Three San Antonio City Council members are calling for the creation of a transit-oriented development, or TOD, plan that encourages development in areas eyed for future public mass transit projects.

The background

On. Oct. 17, council members Marc Whyte, Teri Castillo and Sukh Kaur submitted a council consideration request, or CCR, for city staff to formulate a TOD plan to complement VIA Metropolitan Transit’s planned Advanced Rapid Transit North/South and East/West lines.

According to VIA, the transit agency’s ART system is being designed to provide faster, frequent and reliable service with vehicles using dedicated lanes outside regular traffic. The ART system would use bus-friendly traffic signals and offer preboarding fare collection options, VIA officials said.

The takeaway

The three council members said having a transit-oriented development plan would benefit the city in several ways, including:

  • Incentivize redevelopment to support transit ridership located within easy walking distance of transit stops
  • Incentivize development strategies focused on accommodating pedestrians without excluding motorists
  • Encourage active, livable places along ART routes that serve residents' daily needs and provide people with a sense of belonging and ownership within their community
  • Encourage various housing choices near transit facilities to accommodate a range of ages and incomes
  • Minimize barriers to incorporate retail and small businesses into development, ideally drawing customers from within the ART area and from major streets
Whyte, District 10 council member, said a TOD plan would help to improve quality of life, stimulate economic development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate traffic congestion.
“Transit oriented development can have a positive impact on our city's residents if done properly,” Whyte said in a statement. “Since it has already been decided that we are going to spend money on these new ART lines, it is crucial to have a plan in place to maximize our investment and inform our community as to how their tax dollars are being utilized and the services that will be delivered."

What’s next

Council members submitting the CCR asked city staff to put their issue on a future meeting agenda of the council’s governance committee.

What they’re saying

Council members submitting the CCR said transit-oriented development refers to the creation of compact, walkable, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods around public transit corridors.