Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Do we need TOD Certification that goes beyond LEED Certification

Some people appear to be under the mistaking impression that just because a building is LEED certified, the building is not only energy efficient but also transit friendly. To dispel that theory, take a look at a recently LEED certified building in Salt Lake City: Mark Miller Toyota.






Mark Miller Toyota sits on the corner of 700 South and West Temple just south of the downtown area. While the downtown area can be fairly walkable despite the extremely long blocks, this part of downtown sees very little pedestrian activity. In a future posting I will discuss how dead zones of pedestrian activity can be created using this area as an example but lets get back to the topic at hand.

This dealership is right on the main North-South TRAX line but the only stops are a couple of blocks away. There is several dealerships in the neighborhood that make this area very pedestrian unfriendly. In fact, Mark Miller takes up three quarters of a city block and we are not talking Portland, Oregon blocks here, no we are talking Salt Lake City blocks.




Ironically if you walk to the right of this photo to the next block you will find some live/work units.


While the Mark Miller building itself may be LEED certified, overall it is nothing but a sprawl lot that creates a barrier between the hotel/motel area of downtown and neighborhoods to the South. The area to the south has suffered from a lack of a cohesive connection to the downtown area and these dealerships do not help.

While LEED gives us a good start, we need something that goes beyond LEED and truly shows us if a building supports a pedestrian, bicycle and transit environment.


4 comments:

Mike Christensen said...

You make an excellent point!

Anonymous said...

I think what you are looking for is LEED for Neighborhood Development, which launched in 2009. LEED-ND can be used to certify a single building.

John said...

LEED-ND link:
http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148

Washington Sustainable Growth Alliance said...

Regional smart growth alliances recognize TOD projects based on location, density, design, mix of uses,etc. http://www.sgalliance.org is just one.