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Moving From TOD Planning to Implementation: The Twin Cities Story. Gretchen Nicholls. Housing + Transit Conference Austin TX October 2010. BOSTON : mature system, hot housing market, state leadership

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Moving from tod planning to implementation the twin cities story

Moving From TOD Planning to Implementation:

The Twin Cities Story

Gretchen Nicholls

Housing + Transit Conference

Austin TX

October 2010

BOSTON:mature system, hot housing market, state leadership

CHARLOTTE: new line under construction, rapidly growing region and active housing market, city and transit agency leaders

DENVER:expanding new system, hot housing market, city/county partnering with MPO and transit agency

PORTLAND: expanding multi-modal system, hot housing market, regional approach

TWIN CITIES:new system with plans to expand, warm housing market, ridership and development responding to TOD, multiple public actors

  • Overview of Five Case Study Regions

Development has far exceeded expectations

Tremendous potential for neighborhood transformation – redeveloping industrial lands but also negatively impacting affordability

No real strategy for looking at how to keep this area affordable.

How could affordable housing help trigger the market?

Challenges of disposing/transitioning land acquired in building the line

Need to determine how to keep the market going, but also make good places.

Part of joint development is setting up the context for the private sector to maximize its investment and for the highest and best transit use (not just the highest dollar amount).

Localities cannot do it alone, need larger regional and state support

  • What does the Hiawatha Story Tell Us So Far?

Corridors of opportunity programmatic geographic areas of focus
Corridors of OpportunityProgrammatic & Geographic Areas of Focus

  • Affordable housing preservation & advancing opportunities for equitable TOD

    • Hiawatha, Central, Southwest: building off inventories

  • Small business support to grow customer base before, during, and after LRT construction

    • New loan products to create affordable space for new entrepreneurs

    • Central, downtown St. Paul, next-in-queue

  • Using SWLRT to institutionalize new approaches:

    • Long-term investment frameworks

    • New coordination structures w/transit project office and Community Works Process

  • Enhance region’s decision-making structure around transportation investment & land use decisions.

Regional Initiatives











  • Both/And (not Either/Or)

  • Community development works

  • Community development is about R & D for systems change

    • Green / sustainable development

    • Cross-disciplinary partnerships

    • Multiple purpose (mixed uses)

Community Development

Sponsored by

Regional Initiatives

Getting it Done:A workshop series on Transit-Oriented Districts and Walkable Communities

March – June 2010

Sponsored by:

Workshop topics
Workshop Topics:

Workshop I: Infrastructure and the Public Realm

Gary Toth, Project for Public Spaces

Workshop II: Connecting Land Use and Transportation

Joe Shilling, VirginiaTech Metropolitan Center

Workshop III: Equitable Development and Community Benefits

Leslie Moody, Partnership With Working Families

Workshop IV: Financing – Building Public / Private Partnerships

Dena Belzer, Strategic Economics

Who participated
Who participated?

  • 16 cities

  • 5 counties

  • Met Council, state and federal agencies.

  • 19 developers

  • 58 advocacy groups and community-based organizations

  • 35% attended 3 – 4 sessions.

  • Cross-disciplinary and cross-sector involvement.

Summaries and next steps
Summaries and Next Steps

  • Findings and policy recommendations from the series will be shared with city councils, planning commissions, legislative committees, and other key partners.

  • A web site that contains all of the presentations, links, and information gathered at the Getting it Done TOD series is available at

  • A shared definition of transit-oriented development.

  • A collection of local TOD case studies that provide information on what it took to get there (including capstone projects to further our on-the-ground learning).

Top ten tod policy strategies
Top Ten TOD Policy Strategies

  • Zoning revisions - minimum FAR, maximum parking

  • Invest in a system of transit improvements

  • Prioritize investment areas by identifying regional growth centers and conducting regional market analysis

  • Pass TIF for TOD

  • Make Livable Communities Act more explicitly a TOD program.

  • Use planning, urban design policy to influence design, engineering of LRT, BRT

  • Land banking resources (patient capital) and strategies

  • Land trust options for residential and commercial sites.

  • Improve watershed planning and coordination with cities.

  • Advocate against decentralized employment locations.

July november 2011

The Big Picture Project:

Aligning housing plans along the Central Corridor

July – November 2011

Framing documents
Framing Documents

Spreadsheet of existing plans, policies and recommendations

Affordable Housing near Transit / National Case Studies and Strategies


Project team
Project Team





Final product
Final Product:

Central Corridor Affordable Housing

Coordinated Plan


To provide a coordinated set of strategies for the Central Corridor that government, community, finance, and development partners can work toward to achieve affordable housing options, and identify policies that will enable those strategies to succeed.

Corridor Development Initiative

Providing a framework for higher density housing and mixed-use development along transportation corridors

Community Development

Proactive planning
Proactive Planning



CDI Block Exercise: What it is

An interactive exercise for community members to explore different development options and find out if the are financially viable.

Cdi block exercise community impact
CDI Block Exercise: Community Impact

Participants leave with a deeper understanding about the economic constraints of development and design opportunities in their neighborhood

Block Exercise: Community Impact

Block Exercise: Products

Summary Sheet of all Scenarios Created

Final Recommendations

Submit to city officials

Brooklyn Park / Huntington Pointe Site:

Development Guidelines

Sponsored by the Brooklyn Park Economic Development Authority,

Hennepin County Housing, Community Works, and Transit and the

Corridor Development Initiative/Twin Cities LISC

Lessons Learned

  • Change is natural evolution of past and future

  • Ground discussion in shared values

  • Experts on tap, not experts on top

  • Translate technical terminology

  • Connect vision with financial realities

  • Use local images

  • Neutral facilitator essential

“The Corridor Development Initiative gets residents meaningfully engaged in shaping the future of their neighborhoods. Any community looking for a new way to resolve controversial neighborhood redevelopment and infill issues should consider using this as a model,”

APA Awards Jury Chair

Carol Rhea.

“The Corridor Development Initiative provides a great education to community members, makes visions more concrete, increases comfort with housing options and provides a venue for community members to work together to identify their goals.”

Amy Sparks, St. Anthony Park Community

For more information go to:

[email protected]