Over 150 gathered at the Lyceum on Tuesday, February 23 to learn about what is being done to create transit-oriented development (TOD) nationwide and statewide. The two-hour IForum on “Connecting the Dots... to a Better Connecticut Transit System” attracted state and municipal officials, town planners, housing developers, transit specialists, nonprofit and community leaders.
Keynote speaker Christopher Zimmerman, Vice President of Economic Development at Smart Growth America, impressed upon the audience the three ingredients necessary to have the greatest TOD impact: 1- development within ¼ mile of the station, 2- development must be mixed-use, 3 – it must be walkable. He said over time property values will increase the closer it is to transit. For those reasons ensuring that affordable housing is a part of the discussion in the beginning is critical.
Following Zimmerman’s presentation was a panel of state officials who play an integral role in shaping Connecticut’s TOD efforts. The panel consisted of:
- David Elder - Transportation Supervising Planner, Office of Strategic Planning & Projects, CT Department of Transportation
- Garrett Eucalitto - Undersecretary for Transportation Policy and Planning, CT Office of Policy and Management
- Nick Lundgren - Deputy Commissioner, CT Department of Housing
- Tim Sullivan -Deputy Commissioner, CT Department of Economic and Community Development
They spoke to how each of their agencies are involved in further developing TOD for the state and how their interagency workgroup meets to ensure that all the agencies are on the same page about developments near transit.