ulx ron nyren
Orienting toward Transit
Configuring developments slow vehicle traffic to enhance the imitation—can ease community
Ten transit-oriented to coax people out of their auto- pedestrian experience. Placing most resistance and raise the appeal for
developments link a mix mobiles is no small order. Simply parking in underground or above- potential buyers and renters.
increasing residential densities ground structures allows for higher Given the expense of quality
of uses in pedestrian- within walking distance of transit densities and avoids the deadening transit-oriented development,
stops is just the beginning. To effects of swaths of surface lots. government incentive programs
friendly environments to effectively curb sprawl and dimin- Urban infill and brownfield rede- and public/private partnerships
encourage reliance on ish traffic congestion requires a velopment have the advantages of are often necessary. One area that
host of strategies. preserving greenfields and capital- remains a challenge is affordabil-
public transportation. Grouping different uses—such as izing on existing infrastructure. High- ity: to truly move a car-dominated
workplaces, shops, restaurants, and quality design matters too, most culture toward sustainable living
open space for recreation—close to crucially perhaps when inserting will require more transit-oriented
housing helps reduce the number higher-density developments into developments that offer housing
and length of car trips, as does lower-density communities or his- for households at all points along
the provision of pleasant and safe toric areas; breaking up the appar- the income spectrum.
streets for walking, paths for cyclists ent mass of large structures and
and pedestrians, and easy linkages responding to existing architecture— Ron nyRen is a freelance architecture and urban
design writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
to transit stations. Street design can not necessarily through outright
2. Bethesda Row
Located a few blocks from Bethesda, Maryland’s downtown Metrorail sta-
tion, Bethesda Row has grown over several phases since opening in 1997
to cover seven blocks, incorporating a multiplex cinema, a supermarket,
and office space, in addition to shops and restaurants.
Developed by Federal Realty Investment Trust of Rockville, Maryland, and
eric taylor/taylor Design & photography, inc.
designed by Cooper Carry and Street Works, both of Alexandria, Virginia,
Bethesda Row relies on plazas, fountains, and brick sidewalks with café
seating to create a pedestrian-friendly environment: curbside parking buf-
fers outdoor diners from auto traffic, while the majority of parking is tucked
out of the way in a midblock parking garage owned by the county.
The latest phase, which opened last year, added more shops and restau-
rants as well as a residential component of 180 luxury apartments that has
its own parking structure.
3. Crossings at Gresham Station
A public/private partnership brought higher-density, mixed-use develop-
ment to Gresham, a mostly low-rise suburb of Portland, Oregon. A few
blocks from downtown, directly adjacent to a MAX light-rail station, the
Crossings at Gresham Station opened in 2006 with 81 apartments above
ground-level commercial space.
To help make the multistory project pencil out, Metro, the regional
governmental agency, purchased the site and gave local developer Peak
Development the option to build; additional funding came from the fed-
eral government’s transit-oriented development program and Oregon’s
vertical housing bill.
Local firm Myhre Group Architects designed the four- to five-story com-
plex with varied facades. An underground structure provides parking for
residents. A plaza close to the rail stop offers café seating, shade trees,
and an amphitheater.
5. Ellington Apartments
Duke Ellington and other jazz legends used to play at
clubs along the U Street corridor in Washington, D.C.
After years of neglect, the area is coming back to life,
aided by the construction of the U Street–Cardozo
Metro station. Completed in 2004 across the street
from the station, the 186-unit Ellington Apartments
increases the residential density in a contextually
Designed by Torti Gallas and Partners for Dona-
telli Development, both of Bethesda, Maryland, the
Ellington responds to the historic district and varying
height restrictions, ranging from four to eight floors,
with the top two floors set back from the street. Red
steve hall/heDrich blessing
brick blends into the neighborhood, while the design
reinterprets historic detailing with a modern spin, such
as a vertical neon sign. Measures to keep the sidewalk
active include ground-floor shops and the placement
of parking underground.
6. Glenwood Park
Atlanta’s traffic congestion is notorious, making
it a prime candidate for transit-oriented devel-
opment. Built on a former concrete plant site
in a residential area, Glenwood Park is located
a mile (1.6 km) from two Metropolitan Atlanta
Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) stops and is on
a bus line connecting to downtown two miles
(3.2 km) away. Bike paths further encourage
use of alternative transportation.
