Transit-Oriented Development. We’ve heard the term and have an idea of what it’s supposed to do–a place that brings people around public transportation. The concept is based on smart growth, so that cities can grow and develop in a more sustainable way. From the research and interviews by BARThood, we found that some of the elements of a successful Transit Village include enhanced mobility, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environment, and an overall improvement in the surrounding neighborhood in aesthetics and public safety. One expert added that overall increase in ridership at a transit mode as one measure of success.
Transit villages are the buzz words when it comes to developments around BART stations.
One example is Fruitvale Village. Proposed by the community organization, the Unity Council, the development opened in 2004 with much fan fare. The group describes it as “Community-Oriented Development” rather than a Transit-Oriented Development. We found many in the neighborhood who said the Village has improved the area overall. But BARThood also found commuters and residents, who say they rarely visit the village for shopping or other leisurely activities. We ask, are the three elements of the development–the community, the development itself and BART/BART commuters–fully integrated?
Other proposals being examined by BARThood includes projects near the MacArthur and Pittsburg/Bay Point stations. BARThood team members are asking what these developments are supposed to look like and what community members around these areas actually want to see.
But what are TOD’s REALLY supposed to do? What’s the ideal? How can we measure their success?
BARThood wants to find out.–Marnette Federis