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CHAPTER 6 General Station Access Guidelines Station access improvements should reflect the needs and opportunities of individual stations, as identified through the planning process. These improvements will depend on where each station is located and its relation to pedestrian, bicycle, feeder transit, and automobile access. Land availability, costs, and uses; future development plans; and community attitudes will influence the location and type of specific improvements. Transit station designs should attempt to accommodate and coordinate all access modes wherever possible, and some level of pedestrian access always should be provided, even for the most auto-oriented stations. However, the appropriate mix of access services should each reflect local context (e.g., densities, development patterns, street systems, and connecting transit services). This chapter and the chapters that follow contain guidelines for providing access to stations. The guidelines present best practices for improving multi-modal access and providing seamless connections for passengers. They are based on a literature review, research team observations, and synthesis of access guidelines for BART, WMATA, and RTD (Denver). Trade-offs are usually necessary to balance competing objectives. They are especially important where new stations are planned and are also useful where existing station access is being upgraded. Trade-offs can include strategic choices (e.g., providing TOD in place of a parking lot) or they can include fiscal alternatives, such as alternative funding strategies for additional feeder transit service. The eight-step planning process outlined in Chapter 2 provides a framework for appro- priately considering these trade-offs. Where trade-offs are required, agencies should use locally developed guiding principles (e.g., access mode hierarchy and evaluation criteria) to select actions. Moreover, achieving many best practices will require collaboration with local jurisdictions to make access improvements to the local transportation network. The station access spreadsheet tool (in Appendix C) provides a way to quantify station access improvements. Background Rapid transit has played an important role in the development of urban areas for more than a century, especially around stations. Stations along both legacy and new lines have benefited from the travel time savings, frequent service, and reliability. Legacy Rail Transit Service "Legacy" rail transit services were built to improve access to city centers, better serve built-up areas, and stimulate land development in outlying areas. They usually resulted in increased development both in the CBD--the prime example of TOD--and in outlying areas. 54

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General Station Access Guidelines 55 Rapid transit service built before the mid 1920s was expected to stimulate land development that would generate population growth and new transit ridership. An explosion of automobile ownership and the collateral effects of the Great Depression ended this approach (19). The legacy lines mainly ran over, under, or adjacent to major streets, and penetrated the communities they traversed. They were characterized by close station spacing and reliance on walk-in patrons and perhaps bus (or streetcar) riders who sometimes were required to pay an additional fare. Multiple-track operation in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia enabled both express and local service. At major junctions with cross-town local transit routes, large commercial centers sometimes emerged. Examples include 149th Street and Fordham Road in the Bronx; Flushing and Jamaica in Queens; Uptown and Englewood in Chicago; Davis Street in Evanston, Illinois; and Central and Harvard Squares in Cambridge, Massachusetts. PostWorld War II Lines Newer rapid transit service (built since World War II) extended farther out into lower-density residential areas. Often located along railroad or freeway rights-of-way, these lines had wider station spacing. Stations relied largely on bus and park-and-ride access and some of the transit agencies (e.g., MBTA) became the largest parking operators in their regions. There was less synergy between the transit service and the surrounding land development in many corridors. Creating TODs often depended upon public intervention (e.g., zoning and other incentives), as well as strong market forces. Still, where public policies were supportive and market forces were strong, TOD became a reality. Commuter Rail Lines From the beginning, commuter rail service relied on both pedestrian and private vehicle access. During the last several decades, major expansions of park-and-ride facilities occurred along commuter rail lines, especially at outlying locations. Land development impacts have varied widely, depending upon station location and age. Commuter rail serves established cities and growing suburbs. Stations in places like Stamford, Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island, Newark, New Jersey, and White Plains, New York, have become major development nodes. Intermediate stations usually have neighborhood commercial and institutional development. New suburban and exurban stations, often surrounded by vast parking lots, usually have little TOD, but there are exceptions. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Increasing demand for high-quality rapid transit service coupled with the relatively low development cost has led many communities to build BRT lines instead of traditional rail transit. BRT also offers greater operating flexibility. Ottawa found that a BRT system could be built for half the cost of rail transit, and that it would cost 20 percent less to operate. Boston selected BRT for the Silver Line due to its operational cost and service benefits. Land development benefits associated with full-featured BRT may be similar to those found along rail transit lines, although data on TOD surrounding BRT is limited. Ottawa and Pittsburgh experienced significant capital investment in properties near its BRT stations, and property values along Brisbane, Australia's, busway grew by 20 percent following its construction (20).