Richardson, Texas—a case study in ULI’s recent report Shifting Suburbs—illustrates the benefits of a long-term commitment to TOD.
In 2000, a ULI Advisory Services panel helped set the stage for transit-oriented development (TOD) in Richardson, Texas. Since then, the suburban city has leveraged its access to the Orange Line of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system to develop in transit-oriented ways.
Richardson’s TOD efforts were reviewed at a ULI forum in Atlanta in 2011 by David Leininger and Jack Wierzenski of DART, as well as by Gary Slagel, former longtime mayor of Richardson. Slagel emphasized the importance of station area plans to create a focused vision for development around transit stops. He also stressed cooperation, flexibility, and grounding development expectations in the marketplace.
Gaining buy-in from the community has been essential to Richardson’s success. Slagel described the city’s strategy as “involve, involve, involve.”
Richardson has worked on several station area TOD efforts, the first being a public/private partnership to develop the Galatyn Park urban center, which was completed in 2002 and has attracted corporate campuses and new adjacent development. Next, Richardson developed the Arapaho Center, Spring Valley, and Bush Turnpike Station areas, adding hundreds of acres of housing, green space, and retail and office space. As the report states:
Richardson’s early and aggressive pursuit of transit-oriented development has helped the city emerge as a TOD model and success story. The city has realized significant increases in property values at each of the four completed DART stations.
Now entering into a partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson is working with the university to develop a station area plan along the proposed Cotton Belt Line. This partnership illustrates Richardson’s continued commitment to engaging with local stakeholders and private partners.