Bring the Community to FasTracks
With the continued expansion of FasTracks in metro Denver, we have the opportunity to shape our community’s growth without losing quality of life through smartly designed Transit-oriented Development (TOD). TOD focuses on a mix of land uses, such as residential, office, shopping, personal services, civic uses and entertainment within easy walking distance from centrally located transit stations. Smart TOD also incorporates quality of life amenities such as libraries, schools, art and cultural centers, health care facilities, and daycare and senior care centers. These amenities, and the nonprofit, cultural and community organizations that provide them, help to make TOD convenient and enjoyable.
Locating nonprofit, community and cultural facilities near TOD is an investment in the community’s economic health and sustainability. These facilities provide jobs and job training, health care for vulnerable populations, education, advocacy, recreation and sports, entertainment, crisis intervention, shelter and other valuable community resources. And now is the time for nonprofit and community organizations to explore the development of new facilities into TOD.
According to a 2011 study by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, nonprofits expected the demand for their services to increase through 2011 and we can expect the same in 2012. TODs that incorporate nonprofit facilities into their development plans, will support the region’s growing need for critical services while expanding access to jobs, educational opportunities, and community in the Denver region.
Including nonprofit, community and cultural facilities in TOD will impact FasTracks ridership. Locating the services people need and want most near transit facilities is shown to increase ridership. This model of development also represents a much-needed answer to the increase in transportation and housing costs for the average family. Families and individuals looking for alternate ways of getting around can take advantage of cost-effective light rail transportation to commute to and from community infrastructure (e.g. schools, jobs, child care and community centers).
TOD also increases the ability to walk to local shops to purchase food, clothing and other regular items, thus promoting quality of life as an important factor when choosing places to live. The vibrancy of high-density, mixed-use, mixed-income developments near transit stations will synergize the use of FasTracks and enhance the quality of life for its riders and adjacent communities.
For most of our clients planning nonprofit facilities, locating near or within easy access to FasTracks is identified as a critical success factor for the project. Now is the opportune time for nonprofit, cultural and community organizations to invest in real estate around proposed transit stations to ensure that the benefits of Fastracks will be available to all people in our community.