Moving Beyond the Automobile: Transit Oriented Development

This Streetfilm, by Clarence Eckerson Jr., is an important one for Los Angeles as we consider how our city and county are going to grow as a result of the expected transit boom in the coming decade(s). This film focuses on Transit Oriented Development, with a focus on how a light rail line transformed Jersey City with dense, mixed use, transit oriented development. Here are some of the lessons we should learn from Jersey City:

1) Transit Oriented Development should take advantage of many modes of transportation. In Jersey City, the developments take advantage of not only the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and the bus system, but also a ferry system to move people across the water in to New York City. In Los Angeles, we don’t have ferries, but we do have a bus system that is constantly under attack because of operating shortfalls and of course we’re also working on creating a bicycle network.

2) Transit Oriented Developments should not have parking minimums. As a matter of fact, there is no minimum parking requirement in Jersey City, but a maximum one. It’s no wonder that car ownership around Jersey City’s T.O.D.’s hovers between 40% and 45%.

3) Zoning should support mixed use development. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Kate Slevin explains that real mixed use zoning isn’t just for the gigantic new developments, but also would allow apartments and offices to be placed on top of first floor retail buildings along commercial corridors.

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(Full disclosure: Slevin was my boss when I worked at TSTC)