RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Reston TOD Planning: More Balance, Less Density Needed

Reston 2020 Committee Reston Citizens Association

RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Reston TOD Planning: More Balance, Less Density Needed
The RCA Reston 2020 Committee July 18, 2011
Executive Summary For a couple of months, the Reston Task Force’s Steering Committee has been discussing a “flexible framework” for planning in Reston’s transit oriented development (TOD) areas. In an update briefing to the Task Force on June 14, 2011, County staff described this framework as creating a “zoning target”—a by-right obligation--that would allow development at 20% in excess of George Mason University’s (GMU’s) High forecast for 2030 market demand. It amended this approach at its June 28 Steering Committee meeting by allowing an additional 20% increment for residential development, plus 20% for all development types, excluding the Herndon-Monroe area. The RCA Reston 2020 Committee believes this framework raises the development ceiling too much and, more importantly, inadequately addresses the vital importance of balance between residential and nonresidential development in “high performing” TOD areas. In particular,  The ongoing planning largely ignores the importance of residential and workforce balance in TOD areas to maximize transit use, minimize congestion, reduce air pollution, and cut roadway infrastructure costs, among other benefits.  It also proposes development over the next 20 years that substantially exceeds that planned for Tysons Corner’s TOD areas and that experienced in Arlington’s Ballston-Rosslyn corridor over 20 years, even adjusted for the varying sizes of their TOD areas. Moreover, we believe the “flexible framework” approach currently being discussed by the Reston Task Force risks providing so much flexibility that, if adopted as a plan and zoning ordinance, would provide little effective guidance for development in Reston’s TOD areas over the next two decades. We believe development in Reston’s TOD areas should meet the following overarching goals for the next 20 years:  Total development should not be allowed to exceed 70 million gross square feet (GSF).  Office development should be less than 45% of total allowable development (31.5 million GSF).  Residential development should be not less than 45% of total development. We believe that by applying this allocation of space Reston can make exceptional strides in correcting the population imbalance over the 20-year plan horizon with a longer term view to achieving a one-to-one balance in residential and employee populations. To accomplish this using the GMU forecast-based approach currently used by the Task Force, we propose a scenario based on GMU’s High Forecast plus 50% extra for residential development. We believe that creating a new plan that allows development of all types up to GMU’s High forecast, plus a 50% bonus to residential housing, essentially meets the criteria above and provides both ample room for growth and a substantial improvement in the areas’ population imbalance. By establishing a 1:2 ratio of nonresidential to residential construction, it allows development within the ceiling described above, yet enables Reston to cut the population imbalance within the TOD areas by two-thirds in two decades. To accomplish that will require the use of both stringent mandates and attractive incentives to developers, along with a strong implementation process covering phasing, financing, infrastructure, and governance.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee RCA Reston 2020’s Recommended Master Plan Density and Mix for Reston’s TOD Areas1

We also remain concerned that the Task Force continues to postpone discussion of implementation, such as phasing, infrastructure, financing, and governance, including meeting the expectations of the new employees and residents who will work and live there. The Tysons plan offers both some useful guidance and a first look at the tremendous challenges that lie ahead in meeting all Reston’s infrastructure needs. We believe that the new Reston TOD master plan should incorporate a detailed implementation plan that serves as a model for suburban transition development in the decades ahead. RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee is deeply committed to seeing Reston’s TOD areas develop into vital— complete, strong, performing--neighborhoods at the core of the community in the 21st Century. We believe that can be accomplished through a collaborative effort in a systematic, balanced, and deliberate manner. We remain concerned, however, that a plan, like the current “flexible framework,” is focused on excessive commercial development without adequate consideration of all the factors that contribute to a premier planned community, including reasonable growth constraints, a mix of uses, and a detailed plan for phasing in all needed infrastructure and amenities in a systematic, cost-effective manner.

1

For a comparison of this recommendation with the “flexible framework” and current conditions, see Appendix A, p. 19.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Contents
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 1 Recent Research on TOD Residential:Employment Balance ........................................................................ 2 Nationwide TOD Research Results........................................................................................................ 2 Washington Area TOD Transit Experience ............................................................................................ 3 Growing Washington Area Need for TOD-style Housing ...................................................................... 4 Guiding Overall Reston TOD Area Density .................................................................................................... 6 Comparisons with Tysons Corner and Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor......................................................... 8 Moving Toward Employment:Residential Balance & Reasonable Growth................................................. 10 RCA Reston 2020 “GMU High Plus 50% Residential” Proposal ........................................................... 10 Lessons from the Arlington TOD Experience ...................................................................................... 11 Implementation—Phasing, Infrastructure, Financing, and Governance .................................................... 13 Public Facilities .................................................................................................................................... 13 Costs and Financing: The Transportation Example ............................................................................. 14 Governance ......................................................................................................................................... 17 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 18 Appendix A: Development Potential for Alternative Scenarios, including RCA Reston 2020 Recommendation.................................................................................................................................... 19 Appendix B: Reston, Tysons, & Rosslyn-Ballston TOD Area Comparative 20-Year Baseline Density Growth .................................................................................................................................................... 20 Appendix C: Decennial Changes in Employment and Residents in Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor Development, 1970-2010 ....................................................................................................................... 21

Cover rendering created by LandStrategies LLC, Boston, a land development consulting firm. The rendering is of the Wonderland TOD rail station area in Revere, Massachusetts, that LandStrategies is helping to design. iii

RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Reston TOD Planning: More Balance, Less Density Needed
Introduction
The Steering Committee of the Reston Task Force has been discussing a “flexible framework” for the new Comprehensive Plan for Reston’s three “transit-oriented development” (TOD) station areas for more than two months. The essence of the effort is to adapt the several TOD area sub-committee reports to the 2030 time horizon for the new plan, and provide greater specificity as to where and what development to encourage within that timeframe. The effort focuses on developing a by-right “zoning target” for allowable development in each land sub-unit of each TOD area. The County staff reported on the Steering Committee’s progress at the June 14, 2011, meeting of the Reston Task Force and, based on feedback from the Task Force, made adjustments to that presentation for discussion at the June 28, 2011, meeting of the Steering Committee. Two specific proposals have been laid out:  “GMU High plus 20%”: As reported to the Task Force on June 14, the County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) staff proposed using the GMU 2030 High forecast as the basis for looking at overall and by-type gross square footage (GSF) planning guidance. County staff suggested adding a 20% increase above the GMU High forecast for a “zoning target” would allow flexibility across all the types of possible construction. This raised the total potentially allowable density to 70.6MM GSF, a number very near the pro rated cumulative sub-committee reports of 71.6MM GSF. This scenario leaves the plan jobs:households balance at 6.9:1.  “GMU High plus 20% Residential plus 20% All”: At the June 28 Steering Committee meeting, DPZ amended its earlier scenario, first, by adding 20% to only residential development in the GMU High forecast, and then adding 20% GSF to everything as a “zoning target” for the Wiehle and Town Center areas. Only existing zoning was proposed for the Herndon-Monroe area. This would allow 73.5 million GSF of development with no improvement in the jobs:households ratio.2  In contrast, the current Comprehensive Plan for these areas allows total development to reach 64.3MM GSF and calls for a jobs:households ratio of 7:1. The existing jobs:households ratio is actually more than 14:1 because of a failure to follow the current plan’s guidance and the constraints of the former RCIG covenants. The bottom line is that these two “zoning target” approaches would create an overall density ceiling 36%-45% higher than GMU’s baseline Intermediate demand forecast over the next 20 years and would allow density to more than double (122%-137% increase). Moreover, even in the scenario with the residential share increased by 20%, the overall jobs-to-households ratio would only improve by 18%. RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee believes that the “flexible framework” as it currently stands sustains a tremendous imbalance in residential and employment intensity in Reston’s transit-oriented development (TOD) areas at unacceptably high levels of permitted development. At a time when virtually all experts in the field believe that the populations in TOD areas ought to be roughly equal to maximize public transit use, minimize congestion, reduce air pollution and climate change, limit transportation infrastructure expenditures, and potentially improve public health, we believe the current “flexible framework” proposal fails Reston as a premier planned community. Moreover, as this paper shows, the proposed overall development is large compared with other area efforts.
2

DPZ has not yet laid out the details of this proposal. This reflects our most conservative estimate of it.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Recent Research on TOD Residential:Employment Balance
The most notable shortcoming in the DPZ “flexible framework” is its failure to propose significant improvement in the balance between residential and non-residential uses in Reston’s TOD areas. Virtually all responsible research on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) by academics and policy think tanks shows that TOD’s work optimally in addressing transportation, environmental, energy, infrastructure cost, and other goals when there is a roughly one-to-one (1:1) balance in residential and job populations. An ideal relationship from many perspectives would be one in which the number of jobs equals the number of TOD residents who work (residential-workers). In the latter circumstance, the flow of people into and out of a TOD area would be essentially equal during commuting periods, minimizing congestion, energy consumption, pollution, and road building and maintenance costs. Nationwide TOD Research Results One of the most recent and comprehensive studies of the performance of existing TOD areas was prepared by the University of Maryland’s Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD).3 In its study of some 3,760 TOD areas in 39 regions across the country, CTOD seeks to characterize the performance America’s TOD areas on the basis of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), with lower VMT areas being high performing. As the report points out:

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) works well as a performance measure for a TOD typology because places with lower VMT tend to be places where more people walk, bike and take transit, one of the goals of TOD. VMT accounts for not only the number of trips households take, but also the distance traveled on each trip, both of which affect greenhouse gas emissions. (p. 4)
Three key findings from CTOD’s research about high-performing (low VMT) TOD areas compared with their lower performing counterparts are:  They have higher residential densities that high VMT TOD areas.  They have more intensity (residents and workers).  They have smaller block sizes. The reason that VMT is lower in high-performing TOD areas is that increasing percentages of both commuters and residents use public transit on average. Moreover, the impacts are generally greater for both categories of transit riders in TOD areas with a greater proportion of residents (two-thirds or more). The following graphic from CTOD’s typology study (p. 18) shows the substantial impact of high residential densities in high-performing TOD areas on the use of public transit by workers and residents:

3

Performance-based Transit-Oriented Development Typology Guidebook, Center for Transit-Oriented Development, December 2010.

2

RCA Reston 2020 Committee Figure 1: Commuter and Residential Use of Walking, Biking, and Public Transit in Residential, Balanced, and Employment TOD Areas

Commuters

Residents

Washington Area TOD Transit Experience This nationwide phenomenon is reflected in the results of a 2005 survey conducted by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA).4 That survey of more than 1,000 residents and office workers was conducted at 49 locations near Metrorail stations, all but two of them outside downtown Washington, DC. The survey has the benefits of being reasonably large, diverse in types and locations of survey sites, and actually reflecting the behavior of people who live or work in Washington’s TOD areas. The bottom-line results of that survey, shown in the summary table below, indicate that residents near Metrorail stations have a much stronger propensity to use public transit—including Metrorail—than their working commuter counterparts.

4

2005 Development-Related Ridership Survey, Final Report, WMATA, March 2006.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Figure 2: Residential and Commuter Results from WMATA Survey of Ridership, 2005

This summary table from the Metrorail report shows the propensity of office commuters and residents in the areas around Metrorail stations to use Metrorail, other public transit, or their own automobiles. It specifically measures these propensities for those who live above an underground Metrorail and those who live at ¼-mile and ½-mile distances from the Metrorail station. The table makes two key points about the propensity to choose Metrorail or auto transportation:  Residents use Metrorail about 20% more than office commuters on average, no matter their distance from the Metro station. At a half-mile from the station, residents use Metrorail three times as much as office commuters.  Office commuters choose to drive with much greater frequency than their residential counterparts, up to half-again as much at the ½ mile periphery. The greater propensity of residents than commuting workers to use Metrorail in TOD areas is borne out for the specific case of the Ballston Station area—a TOD area often cited as a model by Reston Task Force members—in the survey’s results for two office and two residential sites there.  At the two residential sites (both about one-quarter mile from the station), respondents used Metrorail 48% and 50% of the time while using autos 38% and 40% of the time.  At the two office sites, the respondents use Metrorail 8% and 17% of the time while choosing autos 79% and 85% of the time. (See Tables C-2 and C-17 in the WMATA report.) Similar results were collected at the Court House station area, although Metrorail ridership was higher and auto use lower there among both residents and commuting workers, a fact at least partially attributable to its higher overall density. In brief, the experience at Washington area Metrorail stations corroborates locally the findings of CTOD in its nationwide look at high-performing TOD areas. Growing Washington Area Need for TOD-style Housing At a time when the number of jobs outnumbers the number of households by 14 to 1 in Reston’s TOD areas, there is a widely acknowledged growing housing deficit in the Washington area that has significant implications for the region’s economic wellbeing. For example, a paper written by Dr. 4

