'Transit-Oriented Communities' Would Take Advantage of Bus System Changes in New Orleans

Transit planning is land use planning and land use planning is transit planning.

April 26, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Streetcar

cate-89 / Shutterstock

"Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration is studying how to use a coming redesign of New Orleans' public-transportation system to create housing, retail and public amenities along new transit routes in the city," reports Jessica Williams.

"The 'transit-oriented communities' City Hall wants to create would see denser housing and a slew of businesses spring up near public transit lines, officials said at a public meeting this month. Green spaces and engaging architecture would make those neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly, they said."

As explained by Williams, the Regional Transit Authority is expected to roll out a bus system redesign this summer. The New Links Transit Redesign Plan, approved by the City Council and mayor in March 2021, will consolidate bus routes to run buses more frequently on high-value routes. The push for planning tools to form transit-oriented communities would represent the land use integration with those transit plans.

"Ideally, the communities would entice more residents to use buses and streetcars, foster economic development, create safer streets and provide affordable housing opportunities that are closer to jobs, planners said."

Williams notes that the specific zoning tools that will implement a transit-oriented community vision will still have to be determined. Zoning changes designed to provide incentives for additional density have a spotty track record in New Orleans. A 2017 rework of the city's master plan "initially waived preservation rules to try and make it easier to develop denser, more affordable housing, particularly on popular public transit routes such as Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue," but those proposed changes didn't make it into the final version of the plan.

The article is behind a paywall at Nola.com, but is available to read in full at Mass Transit.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Mass Transit

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