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A Win for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development
In late April, the Sound Transit Board passed an equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) framework that will allow the Puget Sound region to provide more affordable housing in proximity to transit.
We are thrilled about the passage of this policy and Sound Transit’s commitment to bringing affordable housing and access to transit to communities facing gentrification and displacement due to new transit infrastructure.
By simply touching land, Sound Transit raises its value, and its transit infrastructure has an enormous impact on the surrounding area. This new policy is one way we can ensure that everyone benefits from transit investments and has access to transportation, not just those who can afford to move to the neighborhood after the light rail station opens and land values increase.
For the past three years, Puget Sound Sage, Futurewise, Housing Development Consortium, TCC, and other housing and transportation advocates have been working with Sound Transit to ensure that there is a strong ETOD policy to guide the implementation of our regional transit system. This coalition supported the passage of the 80-80-80 policy in 2016, which requires Sound Transit to offer 80 percent of its surplus property to affordable housing developers and make 80 percent of the units affordable for those earning 80 percent or less of the area median income. Together, housing and transportation advocates then worked with the Sound Transit Board and staff to develop the ETOD policy framework that passed in late April. You can check out the letter our coalition wrote to the Sound Transit Board here. We wanted to make sure that equity was baked into ST3 implementation and that Sound Transit will strategically consider affordable housing opportunities when purchasing parcels of land.
The new ETOD framework will ensure that Sound Transit includes the communities most impacted by light rail development in the planning process and work to keep small businesses threatened by displacement in place around the stations, providing opportunities for their employees to live in the neighborhood where they work.
“A lot of people are looking to live near transit. [With this policy] it’s not just ‘we’re building this housing for someone,’ but creating a process to change the decision-making power to include folks most impacted who, in theory, could gain the most from the system,” says TCC policy director Hester Serebrin in an interview with Next City.
We will continue to work closely with the Sound Transit Board and staff and our coalition members to make sure the ETOD framework is successfully implemented and supports the creation of thriving communities connected by great transit. A big thanks to everyone who has been working on advancing equitable transit-oriented development in the Puget Sound region and beyond.
You can find the final version of the policy here.
ETOD in the news:
Sound Transit is advancing affordability, Futurewise