Anchored by its landmark 12-story clock tower on Pershing Road, Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District (CMD) was the first planned manufacturing district in the United States. Today, it stands largely empty. The site has myriad advantages – like its central location, solid construction, nearby rail connections, proximity to expressways, and robust fiber optic capacity – that gives it the potential to help bring a manufacturing renaissance to Chicago.
Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability explores the relationship between unused parking and neighborhood affordability. Many cities, including Chicago, mandate the minimum number of parking spaces new developments need to build. As the report points out, however, these minimum requirements don’t always reflect real demand.
For this study, we interviewed multifamily developers in Chicago and went to the parking lots and garages of 40 apartment buildings, both market-rate and subsidized, to see how much parking was being used. Researchers went at 4:00 a.m., when most tenants have parked their cars and are asleep in bed. Consistent with our findings in the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and King County, Washington, the study found that:
The supply of parking exceeds demand. Buildings offered two spots for every three units. According to our analysis, they only used one for every three.
As parking supply goes up, much of it sits empty. Apartments with fewer spaces saw a greater percentage of their parking used.
Apartment buildings near frequent transit need less parking. Buildings within ten minutes of a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train stop provided one spot for every two units. Even then, one-third of the spots sat empty.
This paper combines detailed travel-survey, transit-service, and land-use data to estimate a model for predicting the role of income and location efficiency in reducing household vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). The research then applies this model to census data collected in the most transit-rich areas of California. The research finds strong justification for California’s current support of location-efficient affordable housing as a strategy to reduce VMT and mitigate climate change.
This working paper was first posted in July 2015. The California Strategic Growth Council commissioned an academic review of the paper in order to consider its use in funding formulas for the allocation of cap and trade funds for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. The working paper was revised in response to review comments and reposted on December 16, 2015.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has helped chart a new framework for regional development focused on underutilized land in existing communities and anchored by walkable neighborhoods, transit, and freight. This report reveals that the transportation projects we’re funding aren’t aligned with—and sometimes are completely opposed to—that goal.
We need to overhaul the system and align it with a planning framework known as Priority Development Areas (PDAs), a commitment across regional governments to invest in transportation, housing, and economic development programs together and in the same places to spark infill development. Rather than thinly spreading limited public dollars without coordination, public agencies should leverage their resources to implement plans, encourage development around existing transit and freight systems, and maximize return on public investment.
We collaborated with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce on a report supporting greater transit-oriented development (TOD) activity in the Lakeview neighborhood. The paper found the number of households in the neighborhood on the decline, despite millions of dollars in development activity in the 2000s – perhaps because zoning makes TOD practically impossible in most areas. The report also found that while new TOD development has been proposed in the neighborhood, the lack of parking has been a contentious issue even though the rate of car ownership has fallen 6 percent and nearly one-third of Lakeview households own no car at all. We will continue to work with organizations like the Lakeview Chamber to accelerate TOD throughout the Chicago region.
Rail transit anchors downtowns and neighborhoods in communities throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs and across the region, but many of these communities are falling behind in creating mixed-income transit-oriented development. This guidebook offers case studies, policy recommendations, and public participation tools to help suburbs build affordable, accessible housing around transit.
by Reconnecting America, Strategic Economics, CNT, Enterprise Community Partners, Center for Creative Land Recycling, Kim Burnett Consulting
December 6, 2013
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Sustainable Communities Initiative offered support for sustainable development projects in cities and regions across the country. Grantees received access to capacity-building resources, including CNT’s team of technical experts, to help with implementation. Reconnecting America led the implementation efforts and compiled all of the resulting issue briefs into a culminating report. The report includes articles on the Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index, cargo-oriented development, and sustainable development performance indicators and benchmarks.
This pioneering guide, the first edition of which was released in 1999, illustrates how the Congress for the New Urbanism works to change the practices and standards of urban design and development to support healthy regions and diverse, complete neighborhoods. CNT Vice President Jacky Grimshaw contributed a chapter on developing in a way that preserves environmental resources, economic investment, and social fabric.
In Transit-Oriented Development in the Chicago Region: Efficient and Resilient Communities for the 21st Century, CNT researchers evaluated the dynamics of the Chicago Region’s 367 fixed Metra and CTA rail stations and station areas between 2000 and 2010. Using the National TOD Database, a first-of-its-kind web tool developed by CNT that provides access to comprehensive information about more than 4,000 transit zones across the United States, researchers identified the transit zones that performed well: those that anchored vital, walkable communities that possess an affordable, high quality of life with minimal impact on the environment. While Chicago made significant investments in TOD during that time period, researchers found that peer cities (based on extensive transit system size) had more successful development of transit zones. Six case studies. Five recommendations.
Peter Haas, Stephanie Morse, Sofia Becker, Linda Young, Paul Esling
April 28, 2013
We developed a model that relates spatial and household variables to auto ownership, auto use, and transit use. This paper focuses on the multi-dimensional regression analysis used to relate the independent spatial variables (household density, block size, access to transit and employment, among others) and independent household variables (income, size, workers per household) to the three dependent variables (auto ownership, auto use, transit use).