Opportunities and Challenges for Small Businesses in New Transit Neighborhoods

Authors: Elina Sukaryavichute*, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Elizabeth Delmelle, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Colleen Hammelman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Topics: Business Geography, Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Small business, retail, light rail, economic impacts
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 5
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Proximity to light rail stations may be an asset to small businesses if it increases foot traffic and customers, or it may present a challenge in the face of construction disturbances, rising rents and threats of commercial gentrification. In this paper, we interview small business owners located in proximity to new transit stations in Phoenix, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; and Charlotte, North Carolina and probe the opportunities and challenges faced within these locations. Overall, more challenges were raised including perceptions of an increased homeless population around stations, elevated rents, and more traffic. Positive factors included increased foot traffic and proximity to customers. More studies would be needed on the entrepreneurial motivations in relation to economically upgrading transit neighborhoods as well as the role of local non-for-profit organizations in business retention.

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