By Chris Szmurlo, Senior Planner, RTA
The RTA’s Community Planning program, established in 1998, provides the RTA with a mechanism to enable local governments to create communities that support transit ridership and improve access to public transportation while supporting local economic development goals. The program’s eligible projects range from transit-oriented development (TOD) plans to zoning code updates. All of these efforts have in some way positively impacted the region by revitalizing downtowns, streamlining local development approval processes, and enhancing station areas to become more accessible.
In an attempt to better understand the impact that the program’s completed plans have had on development in our region, the RTA administered a survey to past project partners. The survey asks communities to identify any policy changes or infrastructure improvements that were put in place to support the recommendations from their completed planning efforts. In addition, they are asked to list any new developments that were approved, under construction, or completed in their TOD area during the previous calendar year. The results of the survey are then included in our annual implementation report.
The RTA recently completed Making an Impact, our second annual report. The document, which you can read here, provides an overview of how the RTA’s Community Planning program supports TOD, includes a summary of the most recent survey results, and mentions several exemplary communities that have recently been successful in implementing their planning efforts. Making an Impact specifically reported on 28 developments in 2015 with 5 being approved, 13 being under construction, and 10 being completed during the course of the year. These projects include 1,647 residential units, 294,291 square feet of commercial/retail space, 107,502 square feet of office space, and 20,390 square feet of building rehabs at each of the phases of development.
We encourage you to read this year’s implementation report to find out more. For additional information about the Community Planning program, please visit our website.