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Lawmakers Address Infrastructure and the Debt Ceiling as Recess Approaches

Posted on July 19, 2019

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing last week on the need for a multiyear reauthorization of highway transportation infrastructure programs. Expanded infrastructure investment, for surface transportation and for broader infrastructure needs, is one of NAIOP’s 2019 legislative priority issues.

While the issue is often described as an area where bipartisan cooperation is possible, Congress is divided on how to pay for any new programs, and the Trump administration has not submitted a detailed legislative proposal to Congress. 

The Senate committee hearing is a first step in moving legislation reauthorizing highway programs. “It is our shared goal to advance a bill out of committee this summer,” Republican committee chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) said. “In our legislation, we must reduce the time it takes for federal permitting, we need to lower paperwork burdens on states, and we need to incorporate innovative construction approaches and other technologies.”

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City Council Approves New TOD Ordinance

Posted on April 23, 2019

The Charlotte City Council unanimously approved a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, which sets standards for commercial and residential development in the city’s light rail corridor.

REBIC and our members worked closely with City planning staff on the ordinance over the past 18 months, and we are generally pleased with the final product. Many of our suggestions — from changes in maximum parking ratios to additional development incentives — were included in the final draft adopted by Council last week. Our only remaining significant concern remains the 130′ building height limitation, which can only be exceeded through the use of a bonus point system that encourages affordable housing investments, energy efficient construction, or the contribution of offsite infrastructure.

While we support each of these policy goals, we believe City Council should do everything possible to encourage density in our transit corridors, and not restrict itself from considering economic development opportunities that would otherwise be limited by the building height caps in each TOD district.

Click here to read more.

City Council to Vote Next Monday on TOD Ordinance

Posted on April 12, 2019

The Charlotte City Council will vote next Monday night on the new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, following a unanimous recommendation of approval today by the Council’s Transportation & Planning Committee.

REBIC and our members have been closely engaged in the process of drafting the new TOD ordinance over the past 18 months, and the City planning staff, have incorporated many of our suggestions into the ordinance — from changes in maximum parking ratios to reduced open space requirements. And while we are pleased with many aspects of the TOD, we remain concerned that its limitations on building height could negatively impact economic development in Charlotte’s transit corridors.

The ordinance currently caps base height at a maximum of 130’ in the TOD-UC district, its most dense, and offers developers additional height in exchange for bonus points that advance other City objectives, like affordable housing, transportation improvements or energy efficiency. While we support each of these policy goals, we believe City Council should do everything possible to encourage density in our transit corridors, and not restrict itself from considering economic development opportunities that would otherwise be limited by the building height caps in each TOD district.

Click here to read more.

Charlotte Planners Release Revised TOD Ordinance, Set Public Hearing for March 18th

Posted on February 26, 2019

The Charlotte Planning Department late last week released a revised draft of its proposed Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, ahead of a March 18th public hearing.

REBIC is in the process of reviewing the ordinance, which is available for download HERE. We strongly encourage any developers considering projects in the City's transit corridors to look through the draft and provide us with any feedback you may have.

Some of the changes in the new draft include:

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Charlotte Postpones TOD Ordinance Hearing as Draft Undergoes Revision

Posted on February 12, 2019

The Charlotte planning department has postponed a public hearing for its new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning ordinance from February 25th to March 18th, as it revises the proposal to incorporate feedback from REBIC and other stakeholder groups.

While the updated draft isn’t scheduled to be released until the week of February 18th, it is expected to include an expanded menu of incentives to encourage developers to include affordable housing, make infrastructure investments, or participate in the City’s Minority, Women and Small Business Enterprises (MWSBE) program. The current draft only offers developers an opportunity to increase their building height, which REBIC cautioned could be of limited value to developers. In a letter to City staff last month, we encouraged the inclusion of incentives that would provide variances on building length, building articulation, or required open space.

