ULI North Texas Blog

Leveraging Transit to Remake Suburbia

Suburban Transit and TOD Lessons

Several panel discussions focused on how transit agencies, landowners, and developers throughout the nation are approaching—and funding—transit improvements and TOD that produce more walkable, livable places in suburban locations.

The DART Experience. Speakers from the Dallas region discussed how Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and its partners have created an innovative development rating system and value-capture techniques. David Leininger, chief financial officer of DART, described how the Dallas/Fort Worth region has engaged in an ambitious buildout of the light-rail system, funded by a 1983 ballot initiative. The DART system is now one of the most extensive in the country, with almost 80 miles (129 km) of track and 62 stations. Jack Wierzenski, director of economic development for DART, discussed how the agency is applying four criteria—property attributes, accessibility, third-party entities, and market potential—to identify and prioritize station areas for TOD efforts.

Gary Slagel, former mayor of Richardson, Texas, and a current member of DART’s board of directors, described how a 2000 ULI Advisory Services panel study helped set the stage for TOD in the suburban city. DART’s first major public/private partnership, the 27.5-acre (11.1-ha) Galatyn Park urban center, now includes a performing arts center, a public plaza, 283 apartments, 6,813 square feet (633 sq m) of retail and restaurant space, and a 336-room hotel—and has spurred additional development on adjacent land of a new corporate headquarters complex. Slagel also offered some lessons learned. “Involve, involve, involve,” he urged attendees.

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