Study: Cuyahoga County Suburbs Ready for TOD

The growth of transit-oriented development in the Cleveland region is being hindered by zoning codes that limit housing density and excessive parking requirements that drive up construction costs, new research suggests.

2 minute read

January 8, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

RTA train at above-ground platform in Cleveland, Ohio

RTA Rapid Transit provides service to Cuyahoga County on four rail lines and three bus rapid transit lines. | upungato / RTA train

“New research by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission offers fresh evidence that Cleveland and surrounding suburbs would be smart to rezone transit corridors to encourage dense, walkable, transit-oriented development, or TOD,” reports Steven Litt for

While market demand for transit-oriented development in Cleveland is growing, in many cases, developers still have to go through a cumbersome and expensive process to get permits to build TOD. “The data show that between 2012 and 2021, some 383 new developments added nearly $3 billion in real estate value through new construction or building renovations in the transit corridors.”While not every project is ‘transit-friendly,’ the study’s authors say “the new wave of development shows that to a significant extent, transit-oriented development is already happening in the core of the region because the market is demanding it.”

The research is part of an initiative to encourage transit-oriented development and assess how zoning changes can stimulate more housing production near transit lines. The four-phase project “will include identifying areas that could be targeted for transit-oriented development, drafting model codes, and identifying financial mechanisms and incentives.”

According to the study, the momentum for boosting development along transit in many Cleveland suburbs is stymied by outdated zoning codes and parking requirements, as well as disparate regulations among different suburbs. The authors suggest that Cuyahoga County could help suburbs develop their zoning plans with an eye to housing development, connectivity, and walkability. For its part, the county sees TOD as “an opportunity to add population and rebuild the tax base after decades of sprawl sapped its strength.”

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