Transit Oriented Development requires “Tough Love”

I’ve been in the middle of a lot of discussions lately about light rail and transit oriented development. At this morning’s meeting, for example, I found that there are still a lot of blanks in the logic behind design decisions for the Roosevelt Station.

I found this article today from Canada which I think sums up some of this well. In Toronto rail transit and TOD is running into some of the same question that it faces here. Is it working? Why aren’t we seeing the ridership that was projected? The headline of the article was suggesting some ‘tough love’ will be needed to make light rail work.

Rescuing Mayor Ford’s plan to extend the Sheppard subway will require a tough-minded approach that ensures provision of substantial subway-oriented development at every one of the proposed new stations. This will mean maximizing the use of city-owned land, massive upzoning of land near the stations, generous buy-outs of landowners to achieve appropriate land assembly, and possible creation of one or more public development corporations to move things along.

All of this seems to validate some of the important tools that need to be consolidated to make TOD a reality. It’s an interesting read and one that seems to put some more legs under the argument that land use is a critical part of making transit, light rail, and TOD work the way we want it to.

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