I just completed the 7 week Transit Alliance Citizens’ Academy. I will be sharing what I have learned, the way my attitudes about transit have been changed and what I have learned. First, I want to discuss Transit Oriented Communities and Transit Oriented Developments. In plain English, those are neighborhoods and developments near public transportation like our fabulous Denver light rail system
RTD –Regional Transportation, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, CAR-Colorado Association of Realtors, DRCOG-Denver Regional Council of Governments and DLP-Denver Livability Partnership have joined in the support of Transit Alliance Citizens’ Academy. The focus of the transit alliance is relatively simple. Its mission is to make everyone more aware of the Denver Regional Transit System. Plus, it has me more aware of Denver neighborhoods and lifestyles where you don’t need a car.
Transit Oriented Communities, or TOCs, either by planning or by location, benefited from easy access to transit. Transit can be described as rail, bus, shuttle or special transit services. Most of Denver went without a transportation system until the early 1970s when RTD received its charter. Major arteries began with bus routes. As this system expanded, special services and shuttles were added along with Express Routes. As you can see, from the bus system, we’ve had some transit oriented communities for quite some time now. Lucky by location or smart by design, these communities lend themselves to easy access to our urban core and express route system.
With Light Rail came along, we saw TOCs become over shadowed by TODs, or Transit Oriented Development. Or in other words, we had a rush to develop the land around Light Rail stops. The most easily recognizable and the focal point of Englewood, Colorado was the redevelopment of the long standing Cinderella City. A dated tired indoor mall from the 1960s has become the Jewell of Old Englewood as the example of what can become the model for the rest of Denver as the rail system continues to expand.
Yes, the answer to your question as it was mine too; TODs and TOCs coexist along the same routes and at the same stops. In fact, TOCs commonly enjoy a renewed interest of gentrification all their own. For example, the University of Denver (University Park) once an abyss of pre & post war bungalows and apartment buildings is enjoying a dynamic rebirth of higher density multifamily and gentrification from the old bungalows to neo-modern significantly larger and higher priced single family. What we are learning is the intended and unintended consequences of transit’s effect on and in communities is much more far reaching than most of us ever imagined.
In future posts I will be talking more specifically about the growth of our transit system, all types of communities and developments along various transit corridors and bringing you their sights and sounds. So for now, just think about what it would be like to get rid of one of your family’s cars or better yet, not have the need for car ownership at all. What would you do with all that extra cash each month?