Paradox builds for ill-thought TOD plans - Metro US

Paradox builds for ill-thought TOD plans

TOD is back. With the recent sale of part of the Brentwood Village shopping mall, the issue of so called “transit-oriented development” re-ignites.

RioCan sold 3.6 acres to Kimco Realty for $25.6 million, and it promised to demolish retail stores and build 568,000 square feet of highrise condos. And the promise to investors?

“Significant increase in traffic at Brentwood Village Shopping Centre upon completion of the redevelopment.”

Sounds like fun. I don’t think I’ll be moving to Brentwood anytime soon. It’s communities against the city all along the TOD light-rail stations so targeted. The idea is to jam more people close to transit so they won’t drive a car. More highrise housing and offices. That’s something called density. Nice idea. Except if your life savings are invested in a house nearby.

Brentwood is one of the communities fighting the TOD retrofit and with good reason. Traffic is a community killer. The city refuses to stop cut-through traffic — thus creating speeding thoroughfares in residential areas. The car reigns supreme. Again.

Courageous TOD needs to be accompanied by limiting car use and protecting surrounding communities.

Kensington, as well, is facing office and condo towers on 10th Street, but at least this community lives with metal gates cutting off its streets to cut-through traffic — a privilege retained for them alone.

The paradox builds.

At the Lion’s Park LRT, a TOD-sanctioned developer was granted the OK for hundreds of parking spots at an office tower. More speeding cars through residential communities. All enabled by a flaccid traffic-calming policy.

You can sympathize with any community facing this mess.

The city party line is Calgary’s urban sprawl is not sustainable. But yet it grants sprawl development permits. (Caveat: I see no problem in people wanting to live in quiet communities away from the city core.)

Which brings us to SkyView Ranch.

SkyView Ranch is a new development out past the Calgary airport. The proposed 4,000-person community was announced to much fanfare last spring by Walton International as part of NorthPoint, the largest approved development in Calgary history. City officials aren’t yelling “urban sprawl” are they? It’s a prime example of hate the sin, love the sinner.

SkyView sounds lovely, according to the developer. “The commute to downtown is approximately 20 minutes.”

Perhaps some public transit? “The community’s proximity to several major transportation arteries will provide numerous options to your commute.”

No, nothing against SkyView, (whose inhabitants might want to question commuting times). What SkyView Ranch does is bear witness to city confusion regarding city planning. And every citizen whose community is about to get wrecked by ill-thought TOD plans needs to point a finger northeast to SkyView.

And demand no parking at TOD developments. Ya, right.

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