Cater to Commuters or Residents? Denver Rethinks its Rail Stops

Denver is confronting a dilemma facing many cities as they build out their transit systems: what types of uses should be developed in close proximity to stations, and who should these facilities serve.
July 27, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In Denver, which is implementing a $7.4 billion expansion of its rail system, planners are revisiting assumptions about who should be served by transit stations, and the developable land around them, reports Kris Hudson. "In 1994, planners built parking lots and garages around many of its stations to cater to commuters," but now, planners and officials are looking "to encourage the development of dense, walkable villages around stations so people don't have to drive to use the system."

As a result, "Denver-transit planners now are becoming more flexible when it comes to how much parking they require near rail stops and where they put it," in an effort to "rectify what some see as a flaw in the original concept."

Although a more sophisticated siting of parking is becoming common in Denver's peer cities, "Critics ask whether Denver's change in approach on parking will chase some riders away rather than attract them," notes Hudson. 

"So, they're going to make it more difficult to use transit in hopes that the real-estate speculators who use public money to build these things can flourish?" asks Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a think tank in Denver.

 

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

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Published on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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