Urban highway costs (top-left); NJ TRANSIT funding (middle-left); Tanzania’s digital shift (bottom-left); Urban parking (right)
OHIO—This Is How Much Space Parking Lots Take Up in Downtown Columbus
Chelsea Wiley, Columbus Navigator, August 22 2023
A recent Parking Reform Network study examined the relationship between city population and land used for parking and found that more populated cities tend to have less land devoted to parking than others. Parking occupies about 27 percent of the central area of Columbus, Ohio. With a population of nearly 1 million, Columbus currently has more parking than many similarly sized and smaller cities and faces challenges as it institutes parking reforms.
ORANGE—Russo’s Essex & Crane by Vermella 60% Leased in Orange
Jessica Perry, NJBIZ, August 24 2023
Essex & Crane, located adjacent to the NJ TRANSIT Orange Station, open in May 2023 and has achieved 60 precent lease-out. The project at 377 Crane Street comprises 209 units and offers 23,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor amenities. Project developers, Russo Development and Dinallo Construction Corp, have begun work on Phase 2, which will add about 200 units to the project.
NEWARK—Why the Airport City Newark Project Led by NJIT Is a Big Deal
Andrew McMains, New Jersey Institute of Technology, August 22 2023
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and local and other partners, have advanced effort to plan a $12 million “aerotropolis” known as Airport City Newark in the area surrounding the Newark Liberty International Airport. Plans seek to combine airport facilities, and address connectivity, economic growth, and inequities in the Dayton neighborhood of Newark. The airport itself is a significant economic driver, and supports 24,000 jobs and contributes $3.3 billion in wages to the local economy.
NJ Transit Fare Hikes: Only a Matter of Time?
Josh Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight News, August 21 2023
NJ TRANSIT, like many U.S. transit agencies, faces low ridership and reduced federal aid, both affecting operating budgets. Potential solutions to the agency’s financial situation include fare hikes, which have been avoided for six years, and service cuts. Currently, around 30 percent of NJ TRANSIT’s annual revenue comes from passenger fares. Nearly 70 percent of residents oppose a fare increase and favor a permanent source of state funding for NJ TRANSIT.
Researchers Find Walkable Communities Are Healthier for Both Mom and Baby
Robbin Ray, University of New Hampshire, August 17 2023
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that pregnant women residing in walkable communities are more likely to engage in physical activity, which results positive outcomes for both the baby and mother. The study examined Environmental Protection Agency’s walkability measures and data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and on pregnancy outcomes. The findings show that a 10-point increase in walkability index corresponded to an additional 70 minutes of weekly exercise, a 27 percent reduction in gestational diabetes, and other positive outcomes.
NEW YORK—Mayor Adams, DCP Director Garodnick Unveil Proposal to Convert Vacant Offices to Housing Through City Action, Outline Next Step in “City of Yes” Plan
The Official Website for the City of New York, August 17 2023
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has proposed a multi-faceted approach to address the city’s unmet housing demand for as many 560,000 new units and to address its substantial inventory of vacant office space, as much as 76 million sq. ft. The “City of Yes” plan calls for updates to zoning regulations for the Midtown South area to allow for affordable housing construction and to permit offices to housing conversion. The City has also launched an Office Conversion Accelerator to expedite complex office-to-housing conversion projects.
Urban Highways Cost Billions in Lost Home Values
María Paula Mijares Torres, Bloomberg, August 16 2023
Smart Growth America’s recent report, Divided by Design, examines the economic repercussions and racial disparities that resulted from the expansion and construction of the nation’s highways. It looks closely at Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, GA, where highway projects displaced thousands of residents, destroyed thousands of homes, and wreaked financial havoc. In D.C., construction of two highway segments in 1960 led to an $1.4 billion decline in home value and an annual property tax loss of $7.6 million (based on the 2023 property tax rate).
NEW YORK—Ramapo’s Housing Pace Continues While Remainder of Rockland County Shows Anemic Growth Based on Housing Permits
Rockland County Business Journal, August 23 2023
Housing growth has been a top priority of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration, which has recently launched a website that will utilize Census data to track housing growth in every town, village, and city in the state. Governor Hochul, a Democrat, had hoped to include a housing plan into this year’s budget to address a statewide housing shortage, but faced opposition. She proposed towns with train stations to be rezoned for denser housing.
ILLINOIS—Parking Spots Are Turned Into People Space as a Lakeview Garage Becomes an Apartment Complex
John Greenfield, Streetblogs Chicago, August 15 2023
Developers have adaptively reused a parking garage located within half-mile transit-oriented development zone around Belmont station’s radius to create The Medallion, a residential apartment complex in Chicago. The project comprises 72 apartments, including several affordable housing units, and 50 parking spaces. The building also features two electric-vehicle chargers, eight-to-ten bike parking spaces per floor and offers convenient access to nearby grocery stores and other shops.
CALIFORNIA—San Diego Cityscape: A Look at San Diego’s Best-Designed Transit-Oriented Developments
Dirk Sutro, The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 20 2023
San Diego has focused on transit-oriented developments (TODs) to enhance urban areas near its rail lines. Barrio Logan, designed by Safdie Rabines Architects, exemplifies this approach by integrating businesses, art, and transit. While a range in design quality exists across the TODs, the work of Studio E Architects as well as that by noted urbanist Peter Calthorpe have also contributed greatly to the region. Calthorpe’s latest concept, “Grand Boulevards” or intensive redevelopment served by autonomous rapid transit along underutilized commercial and industrial strips, may provide a new model for development in the region.
INDIA—India Defines ‘Green Hydrogen’ and Ringfences $7BN for Electric Buses
Sidhi Mittal, Edie, August 22 2023
The Indian government aims to transform energy and transportation, by implementing green hydrogen standards and reducing their dependency on fossil fuels. Their goal is to annually produce five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and to cut carbon emissions by 50 million metric tons. India will introduce a $7 billion private-public partnership plan deploy 10,000 electric buses across 169 cities in a decade, potentially employing 55,000 people.
TANZANIA—How Tanzania’s Safiri Is Bringing African Transport Operators Into the Digital Age
Tom Jackson, Disrupt Africa, August 22 2023
Transportation providers in Africa have lagged those in other parts of the world in the use of technology for operations. Many systems continue to use outdated methods for the issuance of tickets, managing sales, and tracking vehicles. Launched in 2022, the startup Safiri provides a platform to companies to manage operations and improve customer experience. Currently, Safiri serves more than 200 transport companies operating 700 buses, as well as 20 cargo companies. Around 70,000 users have purchased tickets using the platform.