Saturday, April 11, 2009
Myth: Transit Attracts Development
"If you build it, they will come." Streetcar enthusiasts frequently say that all you have to do is put in public rail transit, and development will magically spring up around it.
Prince Georges County outside of Washington, DC tried that. At great public expense they extended DC's Metrorail system, put in 15 stations, rezoned the surrounding areas for retail & dense housing, offered tax incentives, and waited for the money to start rolling in.
And they waited...and waited...and waited..."Yet, the hoped-for uses and activities in areas surrounding the already-built stations have been slow to materialize." That's putting it kindly.
Now they want to spend even more public money to study the notion of bringing in a pro soccer stadium. They hope it will attract people to use at least one of the empty stations. After the study they propose to spend even more public money to actually build the stadium.
They have created a money-pit, and can't bring themselves to stop digging. Let's not make the same mistake with a Cincinnati streetcar.