Transit Oriented (affordable) Development

I’ve written several articles about this topic (An Affordable Responsibility: True Transit-Oriented Developments Require Adequate Low-income Housing in Order to Thrive and The Perfect Platform for Affordable Housing: Adding Affordable Units in Transit-oriented Development Promotes “Transit Equity), and have one coming out shortly in the January-February issue of ULI’s Urban Land magazine — but below is a story from Discovering Urbanism on the need for affordable housing at transit stops.

In case you missed it, the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University dropped a bombshell of a report about Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) back in October. Key finding:

“Rising incomes in some gentrifying [Transit-Rich Neighborhoods] may be accompanied by an increase in wealthier households who are more likely to own and use private vehicles, and less likely to use transit for commuting, than lower-income households.”

Ironically, they found that enhancing transit infrastructure can actually make ridership go down (and car ownership up) in the neighborhood it serves. That’s a puzzling dilemma that deserves some attention.

TOD advocates have understood for a while that infrastructure and design need to be carefully coordinated to produce successful results. Just plop down a new station without changing any of the zoning codes in advance, and you’re guaranteed to end up with a park and ride lot surrounded by much of the same 20th century stuff. There’s transit, and there’s development, but the orientation part is missing entirely.

Read remainder of the story at Discovering Urbanism.

About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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