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Semantics or Antics: Is New Development Really 'Transit Oriented'?

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Rendering from Metro - Los Angeles/Flickr

Rendering from Metro - Los Angeles/Flickr
Streetsblog takes a close look at the MacArthur Park Metro Apartments, for which Mayor Villaraigosa and others held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday. The project is "located one block east of the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Rail Station entrance," and is backed with stimulus funds, according to The Source.The project is categorized as a TOD, or Transit Oriented Development, which means one of its core functions is, in theory, to "encourage use of the transit facilities that are right under its nose."

But the TOD has what Streetsblog calls an "evil twin," in the form of a TAD, or Transit Adjacent Development, where, no matter how nifty the whole package is, it's really just a new facility located next to transit.

So is this new project TOD or TAD? Streetsblog uses a set of criteria to come up with a verdict:

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does the design take advantage of the transit node, does it create an attractive and safe pedestrian network, how are the bike amenities, does it create a mix of housing options and uses, and is their a restriction of automobile parking?

And? They find some "troubling aspects" to the project, including a "de-emphasis of the bus, the lack of bike parking in an area which (anecdotally, because the city doesn't do bike counts) has a large number of cyclists and the levels of car-parking make it difficult to to declare it an example of Transit Oriented Development." Potential bright spot: Free transit passes offered to residents. Of course, it remains to be seen if those residents use the passes.