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Silver Line Already Spurring Massive Development

January 16th, 2014 No comments

In anticipation of the Silver Line, nearly twenty development projects, with an estimated value of more than $18 billion, are underway near the Metrorail stations,  helping attract riders and generating valuable benefits for Fairfax County.

Anticipating the Silver Line, 20 development projects are underway around the new stations

Ahead of the Silver Line, many development projects are underway around the new stations. Image from Cushman and Wakefield, click link at left for full report.

In a new report, the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield documented twenty real estate development projects “in the pipeline” near the five new Silver Line stations. Some are under construction now, others are in the approvals process, and a few are on hold, but together they total:

  • Over 20 million sq. ft. of new office space, which would increase the total office space in the Tysons area by 40%.
  • Over 2 million sq. ft. of new retail space. That’s more than twice the size of the Tysons Galleria mall.
  • 17,800 new residential units, or more than double the current population of the Tysons area.
  • 9,300 hotel rooms

Metro estimates that these projects are valued at more than $18 billion, and will generate millions per year in tax revenue for Fairfax County (estimated using industry-standard construction costs). Some of this tax revenue will be captured by special tax districts in the Tysons and Silver Line areas.  In 2011, we estimated that Fairfax County received around $30 million in tax revenues from properties within a half-mile of its five existing non-Silver stations.

The development brings great benefits to Fairfax County and will encourage riders to use the Silver Line, but there remains a strong need to improve the walking and biking environment near the new stations. Pedestrian and bicycle access will be key to meeting our ridership goals for the new Metrorail line, but walking and bicycling conditions remain challenging in the area.

 

Categories: In The News Tags: , ,

Significant Property Tax Values Generated near Metro Stations

December 12th, 2013 No comments

New buildings right near Metrorail stations are 23-30% more valuable than buildings farther away, showing that our funding partners can generate significant property tax revenues from Metro.

A recent study shows that Metrorail stations in Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor are powerful anchors for economic development and value. The report, by the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, showcases the substantial value the region can realize with good transit-oriented development policies near stations. Among the report’s findings:

Offices in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor right near Metro command higher rents.

Offices in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor right near Metro command higher rents. Source: Cushman & Wakefield via washingtonpost.com.  Click for original context.

  • Being able to walk to Metro is worth a lot. New office buildings within 500 feet of a station in Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor are earning a 30% premium over buildings under construction just a quarter-mile away. For apartment buildings, the premium is 23%. No wonder walk access to Metrorail is on the rise, especially from those close by the station!
  • 92% of over 20 million square feet of office space under construction in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is within a quarter mile of a Metrorail station.
  • Conversely, new office buildings built farther than a quarter-mile from Metro are worth 18% less in rent.

These “rail premiums” of 23-30% are significantly higher than the 7-9% we found in our “Business Case for Transit” study, because of several significant differences in methodology. We looked at the assessed value, not the market/rental rate of property. Also, we looked at all properties in the region, rather than just those under construction in one corridor.

Although the presence of Metrorail creates this value premium near stations, Metro does not receive any of these revenues directly, even though continued rebuilding and improvements are needed to address state of good repair and relieve capacity issues in the corridor.

Nevertheless, this report certainly confirms that Metrorail increases property tax revenues, and shows just how big that value can be in certain markets.

Where Are Low-Income and Minority Metrorail Riders?

October 9th, 2013 5 comments

The demographics of Metrorail riders change dramatically station to station, and reflect the race and income divisions of our region.

As part of Metro’s Title VI program, we spend time making sure we don’t disproportionately impact low-income and minority riders when we change and deliver service, change fares, and other policy changes. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us a good deal of information about the race and income ranges of our riders, by where they are going, and when they travel.  We conduct this research ourselves, giving us an extremely robust dataset on our riders. These survey responses are a key source of data underlying our Title VI analyses. In many ways, these results confirm that our region remains a Region Divided by income and race – across a noticeable east-west divide.

The map below shows low-income Metrorail riders by origin station, for a typical weekday in May 2012. Metro defines low-income as a rider with a household income less than $30,000 per year. Low-income ridership is somewhat concentrated in several areas, such as the inner southeast Green Line, and inner stations on the eastern Blue and Orange lines. The Green Line between Prince George’s Plaza and Shaw-Howard is also home to relatively large proportions of low-income riders.

No single station is more than 45% low-income.

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Average Metrorail ridership is 11% low-income, but can range from 3% to 40% station to station.

