Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Development Oriented Transit

The other way around, see? Land use drives the linkages of places that people need to get to. It's an entire strategy of urban planning, not a piecemeal exercise. There was a nice article in today's LA Times about Vancouver's decision to direct urban growth in a sustainable fashion. It has its successes and also a failure to prevent sprawl at its urban fringe. The high cost of urban condos has driven the sprawl of single-family residences outside the urban boundary even as roads are not expanded to accommodate the resultant traffic. But the strategy is to incorporate public spaces and schools into the urban fabric, not just allow huge condo developments that provide no public amenities:

The city has hit up developers to build parks, recreation centers, libraries, day-care centers, and open, public waterfronts to a degree almost unknown anywhere else.

The City of Portland famously tried urban boundaries (Portland Street Car), but these erode in the face of the inevitable suburban expansion that occurs when urban centers are built up without housing that is affordable and without the amenities of open space, landscaping and public services and schools that the suburbs are famous for.

Another form of integration of existing land use and transit planning is San Francisco's Bay Area study that precedes its proposal for the Transit Bay Center, generating a massive in-city urban park and public space.

A hybrid strategy is beginning to emerge with respect to land planning and development, with planning occuring at a more regional level that creates logical transitways within existing centers of subregional density. The linked-nodes strategy works if the centers of transit are directly aligned and permanently linked.