TOD Implementation Project
The purpose of the Transit Oriented Development Implementation Project is to advance the plans prepared for the Station Area Planning Project from their current concept stage. This includes a variety of potential tasks, which will be undertaken on an as needed basis and as desired by the busway stakeholders. The Capitol Region Council of Governments offers this project as a resource to the cities of New Britain and Hartford, the towns of Newington and West Hartford, and to public agencies with interests related to the New Britain/Hartford busway. CRCOG is currently working with these entities to determine their level of interest in implementing TOD and their priority TOD implementation tasks.
Project-eligible areas will be the stations themselves (working in concert with the Connecticut Department of Transportation's busway station design project) and the 1/4 - 1/2 mile radii around the 11 stations (working in concert with respective municipalities).
The consultant team selected to work on this project is led by Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge, LLC (http://www.cssboston.com) For additional information, contact Mary Ellen Kowalewski, at 860-522-2217, ext. 222 or email@example.com
Many transit systems are designed in a "park-and-ride" format, where a transit line is superimposed upon a predominantly auto-oriented landscape. Although the park-and-ride format is an improvement because it increases transportation options, the transit-oriented option is even better because it combines land use and transportation making efficient use of both.
Although transit does not unilaterally redefine market and development patterns, it can serve as a framework for new and clustered development when coordinated with transit-oriented planning, zoning, infrastructure, and economic development practices and policies. Often at least part of a rider's transit trip includes the walk mode. If the areas around the station are develop as higher-density, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly places, then more people can be enticed to use transit and to walk from the transit station to their destination or from their point of origin to the station. Transit-oriented development:
- Provides real alternatives to driving and reduces auto-dependency;
- Generates pedestrian activity;
- Creates opportunities for infill development and redevelopment in underutilized areas;
- Contributes to more efficient land utilization.
What Do "Transit Oriented Development" (TOD) Districts Look Like?
Planning around transit (bus or rail) stations is known as Transit Oriented Development and it has been successful throughout the country. The Pittsburgh busway and the Washington D.C. Metro are examples where districts surrounding the rapid transit systems thrive, adding to the quality of life in these communities.
Successful TOD districts have a blend of housing, retail, and/or office and a good measure of density, whether job density (25-50 jobs/acre) or housing density (min 12/acre -16+ is better). Development is more compact and less dependent on parking and auto use. Infrastructure costs for streets, water, sewer, and utilities are reduced while property values are typically increased.
Other key elements include an attractive, safe, and inviting pedestrian environment as well as public space integrated with the transit station and commercial space to create a "sense of place." Buildings are near the street with several windows and doors on the ground floor. Public streets and walkways are organized in a grid pattern that create comfortably sized blocks. The districts are usually within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile radius around a station, or a comfortable five to ten minute walking distance.
Much of the literature on TOD has focused on rail systems. However, the New Britain/Hartford busway - with its dedicated right-of-way and fixed stops - will function like a rail transit system and therefore contains the elements essential for a TOD market response: a fixed place in space that developers can count on and fast, convenient service that riders can count on.
The New Britain/Hartford Busway
The busway will link downtown Hartford to West Hartford, Newington, and downtown New Britain and connect commuters from towns west of the busway to the region's core. The New Britain/Hartford Busway will be built and owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The 9.4-mile long busway will run on active and inactive railroad rights-of-way and have 11 stations. Our analysis shows that the busway will, by the year 2030, carry 16,300 transit trips per day of which 5,000 would be new transit trips. Service will be frequent and extended from early morning until late night. The busway was selected for construction after a major study showed it would be more effective in addressing congestion on Interstate 84 west of Hartford, now and in the future, than widening the highway and at a fraction of the cost.
The active portion of the right-of-way is utilized today by Amtrak for passenger rail and has been identified as part of the proposed New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail line. The commuter rail project will have two stations (Union and Newington Junction) that overlap with busway stations.
A busway is like a surface subway in that it has its own road (a "dedicated guideway"), stations (ranging from simple platforms to larger buildings), and frequent service (buses every 5 to 15 minutes). The dedicated guideway for buses allows them to travel faster than buses in mixed traffic, and offers riders a shorter travel time than driving their own car in rush-hour traffic. Busways have been in use for years in Europe and South America; two North American examples are found in Pittsburgh, PA and Ottawa, Canada. Funded with both federal and state money, the New Britain - Hartford busway is in design now with construction scheduled to start in 2011 and to be operational in 2013.