Developed by Green Street Properties of
Atlanta and completed in 2005, Glenwood
Park consists of 325 residential units in a vari-
ety of building types—detached single-family
homes, brownstones, and a town center with
condominiums above commercial space—as
well as offices, neighborhood-serving retail,
and a large park. Sustainable measures
include high-efficiency insulation, recycling
of construction waste, drought-tolerant land-
scaping, and stormwater reuse. Stevens &
green street properties
Wilkinson, Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein,
Smith Dalia Architects, and Tunnell-Spangler-
Walsh & Associates, all of Atlanta, designed
7. Namba Parks
Osaka’s Nankai Electric Railway redeveloped a former baseball stadium
into a new commercial district directly adjacent to its flagship Namba
Station at the city’s southern gateway. Designed by Jerde, based in
Venice, California, Namba Parks introduces extensive green space into
the densely built city: a rooftop park—complete with trees, waterfalls,
lawns, and outdoor terraces—slopes as it traverses multiple blocks,
while a canyonlike path winds through the shops, culminating across the
street from the train station.
The first phase opened in 2003 with a 30-story office tower (designed
by Tokyo’s Nikken Sekkei) as well as retail and entertainment uses; the
second phase, which opened in 2007, added more retail and entertain-
ment as well as a 46-story residential tower, designed by Jerde with
Tokyo-based Obayashi Corporation.
8. Subi Centro
sUbiaCo, Western aUstraLia, aUstraLia
Australia faces many of the same suburban sprawl and
traffic congestion challenges as the United States, and
the outer suburbs of Perth are growing dramatically. In
response, the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority formed
in 1994 to redevelop derelict industrial land as a new
inner-city community in Subiaco, Western Australia, two
miles (3.2 km) from Perth’s central business district.
A major part of the solution involved sinking the rail-
way line passing through Subiaco, freeing up land for
subiaco reDevelopment authority
new roads and several new neighborhoods. Bicycle and
pedestrian paths cross the site, and streets are narrow to
keep automobile traffic slow. Subiaco Square, built above
the underground railway station, serves as the hub of
the development’s commercial center, with shops, restau-
rants, cafés, and apartments. So far, 1,034 of 1,500 dwell-
ings have been completed.
british CoLUmbia, CanaDa
Just as the SeaBus passenger ferry system
kick-started metro Vancouver’s regional rapid
transit network when it was created in 1977, the
SeaBus terminal in North Vancouver has revital-
ized Lonsdale Quay. Among the more recent
higher-density, mixed-use developments to rise
in the area is the project known as Time.
Completed in 2005 and designed by Buttjes
Architecture of Burnaby, British Columbia, for
the joint venture of Vancouver-based Esplanade
Capital Ventures Ltd. and Seagate Ventures Ltd.,
Time replaced a surface parking lot with 258
condominium units in two towers. It also includes
seven townhouses, a grocery store, a drugstore,
and a community center owned by the city. Park-
ing is placed largely underground and has 70
spaces for bicycles; a green roof tops the grocery
store. Residents and visitors have a short walk to
Dirk r. buttjes
the SeaBus terminal via a pedestrian bridge, with
a quick connection to downtown Vancouver and
the SkyTrain system.
10. Victoria Park
ZetLanD, neW soUth WaLes, aUstraLia
Built around the underground Green Square railway
station, Victoria Park is the 62-acre (25-ha) redevelop-
ment of former light-industrial lands in Zetland, New
South Wales, Australia. Located 2.5 miles (4 km)
from Sydney’s central business district, Victoria Park
devotes 40 percent of its land area to green space; in
addition, four parks and a nature reserve surround it.
It is also close to major shopping centers.
Landcom, the New South Wales government’s land
development agency, has been working with multiple
private developers and architecture firms to complete
the residential precinct, which is ultimately planned
to consist of up to 2,500 apartments by 2010; 1,186
have been built and occupied to date, as have several
small retail and commercial businesses. An adjacent
mixed-use precinct with up to 2,500 more apartments
has been master planned but not yet built. Turner +
Associates of Surry Hills, New South Wales, designed
several of the residential structures, including Nova
Apartments, completed in 2003, with 114 units in four
buildings organized around two large courtyards. UL