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New UW Study Takes Aim at Urban Sprawl

By October 22, 2009


Are you an transit policy wonk? Do you come to city council meetings and harass your elected officials about the abominable state of the bike lanes on Rainier Avenue? Have you asked your partner to whisper sweet nothings about multi-modal, gridiron street-networks? If so, the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments has some new ammunition for your heated transit debates.

They have completed a new study entitled From Barriers to Solutions and Best Practices: Urban Centers and TOD in Washington (for the transit-policy-acronym-impaired, TOD stands for transit-oriented design). The study was commissioned by Quality Growth Alliance, and it outlines the top ten best practices for affecting change. Find out what they are after the jump.

  1. Accommodate Pedestrians. Reflect a pedestrian-orientation in built
    environments. Every transit trip begins and ends on foot, dictating a pedestrian emphasis.
  2. Improve Access from Transit to Jobs and Residences. Locate new development in proximity to transit opportunities to leverage the public’s investment in transit capital and operating budgets.
  3. Move from Node to Place. Create places for people, not cars. A place-making orientation should take precedence over creating a node for commuters and drivers.
  4. Resolve Fiscal Challenges and Barriers. Continue diligent attention to resolution of public and private fiscal barriers. The public sector is handicapped by limited financing mechanisms for needed infrastructure.
  5. Depoliticize Transit Service. More fully fund transit operations and focus new service in areas with the greatest demand for transit service.
  6. Integrate Views Among Actors. Approach urban centers and TODs in an interdisciplinary fashion. To reach its potential, TOD should benefit from integrated goals, resources and policies.
  7. Enhance Leadership and Vision. Continue leadership and articulation of a regional vision, consistent with GMA goals and objectives for development of urban centers and TODs.
  8. Enhance Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Related Tools. Governments should continue to moderate auto use through TDM, balanced parking requirements, emphasis on traffic calming approaches and expanded social-cost pricing mechanisms.
  9. Implement Proactive Zoning and Land Use Regulations. Seek graceful growth and quality living environments through proactive planning. Zoning and development regulations should reflect comprehensive planning objectives and integrate with transit agency planning and implementation.
  10. Acknowledge Political Opposition to Growth and Density Imposition. Offset resistance to density by corresponding investments in services and amenities. Public outreach should better anticipate “NIMBY” backlash and instill a sense of ownership in projects and plans.

So watch out, NIMBYs. We anticipate your backlash, and we are totally going to instill a sense of ownership in you. All. Night. Long.