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The Future of Walkability: Transit-Oriented Communities


LA Metro is upgrading transit-oriented developments (TODs) to transit-oriented communities (TOCs), an approach that would link whole communities to transit, rather than one-off projects. The proposal is aimed at putting more affordable housing near transit, because low-income people are the most likely to use it. The idea is "to create compact, walkable and bikeable places in a community context" that will ultimately boost ridership.

Metro has identified seven communities (see map) where it wants to launch this initiative: Burbank, North Hollywood, Willowbrook, Crenshaw, Duarte and El Monte, and the neighborhood adjacent to Union Station in Downtown LA. Currently, 35% of TODs-built Metro-owned sites must be affordable housing. This proposal would expand the concept into neighborhoods beyond Metro-owned parcels. These communities were selected as “demonstration” locations because they provide good opportunities to showcase the TOC approach.

Now Metro is seeking zoning changes for lots near rail lines that it wants to develop. While there are no funds currently available to acquire and develop sites identified, agency officials say it is important to zero in on sites to begin the years-long process of integrating transportation with communities in ways that will create residents' reliance on transit. Metro is proposing a 2016 ballot initiative that would raise the county sales tax by a half-cent, which would provide $120B for rail and highway projects over the next 40 years. [Curbed]