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Transit-Oriented Development

Wiki Wednesday: Transit-Oriented Development

5:10 PM EST on November 19, 2008

dallas_streetcar.jpgStreetcar-served TOD in Dallas, TX

If the United States is in fact on the verge of a transit renaissance, transit-oriented development will have to be part of the mix. In this week's StreetsWiki entry, slinkp writes:

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) grew popular in the 1980s and1990s as a response to suburban sprawl and a means of regeneratingeconomic growth in central cities. Thedevelopment is likely to include housing and/or offices as well asretail stores. A TOD also usually has relatively easy access for peopleon foot and bikes, while cars and other vehicles are discouraged fromparking too close to the station. As a result, TODs are oftenfriendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists than other forms of landdevelopment, and they encourage people to ride trains and buses ratherthan drive. The concept was slow to take off in the United States, buthas gained strength in the first decade of the 21st century as fuelcosts rise and traffic causes many Americans to rethink where they wantto live and work.

Despite evidence that "drive 'til you qualify" sprawl presents an unsustainable drain on financial and natural resources, planners have been reluctant to abandon it. Even in relatively transit-rich metro NYC, TOD has been slow to catch on beyond the realm of private-sector advocacy, though recent remarks indicate the concept is at least on the radar of state-level officials in Connecticut and New York.

Photo: RACTOD/Flickr

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