If one believes the claims of Bus Rapid Transit opponents, BRT has a tremendous power to “automatically” up-zone entire corridors and bring massive new “six-story” canyons of towering development to L.A. neighborhoods. Their rhetoric is, of course, overblown. The truth is that current “automatic up-zoning” is very limited and very targeted.
The primary program under fire here is the city of Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Affordable Housing Incentive Program. (Technically, TOC incentives are discretionary bonuses – semantically not what planners would term an up-zone – but for this article SBLA will go with the vernacular and call these bonuses an up-zone.) TOC was approved by a majority of city voters in 2016. The program has been effective in greenlighting 4,000 new homes. TOC is now receiving criticism from various homeowner interests, and is the subject of a questionable Fix the City lawsuit that seeks to halt the program.
Read Streetsblog LA’s detailed explanation of how BRT has limited-to-no impact on the density and height of buildings along BRT routes HERE