Philadelphia pilots “Serving a Vulnerable Entity” (SAVE) program (top left); San Diego Mayor advocates for people over parking (middle left); How to better integrate scooters with public transit (bottom left); Work starts on Perth Amboy Station (right)
Article of the Week
WASHINGTON—Othello’s Transit-Oriented Housing Boom
Andrew Engelson, The Urbanist, April 22, 2022
In Seattle’s South End, the area near the Othello Link light rail station is burgeoning with new housing, including nearly 400 affordable homes, 98 townhomes, and about 1,200 market-rate apartment homes recently completed or under construction. Non-profits, such the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and HomeSight, have worked to address displacement and gentrification in the Othello neighborhood, which is home to large immigrant and racially-diverse communities. In late 2021, LIHI completed George Fleming Place, a 106-unit subsidized housing development for those earning between 30 and 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). HomeSight, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to helping communities of color, works to build generational wealth through homeownership. When complete, its Othello Square project will feature a four-building complex of affordable housing, retail, medical and social services, and nonprofit organizations.
Ventilation Helps Make Public Transit Safer from Spread of Covid-19, Experts Say, But Masks Are Better
Jen Christensen, CNN, April 21, 2022
With the recent decision striking down the federal mask mandate, many are asking about the effectiveness of such interventions. Research has shown that good ventilation can help reduce the spread of Covid-19 while indoors, but masks work better. Transit systems have upgraded air-conditioning systems on buses and subway cars to increase the amount of fresh air pumped in, which helps curb viral particle concentration. BART and NYC’s MTA have introduced advanced technologies, including UV lights and ionizers, that remove about 99 percent of viruses. Although more transit systems could take measures to mitigate risk, experts think wearing a mask is a simple and effective solution to increasing safety, irrespective of the mode of transport.
PENNSYLVANIA—Transit Riders Are Worried about Safety. Police in Philly are Trying a New Approach
Martin Kaste, NPR, April 21, 2022
U.S. transit systems continue to experience historically low ridership, which now stands at 61 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Officials cite increased visibility of violent crimes, homelessness, and drug-use on many systems as one factor suppressing ridership. Fewer commuters and the suspension of fare enforcement during the pandemic have increased the presence of what officials call the “vulnerable population.” In response, some systems, such as Denver’s, have stepped up fare enforcement. Others have taken a more comprehensive approach; last fall, SEPTA launched “Serving a Vulnerable Entity” (SAVE), a pilot program that pairs police with civilian social workers, offering services such as temporary shelter and drug treatment.
HACKENSACK—Moving On Up in Hackensack, the Jefferson’s Luxury Rentals Are Ready for Lease
Linda Lindner, roi-nj.com, April 21, 2022
The Jefferson, a 377-unit luxury apartment in uptown Hackensack, has started accepting leasing applications. Located at 2 Kinderkamack Road, the six-story building comprises one- and two-bedroom units with floor plans ranging from 735 to 1,598 sq. ft. The transit-oriented development is near the NJ TRANSIT New Bridge Landing-River Edge rail station. Introductory monthly rents begin at $2,240, with limited-time incentives.
PERTH AMBOY—NJ Transit’s $45.5M Upgrade of Perth Amboy Train Station Commences with Groundbreaking
Linda Lindner, roi-nj.com, April 21, 2022
Gov. Phil Murphy along with NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett and Middlesex County legislators broke ground on a renovation project focused on increasing accessibility at the Perth Amboy station. NJ TRANSIT’s board of directors approved a $45.5 million contract to modernize the Perth Amboy station, which will significantly improve the customer experience at the station. The upgrades include building high-level platforms and four elevators, a new pedestrian bridge, new ramps and stairs, and upgraded security cameras. Assembly Speaker Coughlin shared he anticipates the upgrades will strengthen the city’s historical identity and economy.
WOODBRIDGE—Prism Capital Partners’ Avenue & Green Luxury/Affordable Rental Complex Is 96% Leased
Prism Capital Partners, Building Design+Construction, April 20, 2022
Avenue & Green, a new 232-unit luxury multifamily community, located at 10 Green Street, Woodbridge, is nearing completion. The transit-oriented development is adjacent to the NJ TRANSIT Woodbridge Station, at the corner of Rahway Avenue and Green Street. The project will offer a mix of 40 studios, 108 one-bedroom, 77 two-bedroom, and seven three-bedroom apartments, of which 35 will be affordable units. In addition, the mixed-use development comprises 10,500 sq. ft. of street-level retail.
PENNSYLVANIA—Philly Businesses Would Have to Offer Pre-tax SEPTA Passes Under New City Council Plan, Potentially Saving Workers Hundreds Each Year
Meir Rinde, Billy Penn, April 21, 2022
Under a proposed law introduced by Councilmember Helen Gym, Philadelphia companies with more than 50 employees would have to offer workers the ability to pay for SEPTA passes with pre-tax salaries. This could cut employees’ federal income tax bill by an average of $200 to $250 a year and, in turn, increase SEPTA’s ridership. Gym and other supporters say the bill will also help reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and street congestion, as well as support the City’s Vision Zero initiative. This is the latest in a series of recent attempts to make SEPTA more affordable and more attractive to commuters.
