Wiki Wednesday: Transit-Oriented Development

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 and
1990s as a response to suburban sprawl and a means of regenerating
economic growth in central cities. The
development is likely to include housing and/or offices as well as
retail stores. A TOD also usually has relatively easy access for people
on foot and bikes, while cars and other vehicles are discouraged from
parking too close to the station. As a result, TODs are often
friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists than other forms of land
development, and they encourage people to ride trains and buses rather
than drive. The concept was slow to take off in the United States, but
has gained strength in the first decade of the 21st century as fuel
costs rise and traffic causes many Americans to rethink where they want
to 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

  • Dallas

    Interesting decision to use the McKinney Avenue streetcar as a photo to represent transit-oriented development. Most Dallas locals consider the streetcar as more of a novelty than a useful means of transportation. Aside from Friday and Saturday nights, it isn’t uncommon to see the streetcar roll up and down the street, infrequently, and empty.

    From my experience, the Uptown neighborhood in Dallas is a walkable neighborhood, but very poorly serviced by transit. The two DART stations (Cityplace and Victory) are both on the fringe of the neighborhood, and the Victory station only has service during special events. Valets make out like bandits, moving around the plethora of cars and SUVs that drive into the neighborhood.

    Dallas is a city that has a LOT to learn about TOD – not necessarily one we should be using as a model.

  • I suggest we choose an abbreviation that doesn’t mean “death” in German. This piece sounds a bit disturbing in its current form (DEATH grew popular in the 1980s and 1990s?!? DEATH has been slow to catch on in NYC?!?). Moreover, the capitalization looks like something out of Terry Pratchett’s Mort…

  • Robert Mack

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