An exurban transit-oriented community


Lincoln station, the current southern terminus of the E, F, and R lines. Three new stations are scheduled to open in May, extending the lines south by 2.3 miles. (Image: David Wilson, Flickr)

In 2018 the suburban Denver community of RidgeGate unveiled a plan for Lone Tree City Center, a project that is expected to support 40,000 jobs in the future. Covering some 400 acres, the project represents the next iteration of growth for the community which saw its first development about 15 years ago. What would make this development unique though are the three new light rail stations that will provide direct connections to the Denver Tech Center and Downtown Denver, the two largest employment districts in the region.

Local stakeholders paid $35 million into the construction of the $224 million 2.3-mile southern extension of the light rail line. And the land on which the light rail line was built was owned almost entirely by a single entity which “actively courted RTD [the local transit agency] to build there.” (Denver Post) The Lone Tree City Center project will create 32 city blocks mixing office, retail, and residential spaces around two light rail stations and be home to approximately 5,000 residents and 40,000 jobs in the future. The third station will connect to the medical center and other major employers.

But the RTD board member who represents the area urges caution, saying that the “City Center” name is certainly optimistic considering there is no development at the moment save for the hospital. There’s also a $25 million expansion of an arterial street nearby from two lanes to six that could be hostile to pedestrians when development does occur.

It will be interesting to see if this new extension of RTD’s light rail can help support a walkable community in the suburbs. To learn more about how to design better streets for transit and measure good urban design, see NACTO’s transit street design guide as well as the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s street design measures at

What’s new on the pod?

Development doesn’t happen just because a TOD policy is put in place, and a new update to Chicago’s TOD policy seeks to expand where and how TOD is happening. This month, Kendra Freeman from the Metropolitan Planning Council talks about the impact that TOD policy has had so far in the city and what Chicago is doing to make future development more equitable. Catch this episode on Soundcloud, Stitcher, iTunes, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.

  • Berlin’s $18 million “town center” is latest project spurred by Hartford Rail Line (Hartford Business Journal)
  • California may get rid of single-family zoning with major TOD bill (The Los Angeles Times)
  • New affordable housing close to transit serves Portland, OR’s Jade District community (Metro News)
  • Proposed 100 percent affordable housing TOD in Logan Square receives support (Streetsblog Chicago)
  • Community land trust enables permanently affordable housing along Denver transit corridor (Mile High CRE)