left wide swaths of North Texas without power. 

Dessler, an atmospheric sciences professor, said the report shows that Texans have around a one-in-10 chance of seeing weather-related power outages this winter. “One in 10 years seems to me to be not a great worst-case scenario,” Dessler said. “That means that there’s a 10% chance we’re going to do worse than that.”

It's definitely criminal that the State Legislature, Governor, and regulatory authorities have basically done nothing in response to February's crisis, which also affected states outside of Texas, because they were dependent on natural gas supplies from Texas.

This means that residents that can afford it are likely to install generators ("Facing power grid anxiety, Texans are buying generators and bracing for blackouts," San Antonio Report), install converters if they have solar power systems, and buy vehicles, like the Ford F-150 truck, which if you buy the special electricity generation package can power their houses in case the utility distribution system fails, although it still needs gasoline ("Texas man uses new 2021 Ford F-150 to heat home, power appliances during blackout," Detroit Free Press).

But what about the people without the means to protect themselves by buying large stocks of water and generators?

And in any case, if water systems fail because of power interruptions, people will have to store large supplies of water as well.


States that frequently experience winter cold have long since weatherized their electricity generation systems.  It's the southern states, that before climate change became as serious as it has didn't worry much about "cold snaps," that haven't done this.  It's particularly important in Texas, since it is such a large energy producer.  When systems fail there, they don't just effect Texas, but all the other states that rely on Texas energy production.

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Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (November 21st)

One of the many days focusing on an important issue that I didn't know about.  

-- organization website

Will calls our attention to a WTOP-AM story, "DC area to observe Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims," about activities in DC around recognizing traffic deaths.  According to the article there has been a display this week at Union Station, put up by DC Families for Safe Streets (blog entry).

-- "Open Streets DC as an event versus an agenda"
-- "Revisiting Vision Zero in DC and NYC"

DC Families for Safe Streets is an affiliate of another organization I didn't know about the national organization, Families for Safe Streets.

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Friday, November 19, 2021

A wrinkle on BTMFBA: let the city/county own the cultural facility, while you operate it (San Francisco and the Fillmore Heritage Center)

There's an interesting article in The Grio, "Black residents demand San Francisco give center as reparations after destroying Fillmore neighborhood," about how residents and community organizations in the Fillmore district of San Francisco are advocating for the city to give residents the Fillmore Heritage Center, to own and operate. 

The FHC is a ground floor space, 50,000 s.f., with an adjacent 112 space parking lot, that is connected to a separate 12-story condominium building.

FHC has languished for many years, after its main and opening tenant, Yoshi's jazz club, went through bankruptcy in 2012 and shut down for good in 2014, which in turn led to the closure of the adjacent restaurant, 1300 on Fillmore, a couple years later.   

Two nonprofits were given control of the space, which is the ground floor of a building with housing above, and programmed it aggressively, but a shooting and the pandemic have combined to leave the facility empty.

Fillmore Heritage Center is seen on the corner of Fillmore and Eddy Streets on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in San Francisco. Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle 2017.

The nonprofits estimate it will cost about $420,000 per year to operate ("Will new plan for S.F.’s Fillmore Heritage Center revive long-shuttered jazz club and community hub?," San Francisco Chronicle).

Reparations argument.  The advocates are calling on the city to give them the facility as a form of reparations for planning and policy decisions over the decades that have harmed the predominately black neighborhood.

Reparations is a misguided argument: they need plans and implementation mechanisms.  I think the reparations argument is misguided, or at least, aren't well-focused.  

Graphic/map of the Chicago Loop from a Wall Street Journal travel article illustrates the concept of "cultural mapping" at the neighborhood scale.  Illustration by John S. Dykes.

The issues are two-fold: (1) creating viable revitalization/equity ("Social urbanism and equity planning as a way to address crime, violence, and persistent poverty")  and cultural plans for the neighborhood; and (2) creating a viable operating plan and implementation mechanism for the Fillmore Heritage Center. 

Why did Yoshi's and the restaurant fail/Arts as consumption.  Another question that doesn't seem to be asked is what happened? ("1300 on Fillmore Closed," Eater SF, "The Addition, Formerly Yoshi's in San Francisco, to Abruptly Close," KQED/PBS, "How the Yoshi's Deal Went Down," New Fillmore).

I think the problem is the "heritage center" was really a concert facility and restaurant, focused on "arts as consumption" (""Arts district planning" in Arlington County | Many communities don't know the difference between arts as production and arts as consumption").

The large facility--28,000 s.f.--needed a lot of people to fill it up, multiple days a week, and the market for jazz is small compared to other genres.  

