Curbside Service: Community Land Use Catalysts to Neighborhood Flowering during Transit Installations

45 The Urban L. 407 (Spring 2013)

Arizona Summit Law School Research Paper 2013-A-01

42 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2013 Last revised: 12 Mar 2014

See all articles by Michael N. Widener

Michael N. Widener

Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Date Written: January 24, 2013


This article begins with this simple proposition: An infill transit construction project’s work destroys businesses in its right-of-way, pavement-chewing path. Transit construction’s collateral damage dislocates neighborhoods and unravels the social fabric of a community as locally established business operations fail. This article explains how cities with transit projects currently attempt solutions to the problem like rendering “marketing and social networking” advice and founding “business alliances” – and why cities fall short of their goal to stave off merchant failures. It next explains why merchant claims against cities asserting nuisance or regulatory takings are doomed to failure – and how cities waste scarce resources defending against takings claims, whatever their ultimate outcome. The article then describes how innovations in land use policy-making, using overlay and floating district adoption, zoning adjustment and joint development agreements, can sustain commerce in transit project construction zones for the duration of a transit infrastructure project.

Keywords: Transit, transportation infrastructure, urban planning, smart growth, new urbanism, inverse condemnation, regulatory taking, zoning, NEPA, social impact, neighborhoods, community, place-making, light rail, streetcars

JEL Classification: K11, K32, L92, O18, O33, O38, R52

Suggested Citation

Widener, Michael N., Curbside Service: Community Land Use Catalysts to Neighborhood Flowering during Transit Installations (January 24, 2013). 45 The Urban L. 407 (Spring 2013); Arizona Summit Law School Research Paper 2013-A-01. Available at SSRN: or

Michael N. Widener (Contact Author)

Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint ( email )

2325 East Camelback Road
Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85016
United States

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ( email )

Prescott, AZ 86301
United States

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