The U.S. has a relative abundance of arterial highways—two+ lane roads radiating from many urban areas and much more land devoted to retail than similar high-income countries. Many parts of the U.S. also suffer from a affordable housing shortage. And its retail sector, in the form of enclosed and outdoor shopping malls, are experiencing low performance and, in many cases, significant financial distress.
One way to “make lemonade from lemons” is to encourage and, possibly legislate, that these retail properties can be transformed into multi-family and affordable housing, so long as they are served by some type of transit service. This is what the State of California has done with the AB 2011 legislation that passed last year. AB 2011 allows developers to build “by right” multifamily housing up to six stories along California’s arterials as long as 15% of the units are affordable and primarily located near transit.
This session will discuss the basis of this legislation, how this trend may occur in other states, what the impact it could have on transportation.