C.W. Parker Carousel Museum- This Leavenworth, Kansas treasure explores the history of the famous wooden Parker carousels. The museum houses a rare 1913 Parker carousel- still functional, the carousel offers visiting children an enjoyable ride.
Reconfiguring Transport Hubs and Transit Stations: Investing in Development around Public Transit
While the above sections focused on resolving the barriers between motorized private transport and other modes of transport, and between movement and place function through reconfiguration of the movement network, this section focuses on how investing around public transport hubs can in itself become a powerful cityshaping tool for a high-quality public realm.
The economy of a city depends on transferring and sharing knowledge. This in turn requires efficient communication technology and dense urban form that encourages person-to-person interaction. Public transport is a great enabler of dense urban form, with rail 20 times more spatially efficient than cars. However, the investment becomes worthless if access to public transport is through an unsafe, sterile environment. Zoning is critical in allowing TODs to become mixed-use, dense centers with minimal parking and substantial affordable housing. The Seoul Metropolitan Government proactively encouraged land densification through regulatory and zoning reforms and neighborhood enhancement strategies. FAR in Seoul ranges from 10 in the central business district, to 4-8 in sub-centers, and 1.5-4 in residential areas. These high densities are supported by the highly used mass rapid transit network.
Common fare cards, integrated information, and physical and network integration allow seamless movement. At a micro scale, the stations incorporate enhanced pedestrian facilities. Unfortunately, until recently, bicycle facilities were ignored in the TOD planning. There were no parking slots or bicycle paths to link with the BRTs. Despite this, the In cities without coordination between land use and transport planning, transit projects remain more as mechanisms for mobility between two points. A case in point is the Janmarg BRT initiative in Ahmedabad, India. It has been one of the first few examples of BRT in India. Low and fairly uniform FARs have limited growth around transit stations. The local government is cautious about higher FARs, since the aim is to decongest the city.
As a result, there are no dense developments around BRT stations. Some efforts to increase the FAR to 4 around station areas have been made, but progress has been limited. Reconfiguring Transport Hubs and Transit Stations: Challenges The main challenges in implementing TODs revolve around considerations of markets, land consolidation, and leadership. TODs cost more than conventional developments. High upfront capital costs, long development timelines, and longer payback periods are a few among myriad constraints towards developing rail and metro. Developers therefore seek sites in higher-income areas, as higher rent rates can cushion high costs and potentially realize greater profits. There have been mechanisms to encourage private partnership in middle- and low-income areas, where there is greater need for accessibility. Inducements for private developers to promote affordable TODs in Austin, Texas, under the SMART housing program included expedited development approvals, zoning incentives, fee waivers, and smoother regulatory processes. The Dudley Village Project in Dorchester, Boston, was a privately developed project where 100 percent affordable housing was offered. Critical to the project’s success was a new state-fundinded scheme providing financial support for active transport infrastructure and affordable housing development within a quarter of a mile of transit stations.
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The costly and time-consuming process of land acquisition, especially for brownfield developments,6 makes greenfield sites7 more attractive for TODs. This works contrary to development and rejuvenation of the inner city. Scarcity of finances results in basing the selection of routes for infrastructure development on the acquisition costs of the right of way instead of on the long-term development potential of the areas. This issue has been addressed through land consolidation techniques. The Tokyo Corporation has used land consolidation techniques to provide landowners with fully serviced parcels. Landowners form a cooperative to amalgamate irregularly formed properties, resulting in smaller but fully serviced parcels. The sale of ‘extra’ reserved land is used to fund roads, sewerage, and other infrastructure.
The benefit to the private rail company responsible for the development of transport infrastructure in such projects is the reduction in the upfront burden and land acquisition and development risks. Transit value capture has historically been used at a regional scale for rail and property development and has in turn ensured the viability of railway operations and a built form that is highly transit oriented. An important example is the East Japan Railway Company’s real estate project, Tokyo Station City. This is being developed jointly with other private interests in conjunction with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The damaged, early twentieth-century station was restored to its original architectural form. Multiple functional centers at Tokyo Station City, including high-rise office buildings, retail centers, and hotels, are being developed. Extensive buildable area above depots and high pedestrian traffic volumes provide an opportunity for a large-scale redevelopment project. The proposal blends tradition, innovation, and inner-city redevelopment. With pathways at grade connecting to the imperial gardens, the place is pedestrian friendly. Such projects symbolize the movement of cities towards integrated city spaces involving all stakeholders, and responding in a sustainable way to market demand.