Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Transit and Development Opportunities

Originally uploaded by RACTOD
It seems that the transit union wants an easy answer to the problem of the transit dependent. Instead the problems are not going to be fixed by handing the transit system over to an organization that does not have the transit system in its best interest. Instead we need to look at why people who need to ride transit cannot find places to live that are convenient to transit instead of being in an area that doesn't currently support the system.

One of the problems we face here along the Wasatch Front is the lack of a cohesive area wide planning organization. Of course any attempt to create one would fail due to the cities fearing the lost of planning control, so we have to deal with many individual city administrations.

In that context what can be done? First residents of each of the cities need to insure that their planning departments are taking transit into consideration when designing their zoning which includes transit oriented development. However, the best plans can go wrong as we have witnessed in Salt Lake City as the planners and city council cave in to developers and big corporations over and over again.

Every city should be encouraged to create a special zoning area around major transit concentrations. One that will focus on a certain amount of low income housing, nice retail areas that focus on locally owned and operated business that are also transit oriented, plus open space.

There are many areas of the area that this type of zoning would fit into. One example would be the intersection of 4500 South and State Street. Currently an auto centric area that is pedestrian unfriendly but also a couple of blocks from a transit oriented development. This area could be developed to eventually blend into the main transit oriented development at the TRAX station.

The Redwood Road corridor north of Salt Lake Community College all the way to North Temple has areas that would be ripe for this type of development. In fact there is many major intersections throughout the region that developments would improve the neighborhood.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see many spots where this will work. The best areas are ones that could use some redevelopment, are served by two good bus lines (preferably the ones that run every 15-minutes), plus a city administration that is willing to make things happen.

This will allow more affordable housing options that will greatly improve the lives of those who are transit dependent instead of harming them like the transit riders union direction will.

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