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UBC Theses and Dissertations

T.O.D. or not T.O.D. : how is the question Walter, Mary Evelyn Trueblood

Abstract

This thesis examines the opportunities and constraints facing the implementation of Transit Oriented Development (TOD). TOD consists of concentrated, mixed use development within walking distance of a commercial core and a transit stop that provide the focal point for the community and connect the resident to the region. Despite the fact that many planners accept TOD as a useful form of development, TOD has experienced barriers to its implementation. Neither the barriers to implementation, nor the opportunities for overcoming them have been sufficiently researched. This case study of land use planning at the four east Vancouver station areas of Joyce, 29th Avenue, Nanaimo and Broadway of the 'Expo' Advanced Light Rapid Transit (ALRT) line, known locally as 'SkyTrain', addresses this deficiency. Planning literature, planning documents, interviews with seven Vancouver planners, zoning and land use maps, and a land use survey provided the data from which conclusions were drawn. The research suggests that the major barriers to TOD implementation along the Vancouver 'Expo' line were poor transit routing, difficulties in assembling large parcels of land, lack of coordination between public entities, separated regional land use and transportation planning, inadequate political commitment to design and mitigation measures, the setting of goals for the station areas that are not TOD goals and the intrusive nature ALRT due to its elevated guideway. Many of these barriers correspond with those identified by the TOD literature as existing in other cities, but significant barriers that were identified in the case study but not by the literature include the intrusive nature of the ALRT technology due to its elevated guideway, the decision making process that had the province make decisions (e.g. the type of rapid transit technology to be used) without local input, and the absence of sustained implementation. Opportunities for overcoming barriers to TOD include creating more participatory decision making processes that ensure decisions that affect local communities are made at the municipal and regional, rather than provincial, level, the creation of a directly elected agency responsible for both land use and transportation planning, increased coordination between public agencies, and the creation of TOD guidelines.

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