Land Use and Development Planning
Jarrett is actively engaged in the task of how to bring transit planning into closer synergy with land use, and creating win-win solutions uniting transit’s needs with great urban design. (The issue occupies Chapter 14-16 of his book Human Transit.)
Much of Jarrett Walker’s policy work is about improving the fit between transit and land use. In this role, much of the work lies in defining clear concepts that make sense on both sides of the divide, to enable more transparent understanding of both what transit can deliver to development outcomes and what transit needs from development in order to deliver those outcomes. Since transit lines span many communities, this work requires operating at multiple frames of reference: from the regional structure to the corridor to the development parcel.
Jarrett has worked for several years on policy development for Vancouver’s TransLink around this problem. Currently (2012) he is a lead author on the agency’s Regional Transit Strategy, which will articulate agency policy on how land use decisions will affect how service is deployed. Far from dictating land use, the strategy is designed to give local government as much flexibility as possible on land use while assuring that abundant transit service will be efficient to provide – a process similar to that already applied to the traffic impacts of land use choices. He has done similar policy development for Australia’s national capital, Canberra.
Specific Land Use Plans and Development Projects
Jarrett’s work in this area is informed by his many projects studying transit issues around proposed land use plans. In this role, he has not just evaluated impacts but participated directly in the land use or development process, suggesting ways to reshape the development so that transit could be more efficient, and thus more abundant and effective.
Recent studies have included:
- Molonglo structure planning, Canberra, Australia (MRC). Molonglo is a large greenfield growth area with a build-out population of 60,000. In his ongoing role as Canberra’s public transit consultant – and as lead author of the city’s Strategic Public Transport Network Plan – Jarrett was engaged to participate directly in Molonglo’s structure planning to help ensure that the new community would be as transit-oriented as possible given its other constraints. In this role, Jarrett revised the proposed public transit concept for the suburb and proposed revisions to the structure plan that would bring more Molonglo residents and jobs close to high-quality transit. He has continued to be consulted ever since his first engagement in 2008.
- Other structure plans, Canberra, Australia (MRC). In a similar role, Jarrett has done reviews of a range of other land use plans around Australia’s capital, including a large industrial area called Eastern Broadacre and dense new inner neighborhood, East Lake, arising from the reuse of industrial lands. In each case, he has proposed changes to urban structure to ensure that transit can be effective.
- Surrey Central Showcase Project, TransLink, Vancouver, Canada. Jarrett worked as part of an interdisciplinary team to structure a new downtown core for this major city in the eastern part of greater Vancouver, organized around a rapid transit station. The resulting plan integrated the public transit access needs with economic and urban design considerations to propose a plan in which transit provided not only mobility but also crucial animation for the streetscape, and in which a new civic plaza also served as a transit interchange.
- North West Growth Centre, Sydney (MRC). In developing a transit plan for this large greenfield growth area in Sydney’s northwest (build-out population of 60,000), Jarrett developed a proposed network structure that also led to proposed revisions in road planning and land use phasing.
- Many older plans in California. During the 1990s, Jarrett worked with Nelson\Nygaard on numerous development studies, assessing transit impact and suggesting revisions. These included a proposed rail extension in downtown Sacramento as well as numerous bus-based projects in greenfield areas.