RCA Reston 2020 Committee Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D., Director, GMU CRA, and Ellen Harpel, Ph.D., CRA consultant, for the Group of 30—a consortium of the region’s largest developers--discusses this issue in a comparison with the growth prospects of Dallas/Ft. Worth and Atlanta:5

The impact of the Washington area’s growing dependency on non‐local workers— commuters—can be demonstrated by the value of the area’s GRP(Gross Regional Product), its value of goods and services produced, that is exported to these non‐ resident workers’ home regions. These losses and gains as a percent of GRP are shown in Table 3.

The net value of lost GRP resulting from the growing labor dependency on nonresident commuters is impacting the Washington area economy to a significantly greater degree than in Dallas‐Fort Worth or Atlanta. As can be seen in Table 3, the Washington area economy is the biggest loser of local earnings to its adjacent regional economies.
Following up on this research in a presentation to area realtors, Dr. Fuller made the point that the region needs more smaller, denser, and affordable housing, the type of housing well suited for TOD development.6 Although the housing shortage and attendant loss of economic potential is a regional problem, there is no reason for Reston to continue being part of the problem, especially when balanced worker:resident population development in Reston’s TOD areas will also address so many other important community and regional issues. Indeed, as a premier planned community, there is a strong argument that Reston ought to set an example for other transitioning suburban communities transitioning to TOD. As a premier planned community, we believe Reston should lead the way as it did a half-century ago in promoting an integrated community of diverse dwelling types with housing for all, including Reston’s TOD areas.

5

Stephen S. Fuller and Ellen Harpel, The Washington Metropolitan Area Economic Outlook to 2030: Standard Forecast, Technical Report No. 1, CRA, GMU, March 2009, pp. 6-7. 6 “Growth Expert: No. Va. Needs More ‘Small’ Housing,” Alexandria Gazette, June 21, 2011.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Guiding Overall Reston TOD Area Density
The County staff’s effort in creating a “flexible framework” calls for establishing by-right “zoning target” densities not to exceed twenty percent more than George Mason University’s High forecast for 2030— the “GMU High + 20%” zoning target. As reflected in DPZ’s report to the Task Force (see Figure 3 below), it does little to limit the ambitious growth plans laid out by the Task Force sub-committees. Its overall allowable density in 2030 is only one million gross square meet (GSF) smaller than the 71.6 million GSF proposed by the sub-committees. As modified at the latest Steering Committee meeting, another 20% would be added exclusively for residential development, which increases density to 75 million GSF, but offers to improve balance to 5.7:1 jobs:households ratio.7 Figure 3: Comparison of Development Levels, DPZ Presentation to Reston Task Force, June 14, 2011

To put this “flexible framework” in context, we need to understand where we are under the current plan for Reston’s TOD areas. That plan would permit overall density to reach 64.3 million GSF. Right now, Reston’s TOD area development is 31.8 million GSF and approved zoning totals 43.0 million GSF. Thus, the existing development is less than half that permitted and half again as large as current zoning approvals. With construction running about one million GSF per year in the three TOD areas, it is hard to understand why the overall “headroom” for growth needs to be higher than the current 64.3 million GSF, which would permit more than one and a half million GSF over the next 20 years. The key argument that has been put forward for the need to raise the overall density substantially is that the ceiling needs to be high to allow the flexibility to meet unanticipated demand; hence, in this
7

Please see Appendix A, p. 19, for a comparison of these proposals with current conditions and Reston 2020’s proposal.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee case, adding an extra 20% above the GMU High forecast. Adding an extra 20% to the core Intermediate estimate or using the High estimate as the total allowable may make some sense, but neither by itself would reach the already high current comprehensive plan density limit. Nonetheless, using both the High forecast and the 20% increment for planning and zoning purposes raises the guidance so high as to preclude any effective guidance on the quantity or character of development in the TOD areas. It would not constrain excessive development of any type. Focused Development in the “Flexible Framework” Is a Good Idea One of the important features of the Steering Committee discussion on June 28 was focusing development over the next 20 years in the quarter-mile area around the Metro stations, particularly Wiehle Avenue and Reston Town Center, with some development in the North Town Center area (outside the TOD perimeter. This is shown by the darker blue areas in the following map from the DPZ presentation to the committee. (We regret the small size makes reading the figures difficult.)

Although the densities are excessive and the mix allocations do not substantially improve the residentemployee balance, we believe this approach of focusing development has merit in maximizing its impact on public transit use with its attendant benefits. It will also be area most likely to attract new residents and businesses, especially in a weak market. The proximity of the new development to the Metro stations will provide a strong incentive for both commuters and residents to use Metrorail.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee Comparisons with Tysons Corner and Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor The County’s decisions on the new Tysons Corner plan and ensuing zoning ordinance stand in sharp contrast to the approach DPZ is proposing for Reston. The County used the GMU High forecast for office development by 2030—some 44.9 million gross square feet (GSF)—as the maximum allowable office development (specifically, 45 million GSF) in Tysons’ final plan and zoning ordinance. There is no 20% bump added to this figure for more flexibility. (Other development is unlimited in the belief that it will be harder to achieve.) The potential impact of this planning for Reston’s TOD areas can be seen by some comparisons with Tysons Corner’s new plan and zoning ordinance, passed last year.  The Reston “GMU High + 20%” plan would allow a more than doubling of density in the TOD areas (a 122% increase) over the next 20 years. The High Tysons forecast on which its plan is based calls for growth of 75% in the same period  Allowable growth in Reston would exceed that allowable for Tysons by 10%--three million GSF.  The “+20%” formulation allows an extra 12 million GSF of development above the GMU High and more than doubles the expected ”Intermediate” GMU incremental demand forecast. The more recent residential-bonus scenario would actually increase the allowable total and office development increments. Figure 4: Incremental Growth Forecasts (GSF): Tysons Corner and Reston TOD Areas Incremental Growth Forecasts (SF)--GMU CRA Forecasts 2010 Tysons (All areas) Intermediate High Office 47,124,275 47,124,275 26,594,202 73,860,000 82,440,000 45,000,000 26,735,725 35,315,725 18,405,798 57% 75% 69% 2030 Increment % Increase