Plus, the firm took out many millions of dollars of loans to pay for outfitting the facility and revenues weren't strong enough to both operate the business and pay down debt.   

The adjoining but separately owned restaurant was dependent on concert attendees for a significant amount of its business, and when the facility shut down, they lost almost 40% of their business.

This project, while laudatory, was probably inadequately considered in terms of overall demand and the cultural offer within the Fillmore neighborhood, and when costs to develop it ballooned, it was set up to fail.

Buying/Controlling buildings.  My BTMFBA--Buy the M.F. Building Already-- writings focus on how cultural organizations and disciplines to have more control over their future and economic sustainability, need to own (or at least control for the long term) their own buildings.  

The primary recommendation is to do this through culture/arts-based community development corporations, acting at the scale of a city or county, to buy, hold, build, and operate such facilities.

-- "BTMFBA: the best way to ward off artist or retail displacement is to buy the building," 2016
-- "BTMFBA: Baltimore and the Area 405 Studio," 2021
-- "Revisiting stories: cultural planning and the need for arts-based community development corporations as real estate operators," 2018
-- "When BTMFBA isn't enough: keeping civic assets public through cy pres review," 2016
-- "BMFBTA revisited: nonprofits and facilities planning and acquisition," 2016
-- "BTMFBA: artists and Los Angeles," 2017
-- "BTMFBA Chronicles: Seattle coffee shop raises money to buy its building," 2018
-- "Dateline Los Angeles: BTMFBA & Transformational Projects Action Planning & arts-related community development corporation as an implementation mechanism to own property," 2018

Now, it doesn't have to be a CDC specifically, sometimes smaller scale efforts work just fine.

Colleges might do this, for example Emerson College in Boston owns and operates significant theater buildings, as do other colleges, Seattle has a couple of different nonprofits running multiple performing arts/theater facilities, ("Seattle preservation: Pike Place Market, Neptune Theater, and the Cinerama"), while in Greater Philadelphia, there is a theater management company, Renew Theaters, that operates community theaters which are each owned individually. 

My writing on cultural planning has been sparked in part by the financial failure of cultural facilities and institutions "going it alone" ("Cultural resources planning in DC: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king," 2007; "Cultural organizations in financial exigency," 2020).

And even though I recommend CDCs with more heft as the primary actors, like the Playhouse Square CDC in Cleveland, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Brooklyn Academy of Music CDC, and Takoma Arts in Washington State, there are plenty of one-off nonprofits successfully running cultural facilities.

I wonder if the Fillmore Heritage Center "idea" is a bit misguided in that the community likely lacks the financial capacity to own, maintain, operate and program the facility. 

If they had that capacity, they would have picked up the management contract for the facility by now, and would be operating the FHC already. 

Although it's possible that the FHC Equity Partners initiative has the capacity, as it includes a couple of community development organizations with the experience and track record of developing, owning and operating a significant property portfolio.

But the group of people and organizations agitating for ownership of the Fillmore Heritage Center ought to think long and hard about what they want and how best to accomplish it.

1.  Why not let the city continue to own and maintain the facility?, thereby off-loading the expense, which will only get bigger as the building ages.

2.  How about focusing on creating a robust nonprofit with the mission and capacity to operate it?

3.  And the demonstration of the ability to deliver a great and successful program of events and activities.

Miami's Liberty City and Overtown districts as models.  There are many models, including some interesting organizations in Miami, in the Liberty City district ("Social infrastructure in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami") and Overtown.  From the blog entry:

The original theater has been expanded into a cultural complex with the addition of a new building immediately adjacent.  

In Overtown, another historically black Miami neighborhood, one remarkable civic asset is the Black Archives, History & Research Foundation of South Florida.  

In addition to its ever expanding archives on the Black experience in South Florida, the organization also operates the Historic Lyric Theater, the city's first theater building dedicated specifically to the Black community when it opened in 1915.

Leimert Park, Los Angeles.  Another example is the Leimert Park Village district in Los Angeles, which is seen as the cultural heart of the city's black community ("Los Angeles's Black Pride Taking In the Retro Vibe of Leimert Park," Washington Post, Slideshow, Los Angeles Times).  

The Vision Theatre building is a fabulous example of art deco architecture ("Leimert Theater: Envisioning a Neighborhood Landmark," KCET/PBS).  Photo: Luis Simco, Los Angeles Times.

Historically it has been a great scene for music, from blues to hip-hop.

The city is restoring the Vision Theatre and repositioning it as a community arts and performance facility, which will reopen next year (Vision Theatre / Manchester Junior Arts Center, LA Department of Cultural Affairs).  

