TOD Stalls as Lenders Continue to Bank on Parking
Elana linked to this story out of Salt Lake City in the Capitol Hill headline stack this morning, and it's worth everyone's full attention. Derek Jensen reports on what may be the biggest impediment to urbanism of them all: The widespread bias of banks against walkable development.
Salt Lake City's new-urbanism epiphany -- fervently backed by Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council -- appears to be catching static from an unlikely source.
Transit-oriented development isn't stymied by outdated zoning, unwilling developers or a lack of space. It turns out, banks, wedded to old-fashioned lending standards that stress parking, may pose the biggest blockade by denying financing.
The reason: Lenders operate from a tried-and-true principle that maintains more parking means less risk and a higher return on their investment. But ditching cars is the whole point of urban developers looking to create 24-hour live, work and play environments that hug light-rail hubs.
If we're ever going to reverse the tide of car-centric development that is gradually suburbanizing New York, we'll need banks to change their assumptions. As Jensen reports, Portland shows that it can be done.