Download Joint Development at Downtown Rail Stations U.S.

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support the development in initial cost and/or operating cost. Differentiation from suburban
malls is another application for Japanese downtown joint development. The fact that shopping
malls and discount stores are located along main roads shows that suburbanization is prevailing
in smaller metropolitan areas as well as in lager metropolitan areas. To compete with suburban
shopping malls, station malls should be different from new suburban malls in some way.
Fortunately, there remain more historic stations and rail-related structures, such as train
factories and storage spaces made of bricks, in smaller metropolis than in large ones. Thus
renovation of these historic buildings and structures is one possible way to differentiate station
malls from suburban malls.
Unlike the two applications mentioned above, the application of parking garages from
the U.S. projects will not work well, if we consider downtown areas in Japan from a
comprehensive standpoint. It is easy to attract drivers to station malls by providing them with
parking garages as did the three U.S. projects, but this also brings many more automobiles to
the downtown area and creates major traffic problems. Because Japanese downtown areas have
many traffic jams already, even in smaller cities, joint developments with parking lots will
aggravate the condition. Thus, although such joint development is beneficial to commercial
developers, it should be avoided.
Next, I will examine the applicability of Japanese projects to U.S. projects. Basically,
as long as the economic situation around downtown rail stations does not change, the Japanese
scheme will have little applicability to U.S. development due to discrepancies in ridership. A
possible application may occur when the U.S. situation changes in the future. If the ridership of
subways or commuter lines within downtown areas increases, we can apply the following
lessons to downtown stations: allocate construction costs consistent with the share of floors;
create good connections between the station and the neighborhood; create a public facility
within the station as a core for urban activity; and, narrow the customer profile.
Although the U.S. projects were able to obtain federal and local funds in addition to
private funds, it was ambiguous how to allocate these and allocation did not seem to be