By Rori Gallagher.
Even in these difficult economic times, California’s population continues to grow, and those additional people are going to need a place to live. Recent legislation in California directs city planners to make environmentally responsible choices for new housing. One way to do that is to create transit villages.
The idea is to design housing near a transit station with easy access to retail and commercial space. That way people can drive less if they want to. Some transit villages are easy to identify as pre-planned developments, like the transit village in South San Francisco. Others developed more organically, like the area surrounding the Rockridge Station in Oakland.
As with all new development and redevelopment, there’s always a concern about gentrification. Most cities have a requirement that a certain percentage of new units are offered below market rate. But some longtime residents of established communities, like San Mateo, worry about new development changing the character of the community. In order to make transit villages work, designers have to carefully blend new development with the existing community, creating a truly pedestrian-oriented destination. Check out a map of transit-oriented development in California. Also, here are some fun audio walking tours of transit-oriented development projects in the Bay Area.
Listen to the Mass Transit Housing Plan radio report online.