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Getting Up to Speed on Transit Oriented Development 
KAT trolleyAs we mentioned previously, last week the City of Knoxville hosted consultants from Smart Growth America and Strategic Economics for two days of workshops and discussions about Transit Oriented Development. It was the result of a federal grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received by Knoxville Area Transit and the City's Office of Sustainability.

If you weren't able to attend, or if you were but you didn't take notes, we now have online the slideshow presentation made at the public meeting by Dena Belzer, founder and President of Strategic Economics.

You can see a PDF of the whole presentation right here.

Key messages revolved around how to leverage public investments in multiple transportation modes, including walking and bus-based transit to revitalize existing neighborhoods and foster redevelopment outward from the center city. Knoxville’s redevelopment focus areas, such as the Magnolia Avenue Corridor, present opportunities to build on  existing strong transit ridership, investments by families in older housing stock, and the City’s commitment to improve public housing  so that Knoxville can foster development that aligns with high quality transit in walkable neighborhoods and  accommodates a full range of household incomes. 

Connecting neighborhoods with more frequent transit service and better pedestrian infrastructure will provide better opportunities for Knoxvillians and tourists to access housing, jobs and shopping throughout the city.

Nationwide, young professionals and seniors are increasingly opting not to own a car, or to limit driving. By strategically embedding transportation choice into redevelopment efforts along these corridors, the City can expand private investment potential by connecting these corridors with an increased market of potential residents, shoppers, or visitors. 

Belzer, a national expert on development near transit, said,“Knoxville is poised to become a new model for small and mid-sized cities in using bus rather than rail-based transit service to facilitate reinvestment and infill development along existing urban corridors. The City is already well on its way with areas such as Magnolia Avenue, Cumberland Avenue, and other corridors, but now needs to focus on ways to continue to build on existing initiatives, including attracting more private investment and improving transit connectivity.”

“Market demand for walkable places with good transit availability is growing steadily – and not just in the largest metropolitan areas,” said Chris Zimmerman, Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development. “Increasingly, we’re seeing a significant interest in smaller cities that offer urban amenities. This presents a great opportunity for Knoxville, which has already made great strides with its vibrant, revitalized downtown.”

The technical workshop program is made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, which seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. 

Two other nonprofit organizations—Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants this year to support communities in their efforts to bolster smart growth initiatives.

In agreement with Smart Growth America, Knoxville will publish one-, six- and 12-month progress reports. Learn more about the workshop and its resulting momentum in Knoxville by reading documents posted below over the coming year.

Posted by On 24 July, 2015 at 3:29 PM