Monday, April 12, 2010

How not to build TOD

I received two links from co-founder of OnTax, Joe Zaccaria, this weekend. This first link is to a site called the Sustainable Cities Institute. It is funded by the Home Depot Foundation and is a clearing house for information on sustainable city building. It is worth checking out.

The second link is a blog post about how not to building Transit Oriented Development (TOD). As you know, TOD is about accommodating the transportation hierarchy. Pedestrians being the most important, followed by cycling, transit, and finally automobiles. The author of the post points out what can go wrong when intra-government communication breaks down. In this TOD project one level of government actually installed signs alerting the public to bike parking while another level of government forgot to install the bike racks! It gets even worse:
Tuesday arrives and I lock my bike up to a light pole on the public plaza. I'm joined by Ron Durgin of Sustainable Streets and Enci of illuminateLA, both of whom take a one hour survey of the W Hollywood Hotel &; Residences with me. When we return to the small empty room off to the side of the elevator, we find Lieutenant George Grein, Retired, of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. He has just interrupted a drug deal in the future home of the Metro's safe, secure, and effective Hollywood & Vine bike parking. We are later joined by Sergeant Cliff Yates of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department who is the supervisor for this area of the Metro. Both Grein and Yates concur that isolation and seclusion are bad ideas for bike parking and that the evidence of human waste, transient accommodations, and drug activity would support my contention that the bike parking should be located elsewhere.
Joe commented:
I recently visited LA and after looking at the W from a nearby cafe I checked it out. I am a CPTED professional and I immediately saw these deadzones that you speak about in your article. I also wondered about the public realm planning as I walked around. I've been involved in hundreds of large-scale design projects all over the worlds and I would say this project should be documented in a book entitled, "How Not to Build TOD".

How could your Metro get it so wrong? Perhaps like most transit authorities, you have a senior executive and management staff that don't use transit, bikes, etc? After all, it’s tough to design proper TOD when you are constantly tooling down the freeway in your BMW!

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