Balancing development with green space


A Red Line train leaving Settlers Landing Station. (Image: Tim Evanson, Flickr)

A 1.3 acre plot of land along the Cleveland Red Line is at the center of an argument over whether property would be best used for transit-oriented development or left fallow as part of a 2.3-mile greenway that will start construction this summer. The greenway will connect the Red Line corridor with other parks and trails that stretch to Akron.

Advocates against turning the 85 by 700 feet parcel into a transit-oriented development want the small property “preserved as habitat for deer, monarch butterflies, foxes, and other creatures.” ( Proponents of development believe the city needs more development like this near transit stations. And as we heard in a recent episode of Building Better Communities with Transit with former GCRTA CEO Joe Calabrese, Cleveland has been light on new development near transit, particularly along its rail lines.

It’s still early in the process and no final decisions have been made—GCRTA still needs to undergo design review and a bidding process for the rights to build on the property. Any new development will sit adjacent to the trail and could incorporate the trail into the design concept.

This is a discussion that comes up often in the face of space that’s been left open. Many developers won’t leave empty property to grow grass for fear residents will see it as a park and the fight for and against turning precious rail rights of ways into trails is a sore subject among many transit advocates. But with quality community engagement and the right process, a solution could present itself that makes everyone happy.

For more information on community engagement check out with documents such as A Guide to Community-Driven Transit-Oriented Development Planning by T.R.U.S.T. South LA and The Scenic Route: Getting Started with Creative Placemaking and Transportation from Transportation for America.

What’s new on the pod?

After receiving more than 10,000 comments, the city of Minneapolis recently adopted a routine comprehensive plan. But many of the policies and action steps laid out in the plan—called Minneapolis 2040—are anything but routine. Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender expands on how the plan will impact density, transit, TOD, and more this month on Building Better Communities with Transit. Listen 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.

  • Big box retailer is considering apartments atop of a future store near Denver light rail station (Denverite)
  • Oregon bill would legalize denser development near bus and rail transit statewide (Sightline Institute)
  • Closing NJ-NY rail tunnel would devastate home values and cost economy $16 billion (Time Magazine)
  • Duke University kills rail project that Durham spent 10 years planning (Streetsblog USA)