ANCHOR MILL TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
DPZ provided the first attempt in the county to create a transit-oriented devel- opment that is designed to be integrated with a larger system. This system will include a series of town centers that run along the north-south transit corridor and that are intended to function both as independent units and as part of the larger scheme. While each town center will not provide all the necessary amenities for its residents, each will cover a range of daily needs as well as some more specialized uses; all of the town centers in combination will provide a complete package, including education, employment, medical, commercial, and residential. Connected by the transit system, and thereby accessible to everybody, these transit-oriented developments will serve all layers of society: the younger and the older who cannot drive, those who cannot afford cars for every family member, and all residents who will choose not to drive to work or to their daily needs. Most new development in Mecklenburg County does not offer these choices and is instead built entirely to support the one-car-per- adult scheme.
The density of the transit-oriented developments is a largely debated issue. Density is frequently blamed for traffic congestion and all the inconveniences of long commutes. However, this is true only when uses are segregated and the places that people live are separated from the places that people need to go. In those situations, every additional resident adds to the congestion. In mixed-use developments, most of the daily necessities are within walking distance, eliminating or greatly shortening vehicular trips.
Anchor Mill, at approximately 12 to 18 units to the acre, will provide the minimum density required for transit to be successful, and it is expected that about forty percent of its residents will choose transit for their daily commute. The density will be balanced by the mix of uses, such as shops, civic uses, entertainment, workplaces, and a school. Though it is an intermediate (rather than primary) destination transit station, Anchor Mill will become an effective interceptor of vehicular trips. It will also become part of the permanent solution for growth for the whole region, which is expected to absorb 273,000 people over the next fifteen years.
MICHAEL GRAVES & ASSOCIATES with DUANY PLATER-ZYBERK AND COMPANY