Monday, September 26, 2005

Land Use and Light Rail

Rocky Mountain News:

The rail line, part of the T-REX project between Broadway and Lincoln Avenue (south of C-470), will have 13 new stations, most of them on the west side of I-25. Plans are under way for new residential and commercial development that will create homes and workplaces for thousands of people within walking distance of the stations.

Without having actually seent he plans I'm somewhat skeptical. The only way to have genuine walkability is to reduce the amount of street level parking to levels that modern developers largely used to suburban development are uncomfortable with. Still, it'll be interesting to see whether sensible development can happen. This point in the article jumped out at me:

"We're talking about 1,000 or 2,000 residential units," said Madden. "There will be a lot of people buying who want to get rid of one car and have something new and exciting. It's something we're ready for."

That, I think, is the key issue for this kind of development. Can you, outside the core of a major city, create spaces that people like which allow them the genuine opportunity to have a fewer number of cars than the number of driving age individuals in their household. The point isn't to try to create places where no one owns a car - people like cars and want to own them even if they're not strictly "needed" - the point is to make households less car dependent by providing them with some desirable walking/transit opportunities.