Urban Transit Post-Pandemic: Charles Blain and Tory Gattis discuss

Post-Pandemic Transit and Offices, Remote Work Reducing Rents, and More

Still working through a big backlog of smaller items this week; key topics cover how we’ve faced the challenges of the pandemic and what transit and work might look like post-pandemic.

“In contrast, areas with greater car usage—like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and even Los Angeles—have had dramatically fewer cases and fatalities. For example, Dallas County has 60% more residents than Manhattan, but at least 90% fewer fatalities. Houston’s core Harris County has three times the population of Manhattan and also at least 90% fewer fatalities. Los Angeles County has 20% more residents than the city of New York, yet also has at least 90% fewer fatalities than NYC. At the same time the rate of infections in nearby Orange County, where car usage is even greater and single family homes more prevalent, is barely one-seventh of that in Los Angeles County.”

That remote working trend is “compounding the job losses and putting significant downward pressure on rents” in the Bay Area, Georgiades said. “You have all these CEOs talking about how productive their teams are working from home and questioning whether they need to return to the office.”

“Maybe soon-to-be-defunct Malls could offer satellite space with a food court.  Malls are changing, maybe there is a synergy there.”

  • NYT: C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American OfficesTemperature checks, desk shields and no public transit: The guidelines would remake office life. Some may decide it’s easier to keep employees at home.  Tons of comments saying this makes NYC impossible. Excerpts:

“The C.D.C. recommended that the isolation for employees should begin before they get to work — on their commute. In a stark change from public policy guidelines in the recent past, the agency said individuals should drive to work — alone.

Employers should support this effort, the agency said: “Offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others, such as offering reimbursement for parking for commuting to work alone or single-occupancy rides.”

“The result is that over 1,000 businesses are estimated to leave California each year, with Texas being the biggest recipient state from California for 12 straight years.”

Finally, I’d like to end with a video interview I did with Charles Blain, CEO of our think tank, Urban Reform Institute – A Center for Opportunity Urbanism: What Urban Transit Might Look Like Post-Pandemic

This piece first appeared on Houston Strategies.

Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.

Photo: screenshot from Urban Reform Institute video (above).