Walking is key to smart planning

The concept of transit-oriented development (TOD) has been thrown around Marin for years, and for good reason. The idea is that by putting new homes near transit, fewer people will drive and more people will take transit to work.

This, coincidentally, is Marin’s experience.

Marin’s towns were built with the understanding that most people would take the old light rail and ferry to work, and so we did. Though the light rail is long gone, our homes, businesses and transit hubs stayed put. As a result, Marin is one of the most transit-happy counties in California, trailing only San Francisco and Alameda in the percentage of its people commuting by transit. One in four people heading across the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning are on a bus.

Perhaps, though, it is understandable that IJ columnist Dick Spotswood would overlook the ongoing success of TOD in Marin. This transit-friendliness doesn’t seem to extend to the daily lives of Marinites, which often revolve around driving for all our errands. It’s so obvious to him, in fact, that he calls TOD “greenwashing.”

But Spotswood missed the secret power of transit-oriented development. It’s not the transit. What is it?

Continue reading on Marin IJ.

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About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

One Response to Walking is key to smart planning

  1. Larry Bryson says:

    The opponents and detractors will always have have problems to shout about. The war on poverty worked. Obama care works. Affordable housing works. There are still transit challenges, still poverty, still needs for healthcare, and still huge needs for housing. To case proves a need to expand those things rather than complain about falling short.

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