Other elements of the TOD ordinance that raised concerns include:

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The Impact of Ridesharing on Real Estate

Posted on July 13, 2018

recent report by MetLife states that the expansion of ridesharing, autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles will result in “highly accessible, highly efficient and comparatively inexpensive transportation” over the next decade. Researchers believe that alternative transportation, including ridesharing, will partially substitute public transportation in some areas of the U.S. and complement it in other areas, while also bringing transit access to areas not served by public transportation. The report concludes that the greater acceptance of ridesharing will lead to an increase in value for development sites with good access to uncongested roadways but limited access to public transportation.

Tackling the Trucking Pain Point

Posted on June 14, 2018

Trucking moves about 70 percent of freight in the United States. The boom in e-commerce transactions has increased volume, which requires speed and accuracy in freight shipping. However, according to a C3 Solutions white paper, Leveling Up: Navigating the New Trucking Landscape, the trucking market has been at 100 percent capacity since 2004, resulting in driver shortages and rejected orders. Additionally, new regulations that address driver and food safety have further constrained delivery times. The report encourages trucking companies to seek solutions by diversifying their workforce (the industry is 94 percent male), and advises shippers to reduce driver time spent at drop-off facilities, use technology for better scheduling, and maintain good relationships with carriers. The researchers state autonomous or semi-autonomous trucks will help alleviate shortages, but implementation is still years away. The report concludes: “While the capacity crisis may be unprecedented, there are many operational improvements you can make to ease the pain it is causing your business. Making changes to adapt to the new [trucking] landscape should not be seen as an 'if', but rather a 'when'."

San Francisco Regulates Electric Scooters

Posted on June 12, 2018

The lack of regulation on dockless electric scooters has led to the devices being left on sidewalks and in front of building entrances, creating safety hazards in U.S. cities. To address this issue, San Francisco recently passed an ordinance establishing a regulation and permitting process for rentable scooters. Fortune reports that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has approved a one-year pilot program that will grant permits to five scooter companies. The permit cap “sets the stage for existing scooter operators Bird, Lime, and Spin—as well as host of other newcomers—to battle it for a chance to operate in the city.”

Top Office Obstacles: Parking and Technology

Posted on June 11, 2018

According to a new Cushman and Wakefield report, Space Matters: Key Office Trends and Metrics, two important trends in office space include technology amenities and parking. Common amenities – such as fitness centers and cost-effective food options – remain very important but there is ample opportunity for growth in how technology-related amenities are leveraged by occupiers and landlords. Despite advances in technology, researchers found many office building owners continue to struggle with some of the most basic offerings such as seamless, high-speed internet and cellular service.

In many urban submarkets, parking supply is a challenge and high prices have been forcing innovative solutions. According to the report, the predominant reason people utilize ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft is to avoid parking. In some cases, this has led owners to provide valet or shuttle services to connect offices with off-site parking, including garages in different parts of a city.

How Electric Bike Share Will Change the Commuting Game

Posted on May 21, 2018

By: Rachel Karitis

If you live in an urban area like Washington, D.C., or San Francisco, then you’ve probably seen the Skittles rainbow-colored bikes taking over the sidewalks. What you might not know is the specifics of how they work, and how this service could revolutionize the office commute.

Bike sharing as we have come to know it has tended to be city-funded (sometimes in conjunction with private companies) and presented in the form of expensive-to-install docks of bikes. Recently, there has been a veritable boom of private startups looking to make bike sharing profitable. These bikes do not need to be returned to stations, and instead can be picked up and left anywhere within city limits.

Click here to read more.

The High Costs of Poor Infrastructure for E-commerce

Posted on March 23, 2018

By Marie Ruff

Every click of an e-commerce order kicks off a series of actions that lead to the delivery of your package from a warehouse to your house – and the final stretch of that process is the most expensive part. “People expect to order anything, anytime, and have it delivered anywhere they want it. It’s a challenge for our infrastructure,” said Gregory Healy, Colliers International executive managing director, supply chain and logistics, during his keynote address at NAIOP’s CRE.insights: The Last Mile conference this week.

