One day after the city's transit committee agreed to support the much-discussed Transit Option Four, they added a special note for any suburban constituents or councillors hoping for expansion of the light rail tracks outside the Greenbelt: you'll have to prove that it's a worthy investment by demonstrating greater demand and higher population density.The only place in the United States I can think of that has this type of rule is the Bay Area and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The MTC is the local MPO and they have set up a system that mandates certain densities for cities to get funding for new transit expansion. And cities take it seriously. A Contra Costa Times article yesterday discusses transit officials in Antioch that are worried they won't make their intensity benchmark if they leave the station in the place for which its planned.
The median location near Hillcrest Avenue would constrain transit-oriented development because of the existing PG&E property, thus making it difficult to reach a Metropolitan Transportation Commission mandate for residential units within a half mile radius of a station, city planning officials said.I wish more MPOs were as progressive as the MTC. Most of them are just highway money distributors. Here is their policy summed up:
Each transit extension project funded in Resolution 3434 must plan for a minimum number of housing units along the corridor. These corridor-level thresholds vary by mode of transit, with more capital-intensive modes requiring higher numbers of housing units.Now that residential units are down, there needs to be a jobs policy, because as we noted in a post on jobs, its great to have residential density, but unless it connects to where you want to go, it doesn't really help much.