Just to Be Clear about TOD

A little over a week ago, I commented briefly on some of the benefits of transit-oriented development, specifying that it is development planned near public transportation, and that it is accessible often by walking (hence the term “walkable community” that is often paired with TOD).  I wanted to revisit this post, because I fear that I may not have been specific enough in the definition of transit-oriented development. It is important to understand that the term “transit” here means multi-modal transit. Designs in the style of TOD are easily accessible through a variety of modes – public transit, walking, bicycling, and, yes, driving a car. It is that point about CHOICE that is crucial here.

More importantly, it is important to specify what TOD is not. Transit oriented development is not car oriented development. That is, it is not development that is supposed to favor auto-driving over other modes of transportation. It seems that this misunderstanding is easy to make, as an elected official in North Carolina recently stated that a new major shopping center, built off of an interstate, would be a great example of transit oriented development. Currently, this shopping center would be accessible only by automobile, though plans are being made to have a bus-rapid transit station established in the area. The official specified that that the new development would provide easy access for motorists, which, allegedly, was a major concern in the planning of the design. The Saint Louis Urban Workshop has the whole story on the official’s comments.

As mentioned above, transit oriented development is not just about facilitating access for automobile drivers – it’s about faciliating access for all people. It’s design that includes sidewalks, bike paths, and nearby public transportation. Voice your thoughts on this matter by posting comments, questions, or concerns below or by e-mailing RenewLV at smartgrowth@renewlv.org.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on September 3, 2009, in Media Coverage, Municipal Government, Neighborhoods, Public Infrastructure, Regions, Transportation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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