Reston TOD—GMU High +20% Res+20% All Intermediate High High + 20% 31,812,224 31,812,224 31,812,224 55,888,000 63,992,000 70,672,800 24,075,776 32,179,776 38,860,576 76% 101% 122%

Office 20,982,169 36,345,600 15,363,431 73% Bold numbers reflect DPZ figures based on 1,200 GSF vs. GMU’s 1,500 GSF for dwelling units. A detailed comparison of the “GMU High +20%” flexible framework (see Appendix B, p. 20) with the Reston sub-committee reports, the new Tysons Corner plan for its TOD areas only, and 40 years of experience along the Rosslyn-Ballston TOD corridor shows that the levels of development proposed in Reston exceed that volume and rate of growth experienced in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and that planned for Tysons.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee The DPZ Reston TOD scenario envisions allowing only eight percent less development (31.2 million GSF) in Reston over the next 20 years than is allowed or projected (GMU High) for Tysons Corner’s TOD areas—“Fairfax County’s downtown.” It also envisions 71% more than experienced in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor over the same timeframe.  The rate of development proposed in the DPZ Reston “Flexible Framework” (at 2.45% per year) would be 44% more than that experienced in Rosslyn-Ballston over a 20-year period and 18% larger than that allowed/planned for Tysons TOD areas.  In part because of the size of the Reston TOD areas, allowable growth in Reston’s TOD areas (at 778,000 GSF per year) would more than triple (343%)the experience in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, and exceed Tysons’ planned development in its TOD areas by nearly half (46%). It is difficult to imagine how the County, developers, and the Reston community could manage and accommodate effectively the growth this density would allow. Moreover, once the new plan’s guidance is converted into zoning approvals in this Dillon Rule state, the approval cannot be reversed. Prudence dictates a conservative course in allowing higher density, especially non-residential development. The RCA Reston 2020 Committee believes that the new Reston master plan for Reston TOD areas for the next 20 years must:  Limit total development to less than 70 million gross square feet (GSF).  Restrict office development to less than 45% of total development (31.5 million GSF).  Require residential development to be not less than 45% of total development. These levels of growth exceed all expert analytical judgments about the expected demand for development in Reston’s TOD areas and provide room for some flexibility in development.  The community cannot absorb more than this permitted level of development without serious disruption to residents’ quality of life and community goals as outlined in Reston’s new planning principles.  It is also unclear if the County, landowners and developers, and the public could manage effectively the implementation to support such large-scale growth. Moreover, the reallocation of development toward residential space helps assure progress in achieving a balance in TOD workforce and residential populations, and that benefits that ensue from such a balance. 

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Moving Toward Employment:Residential Balance & Reasonable Growth
The preceding suggests that TOD areas with at least as many residents as workers perform better in transit use and vehicle miles traveled that those TOD areas with more workers than residents. Moreover, it is clear that allowing too much development overall undermines efforts to bring employment and residential populations more into balance. There is also ample evidence that the region needs more smaller, denser, and affordable housing in the coming decades or its economic wellbeing will suffer. And Arlington County has provided an excellent example of how improving the balance between workers and residents in TOD areas can be accomplished. RCA Reston 2020 “GMU High Plus 50% Residential” Proposal We believe a reasonable goal for the development of Reston’s TOD areas would be achieving a maximum 5:1 jobs/household ratio in the Reston TOD areas in the context of a 70 million GSF density ceiling by 2030. We envision Reston achieving a 2:1 jobs:households ratio—a 1:1 balance of employee and residential populations—in the 40-50 year horizon using an approach similar to the one used to such good advantage by Arlington County. These jobs:households ratio goals would move Reston’s TOD areas from an employment:residential balance now at 7.0 to 2.4 by 2030 and 1:1 in 2050. To accomplish this using the GMU forecast-based approach currently being studied by the Task Force, we believe that the appropriate allowable scenario is GMU’s High Forecast plus 50% extra for residential development (see Figure 5 below). To achieve this, we believe that Fairfax County must develop a plan and adopt a zoning ordinance that achieves a ratio of new jobs-to-household gross square feet (GSF) development that is not more than 1.9 over the next 20 years. This will allow the following:  A more than doubling of the density in Reston’s TOD areas.  A quadrupling of residential units in Reston’s TOD areas.  A 49% increase in non-residential construction, including 9.3MM GSF of office space.  A resulting jobs:households ratio of 4.8 and employees:residents ratio of 2.4.  More total growth than is planned for Tysons Corners four TOD areas (37 million GSF vs. 34 million GSF).  75% more growth (GSF) annually per TOD area than planned for Tysons’ four TOD areas and four times as much as experienced in Ballston-Rosslyn’s five TOD areas over an average 20 year span. (See Appendix B, p. 20). Looking at absorption at 80% of plan ceiling levels, the Reston 2020 proposal would anticipate:  A near doubling (93%) in density growth in the three Reston TOD areas.  A more than tripling of residential space.  A 39% increase in non-residential space.  Construction of about 1.5 million GSF of space each year, half again as large as the roughly one million GSF historically added annually in Reston’s TOD areas.  On an individual TOD area basis, more than three times the average annual growth experienced in each of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridors’ five smaller TOD areas and 40% more than planned for Tysons Corner’s four TOD areas (See Appendix B, p. 20).

