In Hong Kong, Making a Mint With Transit-Oriented Malls

Here’s what’s happening on the Network today.

Work is underway on the Cincinnati streetcar. Photo: Travis Estell/Urban Cincy

Transit-oriented development: Hong Kong’s MTR Corp. runs one of the most reliable and efficient transit systems in the world, due in large part to income from developments, which it owns — with help from the government — along its train lines. West North took a look at MTR’s 2012 annual report: “MTR collected US$276.4 million on 608,729 square feet of in-station retail, for an unbelievable-for-the-US (but not for HK) average rental rate of $454/foot, well over twice the rents garnered per foot of investment property above the stations.” According to MTR chief Jay Walder, who used to run New York’s MTA, the Hong Kong system is exportable.

Cincinnati streetcar update: From Randy Simes at Urban Cincy: “There has been a flurry of construction activity for the $133 million first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar project including groundbreaking for the $11.9 million Maintenance & Operations Facility and the removal of cobblestones along Elm Street in preparation for the laying of new track in October.” Not to worry, Simes says, the cobblestones will return after they’re cleaned up. More photos here.

DC likes bike lanes: A recent Washington Post poll shows that, once again, bike lanes are not as “controversial” as they are often made out to be. Michael Graham Richard of Treehugger reports that 66 percent of adults polled in the metro area favor more “bicycle lanes on major roads.” And it isn’t even close — the lowest rating among any demographic was adults age 65 or over, and 50 percent of people in that group want more bike lanes. “While it’s nice to see more than 2x more people in favor of more bike lane than against,” Richard writes, “I want to make the point that even if the results had been different, the main reason to build bike infrastructure is because it makes sense, not because it’s popular.”


The Squandered Potential of Train Station Parking Lots

Yesterday we noted how MTR Corp. in Hong Kong rakes in cash from commercial properties along its rail lines. Meanwhile, the land right next to many American rail stations — especially commuter rail — is consumed by oceans of parking. And once commuter parking lots fill up, as they inevitably do, transit-oriented development is often […]

There’s a New Sheriff at Ohio DOT, and He Likes Asphalt

First there was the killing of 3C Rail. Now the Cincinnati streetcar is being led out to pasture. The way transportation projects are unfolding in Ohio, you’d almost think an asphalt industry veteran was heading up the state Department of Transportation. Sadly, you’d be right. ODOT Director Jerry Wray, Ohio’s “Asphalt Sheriff,” is currently presiding […]

“Development-Oriented Transit”: Lessons From Hong Kong

It’s hard enough to build rail transit in the United States, and once a transit line gets built, that’s still only half the battle. Almost as important as securing the infrastructure itself is ensuring that nearby development will maximize the public’s investment, say Katlin Jackson and Julia Levitt at The City Fix. Surround a station […]

Feds to Cincinnati: Resume Streetcar or Forfeit $40 Million

Hows does a politician justify spurning millions in federal grants out of supposed concern for the city’s budget? John Cranley, Cincinnati’s new mayor, handled that contradiction by telling voters there was some chance that if the city cancelled its federally-funded streetcar project, the money could be used for other things, like rebuilding an interchange. It […]

New Jersey Transit Village Program Continues to Grow

Image: Town of Somerville The holy grail for many urbanists contemplating long-term development and growth trends is the transit village. Adding growth adjacent to functional transit has the benefit of making it easier for the new population there to drive less and use transit for a multitude of trips. Likewise, transit villages can add to […]

Cincinnati Preservation Board Says Historic Building Needs More Parking

An office developer wants to rehab a derelict 88,000-square-foot historic building right along Cincinnati’s almost-finished streetcar line. This is exactly what should happen, right? Except the agency charged with protecting the city’s historic structures might actually sink the project. Guess why? Parking, of course! John Yung at Urban Cincy reports: An Over-the-Rhine development has hit a potential challenge after a 3-3 […]