All Aboard for Economic Development in Danbury

All Aboard for Economic Development in Danbury

All aboard! Danbury is doubling down on development near its train station with the hope of attracting new residents and businesses to the transportation hub and giving the Hat City’s economy a boost.

Transit-oriented developments are in planning or development stages in many Connecticut communities as increasing numbers of people want to walk or bike from their homes or jobs to public transportation. The city vibe is attracting young people to urban centers, bringing energy and “feet on the street”, and that means more restaurants, shopping and entertainment -- and more dollars pumped into local coffers.

Danbury is definitely ready to drive that train. With the help of a state grant, the City is studying TOD possibilities in the immediate area of the downtown train station. TOD districts typically allow for more housing and commercial density near transportation centers, making them appealing to municipalities for many reasons, not the least of which includes getting the highest and best use from the key strategic properties located near mass transit.

The TOD study will focus on the boundaries of the TOD zone and how to further enhance development within it.

“It will look at a variety of things, including zoning regulations, additional infrastructure or marketing that will help entice people to develop the area,” said city planner Sharon Calitro. “Urban areas throughout the country are looking to develop higher-density downtown development around modes of transit, particularly as populations shift back into the cities and people want to use more mass transit.”

National studies confirm back to top

National studies have confirmed that nearly three in four Americans would support zoning changes to encourage transit-oriented development in their own communities.

In addition, nearly three-quarters of millennials and sixty percent of Generation X residents would be willing to pay higher housing costs in order to get to work without driving.

But rather than the wave of the future, the future of TODs is now, believes CCM President and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. Boughton said Danbury already has many of the components in place to create a successful transit-oriented district in the train station area.

“We believe downtown Danbury can be a transportation hub for the surrounding region and the foundation is already in place,” the mayor said.

The Danbury TOD study is expected to take about a year to complete.