The next map shows minority Metrorail ridership by origin station, again for a weekday in May 2012. For Title VI purposes, a minority is defined as anyone who self-identifies as other than White, Non-Hispanic on our passenger survey. Minority ridership is concentrated most heavily on the eastern side of the rail network, but is also spread across other areas of the network as well – e.g., Wheaton and Glenmont, the Green-Yellow line. No single station is less than 22% minority.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

Average Metrorail ridership is 42% minority, but the rail system shows an east-west divide, similar to the divisions facing our region. Some stations are over 90% minority ridership, while others are as low as 22%.

We remain mindful of the travel patterns of low-income and minority riders, and use this data to help avoid disproportionate impacts to these riders when we make changes to the system. For example, we analyzed the impacts of the Silver Line at the passenger-trip level, looking at impacts and demographics at the individual origin-destination (O-D) pair level.

What patterns do you see here? Does anything jump out at you?

Categories: Metrorail Studies Tags:

How Do Metrorail Riders Get to Their Station in the Morning?

September 30th, 2013 3 comments

Peds_CrystalCityTwo-thirds of Metrorail riders take transit, walk, or bike to Metrorail for their morning commute.

Every morning, thousands of people walk through the faregates and into Metrorail. Did you ever wonder how they get to their station? Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey tells us the answer to this question, for the morning rush:

  • More than a third (38%) of Metrorail riders get to the station in the morning by walking or biking.
  • Another quarter arrive by bus – Metrobus, as well as other bus operators in the region.
  • Another third arrive by car – most by parking at or near the station, but some by getting dropped off.
  • Finally, about 4% of riders arrive via commuter rail – mostly at Union Station.

Of the 25,000 or so daily riders who access rail by “Other Bus,” the top three contributors are Fairfax Connector (6,700), Montgomery County’s RideOn (5,700), and private shuttles (4,900). Of those who parked at their station, one-third were driving from less three miles away. Carpooling to Metrorail is very low – we estimate average vehicle occupancy at 1.03 passengers per parked car.

Systemwide_Metrorail_AccessMode_May2012

The map below shows how the answer to “How Did They Get to the Station?” varies dramatically station to station. (For the sake of legibility on this map, I’ve simplified the access modes into 4 groups). Read more…

2013 Bicycle Parking Census at Metrorail Stations

September 9th, 2013 6 comments

Bicycles parked at racks at Metrorail stations inched up again this year, and Union Station is now Metro’s number-one station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Union Station is now the busiest Metrorail station for bicycle access.

Using bike rack counts – one of two ways we gauge bike-to-rail access – bikes parked at Metrorail stations increased by 1% in the last year.  The number of bike racks increased 20% over the same time period. (The second measurement of bike access from theMetrorail Passenger Survey was published last week here).

Some highlights:

  • Overall bikes parked is up slightly above 2012.  However, we observed each station only once or twice, so it is difficult to discern long-term trends from short-term variation so far.
  • Union Station is now the single biggest station for bicycle access, not including bikes parked  inside the BikeStation there. We counted 130 bikes at that station, well beyond the capacity at racks.
  • Bike parking capacity is up 20% since 2012, including the College Park Bike & Ride. Metro now has space for over 5,000 bicycles at stations. We (and our partners) continue to add bike parking capacity to stay on track to reach our goal of 7,000 bicyclists by 2020.
  • Bike use increased at several major stations such as East Falls Church, Vienna, Greenbelt, and NoMa, but decreased at other stations such as King Street, Braddock Road, and Franconia-Springfield.
  • Bicycle numbers remained about even at several perennial heavy-hitters like Medical Center, Takoma, Grosvenor, and Columbia Heights.
2011 2012 2013 2011-12 Change 2012-13 Change
Parked Bicycles 2,196 2,271 2,285 3% 1%
Bike Rack Capacity 3,544 4,239 5,136 20% 21%

Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,

Metro’s Two Flavors of Parking

September 4th, 2013 4 comments

A handful of end-of-line stations’ parking facilities are doing the lion’s share of extending the reach of Metro across the region, while parking at most other stations primarily serves nearby residents.

Parking at rail stations is traditionally thought to extend the geographic reach of transit in the region, by giving longer-distance commuters a way to access a rail station. Based on an analysis of Metro parking customers’ origins, a handful of large end-of-line Metro parking facilities perform this function, but most Metrorail parking facilities do not. Nine Metrorail stations are capturing 70 percent of all customers who drive from more than three miles to park-and-ride, while the 26 other Metro parking facilities primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods.

Our map of parking customers’ origins showed how far Metro’s reach extends across the region.  Now, this map shows the dominant station among Park & Ride customers, by half square-mile, for a typical weekday:

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station's "catchment area"

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station’s “catchment area.”

