Research and discussion for citizens and decision makers

Light rail related links

Useful websites listed by city

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During the creation of a series of five reports on the impact of light rail on business, development, traffic, and safety, the Gulf Coast Institute conducted interviews with key individuals in the transit agencies, city government, and business community of six cities that have recently started or added to their light rail transit systems. The following are useful links we came across in this research categorized by city.

Portland

Portland Development Commission
The Portland Development Commission helps make Portland a great place to live. Its focus is on housing, neighborhood revitalization, and business retention, expansion and recruitment.  Created by City Charter in 1958 the Agency is a department of the City and its Executive Director reports to the Commission. This page of the PDC website offers specific information on the Urban Renewal Program in the Interstate Max corridor. It includes information about the area, its development accomplishments and plans. Highlights are the economic development assistance programs and a new accomplishments map.

Tri County Metropolitan Transportation District
The Tri County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet) is a municipal corporation of the State of Oregon and serves as the public transportation authority for Portland. TriMet’s light rail system, The Metropolitan Area Express (MAX), operates as part of a comprehensive urban transit network that includes commuter rail, streetcar service and bus service.  MAX recorded 97,000 daily boardings and 31.9 million total in 2005. This page of the TriMet website offers highlights and links to additional information specifically about the Interstate Yellow Line.

City of Portland
The City of Portland has the last remaining Commission form of government among large cities in the United States. The City, under Mayor Tom Potter, was responsible for the development of the construction process and commitment that helped mitigate business disruptions during construction of the Interstate Max Light Rail Line. The City’s website offers up to date information to residents and businesses regarding city construction projects, business assistance, and transportation options.

Portland Metro
Metro is the directly elected regional government and Regional Planning Organization that serves more than 1.3 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the 25 cities in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. Metro protects open space and parks, plans for land use and transportation, and manages garbage disposal and recycling for the region. Metro was a significant partner in the planning and development of the successful Interstate MAX light rail system in Portland and actively participated in the community involvement processes that resulted in its widespread public support.

ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia (formerly the Cascadia Revolving Fund)

Founded in 1985, the Cascadia Revolving Fund was a nonprofit community development financial institution based in Seattle. With offices in Portland, Cascadia was instrumental in administering the businesses impacted by the Interstate light rail construction with loans, storefront improvement grants, and technical assistance. Its partnership with the public transportation agencies enabled them to structure a uniquely effective mitigation program. In 2007, the Cascadia Revolving Fund merged with ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific, a similar organization, to create ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia. Its headquarters are now located in Ilwaco, WA.

Dallas

http://www.dart.org/” title=“Dallas Rapid Area Transit”>Dallas Rapid Area Transit
DART serves Dallas and 12 surrounding cities with approximately 130 bus routes, 45 miles of light rail transit (DART Rail), 31 freeway miles of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and paratransit service for the mobility impaired. DART and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) jointly operate 35 miles of commuter rail transit (the Trinity Railway Express or TRE), linking downtown Dallas and Fort Worth with stops in the mid-cities and DFW International Airport.

DART Light Rail System Map
Map showing the Red and Blue Light Rail Lines and the Trinity Commuter Rail, as well as the Green Line under construction.

Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce
The largest business leadership organization in the region, the Chamber focuses upon economic prosperity and quality of life issues important to the entire area. It is the leading business development and economic development organization for the region, consisting 3,000 businesses located in 88 different cities in the region.

North Central Texas Council of Governments
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments that was established to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development. It has over 230 member governments including all 16 North Central Texas counties, numerous cities, school districts, and special districts.

Salt Lake City

Utah Transit Authority
Utah Transit Authority, operates a public transportation system that runs fixed route buses, charter buses, ski buses, light rail service (TRAX), and a commuter rail line called FrontRunner. The UTA sees its responsibility in the region as strengthening and connecting communities and enabling individuals to pursue a fuller life with greater ease and convenience. UTA executed its responsibility recently when it connected the University of Utah to its downtown via the University TRAX line. On this page of its website is a helpful link to many other transportation resources in the region. More about UTA, including general information, history, facts, and route maps, is available at wikipedia.

Wasatch Front Regional Council
The Wasatch Front Regional Council is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Weber Counties in the Salt Lake City Region. Given the continuing success and popularity of transit in the region, the Council has made recommendation to accelerate their transportation plan and to identify appropriate funding. This page of the website offers information about the Transportation Coordinating Committee and a link to the Council’s 2030 Plan and its recommendations to implement a more robust plan.

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is a thriving, dynamic urban environment that builds upon its historic role as a regional center of culture, community and commerce. The City’s Transportation Division provides a safe and efficient multi-modal transportation system for the movement of people and goods and for the vitality of the community. The City of Salt Lake, under Mayor Ross “Rocky’ Anderson, overcame public and business objections to the area’s recently completed University TRAX line by making a commitment to make it work. With the success of this University Line that connected the University of Utah to the City’s downtown, SLC was selected as a focus of a five-city study on how to link a university to a nearby downtown. This webpage profiles a city that is linking its urban transportation design to its economic and community development efforts.