Click here to read more.

Six Innovative Concepts for Moving Freight

Posted on March 22, 2018

By Robert T. Dunphy

Some of these innovations may change how freight is moved in the future.

Courtesy of PelotonWhile public interest in transportation focuses largely on commuting and personal travel, much of the future growth in transportation demand will involve moving freight rather than people. Some extraordinary technological developments in this area are already underway. Innovations currently under development include the following.

1) Truck Platooning. Fuel and safety are one of the biggest concerns in the trucking industry. Being able to connect two or three trucks together in a “platoon” reduces the distance between them to as little as 20 feet, allowing a following truck to take advantage of fuel-saving aerodynamics as it coasts in the wake of the lead truck. Peloton, an automated vehicle technology company that has developed a platooning system, estimates that cost savings could be approximately 10 percent for the second truck and 4.5 percent for the lead truck in a platoon. The company may have paired trucks on the road as early as 2018, according to an October 22, 2017 Washington Post article.

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Building a Sound Infrastructure Plan

Posted on March 12, 2018

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says details about the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan should be coming out soon. The goal of the plan is to spend roughly $200 billion in federal funds and generate $1.5 trillion in spending by state and local governments and private investors for transportation, energy, water and other infrastructure projects.

Government investment in infrastructure is a priority issue for NAIOP in 2018. Last month, NAIOP President and CEO Tom Bisacquino wrote an op-ed for Fox News, reminding readers: “In the real estate industry, infrastructure encourages development. People are more likely to develop property, start businesses and choose to live where the roads, bridges, ports and power grid are dependable.”

Last week, Chao told the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials that the plan’s guiding principles are:

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City Releases TOD Ordinance Draft, Seeks Feedback from Development Industry

Posted on March 5, 2018

The City of Charlotte has released a draft of its Transit-Oriented Development A (TOD-A) ordinance, which would allow higher-density, mixed-used development within a quarter-mile of transit stations like the CATS Blue Line.

TOD-A is the first of at least 4 transit-oriented zoning districts that the Planning Department plans to unveil in the next few months, and is intended to accommodate the highest-intensity development along the transit corridor, with allowable building heights as tall as 250′.

After setting base densities and building standards, the ordinance uses a voluntary points system to incentivize developers to meet aesthetic design, open space and affordable housing objectives through allowances for greater building heights.

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City Releases TOD Ordinance Draft, Seeks Feedback from Development Industry

Posted on February 26, 2018

The City of Charlotte has released a draft of its Transit-Oriented Development A (TOD-A) ordinance, which would allow higher-density, mixed-used development within a quarter-mile of transit stations like the CATS Blue Line.

TOD-A is the first of at least 4 transit-oriented zoning districts that the Planning Department plans to unveil in the next few months, and is intended to accommodate the highest-intensity development along the transit corridor, with allowable building heights as tall as 250′.

After setting base densities and building standards, the ordinance uses a voluntary points system to incentivize developers to meet aesthetic design, open space and affordable housing objectives through allowances for greater building heights.

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Charlotte Place Types and Unified Development Ordinance Needs Your Help

Posted on January 30, 2018

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department has been diligently working on Charlotte Place Types and Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), a city-wide effort aimed at updating the policies and regulations that guide growth and development in our community. The project is scheduled to meet some major milestones in 2018 with a draft Place Types Policy Document ready for public review in August and adoption of new Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zoning districts expected in December. The success of this project is dependent upon receiving input all our community stakeholders and we believe your organization can help us reach an important audience. Therefore, would you please take a minute to:

Ride-hailing Becomes a CRE Amenity

Posted on January 2, 2018

Written by Camille Galdes

Transportation demand management strategies, which increasingly include ride-hailing services, have evolved from a negotiating tool to an amenity.