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee Figure 5: RCA Reston 2020’s Recommended Master Plan Density and Mix for Reston’s TOD Areas8
RCA Reston 2020 TOD Areas Master Plan Recommendation "GMU High Plus 50% Residential"
Planning & Zoning Target Density Development Residential Units 25,200 Potential (DU & GSF) Residential 30,240,000 Office 30,288,000 Other Non-Resid 8,446,000 Non-Resid TOTAL: 38,734,000 Res + Non-Res 68,974,000 Annualized Incremental Development Jobs & Households Non-residential Residential Total Households Jobs J:HH Ratio Residents Employees Total Emp:Res ratio People per Acre Residents Employees Total 25,200 119,729 4.8 50,400 119,729 170,129 2.4 29.9 71.1 101.1 Potential Growth 19,340 24,380,000 9,305,831 3,475,945 12,781,776 37,161,776 1,219,000 639,089 1,858,089 19,340 37,247 1.9 38,680 37,247 75,927 1.0 330% 45% 21,332 111,980 5.2 42,664 111,980 154,644 2.6 25.3 66.5 91.9 Percent Growth Potential 330% 416% 44% 70% 49% 117% Potential Incremental Percent Density at Growth at 80% Absorption 80% Aborption Absorption Growth 21,332 15,472 264% 25,364,000 19,504,000 333% 28,426,834 7,444,665 35% 7,750,811 2,780,756 56% 36,177,645 10,225,421 39% 61,541,645 29,729,421 93% 975,200 511,271 1,486,471 15,472 29,498 1.9 30,944 29,498 60,442 1.0 264% 36%

Intensity

330% 45% 81%

264% 36% 64%

Derived from data provided by DPZ.

This will need to be accomplished, as in Arlington County, by both mandating a prior or concurrent residential development at a 1:2 non-residential/residential GSF development ratio, and offering incentives—including extra density--for residential development. There is no reason that Fairfax County cannot accomplish this in Reston TOD areas as Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor experience amply illustrates. Lessons from the Arlington TOD Experience We believe an important lesson in improving the jobs:households ratio can—and must—be learned from the experience of Arlington County in developing the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, a model TOD effort. Arlington started its redevelopment of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in the early 1970s as the Orange Metrorail line started to become a reality. Over nearly two decades it encouraged general balance in re-development along the corridor, but because developers thought there was greater return and less risk in commercial development, the jobs:households ratio climbed to about 10:1 in 1980—
8

For a comparison of this proposal with existing, currently planned, and other proposals, please go to Appendix A, p. 19. Note also that both office and residential development stand at 44% of total development, right at the boundary of allowable development of both. To better meet the 45% max/min limits for each, residential could be raised to 31.5 million GSF and office development lower to 30 million GSF in final plan language.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee much better than Reston TOD areas now. As described in a research paper co-authored by Task Force member Fred Costello9 using Arlington County data, through County policy and ordinance changes, Arlington directed that residential development occur prior or concurrently with non-residential development, and allowed greater density (FAR) for residential development. The impact of the new standards on land use (see Figure 3 below and Appendix C, p. 21) and the positive effect on traffic congestion are well documented. Figure 6: Change in Jobs:Households and Jobs:Residents Ratios in Ballston-Rosslyn Development by Decade, 1970-2010

Decade 1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2010

Decennial Ratios Cumulative Ratios % Balance Improvement J:HH Jobs:Res J:HH Jobs:Res Decennial Cumulative 10.45 20.90 10.45 5.23 10.21 20.42 10.40 5.20 0.02 0.01 3.71 7.43 4.82 2.41 0.64 0.54 2.10 4.20 3.79 1.90 0.44 0.64 2.37 4.74 3.32 1.66 -0.13 0.68

Fairfax County needs to adopt a similar approach, one that uses both rigorous mandates and incentives and not just the latter, to try to achieve similar results in the Reston TOD corridor. Arlington’s results suggest that Reston could reduce the existing 14.1:1 jobs/household ratio by more than half in a decade and two-thirds over the plan’s 20 year horizon.

9

Kevin A. Zilgadlo and Frederick A Costello, An Analysis of the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor, Report FAC/FCA33, July 28, 2010, p. 2-3.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Implementation—Phasing, Infrastructure, Financing, and Governance
Since the launching of the Reston Task Force, RCA Reston 2020 Committee has questioned the repeated unwillingness of the Task Force and its several sub-committees to consider core implementation issues concurrent with its discussion of urban form. In fact, one of RCA Reston 2020’s working group papers, provided to the Task Force in May 2010, addressed the importance of implementation issues. Appropriately titled, Planning without Implementation is Empty, the paper states: Given the difficulties and importance of implementation, however, we would urge the Task Force to consider seriously and make recommendations about implementation, and recommend Plan language that provides these recommendations. . . The Task Force can play a leadership role to help ensure that Reston’s unique planned community is actually implemented on the ground. The current RTF Steering Committee discussions offer the first glimpse that the impact of prospective development may be considered, although it is not yet clear how that will figure in the plan report. According to DPZ’s June 14, 2011, report to the Task Force, it is seeking impact analyzes from other County staffs on transportation, parks, schools, public safety, and public utilities. It is not clear what the scope of those analyses will be or when they will be available to the Task Force. They ought to be comprehensive, and no recommendations, much less decisions, ought to be made by the Task Force or the Steering Sub-Committee until these analyses have been prepared and reviewed. To not consider them in advance of any density or mix decision making would be a failure of due diligence. In the meantime, the Task Force and the Steering Sub-Committee can draw on the work of the Tysons Corner Task Force for some appreciation of the types of infrastructure impacts Reston may expect and a rough sense of their timing. The new Tysons plan includes a chapter on Implementation as well as chapters on transportation, environmental stewardship, and public facilities. While no one would consider the guidance in these chapters to be complete, they provide an important foundation for a much more comprehensive and sophisticated implementation-related text in Reston’s new master plan. Public Facilities The Tysons plan chapter on public facilities includes a vital table showing the thresholds for the establishment of various types of facilities that will be needed there, and the timeframe in which they will be required. The same threshold criteria—or more stringent ones--should be applied to Reston’s TOD areas to provide at least an approximation of the scope of public facilities required by the “GMU High + 20%” zoning target. As reflected in the table below, Reston will have to keep pace almost stepfor-step in the development of its public facilities over the next 20 years if it is to function at the level planned for Tysons Corner.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee Figure 7: Types of Public Facilities, Threshold for Construction, and Projected Year of Operation: Tysons Corner and Reston (Based on Thresholds for Tysons)

