The fall 2016 transportation workshop focused on the city of Charlotte’s Blue Line Extension light rail and evaluated the successes and shortcomings of transit-oriented development (TOD) around the stations. The workshop was facilitated by Carolina Planning PhD Candidate Bill Bishop and supported by City of Charlotte Planning and regional transit staff.

The City of Charlotte planning staff and city council desired vibrant, mixed-use development along the Blue Line corridor, which to the dismay of both city officials and residents wasn’t consistently happening. In some areas, development occurred with significant intensity, surpassing expectations. However, in most areas, new development was slow or even nonexistent. There were also concerns voiced about the “monoculture” nature of the projects along the corridor: development was almost exclusively four to five story apartments with 80-120 units.

The goal of the workshop was to establish a framework to guide the City of Charlotte’s efforts to maximize value along the Blue Line corridor. This required reconsidering what TOD means for Charlotte and the Blue Line – a complex and nuanced task. The final report recommends the following four strategies to aid certain types of development surrounding the stations as well as tools to help the City of Charlotte implement the new strategies in areas not receiving private sector investment.

  1. Promote Residential Diversification: provide a more diverse array of residential product types that will appeal to families, aging households, and lower-income households through increased density, lax parking requirements, communal amenities, and affordability.
  2. Improve Multimodal Connectivity and Accessibility: incentivize multimodal access to destinations and take advantage of opportunities to benefit from pedestrian and bicycle amenities for transportation and recreation.
  3. Pursue Explicit Placemaking Strategies: promote placemaking to foster community ownership and create desirable destinations by putting function before form and proactively create places that are collaborative and context-specific.
  4. Engage Community in Station Area Planning: engage neighborhood organizations in identifying project opportunities, reducing risk, and supporting value creation as successful TOD requires understanding and support from the community


To learn more about Charlotte’s light rail, visit

Or to learn more about the Fall 2016 Workshops, visit

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