Houston Metro Seeks Proposals for Transit-Oriented Development

The agency will assess ways to more effectively use its surface parking lots and encourage more mixed-use development near transit hubs.

Read Time: 2 minutes

September 27, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of Houston freeway with bus, cars, and downtown skyline in background

Nate Hovee / Bus in Houston, Texas

Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is considering developing some of its ‘park and ride’ properties(largely surface parking lots) into housing and commercial space, reports Dug Begley in the Houston Chronicle.

“The [Metro] board in August created a subcommittee tasked with joint development and land use, which met for the first time Sept. 14. Staff, meanwhile, issued a request for information to developers, the first step in seeing if any have ideas for using Metro spaces.” As Begley writes, “If Metro can find private partners to better use its land, or build on it while maintaining its use for transit, the agency can add more value than just concrete lots, and better connect its transit centers to the surrounding area.”

Encouraging development on properties adjacent to transit stations is nothing new for other agencies, such as Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which instituted a transit-oriented development policy in 1989. “Critics, however, point out that for all of DART’s attempts to drive living and retail space toward its 93 miles of light rail lines, its ridership has not benefited. A station in the developed enclave of Las Colinas, aimed at bringing urban design to a suburban setting, is among the agency's lowest in terms of daily riders.”

Elsewhere, TODs have had more success. “Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority long has sought out deals that put transit stations into core shopping and residential areas,” Begley points out, and the practice of integrating transit stations with other uses is common in other countries.

Monday, September 26, 2022 in Houston Chronicle


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