In just a few years, ride-hailing services have revolutionized how people move around in their daily lives. According to a January 2017 Business Insider article, in more than 500 cities around the world, anyone with a smartphone can now call an Uber car to their location. Similarly, Lyft reaches people in 300 cities across the U.S. These tech-savvy companies allow users to request and pay for rides straight from their phones, enabling users to pick up rides on the go that usually cost less than local cabs. Now that ride-hailing is nearly ubiquitous — and “uber” has become a verb — developers and property managers are increasingly using these services to boost the profile and profitability of their properties.

Click here to read the full article.

Ports and Intermodal Development: Critical Links in the Supply Chain

Posted on December 26, 2017

The volume of world trade has exploded – along with the need for expanded intermodal infrastructure. Examine best practices for building a smooth and efficient supply chain that operates between seaports, railroads and business parks in this session recap from CRE.Converge, and download the full presentation on the conference resources page.

RECAP: Connectivity: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Posted on October 5, 2017

On September 19, 2017, NAIOP Charlotte hosted a breakfast that discussed Moving people and products into, around and outside of Charlotte with bikes, automobiles, trucks, airports, light rail, and trains.  It all impacts the future growth and development of our region.  This breakfast discussion included diverse perspectives on local, state and national policy and the priorities and challenges for the next 25 years.  Are their tools to help move the priorities forward?  How does the 2040 Transportation Plan, managed lanes, and rail impact your business and the future of development?  And, how can our industry help ensure good mobility in our region?  

A special thank you to our panel, moderated by Tracy Dodson and including Ned Curran, Northwood Office, and former NCDOT Chair, David Howard, NC Department of Transportation and former Charlotte City Council Member, John Lewis, CATS.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

Some of the areas of discussion include:

Where do we get the funding?

  • North Carolina has the second largest road system in the US (second to Texas) because there are no county-managed roads
  • Take advantage of Federal Grants
  • We need to find new funding sources as the gas tax is not enough.  Can counties around Charlotte use the .04 cent to fund regional connectivity?
  • Tax Increment Financing
  • Encourage regional conversations
  • Exhaust local opportunities to fund, then go to state for help
  • Old model – 50% FEDERAL, 25% STATE (now 10%)

Future Conversations

  • Value Capture proposal – Blue Line extension (the incremental tax revenue not necessary new tax, allocated to future growth)
  • P3 (Denver, CO example)

Public-Private Partnerships as a Powerful Tool

  • To move transportation forward
  • Because of the controversy of North I-77, fear to consider P3

Regionalism and Connectivity

  • Need visionary leaders – need forward thinking
  • Embrace the new means of mobility (fixed rail, managed lanes, etc.)
  • Need multi-modal app
  • CATs – support of Economic Development

Call to Action

  • Get involved with the politics – know what is going on and advocate for the opportunities in our community.
  • Make sure the elected officials know the issues – now
  • Look bigger than your project
  • Get involved – serve on a committee
  • Share information with city staff
  • Discuss with region about the benefit of Charlotte growth and small towns and counties connectivity

US Ports Booming: Challenges and Opportunities

Posted on September 27, 2017

A recent article titled “Power of the Ports” in Real Estate Forum magazine highlights the challenges and opportunities faced by U.S. ports in the wake of e-commerce demand and the Panama Canal expansion. Investors are increasingly drawn to ports – economic forecasters predict $155 billion in capital project investments over the next 5 years creating 1.6 million jobs. In 2014, U.S. coastal ports generated $4.6 trillion for the economy, accounting for 26 percent of U.S. GDP.

The biggest investments will occur along the Gulf Coast due to the existence of energy processing plants and transfer facilities. Most growth has occurred around East Coast ports, which are benefiting from strong economies, product demand, population growth and interest from foreign exporters. Chinese shipping companies have found it more cost effective to dock in New Jersey than in West Coast ports, as the ships can then go on to ports in Europe and South America.

Experts doubt that trade restrictions will have a dramatic effect on U.S. ports. What is more concerning is the scarcity of remaining developable land surrounding high-activity ports. Builders are forced to locate on sites farther away from the port’s hub, thereby increasing the distance from customers and resulting in potentially higher costs for shippers and manufacturers.