The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) selected Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Omaha, Neb.; and Tacoma, Wash. to receive support in planning development near transit systems as part of the second round of its Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Technical Assistance Initiative. The initiative supports efforts to create mixed-use, walkable communities near transit with a focus on economically disadvantaged populations.
The five communities will receive in-depth, long-term technical assistance as they plan strategies for successful TOD, which has been shown to provide a boost to local economies. This work will emphasize partnerships between public and private entities as local leaders strive to attract development near transit.
In the second year of the program, FTA will work again with the nonprofit organization Smart Growth America to provide a variety of planning and analysis tools tailored to the needs of each community. The free technical assistance to the communities, which were chosen through a competitive process, will include planning for and managing economic development near transit through effective zoning and land-use planning as well as strategies to retain affordable housing and local businesses.
Among the selected technical assistance projects:
- The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, with support from the City of Birmingham, will receive technical assistance to support a station area plan around a new bus rapid transit station. The project will aim to maximize TOD potential around the transit center by developing a set of tools that can be replicated around other BRT stations along the corridor, as well as a website and other public outreach strategies.
- The City of Charlotte, with support from the Charlotte Area Transit System, will receive technical assistance to develop strategies to help preserve established neighborhoods and incentivize appropriate TOD along the western end of the Gold Line streetcar corridor, known as the Historic West End.
- The City of Tacoma will receive technical assistance to identify economic development and housing opportunities along the Hilltop segment of the Tacoma Link light rail expansion. The technical assistance will result in an economic and housing market study that projects employment, housing, and property trends in addition to TOD opportunity sites.
In early 2016, as part of the kickoff of the TOD technical assistance initiative, FTA announced the selection of nine communities to receive technical support. In the selected community of Kansas City, Mo., residents, civic leaders, and planning officials gathered in August 2016 to strategize ways to attract well-planned, equitable development to support a planned bus rapid transit corridor along Prospect Avenue.
The resulting strategies focused on ways to preserve and focus on the area’s rich cultural and residential history, expand and support the corridor’s business revitalization, and install wide sidewalks and bike lanes. More information regarding the first round of technical assistance will be highlighted in a report that will be posted on FTA’s website in early 2017.