Item 40 - eTOD

Only City Council members and authorized staff are allowed to post on this message board.
Natasha Harper-Madison
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:52 pm

Item 40 - eTOD

Post by Natasha Harper-Madison »

Colleagues,

I appreciated the dialogue regarding the eTOD resolution during yesterday’s work session. After hearing out the various concerns, I would like to offer additional clarity.

One of my biggest takeaways was the need to establish definitions, which I believe will provide a better understanding of the intent of the resolution.

Transit Oriented Development: Capital Metro defines TOD as “an attractive, walkable, and sustainable development pattern around high-capacity transit that maximizes Capital Metro's system ridership and offers Austin residents ample vibrant housing choices and convenient access to the City's jobs, services and diverse amenities.”

Equitable Transit Oriented Development: This is defined within the resolution as “development that enables all people regardless of income, race, ethnicity, age, gender, immigration status or ability to experience the benefits of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development near transit hubs.”

High-capacity transit: The term “high-capacity transit” is defined in the Council-adopted ASMP as “Transit that carries a larger volume of passengers using larger vehicles and/or more frequent service than a standard fixed route bus system. High-capacity transit can operate on exclusive rights-of-way such as a rail track or dedicated pathway. The main goal of high-capacity transit is to provide faster, more convenient, and more reliable service for a larger number of passengers.”

The ASMP also states: “Establishing transit-supportive densities along planned high-capacity transit is essential to its success, and to securing federal transit funding, and should be a top priority. This also aligns with established City goals to add housing near transit, especially housing affordable to Austinites with lower incomes. Certain types of affordable housing also meet Federal Transit Authority funding criteria, so affordable housing investments near the Transit Priority Network should be steered to comply with these standards when possible in order to maximize our chances of receiving Federal funding.

The Project Connect high-capacity transit routes planned in Austin run through different types of built environments, including downtown, commercial centers, already-dense mixed-use neighborhoods, and areas dominated by detached, single-family homes. Transit-supportive densities are measured for routes as a whole. Planning should be flexible to take into account the existing character of neighborhoods and community input to appropriately allocate density within transit corridors, and we must plan to achieve the transit-supportive density appropriate for the planned mode of transit. The full range of planning tools should be used to establish these densities, including zoning reviews, small area plans, density bonuses, affordable housing investments, transit-oriented development zones, and revisions of the land development code, potentially including zoning entitlements and bonuses tied to the distance from transit. The portions of the Transit Priority Network not planned for high-capacity transit should have transit-supportive densities considered in land use planning, but are a lower priority." (Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, pg. 36)

I believe it is important for the language used in the resolution to remain consistent with the ASMP and to align with Capital Metro’s Project Connect goals.

It is critical to note that the intent of this resolution is to create recommendations for eTOD. It does not enact policies. When those recommendations come back to Council, we will then be able to deliberate which ones to implement and whether or not to adopt the plan.
Including high-capacity bus routes for consideration when providing recommendation and creating the eTOD policy plan is not only consistent with previously Council adopted plans and Project Connect’s implementation but is critical for equitably serving our low-income residents and communities of color who disproportionately rely on the bus.

As I mentioned previously, many residents in D1 and across our city lost their bus service in 2018 when Capital Metro overhauled its network. The difficult decisions made in that process were based on potential ridership, or lack thereof, mostly in areas further out from the core. Coincidentally, these are the same parts of town more and more of our transit-dependent residents are going to find housing they can afford. It’s my hope that this resolution will bring back recommendations that will help us support bus service in all parts of Austin by encouraging less car-oriented development and more affordable, mixed-income, neighborhood-scale, walkable complete communities envisioned in the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan.

Lastly, I believe amending the resolution to include the following additional language may help address some of the remaining concerns:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
The City Manager is directed, in coordination with Capital Metro, to include in the policy plan proposed tiers for eTOD designation and a proposed implementation timeline. The plan shall include context-sensitive criteria for designating such tiers on high-capacity transit areas, including type of transit service, street level, likelihood that the transit service may change, existing uses, risk of displacement, and any other appropriate criteria that will help meet the goals of this Resolution. Such tiers may include recommendations of not designating certain areas as eTOD, or providing recommendations related to transit-supportive land use that do not include zoning an area as TOD and/or eTOD. All such recommendations must prioritize affordability, increasing transit ridership, and displacement prevention.

Kind Regards,
Natasha
Natasha Harper-Madison
Council Member District 1
Ann Kitchen
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Item 40 - eTOD

Post by Ann Kitchen »

Mayor Pro Tem

Thank you for accepting many of my amendments previously posted and for the revised resolution that incorporates those amendments.

I have one remaining amendment, which is basically the same as my previous Amendment 1. This amendment strikes "and high capacity transit areas" from this Be It Resolved so that it reads as follows:

The City Council directs the City Manager to contribute actively to the ongoing studies, in partnership with Capital Metro, to help ensure the study outcomes serve as a guide for revising the City's existing TOD process and station area plans, as well as providing recommendations to initiate relevant land use amendments in the eTOD Study area or in areas designated as TODs.

Thank you also for responding to yesterday's Work Session. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the resolution during the work session and have a better understanding of the thinking around the scope.

I do think that this resolution should remain focused on TODs - and not apply to all bus lines in the city. The fundamental purpose of TODs is to provide for transit oriented development, which is denser development around transit nodes or stations, on fixed routes. The eTOD Study refers to fixed guideways.

For these reasons, I do not think that the additional Be It Resolved that you are proposing works for this resolution, because it applies to high capacity transit areas. The ASMP and CapMetro define Transit Priority Network and High Frequency Transit Routes (two terms for the same thing) as the routes with 15 minute service. These are not fixed routes and travel through neighborhoods in some instances.

I understand the concerns you are raising about density along bus routes and CapMetro's process for revising routes. I think that these concerns are more appropriately addressed in the broader context about land use and corridor density, as well as through CapMetro's processes and responsiveness to neighborhood needs. I look forward to having those discussions with you and with our colleagues as we take up the land development code revisions. I also would like to discuss with you further how I can help and what actions CapMetro can take now to address the concerns of D1 residents with bus service.

Thank you for bringing this resolution. As you noted - the resolution's intent is to create recommendations for eTODs, which will provide opportunities to update existing processes for designating and planning TODs with stakeholders including businesses and neighborhoods.

Best Regards
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5
Natasha Harper-Madison
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:52 pm

Re: Item 40 - eTOD

Post by Natasha Harper-Madison »

Transit Oriented Development simply refers to development patterns around transit.

The inclusion of bus lines is key to the equitable component of this resolution. It would be my hope that this council would be supportive of development patterns to equitably serve our low-income residents and communities of color who disproportionately rely on the bus.

On June 9th, 12-1:30pm the City of Chicago will be hosting a webinar on what went into the creation of their eTOD plan. During the webinar, the speakers will:
- Provide an overview of the Chicago transit and development situation and what went into the creation of the plan
- Speak to such fundamental questions as “Who benefits from ETOD?”
- Describe the effort to reframe the rules of engagement for cross-sector stakeholders, including addressing barriers of technical language and accounting for the history and mindsets that are part of place

I highly encourage those interested in learning more about what I hope to accomplish with this resolution attend. Those who wish to attend may register for the webinar here: https://railvolution.zoom.us/webinar/re ... 5-65191533

Kind Regards,
Natasha
Natasha Harper-Madison
Council Member District 1
Post Reply