A Better Transit-Oriented Design

Kent Kammerer asserts that by jumping too quickly on a TOD bandwagon that stresses density, local municipalities may leave out elements of social infrastructure and adequate services--the real driving forces behind successful, walkable areas.
February 26, 2009, 8am PST | Judy Chang
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"The image of TOD being sold to legislators, however, resembles a Rick Steves' travelogue. We imagine couples walking down quaint little streets, dining in sidewalk cafes. The smell of fresh baked bread, cheese, and sausage floats in the air. There are faint sounds of violins and laughter.

The reality of TOD development in Seattle will more resemble the Belltown neighborhood, which now has densities similar to the proposed legislation. In Belltown, the woman brave enough to go for a walk in the evening carries a Glock in her purse. The smell floating in the air is vomit spewed in a shop doorway and the lingering aroma of Canadian bud. She walks to the beat of blasting music from night clubs and the occasional pop of...car backfire? Or is it guns?

The imagery of walkable neighborhoods being sold to the public everywhere, not just here, ignores much of the reality of dense development in American cities. Laws can be created that mandate density, but cities cannot require businesses to locate there, especially the kind of businesses the planners hope for."

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Published on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 in Cross
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