Denver Densifies as Developers Anticipate Transit Expansion

Before the first line of the multi-billion dollar FasTracks regional transit expansion opens to the public, developers are clamoring to build near Denver area stations. In a city that was beset by sprawl for a half-century, the shift is good news.

Eric Jaffe looks at a new report that describes the effect that FasTracks, the ambitious plan to "expand transit service in three existing corridors, create new service in six other corridors, and develop Denver's Union Station into a multi-modal regional transportation hub," has had on the area's land use patterns.

"In a recent special issue of the journal Cities, geographers Keith Ratner of Salem State University and Andrew Goetz of the University of Denver report that transit-oriented development in the FasTracks era has already had a measurable effect on the character of the city. After analyzing TOD data from around the city, Ratner and Goetz conclude that increased density near transit stations — one of the primary objectives of the regional plan — is 'clearly evident'..."

"Ratner and Goetz attribute much of that change to a successful TOD campaign that focused on five key goals: placing homes, jobs, and retail near transit; creating a mixture of transportation, housing, and shopping options; capturing some of the business value of transit for the city; emphasizing "place-making" strategies; and ensuring that transit stations were entry portals to a truly regional network," says Jaffe.

"All told, Denver has created some 18,000 residential units, 5.3 million square feet of retail, and 5.4 million square feet of office space within a half mile of transit station, Ratner and Goetz report."

Full Story: After Decades of Sprawl, Density Comes to Denver

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