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Calculating Metro Growth, Courtesy oF TOD

Calculating Metro Growth, Courtesy of TOD

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is now measurable via MPC's new calculator.  Image courtesy of SOM.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is now measurable via MPC's new calculator.  Image courtesy of SOM.

by MANDY BURRELL, Communications Director, Metro Planning Council | Dec 25, 2015

Ms. Burrell, likes TOD

Ms. Burrell, likes TOD

It’s no coincidence that as Chicago has grown away from its original transit system, we’ve also lost population—even in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park. We must reverse this troubling trend, not only to avoid the stigma of a shrinking city, but because more people means more revenue to support our city’s services and infrastructure.

By developing near transit, Chicago can achieve growth without adding to traffic congestion or losing more valuable space to parking. And we can make it easier for people to live within reach of jobs, retail and good schools.

The nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) was the leading advocate for updating a Chicago ordinance that already had helped spur eight successful developments near transit, including one with zero parking for 99 residential units. The updated ordinance, approved by City Council this fall, will build on this success by expanding the qualifying distance from a transit station, eliminating parking requirements for some developments, and by allowing more units in developments that have affordable housing on-site.

Image courtesy of Metropolitan Planning Council.

Image courtesy of Metropolitan Planning Council.

To provide fact-based support for new developments that meet the ordinance’s requirements, MPC created a first-of-its-kind online calculator. The transit-oriented development (TOD) calculator allows people to input the location, type and size of a specific development proposal and tally the benefits to a local community in terms of additional retail stores, tax revenues, nearby jobs, residents, annual transit rides and affordable housing units. MPC encourages local community groups, aldermen, developers and residents to use the calculator to support the type of development Chicago needs to continue to grow. Indeed, MPC estimates the ordinance’s reforms will create space for up to 100,000 new residents in Chicago and generate $450 million in new retail sales and $200 million in property, sales and transfer taxes every year.

Development near transit helped double Chicago's downtown population between 2000 and 2010—even as the city as a whole lost population. Learn how developments near you can help capture some of this growth with the TOD calculator.

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