TOD News

Your Source For Transit Oriented Development News


February 2014

How L.A.’s Community Organizers are Mobilizing a Transportation Equity Agenda for All

Photo Multicultural Communities for Mobility

Vanessa Carter | KCET

A leader in California’s urban planning scene, Bill Fulton, once characterized Los Angeles as a “reluctant metropolis” — unwilling to accept that sprawl had hit a wall, unable to see common connections between neighborhoods to create a cohesive region, and unlikely to overcome the social disparities and racial tension that twice produced civil unrest.

But as we witness a paradigm shift in how Angelenos move through the region, how Angelenos understand the interconnectedness of our region, how Angelenos are unifying across difference to fight for a more equitable region, we think that Los Angeles may be reluctant no more.

Talking with 40 advocates and organizations across the Southland, we have seen signs that the once disconnected and dystopian L.A. is fading away. With a new vigor, social justice organizers, policy advocates, government agencies, business leaders, and others are engaging in how to move us more sustainably through our region and, at the same time, how to swell the numbers of those supporting transportation equity. We call that last part movement building.

Last week, as part of this L.A. in Motion series, our director Manuel Pastor explained the “Just Growth” frame — one that is big enough to encompass L.A.’s wide-ranging transportation equity movement — asserting that social inclusion is the key to achieving economic prosperity and sustainability.

This week, we run through the agenda for transportation equity being brought together by our region’s social-movement leaders. How is transportation equity defined? What does it entail? Who are some of the organizations innovating in the different niches of this work? If these questions pique your interest, read on.
What do we mean by Transportation Equity?

As we look ahead to upcoming articles in this series, it may be useful to define what we mean by “transportation equity.” Indeed, this is a difficult concept to define, as it must capture a broad range of issues facing the Southland — from transit-oriented development to bicycles to goods movement (we dig into these and some other issues a little deeper below).

But we believe the following definition does just this by highlighting outcomes (both benefits and burdens for our communities) as well as the importance of public participation in planning processes. In our view, transportation equity means:

  • Equitable access to quality, affordable transportation options and so employment, services, amenities, and cultural destinations;
  • Shared distribution of the benefits and burdens of transportation systems and investments, such as jobs and pollution, respectively; and
  • Partnership in the planning process that results in shared decision-making and more equitable outcomes for disadvantaged communities while strengthening the entire region. {….}


State Farm Announces Major Transit Oriented Development; New Jobs

Charlie P. | Peach Pundit

Finalizing what has been rumored for months, State Farm announced this morning that it will build a campus just West of Perimeter Mall, adjacent to the Dunwoody MARTA station. The project will house 8,000 employees, including 3,000 new positions for Georgia. It’s a sign that job growth and renewed interest in development has returned to the Atlanta area.

The project will occupy 17 acres owned and developed by KDC Real Estate Development & Investments and leased to State Farm. The initial buildings will break ground this summer and occupy four acres, with the remaining build-out occurring over the next decade. The total development plan includes 2.2 Million square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainment space, and a 200 room hotel.

KDC’s Larry Wilson said via press release, “KDC is excited to continue our relationship with State Farm through the creation of a transit oriented development in Dunwoody. This project will provide State Farm’s work force a continued platform for success with direct access to a true live-work-play environment and a MARTA station.”

Access to MARTA is both something companies in congested areas value, as well as something the transit authority is now promoting. Expanding transit further toward homes and businesses is expensive. Creating office space and residential housing around existing MARTA stations is a quicker and much cheaper alternative to booting ridership and reducing the number of cars on the regions roads. {….}

Site seen as key to housing boom

Shawn Regan | Eagle-Tribune

HAVERHILL — The city is positioning the long dormant Ornstein Heel property as the catalyst for a potential residential building boom on the Bradford side of the Merrimack River. City Council recently approved a new waterfront zone giving it less oversight of proposals along the river, making it is easier and potentially more profitable for developers to build projects.

The council retained its authority to review proposals in the waterfront zone, but it can’t reject ones that adhere to new rules aimed at encouraging specific uses and requiring public access to the riverfront. But now, Mayor James Fiorentini wants to give back the council control of the city-owned Ornstein Heel property.

Economic Development Director William Pillsbury said the change back would potentially allow the city to receive more money from the state if the city decides to create a special “transit-oriented” housing development district on the Bradford side of the river. {….}

The Red Line [Future MBTA]

Park StThe Red Line is the longest subway line in the T. It is made up of two branches and a High Speed Light Rail Line. Both branches start at the Arlington/Cambridge border at Alewife. They both travel along the line into Somerville, Cambridge, Central Boston, and South Boston. In Dorchester the lines split after the JFK/UMass stop. The A branch travels to Ashmont and is the oldest branch, finished in 1924. At Ashmont you can transfer to the Mattapan High Speed Line which is a high speed light rail line which runs along the border of Boston and Milton, terminating in Mattapan. The second branch, the B branch, splits off after JFK/UMass, skipping Savin Hill, and makes its way to Braintree via Quincy. This branch was started in 1971 and was finally completed in the early 1980s. There is also a C branch which is any train headed towards Alewife from either branch.