Note that the Vision Theatre will be operated the way I suggest for the Fillmore Heritage Center.  The city will own the building, and a third party community-focused organization will operate it ("LA seeks proposals to operate Vision Theatre in Leimert Park," Hey SoCal).

-- RFP webpage and document 

Other cultural elements include the annual
Leimert Park Village Book Fair, featuring more than 200 authors, the open air Destination Crenshaw cultural interpretation walk ("Destination Crenshaw art project aims to reclaim the neighborhood for black L.A.," Los Angeles Times, Destination Crenshaw webpage, Perkins+Will), and the annual Juneteenth street festival.

Concept for Destination Crenshaw, Perkins+Will

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The other George Miller idea: creating multi-college innovation centers in (cities) Philadelphia | Creating public library-college education centers as revitalization initiatives

Another idea expressed by George Miller in his Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece ("Move Cheyney University to the Navy Yard"), alongside the concept of moving Cheyney University, the nation's first HBCU, is the creation of what he calls an "intercollegiate innovation campus for other Pennsylvania schools and colleges" as an element of repositioning the city even further as a "college hub."

From the article:

The city took control of the 1,200-acre property after the Navy closed operations in 1996. There were ambitious master plans created in 2004 and 2013, but both included loads of office space. Only about one-third of the existing real estate is occupied or in development. Given the work-from-home movement created by the coronavirus pandemic, there is likely much less interest in building new office space. ...

The Navy Yard could be an intercollegiate innovation campus where STEM research is done by students from Penn, Drexel, Temple, La Salle, and other city schools, as well as by students from across the country and around the world. Penn State established a campus there, where it offers graduate business classes and corporate training. 

How about using that campus to attract students from other Pennsylvania schools for one or two semesters? They could do internships in the city, participate in research projects, and maybe take classes at the new Cheyney Navy Yard campus? 

Having such an opportunity – think of it as similar to a semester abroad, a Philadelphia semester – could be a selling point for colleges like Millersville, Lehigh, Lafayette, Franklin & Marshall, and maybe even Penn State’s main campus, even if only for summer programs.

I have had a similar idea for awhile, although my idea is somewhat different, creating an education hub focused on underserved communities with a lower level of higher educational attainment, making over public libraries into broader community educational anchors through expansion into larger facilities with spaces for colleges to offer classes, delivery of workforce education, etc.

In part, this is modeled on the Idea Store concept from Tower Hamlets borough, London.

There, public libraries have been combined with workforce education delivery, and relocated to highly visible and architecturally startling buildings in popular commercial districts ("Idea Stores Ten Years On: The next generation," Designing Libraries, “When is the Library not a library? When it is the Idea Store,” 2004, Guardian).

Other examples are where multiple colleges offer programs from the same location.  Models include how the University System of Maryland supports the "Universities at Shady Grove" initiative where 80 academic degree programs are offered by nine different Maryland state universities in a location in Montgomery County--the state's wealthiest county--which has no four year colleges based there ("Nine universities on one small campus? It’s real. It’s here. And it could be higher ed’s future," Washington Post).

And how the Community College of Denver , Metropolitan State University, and the University of Colorado Denver share a campus ("Chancellor Michelle Marks leads CU Denver to 'equity-serving' future," Denver Business Journal).  Or how Indiana and Purdue Universities have a joint campus in Indianapolis.  

Although the closest comparable example is the creation of the Union Square urban higher education campus in Greensboro, North Carolina ("A center for nursing: Union Square Campus opens," Greensboro News & Record), which is starting out focusing on nursing, but could expand to include inter-collegiate collaboration in other disciplines.  The nursing venture involves three colleges and a major health system.

There are probably other examples.

And I wouldn't limit access to only public universities.  Any university wanting to participate should be welcome to do so.

But my idea was to do this from the standpoint of equity planning and revitalizing communities, as a way to expand access to educational opportunities as an element of social urbanism and creating stronger networks of social infrastructure and civic assets.

So in how my writings on equity planning were originally focused on the East of the River community in DC, in particular Anacostia, and the Takoma Crossroads Langley Park area of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, Maryland--ironically located about two miles from the University of Maryland College Park--those are the places I was thinking where such facilities could be created.

Another example contributing to this idea is how in Roxbury, Boston, the city built the Bolling Municipal Building, which opened in 2015, incorporating historic storefronts, as well as new construction.  While the building is mostly office space for the school system, it includes ground floor retail and meeting facilities throughout the building that are open for community use, as well as the Roxbury Innovation Center, which aims to stoke local economic development. 

Meeting facilities at the Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury can also be used for community events.