Areas where there is no clear primary station are shaded gray: for example, the dividing line between Southern Ave. and Branch Ave. stations. The dominant station is shown, regardless of how many Park & Ride customers there are for a square. There is some noise in this data, but two “flavors” of parking emerge: Read more…

Bicycle Access to Metrorail On the Rise

August 26th, 2013 2 comments

The number of Metrorail customers riding their bike to the train station increased by 50% over the last 5 years, as Metro makes progress towards its 2020 goal to attract more bicyclists.

More cyclists are accessing Metrorail by bike than ever before.  According to results from the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey, the number of riders bicycling to Metrorail in the morning rush hour increased from around 1,550 to over 2,380 per day between 2007 and 2012. Bike access to Metrorail now accounts for 1% of entries each morning, which moves us closer to our Board-adopted goal of over 2% (over 7,000 bicycles!) by 2020.

Bike Access to Rail 2012

In this survey, riders who access rail by bicycle in the morning peak could be taking Capital Bikeshare to the station, riding and parking their own bike at the station, or bringing a folding bike on-board.  The Passenger Survey is one way we measure bicycle access. We see a similar pattern in our annual count of bike racks at stations each spring (currently nearing completion for 2013, stay tuned).

The growth in bike access has happened at the same time as bicycling is increasing generally in the region, and as Metro has added more bike racks at stations to accommodate and encourage bicycling, including a secure Bike & Ride parking prototype facility at College Park station.

Categories: In The News Tags: , , ,

Momentum: The Return on the Investment

August 8th, 2013 1 comment

The seven projects in Metro 2025 will Archives-Penn-Qtr--Aerial-pm-050508-028reduce road congestion, save money throughout the region, add riders to the Metro system, and make Metro rides more comfortable and efficient.

Capacity Increases to Support Additional Ridership

Metro 2025 investments will take 135,000 cars off the region’s roads, adding 300,000 boardings to transit, each day. This will help to reduce congestion while increasing transit ridership. With 100 percent eight-car trains, Metrorail will be able to carry the majority of those trips and have adequate capacity to carry the expected ridership of over one million daily trips by 2040. Implementing the full Priority Corridor bus network will enable increased bus use by over 100,000 daily trips by 2040. Next generation communications have helped draw new riders in Boston and Chicago. These investments save all travelers time and money, regardless of whether they ride.

We Lay the Groundwork for Expansion

Four of the Metro 2025 projects are prerequisites to outward expansion of Metrorail. Eighty percent of Metrorail riders travel to, or transfer at, one of a dozen core stations, but the core is reaching its capacity.  Before  expanding, the trains, tunnels, and stations downtown need to be able to handle the demand. Metro 2025 does this, and lays the groundwork for future rail transit expansion in the region.

Read more…

Categories: Metro 2025 Tags:

Time for Those Walking Shoes, Part 2

August 1st, 2013 5 comments

Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from those living within a half-mile of the station.  

So more rail riders are choosing to walk to their Metrorail station, according to the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey. But who are these pedestrians?

Around 40% of Metrorail customers in the AM peak walk to the station.  The survey found that younger people are much more likely to walk, with those under 35 were nearly twice as likely to walk to the train as those over 35:

Walk_Access_to_Metrorail_2012_by_OverUnder35However, younger Metrorail riders are also more likely to live within walking distance of their Metrorail station. Half of all riders under 35 live within a half-mile Metrorail, while 22% of those over 35 do.  Younger people in our region generally are slightly more likely to live near Metrorail –  15% of everyone under 35 in the region lives within a half-mile of Metrorail, 12% for those over 35. The chart below shows how younger riders tend to live closer to Metrorail: Read more…

Time for Those Walking Shoes, Part 1

July 30th, 2013 7 comments

Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from those living within a half-mile of the station.  

More and more Metrorail riders are lacing up their walking shoes and taking a short walk to their rail station these days.  According to results from the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey,  the number of passengers walking to Metrorail each morning grew by 15% between 2007 and 2012, from 78,500 to 89,900 in the AM peak period – far outpacing overall growth in ridership in the same period.

Where are all the new pedestrians coming from?  From stations all over the network, but the growth is strongest among those walking a half-mile or less.  Those walking from less than a half-mile rose by over 20% – faster than the overall growth in walk access.

Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from pedestrians walking a half-mile or less.

Walk access to Metrorail has increased 15% over the last 5 years, especially from those living within a half-mile of the station.

Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: , , , ,