MPC's Lynette McRae stands in support of a proposed development in Jefferson Park. She provided this testimony at a zoning committee meeting on March 27, 2017.
My name is Lynnette McRae and I am a Manager with the Metropolitan Planning Council. I am here in support of the proposed development at 5150 N. Northwest Highway, and to speak on the importance of Transit Oriented Development. Since 1934, MPC has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. We care about the entire Chicago region—from its people and businesses, to its neighborhoods and transportation networks, to its lakes, rivers and parks. We understand that all of these regional assets need to work together effectively so that the Chicago metropolitan area can continuously unlock its potential.
We at MPC believe that land near transit is one of our region’s most valuable assets, and we should maximize its use to the greatest extent possible. Transit locations are the city’s best opportunity to capture population growth, tax revenues and reduce traffic congestion.
We understand the current matter before the committee is that of a storage unit. I am not here to speak to the merits of the facility itself, but we do believe that the proposed development will help to better facilitate the use of the property immediately surrounding it, for a higher and better use, including that of creating better access to jobs, housing and opportunity for people of all ages and incomes.
MPC believes that transit oriented development benefits new and existing residents, business owners, property owners and the region as a whole. Transit locations have proven to be more sustainable by allowing for more efficient use of land, energy and resources. Other benefits include reduced traffic congestion, cleaner air and increased tax revenues. We also know that by locating amenities and services near transit, this promotes healthier lifestyles, a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians, and leads to increased foot traffic for local businesses.
The proposed development at 5150 N. Northwest Highway is the kind of TOD that our region needs, bringing increased economic activity and new retail opportunities on a parcel within ¼ mile of the transit station.
- $700,000: Annual new local retail sales
- Over 32,000: Annual new transit rides
- $8.2 million: new local tax revenues over 10 years (transfer tax, sales tax, property tax)
In sum, density and development near transit is the best use of a scarce resource, there is much more we can and should be doing to educate residents about the benefits of density. Cities that are growing, like Denver and Minneapolis, are investing heavily in both transit, AND development near transit. Chicago should be as well.