The Bolling Building was an opportunity to do much more than it does programmatically, but it shows how it's possible to leverage a municipal facility for broader and transformational programming ("In Dudley Square, battered storefronts undermine the progress," Boston Globe).   

Another example of co-location is how the San Diego Central Library is also home to a charter school.

Or various innovative mixed use public library initiatives beyond the Idea Store, such as the Pounds Centre in Hampshire County, UK or the Drumbrae Library in Scotland ("Neighborhood libraries as nodes in a neighborhood and city-wide network of cultural assets") or my concept for a mixed use central library ("Civic assets and mixed use: Central library edition") and how the Salt Lake City central library provides "mixed use" learning and educational functions in its building, including an NPR radio station, a writing center sponsored by the local community college system, and an actively programmed auditorium.

Not just teaching, but an opportunity for colleges to do place-based research, service, and outreach.  This facility should be a two-way thing for the participating colleges.  Not just an opportunity for colleges to teach classes to area residents, but also for outreach, research, and service programs delivered by the universities, comparable to how Kent State University has its architecture and planning studio programs based in a center in Cleveland, or the University of Michigan's LSA College Detroit Initiative, which has helped to spur greater engagement of the university as a whole.  (Now other Michigan universities have created similar initiatives, but they don't work together out of a common facility.)

The George Miller concept is somewhat different aiming to stoke the city's economic competitiveness by leveraging higher education.  From the article, Miller sees this concept as an economic driver for the city and region, attracting new businesses, sparking business startups, etc., more along the lines of this blog entry, "Better leveraging higher education institutions in cities and counties: Greensboro; Spokane; Mesa; Phoenix; Montgomery County, Maryland; Washington, DC"   (2016).

That could happen through the creation of an "intercollegiate college hub" at the Navy Yard, but like my point about how just plopping Cheyney University in Philadelphia might not make a difference ("HBCUs and the city: Relocating Cheyney University to Philadelphia?"), planning for that kind of spinoff economic development takes concerted effort and steps ("Naturally occurring innovation districts | Technology districts and the tech sector" and "How the closure of a Pfizer research center in Ann Arbor, Michigan led to the development of a biotech sector there").

It's not a matter of "build it and they will come."

For more on signature university initiatives and their effect on community economic development and/or first generation college student success see these past blog entries:

-- "Freeman Hrabowski and 'urban universities," 2021
-- "Universities as elements of urban/downtown revitalization: the Portland State story and more," 2014
-- "President of Washington State University dies: fostered development of the "University District" adjacent to Downtown Spokane," 2015

and articles about the Maryland Institute College of Arts ("MICA president Fred Lazarus to retire at end of 2014 academic year," Baltimore Sun), the Arabianranta district of Helsinki, anchored by the design-focused Aalto University (""Developing Creative Quarters in Cities: Policy lessons from “Art and Design City Arabianranta, Helsinki," Urban Research and Practice, 2013), and the outsize role of Professor Robert Lang at the University of Nevada Las Vegas ("Robert Lang, who helped reshape Southern Nevada’s economy, dies at 62," Las Vegas Review-Journal).

And Philadelphia could start by figuring out why their existing universities and colleges aren't having the kind of economic impact that they desire, anchored by private schools like University of Pennsylvania (although yesterday's Washington Post has an interesting article about an agriculture business venture developed by a Penn graduate, "Fighting food waste one apple at a time") and Drexel University, state schools like Temple University, and what I have always thought of as particularly interesting private universities like the University of the Sciences and the University of the Arts, Moore College of Art and Design ("Should community culture master plans include elements on higher education arts programs?") etc.

New York City has incredible higher education institutions (Columbia, NYU and CUNY for starters) and still, former Mayor Bloomberg didn't think that was enough, and created an initiative to develop a new technology focused university on Roosevelt Island--the winner of the competition was a joint venture of Cornell University and Technion Institute of Israel ("Bloomberg Chooses Cornell to Make New York a Silicon Valley 2.0," The Atlantic).  

Interestingly too, Philadelphia was one of the earliest creators of a more focused effort to leverage the existence of its universities and colleges ("PUTTING THEIR TOWNS ON THE MAP: Baltimore and Philadelphia institutional and city planners are working together to create great college towns," NACUBO Business Officer Magazine 2005), with the aim of yes, retaining graduates and fostering their economic contributions to the city and regional economy, but it seems as if that effort has fallen by the wayside.

The University of Pennsylvania was also an early leader in investing in the community around its campus (in part as a safety measure).

Penn had one time considered moving to the suburbs, before deciding to recommit to the city.  

Former university president Judith Rodin has a book on the subject, The University and Urban Revival.

Separately, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, Amtrak, and local developers fund the University City Business Improvement District.

