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Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) proposed for four major subway stops

This Wednesday at the final Central District Plan Public Open House, city planners will officially announce big changes for four of the city’s central subway stops.
The stations -- the Fairmount and Lombard-South stops along the Broad Street Line, and the Spring Garden and Girard stops on the Market-Frankford Line -- will each be covered by a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) overlay district, a zoning tool that encourages higher densities and use diversity within walking distance of transit stations.
Brand new to the Philly planning scene, the TOD districts are being implemented through the Philadelphia 2035 Comprehensive Plan district planning process.
TOD is a common tool used by urban planners to encourage development around transit assets in an effort to build walkable, pedestrian-oriented cities. According to Central District Plan Manager Laura Spina, the four stops were chosen because development potential around them is high and surrounding land is somewhat underutilized. The Girard stop, for example, currently attracts auto-oriented development such as drive-thrus and surface parking lots. 

These sites were also chosen because their base zoning lends itself to a TOD overlay. Plus, major commerical corridors run through each stop -- an ideal situation for restricting curb cuts and encouraging pedestrian-oriented development.

In addition to higher densities and more mixed-use development, affordable housing will likely be a big component of TOD around each stop. "The overlays include incentives for affordable housing," says Spina. "Access to transit is particularly important for elderly and low-income populations."

Spina says the four locations are tentative and could change depending on public feedback at the Open House on Wednesday, February 27 (5 - 7:30 p.m. at City Hall).

From there, barring any major hiccups, the Central District Plan and newly minted TOD overlays will be adopted by the Planning Commission by June.

According to Spina, TOD won’t stop there -- this zoning tool is likely to play a large role in future district plans.

Source:  Laura Spina, City Planning Commission
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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