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CHAPTER 7 Pedestrian Access to Transit This chapter outlines planning and design principles to enhance pedestrian access to high- capacity transit stations. Providing safe and accessible pedestrian access to and through transit stations is important for several reasons, even at stations with extensive park-and-ride facilities. Walking has no environmental impacts, and accommodating pedestrians at stations is consider- ably less expensive than providing parking or feeder transit services. Encouraging walking also promotes social equity, as walking is associated with no additional costs to passengers and is available even to those riders without access to private vehicles or feeder transit service. Finally, even at stations where pedestrian access is low, some patrons will choose to walk. Thus, some level of pedestrian access should always be provided, even for the most auto-oriented stations, to ensure safe access for transit patrons. Context Historically, walking (as well as feeder transit in the form of surface-running streetcars) was the primary means of accessing transit stations, and most transit systems built before World War II continue to rely heavily on pedestrian access for ridership. More recently, the development of transit systems in lower-density areas--often parallel to freeways, with large park-and-ride facilities--has increased the importance of auto and feeder transit access relative to walking in many newer systems. While this pattern fits generally, detailed examination indicates that the extent of pedestrian access depends primarily on station characteristics and adjacent land uses (i.e., station typology and the connectivity and character of the street network) rather than on the age of the transit system or age of surrounding development. For example, WMATA's heavy rail system, constructed entirely since 1970, exhibits widely differing pedestrian access patterns between stations. Subur- ban stations in low-density areas (e.g., Greenbelt, West Falls Church) have fewer than 10 percent of passengers arrive as pedestrians, whereas pedestrian access accounts for over 70 percent of access at many urban stations in the District of Columbia and Arlington County. Similarly, TriMet has achieved a system-wide pedestrian access mode share of over 50 percent at non-CBD stations through focusing new rail lines in areas with existing or planned pedestrian-friendly development. These examples suggest that transit agencies (and partner transportation agencies) may be able to influence the number of pedestrian access trips to some degree, as well as the quality and safety of those trips. This is particularly true in the development of new stations, where there may be several options for station location and pedestrian connections to adjacent land use. At existing stations, pedestrian access can be enhanced by the addition of sidewalks (if not present), crossings, curb ramps, and other improvements to increase safety and accessibility. 59