Conclusion.  So it's not like there isn't a lot going on with the city's universities as it is.  The question is how can it be better leveraged, for students, for the city, for the state, and that's what Professor Miller does in his interesting op-ed.

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

"Wide aisle" transit turnstiles to be tested in NYC

"MTA to test new 'wide-aisle' turnstiles at five subway stations," New York Post

MTA photo.

To accommodate luggage, for many years I've suggested that turnstiles and escalators be wider for subway and light rail systems at train stations and airports.

But in terms of improving disability access, it should be universal.

That's what they'll be doing on the New York Subway system, as they plan to install wide aisle turnstiles at 200 stations, about 40% of the system's total.

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Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week -- November 13th - 21st

-- Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

The Orange County Register is running articles throughout the week on the topic as it relates to their county.

Past blog entries:

-- "President Biden's Infrastructure Program: Part 1: Homelessness," 2021
-- Associated Press story on homelessness in Western U.S. cities," 2017
-- "One of the "solutions" to the crisis of homelessness is a lot more SRO housing," 2017
-- "One potential solution to the problem of "finding work" for homeless adults," 2017
-- "Another example of the need for social housing organizations to construct social housing at scale," 2019
-- "Creating 'community safety partnership neighborhood management programs as a management and mitigation strategy for public nuisances: Part 3 (like homeless shelters)," 2020

One of the things that bothers me about people's remonstrations about new residential development is that "it isn't affordable."

By definition new housing delivered today is built at today's costs for land, materials, and labor.  How would it not be the most expensive housing available on the market today?

The US developed a system where the private sector is the primary actor building housing.  

As early as the 1930s, the federal government's policy makers recognized that "the market" couldn't build housing for low income segments of the market without subsidy.  But for the most part, elected and appointed officials weren't interested in supporting alternatives to the private sector in general.  And for the most part, subsidies weren't provided, therefore low income/social/affordable housing wasn't constructed.

Planning hindrances to affordability.  Another reason why social housing isn't produced "all that much" is that our planning systems aren't designed to produce it ("Community planning, capitalism, and housing/real estate development," 2020). 

1.  The biggest restriction is on height of buildings.  This causes great opportunity costs as units not built today cost more to build tomorrow.  A lot of conservatives criticize "government" and zoning regulations for causing the problem.  But really such limits are a response to resident fears about density -- nimbyism.  

2.  Sure, there might be "inclusionary zoning" requirements on new construction, where a small set of units of new developments are set aside for lower income segments of the market.

3. The real need is to produce social housing at scale.  Vienna ("Learning from Vienna and from Vienna's Social Housing Model," 2013), Stockholm ("Why Stockholm's 1930s Housing Projects Are Now in High Demand," Bloomberg), Singapore ("Why Singapore Has One of the Highest Home Ownership Rates," Bloomberg), and the UK, among others did this.  Vienna and Singapore still do.  The others not so much.

4.  One way to do this and to have it mixed in within existing communities would be to allocate some lots for multiunit housing to 100% affordable/social housing developments.  Cities like Helsinki do this.

5.  Another restriction usually is the banning of "single room occupancy" buildings, smaller units, often rented by the week or month, with shared bathrooms and limited kitchen facilities.

Yesterday, I came across this postcard, postmarked 1925, featuring the 1800 unit YMCA Hotel in Chicago "for transient men."  The existence of such housing today would go a long way towards addressing homelessness.

I doubt that DC has as many as 1,800 units of SRO housing, while Chicago had that much in a single building!

6.  A simple way to add housing is to encourage accessory dwelling units -- carriage houses, basement apartments, etc. -- as part of existing houses/lots.  For example, DC has the capacity to add 10,000 to 30,000 housing units from such measures.

But too many communities either prevent such housing altogether or impose artificial limits that severely limit supply.  DC is one of the places with arbitrary limits.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Property tax exemptions and local hospitals: the Tower Health example

Photo: Ben Hasty, Reading Eagle.

Reading, Pennsylvania-based Tower Health, which started with Reading Hospital but like most hospitals grew into a larger network, including a misguided attempt to expand into Philadelphia and its suburbs by buying a set of community hospitals from a for profit hospital firm, which has been a financial disaster ("Tower Health records massive loss on St. Chris and other hospitals it bought in Philadelphia region," "Tower is selling Chestnut Hill Hospital, closing Jennersville, as it digs out from massive losses," Philadelphia Inquirer), is also dealing with a series of property tax cases.

When the hospitals were owned by a for profit firm, they weren't eligible for a tax exemption.  That changed when Tower Health, ostensibly a nonprofit, purchased them, costing localities including school districts a significant amount of tax revenue.