Type of Facility Fire Station 29 relocation New Fire Station Satellite Police Station, possibly co-located with new Fire Station Dominion Virginia Power Substation Elementary School Building Community Library or Regional Library Performing Arts Center New Fire Station Elementary School Building Secondary School Expansion Athletic Fields N/A

Threshold 31,400 residents & 140,300 jobs 31,400 residents & 140,300 jobs

Estimated Year of Operation Reston (GMU+20%) Tysons 2010 - 2020 2020 2020 2030 2030

31,400 residents & 140,300 jobs 555 new elementary students based on 12,900 new households 50,000 residents 50,000 residents 64,000 residents & 188,600 jobs 890 new elementary students based on 20,700 new households 1,186 secondary students based on 33,600 new households

2020 2030

2030 2030

2030 - 2040 2030 - 2040 2040 2050 2050

2040-2050 2040-2050 2050+ 2040-2050 2050+

One field per 4.5 million square 20 fields by 16 fields by feet of mixed use development 2050 2030 Source: Tysons Corner Urban Center Plan Amendment, adopted June 22, 2010, p. 93, Table 8. We would note that the above infrastructure needs list is basic and generally does not include the kinds of infrastructure features that Restonians expect in a premier planned community with an urbanizing TOD core. Among the other important Reston needs are substantial park and natural areas beyond the athletic fields discussed for Tysons. It also includes a fine arts center in addition to a performing arts center. RCA Reston 2020 has documented these and other needs in other reports prepared for the Task Force. Costs and Financing: The Transportation Example While the public facilities table and discussion above gives a sense of the scope of infrastructure that will be required in Tysons and Reston over the next 20 years, it does not discuss the cost of creating and operating those facilities. The most complete 20-year cost assessment work that has been done so far on Tysons Corner has been work by the FC Department of Transportation (DOT). In mid-July 2011, 14

RCA Reston 2020 Committee FCDOT presented its latest estimates of the costs of the transportation infrastructure for Tysons over the next 20 years.10 The summary table below reflects those capital and operating costs over the next 20 years in millions of 2010 dollars. Figure 8: Summary of Cost Estimates for Transportation Serving Tysons, 2011-2030

Category Cost ($M) 20-Year Grid of Streets 443 Tysons-wide Street Improvements 810 Transit Service Enhancement 374 Neighborhood & Access Improvement 70 TOTAL 1,697
FCDOT also outlined its proposal, based in large part on FC Board’s Revitalization and Reinvestment Committee’s input, for allocating those costs. As reflected in the table below, the proposal calls for the public to pay the bulk of those costs ($991 million). In general, we believe that the private sector ought to be the predominant contributor to the new transportation and other infrastructure required at Tysons—and almost certainly required in Reston as well. Local landowners will be the ones who gain economically from the infrastructure, not the local or county-wide public, and they ought to make the investment needed to achieve those gains. In contrast, new taxes will only create an additional burden for residents that erodes their economic wellbeing. Figure 9: Proposed Allocation of Tysons Transportation Infrastructure Costs—Public vs. Private Category 20-Year Grid of Streets Tysons-wide Street Improvements Transit Service Enhancement Neighborhood & Access Improvement Share ($M) Public 547 374 70 991 Private 443 263

706

Given the substantial size of transportation—and the many other still undocumented infrastructure— costs for Tysons, we believe it is vital that Reston Task Force examine now how much infrastructure investments will cost for Reston’s TOD areas, propose who will pay those costs, recommend how those costs will be paid, and assess whether those who have to pay those costs will be able. Until these questions are largely answered, the Task Force and the County cannot lay out a justifiable master plan for Reston. Moreover, it would be imprudent for the County to make development commitments that it, its private sector partners, financial markets, or County (or Reston) residents cannot or will not fund in these difficult economic times. The very substantial risk is that the most profitable commercial

10

Implementing Transportation Improvements in Tysons, FC Department of Transportation presentation, July 14, 2011.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee developments would occur without the needed supporting infrastructure, disrupting Restonians’ quality of life and stripping away any pretense that Reston is a premier planned community. Although RCA Reston 2020 has not yet developed a plan for the financing of Reston TOD costs, we would make several points about the financing of Reston TOD area infrastructure development.  On balance, RCA Reston 2020 believes that developers and landowners should pay the predominant share of infrastructure costs because they will be the ones who literally profit from that investment. Moreover, they have the opportunity to pass on some, if not all, those costs to their clients and customers. County (or worse, Reston) taxpayers have no ability to pass on those added tax costs, and they would simply erode Restonians economic wellbeing.  While there are a number of ways to finance the public portion of the development of Reston’s needed infrastructure (see Figure 10 below), RCA 2020 believes that tax increment financing (TIF) offers a particularly equitable way to ensure that the extra revenues generated by new economic activity in Reston is returned to the community to finance infrastructure development.  RCA Reston 2020 believes that language in the new Reston Master Plan should be worded to specifically prevent development without the prior or concurrent development of the supporting infrastructure. This specifically excludes voluntary financial contributions to County general funds, which history has shown may or not make their way back to the community. Figure 10: Summary Table of Potential Public & Private Sector Capital Cost Funding Options

Source: Funding Reston Infrastructure Improvements, Presentation by Barbara Byron to the Reston Task Force, November 30, 2010

