Valley Metro Rail Station Area Study

Phoenix Metropolitan Region, Arizona

Valley Metro Regional Public
Transit Authority

Subconsultant to SR Beard

2002 - 2008

Communities in the Valley of the Sun and the Regional Public Transit Authority are implementing the Central Phoenix/East Valley light rail system connecting Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. CD+A assisted in developing a model overlay zoning ordinance and a palette of development types and 'test fit' diagrams that illustrate development opportunities for the station areas.

The model ordinance is a comprehensive document that discusses the benefits of TOD, provides case studies of public and private sector experience in implementing TOD, and describes the qualities that make a neighborhood transit- and pedestrian-friendly by offering quantitative measures for development and their qualitative rationale. CD+A also prepared a model TOD ordinance, for the cities to tailor to the unique context of their stations, and standards and guidelines that describe the design qualities desired of site plans and building designs for TODs.

Since the completion of the project, the cities have been working to integrate TOD into their policies and ordinances. Following a General Plan , Phoenix developed an overlay ordinance and conducted station area planning efforts around 21 stations to identify development opportunities. CD+A assisted in identifying opportunity sites through field research and meetings with city staff, and developed a matrix of 'marketable' development types for a range of uses and building configurations. A second matrix detailed development prototypes (i.e., building types, scale of development, density ranges, etc.) and listed case studies, both from the region and elsewhere, to be used by Tempe and Mesa in education and outreach efforts with area stakeholders and the development community.

CD+A prepared nearly 140 land capacity diagrams for the opportunity sites, illustrating the layout of marketable uses with appropriate parking ratios at two levels of intensity, which were used by Economic & Planning Systems for initial feasibility and programming analysis to present to staff from the three cities. Twelve final opportunity sites were identified and specific implementation strategies developed for each.

Both the Model TOD Overlay Zoning Ordinance and the Rail Station Area Study received a Transportation Planning Excellence Award in 2004 under the larger Comprehensive Program on Transit Supportive Land Use administered by Valley Metro Rail. The award is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, and co-sponsored by the American Planning Association.