Chester County challenged the tax exemption for three hospitals which Tower Health is now selling or closing, while Montgomery County challenged the tax exemption for Pottstown Hospital, which is still operating ("Tower Health fights for its tax-exempt status, and local governments are watching," Reading Eagle).

The Chester County court ruled that Tower's exemptions were unjustified, although Tower is challenging the ruling, while Montgomery County's ruling was the opposite.

One of the points made in the Chester County case was that the hospital system doesn't really function much differently from a for profit hospital chain in that funds are redirected to the parent, and that the hospitals don't provide all that much free care for charity patients, merely provide care to people who have Medicaid or Medicare coverage anyway.  The judge relied on these points in making the decision.

The Montgomery case was based on compensation and incentives being based on for profit hospital metrics and were significantly out of line for nonprofits.

Separately I came across an article ("Sanford reports $65 million in payouts to former executives," Sioux Falls Business) about the "tie off" compensation being provided to the former CEO of South Dakota based Sanford Health which has multiple facilities in South Dakota and surrounding states, but as far afield as California.  

It's $46 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sanford Health is a nonprofit.

This definitely reiterates the point made by Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in its challenge of the property tax exemption for Pottstown Hospital.

2.  Payments in lieu of taxes/PILOTs.  Cities tend to have a preponderance of nonprofit institutions with property tax exemptions, which has a serious impact on municipal finance.  Some nonprofit institutions make an annual payment to cities to cover some of the costs that they impose.  

-- Payments in Lieu of Taxes: Balancing Municipal and Nonprofit Interests, Lincoln Land Institute

But most officials complain that the payments generally come nowhere near compensating communities for costs incurred.

3.  Not all nonprofits may be tax exempt when it comes to property.  Generally, state law dictates whether or not nonprofits are entitled to property tax exemptions.  In most states it's categorical and an exemption is provided automatically.

By contrast, in DC, to receive a property tax exemption, the organization has to provide a high degree of service within the city, to the city.  For example, national trade associations or think tanks (Heritage Foundation, etc.) generally are deemed to not provide services to DC residents proper, so they aren't entitled to a property tax exemption.

It would be reasonable to create a "table of authorities" on the criteria for which nonprofits are entitled or not entitled to property tax exemptions, by use category/type of organization, for example hospitals, universities, etc.

The analogy would be how nonprofits can be taxed on "unrelated business income" which is generated by activities not related to the nonprofit purpose.

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HBCUs and the city: Relocating Cheyney University to Philadelphia?

HBCUs = historically black colleges and universities

Will Bunch, the awesome opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, calls our attention to a proposal by George Miller ("Move Cheyney University to the Navy Yard") suggesting that Cheyney University of Pennsylvania--the nation's first HBCU, located in suburban Delaware County, 24 miles from Philadelphia--relocate to Philadelphia's Navy Yard and focus on educating the city's people of color from a far more convenient location.  From the article:

Cheyney, located about 30 miles from the city, is the oldest historically Black college or university in the country (though nearby Lincoln University was the first HBCU to offer degrees). 

Forty-three percent of the 1.5 million people in Philadelphia are Black or African American, and the vast majority of them do not hold college degrees. That limits their employment opportunities. Black students can attend any college, of course, but HBCUs tend to offer a greater sense of community and more support than students might find at predominantly white institutions. 

Only about 13% of Temple University’s undergraduates are African American and about 8% of the University of Pennsylvania’s students identify as Black or African American. Both schools have long-standing Black communities adjacent to their campuses, but the relationships with those communities are often tense. Those areas are among the poorest in the city. ...

Having a historic HBCU in Philadelphia would create affordable and appealing opportunities for people who might not otherwise seek higher education. That would be good for Cheyney, too.

I was thinking that was an incredibly great idea, and ruing how former mayor of Washington Anthony Williams' idea of relocating the University of District of Columbia to the St. Elizabeths campus east of the river was shot down 20 years ago ("UDC is focused on the wrong students," Forest Hills Connection). 

If you relocate it does it matter?  But then I thought, well, Baltimore has two HBCUs located within the city, albeit on the outskirts, Coppin State and Morgan State ("Morgan State University should move their architecture and planning school to Downtown/Station North Arts District"), and they aren't particularly central to the city and its ability to stoke educational attainment amongst the city's youth.  

Chicago State University was buffeted by funding issues sparked by a fight between the state's former Republican governor and the Democratic state legislature, which severely crippled the school's ability to function.

Just because you locate Cheyney in Philadelphia, if it's not capable of repositioning and becoming more innovative, and maybe with free tuition (like CUNY), would the relocation have all that much impact?  

