In 2005 the first leg of the Valley Metro Regional Light Rail system opened, connecting the cities of Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix. The system has been a major success in the region, exceeding ridership projections and promoting intensive mixed-use development in the areas within walking distance of the stations. As part of the planning for the system, the cities along the route undertook major efforts to re-plan the districts effected by the new system to promote Transit Oriented Development (TOD) along the new line, with an emphasis on mixed use, street oriented, pedestrian-friendly environments. With its emphasis on the spatial and environmental qualities of street corridors, a Form-Based Coding approach was used as a basis for many of the plans particularly in Tempe and other areas of relatively low density.
The three projects presented in this TOD white paper represent a wide range of involvement in the urban design, planning and architecture of TOD projects. The white paper begins with the Downtown Phoenix Urban Form Project, a master plan and new zoning code encompassing 2.15 square miles of Phoenix’s downtown core and is followed by a recent development in Tempe and an urban infill project in Downtown Phoenix.
Each project responds to unique, local conditions however, a number of general TOD planning principles have been used throughout.
- An activated, pedestrian-oriented ground plane
- Human-scaled building massing to enhance street corridors
- Incorporation of architectural and natural shade
- Urban Heat Island mitigation
- Street hierarchy
- Multi-use programming