Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madision (@greenthumbnatasha) recently wrote a powerful opinion piece in the Austin Chronicle on transit-oriented development (TOD). Excerpt:
Project Connect gives us the opportunity to reverse course and retrofit an Austin with what the wonks call “transit-oriented development,” or TOD. That’s just a 10-dollar term for housing, jobs, and other kinds of community amenities that you don’t need a car to get to. In a lot of other cities across the world, and even here in the U.S., they just call this “development.”
By retooling our existing systems to allow for a lot more TOD to replace the existing COD (car-oriented development) along our transit corridors, we can make big steps toward achieving our housing, mobility, and climate goals, on top of getting the most bang for the seven billion bucks all of us are spending on Project Connect.
Part of what she implies is that TOD shouldn’t be extremely specialized; it should be the way Austin naturally develops. Our land development code and zoning cause Austin to develop in a more car-oriented way.