Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I was recently forwarded this interesting on-line tool that seeks to facilitate transit-oriented development. Here's more from the site:
This Action Guide is a tool for local jurisdictions working to foster mixed-income transit-oriented development (TOD) around planned transit stations. The term “mixed-income TOD” (MITOD) is shorthand to describe a set of goals that includes the provision of a mix of housing choices, affordable to a range of incomes, for people at different stages of life within a specific transit station area. The goal of this guide is to help practitioners identify the most appropriate and effective planning tools for achieving MITOD in their transit station area, and ultimately to facilitate the development of mixed-income communities across the U.S..
This was very interesting to me as I just wrapped up the third and final "site visit" class with my Smart Growth Law seminar course. For this site visit, we traveled from Montgomery to Atlanta where we spent the day riding Atlanta's mass transit system (known as MARTA) in search of how many of the transit stops offered a mix of commercial, residential, and office uses within a reasonable walk (we defined that as less than 4 blocks) of the station.
The results were simple: not many.
Unlike the D.C. Metro system and several others, Atlanta's MARTA system is not very conducive to TOD. Indeed, one of the primary uses appears to be for riders to drive to the station, park their car, and then ride from there.
This scenario does not really promote transit use as an alternative to vehicular use. Instead, it treats transit as simply a complement to the originating vehicular use. Which means, if you can't drive (disabled, loss of license, can't afford a car, etc.), then the system is not really that useful in the big picture.
Fortunately, with many of the MARTA stops surrounded by parking, if demand rises, then it will be fairly simple (from a design perspective at least) to replace the parking with a mixture of compatible uses--thus creating more authentic TOD.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.