TOD gains speed in the suburbs


The Wheeling town center’s 100,000-square-foot retail area will be anchored by a Metra commuter station. (Photo: The Lynmark Group)

When it comes to TOD, one size does not fit all

TOD projects in suburban neighborhoods are gaining traction, yet are often overlooked by their larger, more urban counterparts. The growing number of smaller TOD projects along Chicago’s Metra commuter lines is encouraging more bedroom communities to follow suit, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Wheeling, Illinois, a suburb northwest of Chicago, is one community that is taking advantage of their station in this way. A new downtown plaza will offer access to a Metra commuter station, apartments, shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and a park district recreation center. The new outcrop of Chicago’s suburban TODs are “more often than not, located right along the many stops along the rail lines,” according to Greg Warsek, senior vice president and senior regional manager with Chicago’s Associated Bank.

Station areas are prime locations for housing and commercial development due to their accessibility to regional employment. Still, TODs need to adapt to their surrounding areas. In the library, TOD 202: Station Area Planning demonstrates the different types of development that can be accommodated at transit stations, from a regional downtown all the way to a smaller, transit accessible neighborhood. Handy tables lay out development guidelines, residential building types, and open space possibilities. A checklist guides decision makers and stakeholders as they try to produce smart projects that serve their goals.

Whether you’re looking to support a large project downtown or a few units at a suburban commuter rail station, TOD can work in a diversity of contexts.

Recent TOD news

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

  • Editorial: Building suburban Chicago downtowns from the ground up (Chicago Tribune)
  • Walkable living in the suburbs: Transit-oriented developments aren’t just for the city (RE Journals)
  • After dreaming of a downtown for decades, Cherry Hill wakes up to a Costco (
  • Transit stations can be at the center of housing supply (City Metric)
  • Walnut Creek Transit Village kicks off after 20 years (East Bay Times)