The 10.5-mile R Line (now open!) and two stations in Aurora along the University of Colorado A Line offer prime opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD).
TOD is simply compact, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development near transit stations. It’s the kind of urban development that was common in American cities and towns prior to World War II.
These walkable “urban villages” are highly appealing to Millennials and Baby Boomers and, as such, are a key part of Aurora’s economic development strategy. At Aurora’s 10 rail passenger station areas, TOD will provide new housing choices and the opportunity for live/work/play lifestyles. For the community at large, TOD can create memorable places to visit as well as access to regional transit.
These walkable transit-oriented developments feature multi-story structures with a mix of residential, office and retail uses. Plazas, buildings and walkways are oriented to the pedestrian and automobile parking in surface lots is minimized.
Many projects are already under way to improve "last-mile" connectivity to these stations for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, the Station Area Master Plan (STAMPS), funded with $200,000 in federal funds and $50,000 in city funds, will start in mid-2017 evaluate interaction between light rail and vehicular, bus, bike and pedestrian traffic; establish operations baseline; and assess impacts of adjacent development to infrastructure.
The new stations on the R Line and the University of Colorado A Line are all part of the FasTracks mass transit system approved by metro area voters in 2004. Planning for these TOD areas focuses on the roughly one-half mile surrounding the transit station, or about a 15-minute walk for a pedestrian.
Station Area Planning
With feedback gathered at public and stakeholder meetings, the city developed plans that created a vision for an overall character for the station areas, and identified development sites and pedestrian and vehicle connections. The plans are based on policies in the 2009 Aurora Comprehensive Plan, and have been developed for the following stations:
The station area plans include modifications to the TOD Zoning District available at each station, depending on the characteristics of the station area.