Midwestern cities are convinced of the value of transit for helping to revitalize neighborhoods, writes Ian Fullerton. Real estate developers and city planners alike recognize that improved access often means improves opportunities for economic activity.
"It's no coincidence that the streetcar's backers are the same ones rebuilding the city’s downtown. 'In the case of the Woodward corridor and M-1 light rail [in Detroit], we have the rare combination that the developers of the system are also creating the development that will generate the riders,' said Richard Carlisle, president of Ann Arbor-based development planning consultant firm Carlisle/Wortman Associates and a supporter of the project."
"Other cities across the Midwest have followed suit with transportation projects that aim to connect neighborhoods within urban environments, as opposed to the commuter systems that shuttle people directly to the suburbs. In Cincinnati, where streetcars were once a main mode of transportation, planners expect to start running new downtown cars by 2016. Cleveland’s 'HealthLine' Bus Rapid Transit system—leading from the city’s Public Square to the university- and hospital-heavy East Cleveland neighborhood—has been hailed as a public transit success story and an economic motivator, earning credit for more than $4.3 billion in development along the city’s Euclid Avenue Corridor since opening in 2008."