Light at the End of the Castle Shannon TOD Tunnel?
"I think were closer to making this happen than we ever were before". That is what the manager of Castle Shannon Borough said in March of 2006 in talking about the transit oriented development (TOD) planned for the Port Authority’s Castle Shannon stop. In March of 2009 the developer of the project said that "HUD has agreed to ‘fast track’ its review" of his request for public funding" for the $35 million mixed use development.
HUD must have agreed to fast track a lot of requests because the developer stated yesterday "the only money is from government programs like HUD, and there’s a long line." He could go a step further: it seems as though the only interest for placing high density development along the trolley line in the South Hills is coming from public agencies, because they are the ones handing out money for feasibility studies, and when there is "free" money there will be no shortage of takers.
So while Dormont and Mt. Lebanon continue to explore the possibility of getting development close to the stations (even though their own data shows population losses were greater in those areas of closer proximity to the stations) they should look at the living example that serves as a case study in their neighbor to the south.
While proponents of the Castle Shannon development point to jobs and activity that will be sure to locate there they have never acknowledged that the attraction to the site, should it ever come about, could come from people living in another nearby location or from jobs located in another location. It does not happen in a vacuum.