This week in transit: Transit-oriented development is a no-brainer

The big news this week was the Better Housing Coalition's announcement of plans to build a transit-oriented development in Scott's Addition. They purchased the Quality Inn at 3200 W. Broad Street, which is right next to a BRT stop.

From their press release (PDF):

According to President and CEO Greta J. Harris, BHC’s desire is to develop and model a high-quality, mixed-income, mixed-use, Transit-Oriented Development that will afford its future residents (in particular, families of modest income) more housing and school options; and greater access to career opportunities. A Transit Oriented Development, or TOD, is commonly defined as high-density, mixed-use development within walking distance of a transit station.

Transit-oriented development is a big deal and is frequently used as one of the big selling points for transit system expansions like The Pulse. So it's nice to already see some investments being made in the corridor because bus rapid transit is on its way. Plus, at over $30 million, it's no small investment on the Better Housing Coalition's part—it's the largest in the organization's history. They're banking big on transit. This development might be the first bit of TOD, but it certainly won't be the last!

The success of the Pulse and the rise of transit-oriented development around its stations will be critical to advocating for a regional transit system. As development springs up and businesses move in around the Pulse, it'll get easier to push for extending the route further into Henrico County and for building new routes into Chesterfield.


High-speed rail was also in the news around town—especially where to put Richmond's high-speed rail station. There are a couple of options, but it seems like two have bubbled up to the top: 1) Main Street Station + Staples Mill Station or 2) A new station on the Boulevard. Former VCU president Eugene Trani had an editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about why the station should be on the Boulevard. Taber Bain provide the humorous and thoroughly well-thought-out rebuttal. For context, The Virginians For High Speed Rail have previously endorsed the two-station plan involving Main Street Station and Staples Mill Station.

This is your last email-based reminder about the Mayorathon! I hope you will join us next Thursday as we dive deep with the eight mayoral candidates into all sorts of fascinating topics and policies. RSVP right here!


Regional transit plans are springing up at every turn. Nashville somehow got 28 mayors from a 10-county region to all agree on a new, $6 billion regional plan. They haven't got the funds for it yet, but they're working on it!

Meanwhile, in Detroit, folks continue to work toward the adoption of a dedicated funding stream for their proposed regional transit system. It'll be on the ballot this fall. Stressful!

Shhhhhh! The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Authority wants to ban talking on your cellphone while riding on the train.


—Ross Catrow