Transit Oriented Development to Rise on Denver-Area Park-and-Ride Facilities

The Regional Transportation District sees an opportunity for affordable housing to be located on its under-utilized parking lots.

February 21, 2021, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is on the cusp of approving a new "Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy," reports Nathaniel Minor. The RTD Board of Directors is scheduled to take a final vote on the policy at its meeting next week.

According to Minor, the new policy is intended to encourage new housing development near the system's transit stations, on properties currently comprised mostly of park-and-ride facilities. Minor provides more detail and context:

Among the most important pieces of that new policy is a non-binding goal that 35 percent of all housing units built on RTD property be affordable. The new policy would also give RTD staff more flexibility to allow housing developments that don’t include a garage to replace every parking spot they use. The agency’s own research suggests that people that live in affordable housing need less parking and use transit more. 

The article includes insights from local developers about how the new policy would alleviate some of the costs of development that have sunk transit oriented development proposals in the past. Transit oriented development has traditionally been a tough sell in Denver suburbs.

The deployment of the policy, should it pass (the preliminary vote was unanimous in support), will face unique challenges in the numerous jurisdictions housing RTD stations. While some park-and-ride facilities in the system are consistently full and will not be developed, at least a dozen RTD stations have some potential for denser development with less onerous parking requirement.

The city of Denver launched its own transit oriented development program, Transit Oriented Denver, in 2014.

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