Transit Corridor Planning (PDF)
Example: The Fairmount Line CDC Collaborative (Boston, MA)
Summary: Community development corporations (CDCs) can play a critical role in planning for equitable transit-oriented development around existing and planned transit stations along a transit corridor and then in implementing the planned transit-oriented development.
Planning for transit and accompanying transit-oriented development should occur at different scales, for both specific station areas but also for entire transit corridors. In Boston, four community development corporations (CDCs) worked together to create their own vision for the Fairmount Line, the only commuter rail line entirely within city limits. The four share contiguous boundaries along the line and serve over 175,000 largely low- and moderate-income and minority residents. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, is investing $100 million to expand transit service in the corridor by upgrading two existing stations and constructing four additional stations.
The Collaborative’s two major goals are to bring transit equity to the residents in the distressed neighborhoods along the Fairmount line and to spearhead smart- rowth, transit-oriented development. The collaborative has successfully pushed for smart-growth, transit-oriented-development urban villages and created a vision document, entitled Boston’s Newest Smart Growth Corridor, that outlines their urban village concept. The four CDCs collectively are working to develop a pipeline of 1,500 new and preserved housing units and 780,000 square feet of new commercial space in the Fairmount Line corridor.
Example: The Corridor Development Initiative (Twin Cities, MN)
Summary: A proactive, facilitated process can be used to bring all interested parties together to shape development projects along transit corridors before they are submitted to a municipal agency for approval.
The Corridor Development Initiative (CDI) fosters a partnership among neighborhoods, city government, developers and a technical team of development consultants, design experts and facilitators to raise the level of dialogue around redevelopment opportunities along major transit corridors. CDI takes citizens out of the role that they usually play—reacting to development proposals made by others—and puts them into a proactive role of shaping development in their community.
A typical initiative lasts six months and is overseen by an advisory group. CDI brings together all interested parties to learn, discuss, analyze, and grow to understand market realities that face a particular development site, all before any proposal is submitted to a governing agency. The heart of the program is an “interactive block exercise” facilitated by a team of design and development experts in which participants develop their own housing or mixed-use development proposals and test them for financial viability. The process concludes with the preparation of design principles that articulate how the community partners would like development to occur in their neighborhoods while balancing community values, city goals, development realities, and design opportunities.
Corridor development initiatives have been conducted in 16 communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area since 2002.