Peak & Prairie
December 1999 / January 2000
Transit Oriented Development
by Don Thompson, Transportation Chair
One of the new buzzwords on the transportation scene are TODs or transit oriented developments. Fitting in with the natural instincts of the development community, they add in the transportation function that the environmental community wants to see. TODs are an attempt to add a transit function to the residential and/or office portion of a development, and in many cases also include some retail components to the mix.
Because of the transit portion it is usually appropriate to increase the density of the project, and in most cases there can be less need for parking lots or parking structures since the transit component can meet much of the transportation needs. When done correctly the mix of uses also reduces the need for transportation. If you can live, work and shop in close proximity, you have much less need for transportation.
Additional reductions in parking needs can come from the ability to have different peak needs for parking. Residential parking needs peak in the evening when office needs have dropped. Parking peaks for restaurants and movie theaters also are different.
The City Center project being built in Englewood is a metro area attempt to develop just such a mixed use project. Making use of the nearly completed southwest corridor light rail line, the project will have city offices for Englewood, retail, dining and residential units including living space over some of the retail units. In the far corner of the old Cinderella City retail site that is being redeveloped will be a WalMart, but that is another story.
Demand for residential development in the lower downtown and close to downtown areas of Denver have proved to be extremely popular. It will be interesting to see if there is similar demand for housing near Denver when it is tied to transit.
December 1999 Online Newsletter - Peak & Prairie Home Page - Rocky Mountain Chapter Home Page