Columbus, Ohio has just announced a program that will provide free tuition to the local community college for city school graduates ("New program offers Columbus City Schools graduates free tuition at Columbus State," Columbus Dispatch).  From the article:

The next three classes of Columbus City Schools graduates will be able to attend Columbus State Community College for free under a new initiative announced Wednesday morning. 

 "We are hoping to make Columbus the best city to learn, earn and achieve your dreams,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin. “For too many folks, they don’t see a pathway past high school. We are making a promise that we will support you in going after your dreams.” 

The program, called the Columbus Promise, is set to start with the district's current senior class and is being funded by the city of Columbus, Columbus schools, Columbus State and other local groups interested in seeing students succeed and go onto college.

In fact, the great 2018 series in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on HBCUs had a story on Cheyney's problems, "Cheyney University: The oldest HBCU faces an uphill struggle."

I'm not sure the University of the District of Columbia is particularly noteworthy on this dimension either ("Speaking of planning for higher education: more on the University of the District of Columbia," 2012). 

And Howard University -- "The Mecca" -- is located in DC too, but doesn't necessarily have all that much impact on the city's minority student population and college attainment.  Not unlike Morgan State, it's a cloistered place separate from the rest of the city.  Plus, it has serious management issues ("‘We won’: Howard protesters reach deal with university and end month-long occupation," Washington Post).

Although cloister and location is central to Miller's recommendation that Cheyney be relocated to a central location within Philadelphia, at the Navy Yard, and as part of a broader initiative creating a special campus for multiple colleges to offer programs.

Urban universities and colleges and first generation college students.  How many city-based HBCUs and Predominately Minority Institutions (PMIs) have performed the way that City College did and does in New York City ("American Dream Machine: The City University of New York aggressively moves poor kids into the middle class.," City Journal) in educating first generation college students, contributing to the local economy (CUNY's Contribution to NYC, NYC Comptroller's Office), and boosting graduates into the nation's middle class?

There are other urban universities that had a similar place in their communities historically, although perhaps less so today, including the University of Baltimore, what is now Wayne State University in Detroit, City College of San Francisco, and Metropolitan State University in Denver, although for some cities community colleges have taken on this role, or state universities have created city units, like the University of Illinois Chicago, Cal State Los Angeles and the University of Colorado.

Not exactly the same, but some colleges like Dartmouth offer access to college classes to area high school students.  And some colleges have developed special integrated high school/college programs like the Bard College High School, which has multiple campuses.

-- Center for First-Generation Student Success
-- Degrees of Difficulty: Boosting College Student Success in New York City, Center for an Urban Future
-- "Why free community college is necessary but insufficient for true student success," University Business

HBCUs/Predominately Minority Institutions that are particularly successful.  Recently I wrote about the University of Maryland Baltimore County upon the announcement by its President that he will be retiring ("Freeman Hrabowski and "urban universities"").  UMBC has become the number one college in the country in educating minority students for entrance into graduate and professional schools.

And some of the HBCUs in Atlanta, like Spelman College ("A Culture of Success: Black Alumnae Discussions of the Assets-Based Approach at Spelman College," Journal of Higher Education), Morehouse College ("A prescription for more black doctors," New York Times), and Clark Atlanta University ("Applying IRSS Theory: The Clark Atlanta University Exemplar," Decision Sciences) have a similar kind of impact and could be models for similar initiatives elsewhere.

The AJC series reports on how Greensboro, North Carolina-based North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University has set the stretch goal of being the best academic HBCU in the country ("A&T: An HBCU powerhouse rises in Greensboro").

Greensboro's economic development agenda is predicated in part on a focus of leveraging its multiple higher education institutions and NCA&T is a key element of the strategy ("Better leveraging higher education institutions in cities and counties: Greensboro; Spokane; Mesa; Phoenix; Montgomery County, Maryland; Washington, DC").

The University of Texas El Paso is widely known as being particularly successful for graduating first generation Hispanic students ("UTEP encouraging first-generation student success," KFOX14).  From the article:

UTEP's current initiatives are geared toward boosting retention rates by working closely with students. They include: 

  • A first-generation course — UNIV 1301 — designed to prepare students for internships, employment, undergraduate research, and community-engaged learning experiences. 
  • Summer bridge programs offered to entering students, freshmen, and sophomores targeted to help students continue their momentum between those years. 
  • Wraparound services including tutoring, advising, coaching, and mentoring to help students successfully complete their courses. 
  • First-generation peer leaders, instructors, mentors, advisors, and alumni will be accessible to students as part of the mentorship program. 
  • The program will prepare first-generation students for college by helping them develop writing, communication, and critical thinking skills through a variety of methods.

