TOD winds shift in San Diego


A Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) light rail vehicle in San Diego. (Image: William Garrett, Flickr)

While San Diego has a few light rail lines, an extensive bus network, and a commuter rail line that connects to Oceanside, CA (about 35 miles north), much of the city is still very car-dependent. But there are hints of change as city leaders have begun to remake land use and development policy over the past few years—especially in the last 12 months—and political winds start to shift.

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This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we chat with Colin Parent, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, an advocacy organization that promotes public and active transportation in tandem with sustainable growth. As Colin notes, much of the renewed interest and support for transit and transit-oriented development is being driven by one thing: the housing crisis.

A fair amount of what Colin covers on the podcast is happening in real time: city leaders like Republican Mayor Kevin Falconer have become more vocal and assertive around new housing and are relaxing height limits and parking requirements across the city, including along the mid-coast transit corridor currently under construction. In fact, on Monday (March 4) the city voted to eliminate parking minimums and require parking costs to be unbundled from housing costs in “transit priority areas.” And the city’s transit agency has amended policies to allow for more transit-oriented development within the last year. Early discussions are also taking place about the possibility of a future ballot measure for new transit funding, as Colin discusses.

Listen to the podcast to hear more about the fascinating history and future for transit and TOD in San Diego.

Building Better Communities with Transit is intended to provide support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies. You can find this episode—and all of our previous episodes—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.

  • Vancouver, BC considers halting all rezoning applications along future transit line (CBC)
  • San Diego votes to eliminate parking requirements near transit (KPCC San Diego)
  • Developer plans apartments near Kissimmee Sunrail Station (Orlando Sentinel)
  • Brookhaven ready to restart MARTA TOD Talks (Reporter Newspapers)