The role of a transit agency in station area development : a case study of Tren Urbano, Puerto Rico
Author(s)Park, Munsun, 1971-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Joseph F. Coughlin.
MetadataShow full item record
The objective of this thesis is to examine the role of the transit agency in effecting station area development. Research for this thesis is motivated by the future operation of Tren Urbano, Puerto Rico's first urban heavy rail system with an opening date in early 2002. As the agency responsible for Tren Urbano and motivated by a number of reasons including the goal of capturing additional revenue sources, the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) submitted a bill in 1998 to authorize the agency to participate in land acquisition and development activities within station areas. This thesis explores how a transit agency such as PRHTA can coordinate with other stakeholders, particularly municipalities that are seeking planning autonomy from the central government Planning Board. This thesis consequently examines how the ability of a transit agency to effect station area development may be influenced by an expansion of its development authority, as well as by the changing autonomous status of municipalities. An attempt to simulate the changing institutional environments was made through a series of hypothetical development scenarios for two pending Tren Urbano stations in order to evaluate PRHTA's ability to effect different station area development strategies. This thesis finds that greater legal authority by PRHTA to acquire and develop additional property does not have a significant impact on developing station areas as assumed in PRHTA's 1998 bill. Additionally, this thesis finds that municipal autonomy appears to be less of a factor in PRHTA's ability to effect station area development as originally presumed in the thesis objective. The scenario analyses generally conclude that decisions regarding station area development occur at the specific parcel or property level, and that although they may require coordination between jurisdictional agencies, they are less affected by the degree of authority or autonomy as originally presumed. Additionally, property ownership appears to influence PRHTA's ability to influence land use development more than PRHTA's own legal authority and the municipality' autonomous status. This thesis identifies a tier of recommendations to a transit agency such as PRHTA regarding its role in station area development: (1) transit agencies should reach out to neighborhood groups and residents regarding future station area plans; (2) transit agencies should coordinate visions for station areas with local and regional jurisdictions at the earliest stage possible; and (3) should transit agencies decide to actively pursue development activities, they should consider establishing a separate real estate division that would have expertise in developing packages with private developers, such as joint development packages.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 115-116).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.