Why a trolley does more for business than a parking deck

New Report Examines How Smart Growth Can Enhance Prosperity

A new report by the Center for Clean Air Policy finds that smart growth practices can enhance community prosperity and generate economic benefits for local businesses, households, and governments. The study, Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity, shows how reduced driving and efficient land use planning are strongly interconnected with economic growth and better quality of life.

Growing Wealthier reports that cities investing in public transportation and downtown development are experiencing cost savings, growing tax revenues, increased property values and higher retail sales. For example, downtown retail sales in Dallas, Texas, grew by 33 percent annually after the city’s light rail system began operation. In Portland, Oregon, a $100 million investment in streetcars helped attract $3.5 billion in private investments. And in Denver, Colorado, home values within a half-mile of stations on a light rail line rose by 18 percent from 2006-2008, while home values in the rest of the city declined by 8 percent during the same period.

The report also documents how efficient land use planning can improve household resilience to rising oil prices by enhancing travel choices. Allowing more people to live closer to job centers can boost employment rates and income levels for low-wage workers while reducing exposure to congestion for all. Smart growth policies are also shown to cut government infrastructure costs, enhance public health, and conserve natural resources.

The executive summary and full report are available here,   and here.

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2 Responses

  1. The evidence supports the value, to the community, of mass transit. The opportunity to reduce carbon emissions is and foreign oil dependency is compelling. I retired to Asheville about 1 1/2 years ago. As I age my ability to drive and my confidence in my driving ability will make the availability of mass transit on important factor in choosing where I live. I will be bet that I am not the only aging boomer who has this concern.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. My lung and allergy health has declined since moving back home to my beloved Asheville. I have seen the benefits of Asheville’s growth, and I have watched the downturn of the over-development of this growth, and the waste in spending. The introductions of bike lanes have certainly been a plus in solving environmental and congestion in Asheville. However, another Parking Lot does not offer a reasonable solution in a small, dense area such as downtown. I feel that Mass Transit is the most advantageous “route” , both economically and environmentally. It is my hope that our City Council considers that Asheville will not be served well by putting up another Parking Lot.

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