8:11 pm in Uncategorized by BruceMcF
This week’s Sunday Train features a piece from John Karras’ urbanSCALE.com, How Your City Can Succeed In Transit Oriented Development. John looks at DC, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Cleveland to argue that your city can also succeed in pursuing Transit Oriented Development:
Here are the 4 key ingredients needed to create successful transit oriented development:
- TOD Ingredient #1: Connect dense employment centers
- TOD Ingredient #2: Regional collaboration
- TOD Ingredient #3: Proactive planning and public policies to encourage TOD
- TOD Ingredient #4: Public-private partnerships for joint development
This is an important argument, and ties in with many themes address in previous Sunday Trains, including Sustainable Real Estate Development is Good for the Economy and Other Growing Things (30 June 2013), Trains & Buses Should Be Friends (24 Nov 2013) and ‘the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail.’ (1 Dec 2013), so join me below the fold for the most recent consideration of these issues and Transit-Oriented Development, commonly abbreviated as “TOD”.
Connect Dense Employment Centers
It is, of course, due to many decades of most American cities gutting our existing local transport alternatives that this is an issue. If we hadn’t discarded what we already had, we would be looking at how to leverage access into our densest employment centers into more effective regional transport alternatives.
But where the trunk backbone does not exist, then it must be provided. John quotes Transit Oriented Development and Employment from the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (pdf) saying:
Real estate development is more likely to occur in station areas that are within close proximity to major employment centers. Therefore, if transit is planned in a way that makes strong connections to significant employment centers, it can also promote residential TOD in places on the transit corridor where commercial uses are less likely to locate. Understanding this relationship between employment centers and residential TOD is an important part of the TOD equation. (p. 27)
It is easy to read this as “connecting to downtown”, but that is just one version of what makes a major employment center. Whether downtown area or not, what is key is the clustering of employment. To quote further from the study:
Employment dispersal away from traditional central business districts can work well with transit operations, even in suburban locations, but only if employment remains clustered in relatively dense concentrations with appropriate transit service, parking controls, and placemaking provisions. It might be necessary to change the way we think about employment, from urban versus suburban, to more of a model of dispersed versus concentrated nodes. Places with high employment densities can be served with transit networks and made into places that can provide people with amenities during the lunch hour that foster more non-auto trips.
So the distinction here is not “downtown” vs “suburban” but “concentrated employment centers” versus “dispersed employment”.
It is an open question as to what the next step should be after those corridors are provided for. I have argued that the same kind of government intervention that has generated sprawl development of both residential and employment centers can be reversed in strategic locations to re-orient suburbs into a more ecologically sustainable clustered development system … and this argument suggests that doing so will also open up greater opportunities for TOD throughout urbanized areas and into their hinterlands in a metropolitan area.
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