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee Governance The weakest link in the Tysons plan discussion of implementation is about governance. The essence of its proposal is the establishment of an entity that is “the keeper of the vision.” Here is all it has to say: “In order for Tysons to reach its full potential, a ‘Keeper of the Vision’ should be established to assist in achieving the overarching goals and objectives of the new Comprehensive Plan. The “Keeper of the Vision” should be an implementation entity, established by the Board of Supervisors and charged with working in conjunction with Fairfax County agencies, landowners, and other stakeholders. This entity should be focused on ensuring that the new Comprehensive Plan, and associated regulations and recommendations, are effective.” It outlines what a regulatory framework should look like and briefly discusses the role of partnerships in accomplishing the plan’s vision. Issues surrounding what facilities will be required, how much they will cost, how they will be paid for, and who will oversee and guide their implementation as well as the development of Reston’s TODs has not yet been discussed by the Task Force. RCA Reston 2020 believes that the Task Force must create a sub-committee now to address these issues in conjunction with—and preferably guiding--the reports that will be forthcoming from county staff on these topics. In so doing, they can look to the Tysons plan as a resource. The conclusions from the staff reports and the new Implementation Sub-committee must have a strong influence on the decisions made by the Task Force on issues of density, mix, urban design, and more. Otherwise, the Task Force’s report will be empty. Through a strong implementation plan in the Task Force report, we must strive to prevent the failure of Reston’s core by preventing overzealous development without the concurrent development of an infrastructure suitable for our premier planned community.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Conclusion
We believe the “flexible framework” approach currently being discussed by the Reston Task Force risks providing so much flexibility that, if adopted as a plan and zoning ordinance, would provide little effective guidance for development in Reston’s TOD areas over the next two decades. We believe development in these areas should be limited to no more than 70 million GSF of which 31.5 million GSF (45%) would be the limit on office space while residential space should be at least 45% of total development. The framework also does next to nothing to improve the tremendous current imbalance in the areas’ residential and workforce populations. We also believe, based on evidence from Arlington County’s experience, that Reston can make exceptional strides in correcting the population imbalance over the plan horizon with a longer term view to achieving a one-to-one balance in residential and employee populations. Rather than simply criticize, we have offered an alternative scenario for Reston TOD planning using the same approach currently being used by the Task Force. We believe that creating a plan that allows development of all types up to GMU’s High forecast, plus a 50% bonus to residential housing, provides both ample room for growth and a substantial improvement in the areas’ population imbalances. It allows development within the ceiling described above, yet enables Reston to cut the population imbalance within the TOD areas by two-thirds in two decades. To accomplish that will require the use of both stringent mandates and attractive incentives to developers, along with a strong implementation process covering phasing, financing, infrastructure, and governance. RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee is deeply committed to seeing Reston’s TOD areas develop into vital— complete, strong, performing--neighborhoods at the core of the community in the 21st Century. We believe that can be accomplished through a collaborative effort in a systematic, balanced, and deliberate manner. We remain concerned, however, that a plan, like the current “flexible framework,” is focused on excessive commercial development without adequate consideration of all the factors that contribute to a vital planned community, including reasonable growth constraints, a mix of uses, and a detailed plan for phasing in all needed infrastructure and amenities in a systematic, cost-effective manner.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Appendix A: Development Potential for Alternative Scenarios, including RCA Reston 2020 Recommendation
Current Situation RTF Sub-Committee Recommendations GMU 2030 Forecasts (Adjusted for Res GSF) DPZ "Zoning Target" Planning Adjustments RCA Reston 2020 TOD Areas Master Plan Recommendation "GMU High Plus 50% Residential"
Percent Potential Incremental Percent Growth Density at Growth at 80% Absorption Potential 80% Aborption Absorption Growth 330% 21,332 15,472 264% 416% 25,364,000 19,504,000 333% 44% 28,426,834 7,444,665 35% 70% 7,750,811 2,780,756 56% 49% 36,177,645 10,225,421 39% 117% 61,541,645 29,729,421 93% 975,200 511,271 1,486,471 330% 45% 21,332 111,980 5.2 42,664 111,980 154,644 2.6 25.3 66.5 91.9 15,472 29,498 1.9 30,944 29,498 60,442 1.0 264% 36%

Development Potential (DU & GSF)

Residential Units Residential Office Other Non-Resid Non-Resid TOTAL: Res + Non-Res Non-residential Residential Total Households Jobs J:HH Ratio Residents Employees Total Emp:Res ratio

Existing Zoned Plan 2050 5,860 8,674 18,389 41,344 5,860,000 8,674,000 22,042,800 49,612,800 20,982,169 27,757,309 32,948,956 49,082,247 4,970,055 6,553,399 9,280,790 10,475,070 25,952,224 34,310,708 42,229,746 59,557,317 31,812,224 42,984,708 64,272,546 109,170,117 865,074 195,333 1,060,407 5,860 82,482 14.1 11,720 82,482 94,202 7.0 7.0 49.0 56.0 1,143,690 289,133 1,432,824 8,674 109,124 12.6 17,348
109,124

2030 Intermediate 21,521 13,200 25,825,162 15,840,000 37,489,327 28,269,000 8,358,444 7,883,000 45,847,771 36,152,000 71,672,933 51,992,000 994,777 998,258 1,993,035 21,521 144,589 6.7 43,042 144,589 187,631 3.4 25.6 85.9 111.5 509,989 499,000 1,008,989 13,200 107,500 8.1 26,400 107,500 133,900 4.1 15.7 63.9 79.6

High 16,800 20,160,000 30,288,000 8,446,000 38,734,000 58,894,000 639,089 715,000 1,354,089 16,800 115,300 6.9 33,600 115,300 148,900 3.4 20.0 68.5 88.5

GMU 2030 "Zoning Target" Planning & GMU 2030 High + Res+20% (Previous Column Zoning Target Potential High +20% exc H-M + 20% exc. H-M) Density Growth 20,160 16,487 19,107 25,200 19,340 24,192,000 19,107,000 22,407,000 30,240,000 24,380,000 36,345,600 36,264,600 41,464,600 30,288,000 9,305,831 10,135,200 8,075,244 9,675,244 8,446,000 3,475,945 46,480,800 44,339,844 51,139,844 38,734,000 12,781,776 70,672,800 63,446,844 73,546,844 68,974,000 37,161,776 916,600 1,026,429 1,943,029 20,160 138,360 6.9 40,320 138,360 178,680 3.4 24.0 82.2 106.2 662,350 919,381 1,581,731 16,487 115,300 7.0 32,974 115,300 148,274 3.5 19.6 68.5 88.1 827,350 1,259,381 2,086,731 19,784 138,360 7.0 39,569 138,360 177,929 3.5 23.5 82.2 105.7 25,200 119,729 4.8 50,400 119,729 170,129 2.4 29.9 71.1 101.1 1,219,000 639,089 1,858,089 19,340 37,247 1.9 38,680 37,247 75,927 1.0