Salt Lake City-Area Rail Transit and Public Transport Developments
The University TRAX line received federal funding and was under public scrutiny as it was being constructed in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics. With its success and the success of the recently completed Medical Center Extension, TRAX has been the focus of many news releases. Some of the excitement is captured in the facts and features at this website. We suggest “Salt Lake City: Light Rail’s a Hit” about the University Line and “Salt Lake City Opens Medical Center LRT Extension – Another US Rail Transit Project On Budget and Ahead of Schedule.”

Minneapolis

Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Transit
Metro Transit is one of the country’s largest transit systems, providing roughly 95 percent of the 73 million bus trips taken annually in the Twin Cities. Each weekday customers board Metro Transit buses and trains an average of 235,000 times.  Metro Transit operates the Hiawatha light-rail line, 118 bus routes — 63 are local-service routes and 46 are express routes and 9 contract service routes, using a fleet of 821 buses.

Hiawatha Light Rail Line Map
Detailed map of the 12-mile long Hiawatha Line – presently Minneapolis’ only light rail system— which connects downtown Minneapolis, the Metrodome, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, Bloomington, and Mall of the America.

Metropolitan Council Home Page
The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area. The Council delivers regional services to communities and the public through these divisions and operating areas: Regional Administration/Chair’s Office, Community Development, Transportation, and Environmental Services.

Metropolitan Council – Hiawatha Light Rail Transit
Fact about the Hiawatha Line, including ridership, customer satisfaction, and development along the corridor.

Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce
The MRCC’s mission is to create powerful partnerships to unite and grow member businesses and the region.  It represents the business community on a regional level.  Membership consists of small, medium and large businesses across the Twin Cities.

San Diego

San Diego Association of Governments
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) serves as a forum for regional decision-making among the region’s 18 city and county governments. They build consensus, make strategic plans, obtain and allocate resources, plan, engineer, and build public transportation, and provide information on quality of life issues. This page of the website has links to the Regional Comprehensive Plan and Regional Transportation Plan. As a result of a statewide restructuring plan, the planning and engineering staff of the former Metropolitan Transportation Development Board was integrated into SANDAG during the time the most recent Mission Valley East light rail line was being planned and constructed. Since the successful implementation of the rail line, SANDAG has been engaged in various Transit Station redevelopment projects.

Metropolitan Transit System
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) serves a jurisdiction of approximately 570 square miles and 1.93 million people in southwestern San Diego County. MTS provides regional transit bus and rail services directly or by contract with public or private operators, including San Diego Trolley, the light rail transit operator. This page of the website links to reports relating to their transit system as well as to their major projects.

City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency
Redevelopment activities in the Redevelopment Agency’s 17 project areas are carried out by the City’s Redevelopment Division, and two public, nonprofit City corporations: Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Economic Development Corp. These areas, located in various parts of the City, encompass more than 11,700 acres. Several major projects in these areas are catalysts for further development. The Redevelopment Agency was a key partner in the Mission Valley East light rail project and is now taking the lead on the Grantville Station redevelopment.

College Area Business Improvement District
The College Area Business Improvement District is a business association that provides a united voice for its members. During the Mission Valley East light rail project, this business district adjacent to San Diego State University, was identified as the sole group of businesses potentially impacted through the construction phase. While there was minimal disruption for these businesses during construction, they will potentially experience a more significant impact from the redevelopment planned at the transit stations. This website has a link to a business directory.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates 73.1 miles (118 km) of Metro Rail service. The system is composed of 62 stations, three at-grade light rail lines and one heavy rail subway line with total estimated ridership of over 260,100 boardings per weekday.  The Metro Rail system consists of the Metro Red Line subway and the Metro Blue, Green and Gold light rail lines.

Metro Gold Line
The $740 million, 13.7 mile Gold Line (Phase I), which opened on July 26, 2003, is Los Angeles’ fourth rail transit service (not counting MetroLink).  It expanded Metro Rail to 73.1 miles.  The line runs from downtown Los Angeles to the city of Pasadena, California, with new 24-mile extension project underway that will take it most of the way to the Ontario airport.

Los Angeles County Economic Development Organization
As the region’s premier business leadership organization, the LAEDC’s mission is to attract, retain and grow business and jobs in the regions of Los Angeles County, as well as to identify trends and affect positive change for the local economy. The LAEDC also offers free Business Assistance services such as site selection, workforce resources, incentive packages, permits, licenses, zoning or local industry analyses for companies expanding or relocating in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1888, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has 1,350 business members.  By being the voice of business, helping its members grow and promoting collaboration, the Chamber seeks full prosperity for the Los Angeles region.

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is “To be an effective economic and political force for our membership.”  There are 1,400 members in the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. Nearly 80% of them are small to medium size businesses, with the balance of the membership consisting of the larger corporations that make Pasadena their home.

Other Light Rail Systems

Denver FasTracks
Phoenix METRO Light Rail (open as of December 2008!)
Newark Light Rail
The “T” in Pittsburgh (with an extension project underway)
Sacramento Regional Transit Light Rail

National Organizations / General Research

American Public Transit Association
APTA: Light Rail Transit System Links
Reconnecting America: Center for Transit Oriented Development
Reconnecting America: Reports & Studies

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