New Roadmap Reveals How Cities Can Better Integrate Scooters with Public Transit
Cities Today, April 19, 2022
A new report explores ways to better integrate scooters with public transit, looking at Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Madrid. The report suggests that placing different transit options at the same location, lowering trip costs through improved fare integration between modes, and expanding equity programs can help integrate scooters with public transit. According to Superpedestrian, an e-scooter aggregator, two-thirds of its e-scooter trips were taken to commute to work, school, and other daily necessities. One survey included in the report reveals that 30 percent of riders have used scooters to link to public transit, with 30 percent expecting to do so soon.
ARIZONA—1M SF Central Station Breaks Ground in Downtown Phoenix
AZRE, AZ Big Media, April 21, 2022
Medistar Corporation, GMH Communities, and CBRE Investment Management were joined by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and other officials for the ground breaking of Central Station, a mixed-use transit-oriented development adjacent to Civic Space Park and Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix Campus. The property will be developed as an extension to the existing transit station and will comprise two residential towers, 30,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and 70,000 sq. ft. of flexible office space. The first tower, a 22-story student housing building, will include units ranging from micro-studios to four-bedroom apartments. The second tower, a 33-story residential tower, will comprise 362 dwelling units. Central Station is slated to open in 2024.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mixed-income, Transit-Oriented Apartments Coming to Southwest Washington
Michele Lerner, The Washington Post, April 21, 2022
Developer Hoffman & Associates has begun construction of Waterfront Station II, a new transit-oriented, mixed-use development at 1000 Fourth Street SW, one block from the Waterfront Metro Station. The residential component of the project will include 449 dwelling units, 136 of which (30 percent) will be designated as affordable housing with half of the units offered to households that earn 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and the other half to households that earn 50 percent of AMI. The 12-story development will also include a performing arts space, the campus of AppleTree Public Charter School, a restaurant, and 7,000 sq. ft of retail space. Waterfront Station II is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
CALIFORNIA—California Must Prioritize People Over Parking
Todd Gloria, CalMatters, April 18, 2022
San Diego Mayor, Todd Gloria, who previously represented the 78th Assembly District in the California Legislature, argues that California’s housing shortage can be alleviated by easing outdated government regulations that require a minimum amount of parking to be built with every housing unit, a solution that has worked in San Diego. Each parking stall adds nearly $30,000 to $90,000 to the cost of building, a price paid by the residents irrespective of car ownership. A mismatch of housing and parking has led to an affordability crisis, hurting the regional economy and small businesses. Assembly Bill 2097, introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman from Burbank, California, aims to create more affordable, transit-oriented housing by eliminating parking requirements in areas within transit priority zones and walkable amenities.
TEXAS—AMLI Residential, Stream Realty Plan $472M Transit-Oriented Development in Addison, Texas
Katie Sloan, Rebusiness Online, April 14, 2022
The Town of Addison has named AMLI Residential and Stream Realty Partners master developers for a $472 million, 18-acre, mixed-use development. Since the advent of the DART light rail system in 1983, the Town has acquired land for the transit-oriented development project. The development is centered on a forthcoming DART Silver Line Station and located near the 10-acre Addison Circle public park. The first phase will include several mixed-use structures featuring ground floor retail space, a six-story office building, a 13-story luxury multifamily community, a seven-story luxury multifamily building, and a 45,000 sq. ft. entertainment complex. Later phases will include a 150,000 sq. ft. office complex and a boutique hotel.
CANADA—Ontario Issuing EMZOs to Kick-Start Transit-Oriented Developments on Yonge North Subway
Robert Mackenzie, Urban Toronto, April 20, 2022
The Government of Ontario announced two new transit-oriented communities at forthcoming stations on the Yonge North subway extension in the Thornhill area of Markham and the Langstaff area of southern Richmond Hill. When complete, the two communities at High Tech Station and Bridge Station will provide as many as 40,000 new homes and support 19,000 new jobs in the York Region. The government claims that it can offset the construction costs of a fifth station on the subway extension at Royal Orchard through funds it will receive from developers. The Province is using Enhanced Minister’s Zoning Orders (EMZO) to speed up the approval process for the projects. EMZO gives the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing complete authority to control any land in the province. As reported by Ontario Yours to Protect, an environmental advocacy group, an EMZO allows the province to override local planning authority and approve development without expert analysis, public input, or any appeal.
AUSTRALIA—Brisbane Shopping Centre on Block as Developer Cashes In
Ted Tabet, The Urban Developer, April 13, 2022
The Honeycombes Group, in partnership with Melbourne’s MaxCap Real Estate Financiers, broke ground on Ferny Grove Central, a 12,000 square meter neighborhood village at Ferny Grove train station that includes retail and essential services components. The transit-oriented development will feature an 82-apartment residential building known as The Fernery, slated to be completed by late 2023. The $250-million, 366-apartment redevelopment of Coorparoo Square in the City’s eastern fringe, known as Ferny Grove Village, is a part of the broader project. Honeycombes’ Managing Director, Peter Honeycomb, said the company has drawn “unprecedented interest” from the local market, underlining the level of demand both for residential apartments and retail shops.