The first-generation program aims to work with students through their first 45 semester credit hours and improve student retention. The program focuses on celebrating student success by fostering students’ diverse backgrounds, strengths, and skillsets.

Conclusion.  While the idea is great, it needs a lot more than simply relocating Cheyney University and plopping it down in Philadelphia to have the kind of impact that Mr. Miller believes could result.  

1.  Relocating Cheyney University to Philadelphia would only be a first step.

2.  The second and most important step is rebuilding Cheyney University from the ground up, using schools like Spelman, Morehouse, UMBC, and NC A&T as models of HBCU/PMI best practices, along with other examples of premier education attainment for first generation college students.

3.  The third step is integrating the relocated and repositioned school into the community so that it can have the same kind of effect on the minority college student population within Philadelphia specifically, the way that colleges like UMBC do, but in a less place specific manner.

4.  Ideally with free tuition for residents of Philadelphia and adjoining counties, not unlike New York State's free tuition program for the State University as well as CUNY.

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Free transit for Salt Lake Airport Users as a marketing promotion | Transit validation systems

1300 South at West Temple Street, near the Ballpark TRAX station

The Salt Lake Airport has been undergoing expansion and redevelopment.  A new terminal opened in the Spring, although the relocated transit station didn't open until earlier this month ("Will new TRAX station fix unprecedented problem for Salt Lake airport?," KSL-TV).

I've written about the airport twice.  One in response to a Manhattan Institute report that transit connections to airports aren't worth it.  I disagree because a transit system to be a system needs to connect to major destinations within a metropolitan area and the breadth of the network more generally is what encourages people to use transit.

-- "Manhattan Institute misses the point about the value of light rail transit connections to airports | Utility and the network effect: the transit network as a platform," 2020

The other piece was about a financial dispute between the Airport and a car sharing service.  The latter didn't want to pay the same rates as "car rental services" because the business model is different, and so they were forbidden access to the Airport.  

-- "Transportation demand management gaps, Salt Lake City International Airport and car sharing," 2021

Although the firm eventually capitulated.  The fact is that parking and car rental concessions are significant revenue streams, so Airports don't want to do anything that upsets that flow, especially as ride hailing has had a significantly negative impact on parking revenues.

Some of the reporting on the new airport has focused on how they haven't implemented an interior transit system/moving walkways because they are still expanding, and depending on the gate, people may have to walk at least one quarter mile to Concourse B ("Opinion: The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad walk from SLC’s Concourse B," Salt Lake Deseret News), which is especially inconvenient with children or if you're disabled..

And the Airport has already stated that often the parking structures and lots are full, and they have 30,000 spaces ("Why you might have problems parking for your flight at the SLC Airport," KJZZ-TV).

So "transportation demand management" aimed at ensuring adequate capacity at the parking structures is a good idea.

Transit validation: free transit with event tickets. Transit validation is the term for how your event ticket also includes free transit use.  I wrote about this recently concerning the new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, where attendees of sporting and concert events can use their ticket (via an e-app) to ride local transit for free ("Seattle Kraken expansion hockey team sets new standard for transit benefits in transportation demand management: free transit with ticket").

While the arenas for the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco and the Phoenix Coyotes do a version of this, the Seattle example is the most expansive, with access to light rail, bus, and Monorail.

While I have written quite a bit about airport transportation issues:

-- "Airport transportation demand management in flux"
-- "Transportation demand management, transit: Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and Logan Airport, Boston," 2019
-- "London's Stansted Airport provides digital information on transit options," 2019
-- "A brief comment on ground transportation at National Airport vis a vis VRE rail service," 2016
-- "Revisiting stories: ground transportation at airports (DCA/Logan)," 2017
-- "Airports and public transit access: O'Hare Airport and the proposed fast connection from Downtown Chicago," 2018
-- "Why not a bicycle hub at National Airport?: focused on capturing worker trips but open to all," 2017

I have never heard of free transit to and from the airport, which is what Salt Lake Airport and the Utah Transit Authority are doing through January 31st, 2022, when people show their boarding pass dated on the date of travel.

Photo: Miles in Transit.

Although, the Boston Silver Line bus is free from Logan Airport and has been since 2012 ("MBTA to give free rides from airport: No Silver Line fare in test to cut Logan’s congestion," Boston Globe).

But the Salt Lake Airport promotion is for all forms of transit: bus; streetcar; light rail; and commuter train.

While the UTA/Salt Lake Airport is the first example I know of of free transit to and from the airport, albeit for a brief period, obviously, adopting this type of practice more broadly would increase transit use in association with air travel, were it to be adopted more widely and permanently.

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