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Colin Parent
(858) 442-7374 | [email protected]

Circulate San Diego Publishes Report on Transit Oriented Development in the City of San Diego

Transportation and land use think tank Circulate San Diego published a report today on how the City of San Diego can better facilitate transit oriented development (TOD).

Circulate San Diego’s report titled “Transit Oriented Development” outlines a variety of policies the City of San Diego can implement through city-wide municipal code updates. To promote more TOD, the report details proposals covering a variety of policies, from reform of parking requirements, updates to traffic models, and implementation of the City of San Diego’s groundbreaking update to the Affordable Homes Bonus Program.

For example, current development rules in San Diego provide reduced parking requirements for new TOD in only limited circumstances. The report recommends creating a rule that would provide smarter parking policies for any new development near high-performing transit like the trolley or rapid bus lines.

If adopted, these policies would lead to more opportunities for San Diegans to live and work near transit. The report is a part of Circulate San Diego’s #PlanDiego initiative, focusing on improving land use policy for the region.

The report details how city-wide policies to promote TOD can provide overlapping benefits to housing affordability, climate change, and economic development.

Since the City of San Diego adopted a City of Villages Strategy as a part of its general plan, San Diego has committed to building more homes and job centers around our region’s public transit investments. The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan also calls for increasing land use intensity near transit, to allow more people to commute to work without having to rely on a car.

San Diego is working to achieve the visions in its City of Villages Strategy and Climate Action Plan. However, a recent study by U.C. Berkeley shows that San Diego utilizes land near its transit system less effectively than any other region in California. Furthermore, recent updates to community plans have provided relatively modest increases to development potential near transit.

“While community plan updates remain an important tool for improving transit oriented development, our TOD report identifies other city-wide policies which can be reformed to remove barriers to smart growth”, said Colin Parent, policy counsel with Circulate San Diego, and author of the report.

The report was funded by a variety of local and national donors including TransitCenter, a foundation that supports advocacy, research, and leadership development for transportation reform across the United States. "By reducing costs and increasing incentives for development capacity–including affordable housing–within walking distance of existing and planned transit, San Diego can increase transit use and reduce travel costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and congestion," said Julia Ehrman, Program Analyst with TransitCenter.

The report is heavily researched, identifying best practices from throughout the country, and featuring more than 100 citations. It is available online at