The Red Line was originally envisioned as an elevated line, like the old Orange Line, that would go from Harvard Sq in Cambridge to Bowdoin Sq in Boston where it would connect with the Tremont St subway. After it was decided to keep trolley traffic and subway traffic separate in the Tremont St subway, a new plan emerged which had trains running elevated from Harvard Sq to Bowdoin Sq but then diving under Boston Harbor to Maverick Sq in East Boston, but due to disputes between the Boston Transit Commission (created by the state to plan the subway system) and the Boston Elevated Railroad Company (BERy, the corporation building the system) the tunnel under the harbor to East Boston was only built for trolleys. Eventually the tunnel was converted to heavy rail for the Blue Line but the clearances were far too narrow for the larger and wider elevated trains. {….}

MBTA Late Night Sponsorship Program

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is pleased to announce the Late Night Sponsorship program, a unique opportunity for a limited number of firms to show support for extended public transportation service in the core of Boston.

Late Night T Sponsorship is a high profile community service opportunity which will improve Boston’s night time experience by providing patrons and workers worry-free, safe, affordable and convenient transportation.


Your Sponsorship Advertising Will Get Noticed!

  • 22 million tourists visit Boston and Cambridge every year
  • 14 million people view T bus advertising every month
  • 90% of Bostonians live less than 5 minutes from a train station or bus stop
  • 80% of adults 18-34 years of age in Boston are exposed to T advertising every week
  • 1/3 of Bostonians use the T to commute to work every day
  • Greater Boston has 100+ major colleges and universities
  • Metro Boston is home to 20+ major hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other health care facilities, operating 24/7 and employing shift workers

For more information, click here

White Plains Mayor Gives His OK To Metro-North Station Recommendation

Suzanne Samin | White Plains Daily Post

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach is satisfied with the Mass Transit Task Force’s recommendation to re-develop the White Plains Metro-North Station, he said in a statement.

The 31-person task force is recommending White Plains to study a multi-modal transportation center via a $1 million state grant, saying the facility could be a hub for public transit, according to a report by

The task force, which Roach was a part of, issued a 26-page executive summary, where it recommends “a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system that is simpler, faster and more reliable than what is provided today,” according to the report.

“At the very first meeting of Mass Transit Task Force, I voiced my concern that the future of mass transit for the region cannot be just about getting people onto trains and into Manhattan,” Roach said in the statement. {….}

The studies undertaken and evaluated by the Task Force showed that the majority of commutes happen within one’s county of residence or between Rockland and Westchester County, according to Roach.

In 1931, a parking lot in Cleveland Park changed how Washington shopped

Neil Flanagan | Greater Greater Washington

Many people are perplexed as to why Sam’s Park & Shop in Cleveland Park is a historical landmark. While it may look like an ordinary strip mall, the Park & Shop was one of the first examples of retail architecture designed around the automobile.

In the May 1932 Architectural Record, the author praised the Park & Shop in contrast to a traditional main street retail strip, which he derides as “Coney Island Architecture.” He might as well have been describing the Connecticut Avenue service lane, which many neighbors are now trying to have removed.

It’s easy to look back on the beginnings of autocentric planning and think that the people who conceived it must have been deluded, but to them these choices seem eminently rational. Modernism and Le Corbusier often get blamed for the rise of the automobile during the 20th century, because its supporters posed it as the only way to solve urban issues like traffic and overcrowding.

But this magazine is unequivocal about the need to redesign retail for the automobile, and merely reports on the International Style as an interesting trend in Europe. {….}

The Park & Shop’s parking lot made it the vanguard of modern design in 1931. Image from Architectural Record.

A Vision for the Next Los Angeles: Transportation Equity and Just Growth

Manuel Pastor | KCET

If you ask people — including Angelenos — about Los Angeles, a range of images immediately come to mind: our car culture, our suburban sprawl, and our stark divisions by race and income — that are now characterizing the rest of America.

But is that old version of Los Angeles really who we are now?

The fact is that the next Los Angeles is being remade before our eyes — and while there is much to be done, there is a lot that is going right. We are in the midst of a reinvention of sorts: from sprawl to community development, from car dependence to transit orientation, from rising inequality to a growing commitment to equity and inclusion.

Indeed, Los Angeles has been a place for innovation around matters of equity for some time, particularly in the field of transportation. We successfully insisted on better bus service, pioneered clean trucking and shipping at our ports, and have even taxed ourselves to expand our transit network. {….}

Photo: victoriabernal/Flickr/Creative Commons

Santa Monica’s Former Mayors Sound Off on Bergamot Transit Village

Jason Islas | Santa Monica Lookout

While the City Council approved the Bergamot Transit Village Tuesday night, the conversation about the mixed-use, transit-oriented development is far from over.

A group of residents has called for a referendum on the project and some have threatened legal action in order to stop Texas-based developer Hines from building the 767,000 square-foot residential and commercial project on the site of the abandoned Papermate factory.

Whether there is enough political will among residents to actually stop the project remains to be seen, but opinions about the project, which would be built walking distance from a new Expo light rail station, are as strong as they are varied.

“We failed as a community” to negotiate a better project, said former mayor Michael Feinstein. Feinstein belongs to a camp that believes the project should have had more housing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmember Ted Winterer proposed a motion that would have kept the project the same size but would made 70 percent of the project housing instead of the current 55 percent.

“There should have been five votes for that motion,” said Feinstein.

But the motion failed 5-to-2 partly because, according to City staff, the change would have delayed the project for months at the expense of the developer.

And, the City risked losing the development agreement (DA). Since Hines could simply convert the current building to office space without a DA, the City would lose out on housing and the attendant $32.2 million dollars in community benefits proposed in the current DA. {….}

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