In 2004, voters in Denver approved the FasTracks ballot to build a regional rapid transit system. Now that planning is underway to construct about 120 miles of new rail and 60 new train stations, planners are beginning to focus on transit-oriented development (TOD) around many of these new stations. While much excitment exists in Denver for creating one of the top 21st century cities, some fears for TOD are unfounded. Mr. Ferguson's "Four Fallacies of 'transit-oriented development'", published May 13, 2008 in the Rocky Mountain News is typical of a common mis-education about TOD. What Mr. Ferguson does not realize is that TODs can help protect the rural and suburban nature of communities surrounding Denver. He proposes four tenets about why TODs are bad for the future. Below, I address each of these.
The common wisdom about walkable neighborhoods holds that density – proximity to destinations – determines the number of walking trips. An ideal walking distance of a quarter mile is usually prescribed between residences and the nearest transit stop or retail center.
I don’t dispute that walking distance is important, especially when I’m lugging an armload of groceries. However, some trendy high-density development favors compactness at the expense of comfort and safety.
I believe it's very likely that within a few years, planning departments will be using blogs, and perhaps other social networking site options, as approaches to public input on planning policy or development applications.
Perhaps some are doing it already?