Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Urban News Vol. 15

Couple quick hits from around the country and our own backyard. The first should serve as no surprise to those who are in tune with my mission. The second is totally out of left field, but welcome nevertheless.

by Kathleen Schalch, National Public Radio's Morning Edition

Article Key Points:
  • House prices in metro-Washington have fallen 11 percent in the past year
  • In Ashburn, VA, 40 miles from the center of D.C., values are down 18% with new construction halted
  • In Washington, median home prices are actually up 3.5 percent from a year ago
  • Recent studies suggest that buyers underestimated the costs of their long commutes
  • Atlanta construction in what had been forests and farmland has slowed by more than 70 percent, but construction in town has held steady

If Washington D.C. proper is the only place in the area experiencing a median home price increase, then market forces are already beginning to compel the average thrifty suburbanite toward city living. Much like the increase in bicycles on the road, I'm beginning to get the impression that those making this fundamental shift aren't doing so to generate fanfare, but rather making regular sound economic decisions now that the playing field isn't tilted so badly.

RGRTA Reduces Bus Fare to $1
by Scott Fairbanks, RNews

Article Key Points:

  • Standard cash fare reduced from $1.25 to $1
  • Revamped business approach for the past four years erased a $27 million budget deficit and gave RTS a $19 million net gain
  • Fare was last $1 in 1991

While this likely won't affect monthly pass holders like myself, this is excellent news for the community as a whole. The casual rider no longer has to worry about exact-change requirements and is much more likely to give the service a try as an alternative to expensive personal transportation. It also signifies an uptick in ridership and acts as a large advertisement to attempt to reach the critical mass necessary to add crosstown routes and possibly other transportation modes.

No comments: