For Good TOD Planning, Start with Infrastructure Like This
Above is a very good illustration of what amounts to a suburban retrofit to accommodate a new light rail station and associated development. The neighborhood is not far south of Miami International Airport. The infrastructure in particular is very accommodating and friendly to walkability and environmental values.
Today, the area looks like this:
Here’s a description of the proposed new infrastructure from SE Florida Transit Alternatives:
“A sustainable development commitment of transit, complete streets with separated bike lanes. New green spaces/gathering areas highlighting the region's abundant natural beauty along its waterways. Tree-lined streets, landscaped medians. Intersections and crosswalks highlighted with numerous decorative pavements and signage promoting safe, walkable pedestrian friendly streets and shopping districts. Station platforms elevated over busy cross streets connecting opposite sides as well creating iconic images for the new transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly Miami.”
Of course, the infrastructure is only the beginning, since placing more people within walking distance of the station will be critical to its success. This may not be a simple matter, since SEFTA’s illustration contemplates the loss of quite a few existing single-family homes to make way for new, denser development. In addition, it is important to remember that orientation is key to really good transit-oriented development; simply having dense development near transit isn’t enough.
But the conceptual illustration doesn’t pretend to reach those questions. It focuses on infrastructure, and does so well.
Senior counsel for environmental strategies, PlaceMakers LLC; senior adviser, Natural Resources Defense Council; co-founder, LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system; co-founder, Smart Growth America coalition; author, People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities (2014); one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com and named one of "the most influential people ...