Home Farms With Hip New Orientations!

I’ve become a bit deadened to the Orwellian noise behind the word “minutes” in real-estate marketing (to Largo Town Center by car, or to Auckland by suborbital rocket!), but the subdivisions developers are describing as “transit-oriented” are getting ridiculous. Clearly sprawl is having a mid-life crisis.

The Villages at Dakota Crossing is embarassing itself with nonsense copy about being a “walkable” development, kind of close to a Costco or something, eliding over the nonexistent presence of a metro station or even a grocery store and its minimal bus service. No one who is actually looking for transit connectivity is going to want to live there. At least there’s always parking at Cheverly, the closest Metro station, over 3 miles away by car and infamously surrounded by vacant lots:

But you can also get to Brookland after a half-hour bus ride, so I guess there’s that:

At least it’s possible for them! This “transit-oriented” subdivision at an interchange in Loudoun County is two or three miles away from two hypothetical Metro stations that might open in five years’ time:

And I should hope that the transit service to either, if and when they open, would be better than this:

And I imagine the curlicued path of a neighborhood resident, office worker, or medical center patient trying to get to any conceivable bus service, to which this “transit-oriented” exclave is not impossibly remote but not really on the way to anything, would be more than a little bit circuitous:

I thought TOD planners were past this! I could understand this nonsense from Seaside in the 1980s, or a nascent TOD developer in the 1990s just starting to figure this stuff out with a Calthorpe diagram and a wing and a prayer. But we’ve had decades of research and experimentation about how far people will go out of their way to go somewhere, and the ways they travel, and why.

In a way, I’m happy that transit connectivity and an abundance of transportation alternatives have become so important to real-estate consumers that developers will basically lie about their existence to entice them, but I haven’t seen this degree of casual, self-flattering dishonesty about having an interesting “orientation” since the last time I read OKCupid.


~ by J.D. Hammond on August 20, 2013.

2 Responses to “Home Farms With Hip New Orientations!”

  1. Really, that last one rather looks like we’re working backward through the evolution from grid to cul-de-sac subdivisions, heading toward grid again.

    • If only it were a grid! Grids are at least reasonably convenient to move around. It’s a cul-de-sac doing an impression of a grid, like the worst mime playing the worst game of charades.

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