Free Audio Tours Spotlight Bay Area's Transit-Oriented Developments
OAKLAND, CA — As part of their preparations for the Rail~Volution conference (that will bring more than 1,000 transportation and urban planning professionals to San Francisco next week), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) have released a series of five narrated audio tours of transit-oriented developments (TODs) and public transit corridors around the region. Known as “TODcasts,” the audio tours are available free of charge through iTunes or other “podcatching” software, as well as on the MTC Web site at www.mtc.ca.gov/planning/smart_growth/TODcast/.
TODs, also known as transit villages or simply as walkable neighborhoods, are based on the idea that communities — and the region — are made more dynamic and livable by clustering homes, services and shops in a way that encourages walking, bicycling and public-transportation use. Each of the available audio tours focuses on what makes transit-oriented development work, and features interviews with the planners, developers and others who shaped the character of each neighborhood or transit corridor. The five Bay Area locations profiled in the new TODcasts are:
- Downtown Hayward — This 20-minute walking tour of the area around the Hayward BART station showcases the residential and commercial revitalization of one of the East Bay’s oldest towns.
- San Pablo Avenue Rapid Bus Corridor — This roughly 45-minute (one-way) tour starts at the 19th Street BART station in Oakland, and prompts listeners to hop aboard AC Transit 72R rapid bus for a ride to the El Cerrito del Norte BART station. Along the way, TODcast tourists learn about the revitalization of the historic former U.S. 40 highway corridor through Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito.
- Redwood City — A 20-minute walking tour starts at the Caltrain station and highlights the renaissance of Redwood City’s retail, entertainment and arts district, as well as the city’s ambitious plans to bring new residents back to downtown.
- San Francisco Third Street Corridor — This roughly 45-minute (one-way) walking and light-rail tour of the rapidly changing 3rd Street corridor starts at AT&T Park at 2nd and King streets, then travels past the new Mission Bay development to the Bayview district via Muni’s T-Third light-rail line.
- Downtown San Jose — Starting at Diridon Station, this walking and light-rail tour showcases the new mixed-use and civic projects that are transforming the transit corridors in the Bay Area’s largest city. The tour lasts about 45 to 60 minutes one-way, and includes taking VTA light-rail from Diridon Station to North First Street downtown. Diridon Station can be reached by Caltrain from San Francisco and the Peninsula, and by Amtrak Capitol Corridor and Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) trains from the East Bay.
Though the Rail-Volution conference ends October 30, the TODcasts will remain available indefinitely on iTunes and the MTC Web site. Each TODcast audio tour has a corresponding map, which is available as a PDF on the MTC Web site. Listeners are encouraged to print the map that corresponds to their selected audio tour(s), and bring it along on the trip.
MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area, and is recognized as the first council of governments in California . The TODcast series was developed by HearNow Productions of Los Angeles.
Kathleen Cha, ABAG: (510) 464-7922
John Goodwin, MTC: (415) 778-5262