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Thread: Residential development near elevated trains

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    Cyburbian
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    Residential development near elevated trains

    Here in NYC, we have a little bit of a housing shortage - you may have heard. Some of the vacant and underdeveloped land remaining in the city is along elevated train corridors in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, which poses a number of challenges for development, but also offers great access to transit. It's a bit of a double-edged sword.

    I know that Chicago has a fair amount of historic and recent development above the el, anyone familiar care to share some insight into making it work? Any other examples of successful residential development in other cities with elevated rail?

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    There is also some residential development along raised tracks in East Cambridge. It works because the real estate market is so hot there. Plus good soundproofing, I imagine.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    In my casual observations, most of the housing along Chicago's elevated lines are is old, with just a smattering of new development. The areas around the lines never got too bad; even the south side trains seem to run through areas that while poorer are economically healthy (lots of retail around stations and pedestrian activity).

    My limited trips to NYC I found myself in two boroughs, Manhattan and the Bronx. The Bronx was bad news around its train stations as I found some places looked abandoned (of course that was 20 years ago). I am not sure if transportation alone can keep a neighborhood from going bad, but it certainly helps.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbian
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    There was an article a few years back in, I believe, National Geographic about a neighborhood alongside the Chicago El, on the North Side. I can't find it in an online search of their website (maybe I have the wrong magazine), but I remember most of the locals who live right alongside the line were used to it, since it had been there long before they were born. I remember an anecdote about a diner and some neighbors serving meals or something to stranded passengers when a train broke down for hours several years before, and a young couple's baby that went to sleep to the trains' noise ("It's like white noise to him", to paraphrase).

    The only new example I can think of is London's Docklands Light Rail (actually a light metro)

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    This reminds me of a post I read on the Cap'n Transit blog not too long ago. Basically the argument goes that housing right next to noisy 100-year old Els is more affordable than in the surrounding area. Of course, this seems to only really apply to New York and perhaps Chicago. Very few cities have old noisy Els, and many of those that do are in economically depressed areas (i.e. Market-Frankford Line in Philly).

    http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2014...-with-els.html

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Future Planning Diva View post
    Here in NYC, we have a little bit of a housing shortage - you may have heard. Some of the vacant and underdeveloped land remaining in the city is along elevated train corridors in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, which poses a number of challenges for development, but also offers great access to transit. It's a bit of a double-edged sword.

    I know that Chicago has a fair amount of historic and recent development above the el, anyone familiar care to share some insight into making it work? Any other examples of successful residential development in other cities with elevated rail?
    New Brunswick, NJ has done a lot of development around it's train station which is elevated. It's been pretty successful. The city has its own development arm, DEVCO so you may want to look them up. Rahway had some development projects going on around its station before the meltdown but I think they managed to finish a few of them.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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