Annualized Incremental Development Jobs & Households

1,407,658 734,760 2,142,418 18,389 129,423 7.0 36,778 129,423 166,201 3.5 21.9 76.9 98.8

1,680,255 2,187,640 3,867,895 41,344 186,803 4.5 82,688 186,803 269,491 2.3 49.1 111.0 160.1

Intensity

126,472 6.3 10.3 64.8 75.1

330% 45% 81%

264% 36% 64%

People per Acre

Residents Employees Total

All data as provided by FC DPZ or calculated using DPZ data.

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Appendix B: Reston, Tysons, & Rosslyn-Ballston TOD Area Comparative 20-Year Baseline Density Growth
TOD Area Comparative 20-Year Baseline Density Growth
TOD Area TOD Area Character Existing/Beginning Conditions 20-Year Experience/ Forecast/Plan 20-Year Change

AAG/ TOD Avg Annual Number of Size Avg. Acres Total Density Total (MM Growth Density Density Area (1000s Growth Stations (Acres) per Station (MM GSF) (FAR) GSF) (MM GSF) (FAR) Change (%) GSF) Rate Experience 2010 Plan GMU Forecasts Rosslyn-Ballston TOD (1970-2009) Tysons TOD Districts (Plan/GMU High) Tysons Intermediate Tysons High GMU Forecasts Reston Intermediate (Adjtd Res GSF) Reston High RTF Sub-Comms Reston TOD Areas (RTF) Herndon-Monroe Reston Town Center (inc TCN) Wiehle Avenue DPZ Zoning (GMU High +20% Res) + Plus 20% exc H-M Target Herndon-Monroe Reston Town Center (inc TCN) Wiehle Avenue RCA Reston 2020 GMU High +40% Residential 5 4 4 4 2.5 2.5 2.5 0.5 1 1 2.5 0.5 1 1 2.5 1,023 1,024 1,024 1,024 1,683 1,683 1,683 359 802 522 1,683 359 802 522 1,683 205 256 256 256 673 673 673 359 802 522 673 359 802 522 673 13.4 25.7 25.7 25.7 31.8 31.8 31.8 5.9 17.7 8.2 31.8 5.9 17.7 8.2 31.8 0.30 0.58 0.58 0.58 0.43 0.43 0.43 0.38 0.51 0.36 0.43 0.38 0.51 0.36 0.43 31.6 61.8 55.4 61.8 47.3 58.9 71.7 12.7 41.4 17.5 73.5 13.4 35.9 24.2 69.0 18.2 34.1 15.9 20.7 15.5 27.1 39.9 6.8 23.7 9.3 41.7 7.5 18.2 16.0 37.2 0.71 1.39 1.24 1.39 0.64 0.80 0.98 0.81 1.19 0.77 1.00 0.86 1.03 1.06 0.94 136% 140% 116% 140% 49% 85% 125% 115% 134% 113% 131% 127% 103% 195% 117% 182 426 198 258 309 542 798 680 1185 465 834 750 910 800 744 1.36% 1.66% 0.77% 1.00% 0.97% 1.70% 2.51% 11.53% 6.69% 5.67% 2.62% 12.71% 5.14% 9.76% 2.34%

1 Land Use and Development along the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor, DPZ, Fairfax County, August 2005 2 Tysons Corner Urban Center Comprehensive Plan, June 22, 2010 3 Comparison of Development Potential and Jobs/Housing Ratios for Suburban Center and TSAs--Scenario C, June 7, 2011 4 30 Years of Smart Growth, RMPSSTF Presentation by Robert Brosnan, February 23, 2010, p. 41 5 Forecasts for the Reston-Dulles Rail Corridor and Route 28 Corridor, GMU CRA paper, July 26, 2010 6 Forecasts for Tysons Corner to 2050, GMU CRA paper, September 17, 2008 7 DPZ "Flexible Framework" Presentation, Reston Task Force, June 14, 2011 8 DPZ "Flexible Framework" materials, RTF Steering Committee Meeting, June 7, 2011 9 DPZ "Allocating GMU 2030 High Development Level", RTF Steering Committee, June 28, 2011

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RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Appendix C: Decennial Changes in Employment and Residents in RosslynBallston Corridor Development, 1970-2010

Employment
Density Other Total Office GFA Retail GFA Non-Res Completed (GFA) by Decade GFA 1960-1969 3,808,240 333,235 133,272 4,274,747 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2010 Total 1,070,263 8,485,688 3,461,971 4,764,155 21,590,317 131,415 1,163,282 334,201 547,015 2,509,148 148,608 1,350,286 0 9,648,970 496,755 4,292,927 341,068 5,652,238 1,119,703 25,219,168 Jobs 13,732 3,860 31,864 12,965 19,336 81,756

Residents
Density Residential Residential Completed Residents Units (GFA) by Decade 1960-1969 1,314 1,576,800 2,628 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2010 Total 378 8,578 6,179 8,158 24,607 453,600 10,293,600 7,414,800 9,789,600 29,528,400 756 17,156 12,358 16,316 49,214

Ratios
Decade 1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2010 Decennial Ratios J:HH 10.5 10.2 3.7 2.1 2.4 Jobs:Res 20.9 20.4 7.4 4.2 4.7 Cumulative Ratios J:HH 10.5 10.4 4.8 3.8 3.3 Jobs:Res 5.2 5.2 2.4 1.9 1.7

% Balance Improvement Decennial Cumulative 2% 64% 44% -13% 1% 54% 64% 68%

Assumptions: Workers--Office=300GSF, Retail=450GSF, Other=500GSF; Res Units=1200GSF, Res/DU=2.0; GFA is "Gross Floor Allocation"

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