Phoenix, Arizona has been making changes from its suburban, single story, sprawling past. The inception of Phoenix’s , light-rail system, METRO, has acted as a catalyst for the proliferation of transit oriented developments (TODs) along the corridor it occupies. This is no accident, as the cities in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area have been pursuing policies to encourage such development. The Valley METRO, the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Phoenix area, has a webpage with information on TODs.
While intense in nature, TODs are an important feature for increasing walkability, livability, and promoting transit use in cities. According to a white paper by the US EPA, TODs create an environment in which people are more likely to walk or bike, thereby increasing their health, and reducing emissions from automobiles by up to 20%. In Phoenix, the objectives of the TOD district are many; but most importantly, they include the promotion of mixed-use urban design that encourages people to walk, bike, or use transit.
Another project involving transit that the City of Phoenix is conducting, in conjunction with its General Plan Update, is Reinvent Phoenix. On its surface, the project is just a series of visioning sessions, but it is really a step towards developing a form-based code for the light-rail corridor. The process is being conducted in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Schools of Sustainability and Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning. Additionally, the development of the code will be undertaken by the famous Florida based architecture, design, and planning firm Duany Plater-Zyberk, more commonly known as DPZ. This high profile code reform project will help formalize the process for developing TODs, especially in the midtown Phoenix corridor.
All in all, Reinvent Phoenix may encourage the proliferation of TODs in Phoenix, which will encourage more liveable communities.
Have you experienced an uptick in walking near TODs in your community?
Credits: Photo by James Gardner. Data linked to sources.