One of the greatest upcoming projects here in San Francisco has to be the new Transbay Transit Center.
This massive, $1 billion project is going to create the "Grand Central Station" of San Francisco. Bringing together Muni buses, BART trains, Caltrain, Light rail and the eventual high-speed bullet train this project will put San Francisco on the map as a hub for sustainable Transit Oriented Development (TOD).
With the infusion of cash from the government and Economic Stimulus Package, much of the developent dollars are going towards projects just like this one and the development community is taking notice. In my last issues of the ULI's Urban Land magazine, they presented the results of a 6000 developer survey regarding infrastructure and transportation investment. Here are some really interesting stats from that article:
- 1/3rd are focusing their development in the central city, 28% in the inner suburbs, 25% in the outer suburbs and 14% still primarily work in greenfield or fringe areas.
- Gas prices are having an impact on where they are choosing to develop. 94% said long term gas prices will influence development patterns and 65% said prices have already affected their decisions about where to locate future projects.
- Even though TOD is a hot topic, 51% ranked highway connections as very important for site selection. Only 26% said that pedestrian access and walkability were very important and an even smaller 20% said that transit itself was important.
The author, Sarah Jawaid sums this up by saying that overall, "the survey reveals the uncertainty U.S. developers feel about the ability of governments to continue to adequately provide infrastructure in the face of the economic crisis."
For most of the US, this article seems right on to me. However, I think for major metropolitan areas like San Francisco where we are space constrained, TOD is the future that we all need to clamoring for.