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Transit Oriented Communities

Transit Oriented Development Leads
to Transit Oriented Communities

According to the Center For Transit Oriented Development, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other commercial development and amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.

By connecting people and amenities through improved access to public transit, TOD reduces car dependency and greenhouse gas emissions; promotes walkable and bikeable communities that accommodate more healthy and active lifestyles; increases transit ridership and revenues for transit operators; improves access to jobs and economic opportunities; and creates more opportunities for mobility. Metro’s vision goes beyond TOD to focus on the creation of “transit oriented communities” (TOC). TOCs represent an approach to development focused on compact, walkable and bikeable places in a community context (rather than focusing on a single development parcel), integrated with transit.

In October 2015, Metro launched the TOC Demonstration Program , which will showcase this comprehensive approach to facilitating development on Metro-owned land around stations, and to expanding and measuring the impact of these developments along the transit corridor.

Building Transit Oriented Communities in Los Angeles County

Implementing Metro’s TOC Demonstration Program will rely on Metro policies and programs, as well as coordination with local, state and federal programs, combined with private sector investment in communities. There is no one strategy for implementing TOCs, but rather it is a continual assessment and collaboration as to what tools and innovative approaches can be brought to bear on each transit corridor. This website gives an overview of three key policy and programmatic areas that support TOC in Los Angeles County:

  • The Metro Joint Development Program
  • Transit Supportive Planning support
  • A new set of affordable housing policies.

Each of these policies and programs is closely integrated with other policy and planning efforts, including Metro’s long range transportation planning for the County of Los Angeles, Metro’s First/Last Mile Strategy, Sustainability Policy, and Active Transportation Goals. Together all of these policies and programs set the foundation to leverage creative partnerships in support of building TOCs.

Joint Development Program : Metro’s Joint Development Program makes Metro-owned properties at or near Metro’s bus and rail stations available for development.   Joint Development usually occurs through a competitive solicitation issued by the Joint Development Team, but Metro can consider unsolicited proposals in certain circumstances.

Transit Supportive Planning : Metro supports local jurisdictions in adopting land uses supportive of Transit Oriented Development through two programs:

  • TOD Planning Grant program : This grant program provides funding to municipalities seeking to adopt land use plans that remove barriers to TOD.   Funded plans include updates to General Plans, specific plans, overlay zones or other planning tools.  The grant also funds the environmental processes required to adopt the plans.  Details on the first four rounds of this grant program, and upcoming opportunities are now available.
  • The Toolkit for Transit Supportive Planning : As part of a partnership with UCLA’s Los Angeles Regional Climate Change Collaborative (LARC), Metro and LARC received a grant to develop a countywide framework for climate change adaptation strategies.  As part of this work, Metro is developing the Toolkit for Transit Supportive Planning, to provide municipalities with the best practices and policies for sustainable and transit-supportive land uses across a variety of neighborhood typologies.

Affordable Housing Policies : In July 2015, the Metro Board adopted an updated Joint Development Policy that includes new affordable housing policies.  In addition, Metro is working on a number of additional affordable housing policies, including supporting the creation of a Transit Oriented Affordable Housing and Business Loan Fund.

Metro’s JD staff provides quarterly progress reports to the Board for each of the Demonstration sites. See below for an archive of TOC Program quarterly updates:

In addition, any time the Board is asked to take action regarding one of the Demonstration sites, staff will note the site’s inclusion in the Demonstration Program and indicate how proposed actions align with Program’s goals.

For more information, contact Jenna Hornstock, Deputy Executive Officer, or 213.922.7437.

TOC Demonstration

In October 2015, Metro launched the TOC Demonstration Program, to showcase a more comprehensive approach to facilitating development on Metro-owned land around high quality transit stations, and to expanding and measuring the impact of these developments within a one to one and a half mile radius in the transit corridor.

Moving from TOD to TOCs requires Metro to take a leadership role in collaborating with a variety of local stakeholders, including local government, private developers and community members, to make our individual transit oriented developments and policies part of a vibrant built environment for existing and future residents to live, work, play and commute. The TOC Demonstration Program will showcase a broader community development focus to all aspects of Metro’s work in building the public transit system and its related infrastructure. The Program will be realized through two components:

  • A recalibration of the JD Process focused on active collaboration with community stakeholders and local jurisdictions
  • A “TOC Toolkit” that draws upon an array of creative community development tools to support JD projects in achieving broader TOC goals

Seven sites have been selected for the TOC Demonstration Program. It is important to note that the seven sites identified for the Program are not the only active projects in the current JD work program. The TOC approach will be applied to all active sites, and new sites can be pursued during and after the Demonstration Program.

Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) is the core of LA County’s transit system and the largest multi-modal transit station in Southern California, connecting over 17 million people across five counties. As the hub of Metro’s multimodal transit system, Union Station directly serves Metro and municipal bus lines, Metrolink and Amtrak, as well as the Metro Gold Line and Metro Red/Purple lines.

Sitting just north of Downtown Los Angeles, the station is also located between significant cultural communities, including El Pueblo de Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Civic Center, and the Historic Core. Its central location and regional transit connectivity give the station immense potential to become a vibrant urban destination.

Metro’s approach to advancing transit oriented communities at LAUS is centered on realizing a robust and diverse work program that enhances passenger experience, creates safer connections to surrounding communities, explores commercial development opportunities at and around the station, and ensures that Union Station is integrated into the larger revitalization in Downtown Los Angeles.

All improvement projects at the station are listed and described further on the LAUS website.

LA Union Station Improvements

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