Saturday, May 25, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News April 22-28, 2023

Googles halts construction in San Jose (top-left); Preserving pedestrian zones with informal retail (bottom-left); NJ’s affordable housing model (right)

Downtown San Jose. perplimo | Flickr
Downtown San Jose. perplimo | Flickr

Article of the Week

CALIFORNIA—Google Reportedly Halts Construction of Its Giant San Jose Campus
Jon Fingas, Engadget, Apr 21 2023
Google has halted construction on its 80-acre Downtown West campus in San Jose, citing a need to reevaluate plans for the office space to meet the future needs of the company and hybrid workers. The company had promised concessions, including 15,000 housing units across Silicon Valley and $200 million in community support, for example, to assist displaced businesses. The pause in construction leaves San Jose with an uncertain future for the campus that was intended to bring jobs and economic activity to the region.

Downtown Glassboro. Borough of Glassboro, New Jersey | Flickr
Downtown Glassboro. Borough of Glassboro, New Jersey | Flickr

NJ TOD News

S. Jersey’s Growth Boosts Need for More Transit Options
Renae Reynolds & Talia Crawford, NJ.com, Apr 27 2023
Transit advocates, Renae Reynolds and Talia Crawford, believe that construction of the proposed Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) light rail is crucial to address South Jersey’s lack of transit connectivity. GCL is expected to increase property values and encourage transit-oriented development, including housing within walking distance of light rail stations.

Sundry Photography | Adobe Stock
Sundry Photography | Adobe Stock

NJ a national role model for affordable housing? This report tallies recent success
Ashley Balcerzak, NorthJersey.com, Apr 26 2023
A recent analysis by the Fair Share Housing Center found that New Jersey towns have doubled the rate at which they built affordable housing since 2015. The Fair Share Housing Center attributes this growth to a shift towards court settlement and the state’s Mount Laurel legal framework—a change that came with the dissolution of the Council on Affordable Housing, a statewide agency that approved municipal affordable housing plans. The report, called “Dismantling Exclusionary Zoning: New Jersey’s Blueprint for Overcoming Segregation,” identifies ways the current system could be implemented in other states that include the use of legal mandates and prioritization for building new housing near jobs and transportation.


Transit and Equity News
Courtesy of Salt Lake City Community and Neighborhoods
Courtesy of Salt Lake City Community and Neighborhoods

UTAH—Higher Densities May Be Coming Soon to Your SLC Neighborhood
Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune, Apr 28 2023
Salt Lake City will consider zoning changes in its efforts to promote transit-oriented development (TOD) and the construction of more affordable housing in residential and commercial areas. The Housing SLC Plan, backed by Mayor Erin Mendenhall and now before the City Council, offers incentives such as increased density and building height allowances along transit lines to encourage developers to include rent-subsidized units in new projects. The plan also aims to expand the types of housing allowed in certain zones, promoting diverse housing options near transit hubs, including duplexes, triplexes, and backyard cottages.

2nd Street (Butterfly) Bridge in Austin TX. Randy von Liski | Flickr
2nd Street (Butterfly) Bridge in Austin TX. Randy von Liski | Flickr

Reconnecting Communities: Cities Use New Funding to Repair Transportation Injustices
Deron Lovaas, NRDC, Apr 26 2023
The Reconnecting Communities program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, has allocated $185 million to 45 projects aimed at undoing damage caused by past highway construction that disproportionately affected communities of color. Among the funded projects are the Akron Innerbelt in Ohio, which will receive $960,000 to remodel a mile-long stretch, and the Long Branch station pedestrian tunnel in New Jersey, granted $13.2 million for construction. These projects aim to improve transit ridership, increase safety, and reconnect divided communities, promoting growth and unity.

Light rail at Mt. Baker Station in Seattle WA. AvgeekJoe | Flickr
Light rail at Mt. Baker Station in Seattle WA. AvgeekJoe | Flickr

Urban-Rural Collaborations Help Eliminate Transit Deserts and Improve Mobility Equity
Brad Windler, GCN, Apr 26 2023
Urban planner Brad Windler believes urban-rural transit agency collaborations can help improve access to public transportation for residents living outside cities. One successful example is the partnership between Skagit and Whatcom counties in Washington State, which implemented a mobility platform allowing riders to conveniently pay fares and plan trips across county lines. To implement such collaborations elsewhere, Windler thinks agencies should focus on seamless collaboration, identifying areas with the highest need for rural-urban connections. Projects should incorporate an expert integration partner with knowledge of both legacy systems and new digital technologies.


Regional and National TOD News

Streetcar in Downtown Atlanta. Central Atlanta Progress | Flickr
Streetcar in Downtown Atlanta. Central Atlanta Progress | Flickr

GEORGIA—Redevelopment of Eastside MARTA Station Takes Key Step Forward
Josh Green, Urbanize Atlanta, Apr 26 2023
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has approved the rezoning of 35 acres around MARTA’s Kensington rail station, paving the way for transit-oriented development (TOD). The plans include a mix of residential units, small-scale retail spaces, parks, affordable senior housing, and a new Housing Authority of DeKalb County headquarters. MARTA is now preparing to solicit developers for the project, aimed at turning the area into a community hub with affordable housing and neighborhood amenities.


International TOD News

Street vendors in Asmara, Eritrea. News Agency | Flickr
Street vendors in Asmara, Eritrea. News Agency | Flickr

How Can Informal Retail Preserve Pedestrian Zones as Car Dependency Increases in African Cities?
Paul Yakubu, ArchDaily, Apr 28 2023
Architect Paul Yakubu observes African cities in the midst of rapid population growth and urban sprawl, leading to increased car dependency and a decline in pedestrian interaction with the urban environment. This growth endangers informal architecture, such as small kiosks and market stalls, which encourages pedestrian activity and offers a potential model for new urbanism. To create walkable, inclusive, and pedestrian-friendly cities, Yakubu believes urban planning should consider the realities of informal spaces, integrate them into road infrastructure, and implement zoning rules that promote small retail units near transit corridors.

Street scene in Lagos, Nigeria. Sunday Alamba | Flickr
Street scene in Lagos, Nigeria. Sunday Alamba | Flickr

NIGERIA—Lagos, Oando Drive Sustainable Public Transport with New Electric Buses
Adedapo Adesanya, Business Post, Apr 28 2023
The Lagos State government and Oando Clean Energy Limited have received electric buses to launch a sustainable road transport system in the state. The move follows a 2022 MoU with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority for an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Ecosystem, including electric buses, charging stations, and related infrastructure. Over the next seven years, the initiative aims to transition 12,000 combustion mass transit buses to electric, starting in Lagos and eventually across Nigeria, with an estimated economic cost savings of US$2.6 billion.