B2: Transportation Investments as Catalyst for Change

APA North Carolina Chapter


Thursday, April 25, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. EDT

CM | 1.50

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This presentation presents results from ongoing research regarding the impact of new rail transit stations on residential mobility and neighborhood socioeconomic change. We use a national database of residential moves dating back to 1970 to analyze whether the placement of a new rail transit station near a neighborhood results in the disproportionate out-migration of lower-income residents, supporting a transit-induced-displacement hypothesis. We also examine the characteristics of neighborhoods where those who move out of new transit neighborhoods relocate. We test the hypothesis that lower-income residents move to worse neighborhoods, thereby causing concentrations of poverty to become more entrenched elsewhere in the metropolitan area as a result of the new transit stations. Our results find a) no substantiating evidence for the transit-induced displacement hypothesis. While lower-income residents more generally have higher mobility rates, those living in new transit neighborhoods have identical odds of leave as compared to middle-higher income residents, and b) we do not find evidence that low-income residents move to neighborhoods of a lower income composition as a result of the transit station. We do find that higher-income homeowners are more likely to move to higher income neighborhoods following a new transit station. Finally, we discuss preliminary results from our qualitative analysis of residents, developers, planners, and other community leaders along the new blue line extension in Charlotte to place our results in local context.

This session will review several transportation project case studies where the equity and gentrification issues have come into play.  The Beltline greenway project in Atlanta and impact on housing costs; 11th Street Bridge on Anacostia River in Washington, DC and Burton Street Community impacts as part of I-26 Connector Project in Asheville. Simone Robinson will present on Burton Street Neighborhood Plan which was adopted by Asheville City Council in the fall of 2018, ahead of the I-26 Connector project moving to construction. The plan outlined 10 steps to remedy the anticipated impact. Steps include installing bus shelters at neighborhood transit stops, constructing a new park at Smith Mill Creek with future greenway access, improving sidewalk connections within the community and incorporating a history mural on a proposed highway sound wall. Public Participation Partners provided a comprehensive and effective strategy for public involvement and the development of a community-driven neighborhood and mitigation strategies plan for the Burton Street community including meeting notification and materials development, small group and public information meeting organization and facilitation and an electronic input survey.

As Charlotte develops into more of a nationally-recognized city, it’s essential to develop a vision for the future that enables it to thrive sustainably.  Cities in the United States have grown based upon the transportation network available at the time and Charlotte is no exception, experiencing the majority of its growth post-automobile and US Highway System, dependent upon single vehicle transport.   This transportation network has been a foundation for how Charlotte functions; therefore, it is essential to plan for transportation and land use together allowing for environmental, economic, and social sustainability.  There is no better way to accomplish this task than by developing a comprehensive vision for the City’s future, as a well-written comprehensive plan takes all of these sectors and combines them to create a solid, cohesive, appropriate, and relevant future land use plan to guide decision-making.  Creating a viable Comprehensive Plan for Charlotte will relate land use and transportation in such a way to allow for healthy environments, stable and diverse economic opportunities, and a connected region, all while being socially responsible. 

Currently, Charlotte has numerous small area plans and lacks a cohesive Comprehensive Plan to guide sustainable growth.  As sustainability efforts continue, the City can capitalize on comprehensive planning efforts as sustainability planning and comprehensive planning cover the same topics and are synonymous.  This will reduce duplication of effort, cost, and management, offering a less cumbersome option for future growth.  Transportation is essential to include at a foundational level as a catalyst for visioning and goal setting, affecting every aspect of Charlotte’s circumstances.  Current transportation plans, funded transportation projects, and the City’s corridor plans are reviewed along side Quality of Life study information to determine inconsistencies and highlight potential environmental, economic, or social implications that should be addressed.  Reviewing potential issues cohesively allows the City to streamline decision-making and reduce potential unintended consequences that ultimately hinder sustainability.  Charlotte is in a position where simplified decision-making can improve the City’s overall efficiency and efficacy for sustainable growth.  


Elizabeth Delmelle

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Read More

Lyuba Zuyeva, AICP

Lyuba Zuyeva, AICP is the French Broad River MPO Director with Land of Sky Regional Council. Lyuba has joined LOSRC in the spring of 2011 and has nine years of experience working in the transportation planning field. As the French Broad River MPO Director, Lyuba manages a $400,000+ regional ... Read More

Simone Robinson

Simone Robinson is the Principal partner of Public Participation Partners (P3), a woman-owned public involvement firm headquartered in Raleigh that provides traditional and specialized engagement services, Environmental Justice and Limited English Proficiency outreach, and community impacts analysis. Ms. Robinson has over 7 years of experience in urban planning for state ... Read More

Robyn Byers

Robyn Byers has a doctorate degree in urban regional analysis focusing on comprehensive planning, environmental justice, and social sustainability. She has fifteen years of experience working in planning and sustainability for local governments along the east coast. She currently resides in Charlotte working in local government while teaching geography and ... Read More

Contact Info

Neil Burke, nburke@ci.charlotte.nc.us