Dense, walkable development in Austin, outside of Downtown, UT, and SoCo, is a rare bird indeed. Unlike cities such as Portland, Oregon, and even Dallas, Austin hasn't had a rail transit infrastructure extant to provide a stimuli to densify or create greenfield New Urbanist developments. However, it new walkable developments exist, and in some of the oddest places, too.
Streetcar Lofts, Pearl District, Portland, Oregon:
(SP8254 on Flickr)
The Triangle is one of the most obvious dense developments in North Austin, and one of the best, is purposely designed to be pedestrian-focused, located in the triangle formed by the confluence of Guadalupe and Lamar, two of the main corridors in North Austin. Guadalupe-Lamar is also the main transit corridor in Austin, being the route of both the local 1 and the limited 101 bus lines, which provide approximately 7 minute headways at the Triangle. (bus schedule Triangle P&R)
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Along with this fact, the Triangle is only about 10 minutes travel time from UT-Austin and 20 minutes from downtown Austin via bus, at almost any time of day. Easy access such as this, makes it highly attractive to those seeking an urban lifestyle.
The Triangle, Lamar and Guadalupe:
(pfrench99 on Flickr)
So even though it's not along a light-rail corridor, The Triangle is the closest Austin has to anything resembling transit-oriented development, with a focus on residential space, and small, local stores and restaurants. Due to its high levels of transit service, as well as its proximity to Central Market, a large organic grocer, it's an easy sell to people wanting to lessen their reliance on the auto.
Part of the reason that the Triangle was able to develop as an entire pedestrian-oriented community, rather than one building, is due to it being a combination of greenfield and infill development, being built on land that where previously, the Austin State Hospital stood.
(Next post... Midtown Commons at Crestview)