A TOD vision in Prince George’s County (top left), TOD planning in Bengaluru, India (top right), Indianapolis zones for TOD (bottom right), methods for improving housing stability (center left), and COVID-recovery comparisons for transit in Massachusetts and Maryland (bottom left)
Article of the Week
WASHINGTON—Getting There: Spokane Seeks to Link Denser Development to Better Transit, Achieve a ‘Green Dividend’
Ted McDermott, Spokane Spokesman-Review, August 30, 2021
The City of Spokane, working in conjunction with the Spokane Transit Authority (STA), aims to reduce reliance on cars by increasing transit service and promoting changes to land use patterns in the city. With the advent of the City Line, Spokane’s first BRT service, the City commenced a Transit-Oriented Development Framework Study, to better understand how Spokane can best promote TOD. Some have called the benefit of coordinating land use and transit a “green dividend,” money saved from minimal driving and reduced carbon emissions from more sustainable development.
COVID-19 TOD News
MARYLAND—Maryland Offers New Fare Program to Boost Transit Use
AASHTO Journal, September 3, 2021
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announced two new fare options for more flexible commuting, the three and ten-day CharmFlex transit passes. The passes are valid for 12 months after their purchase, can be used on non-consecutive days, and come with a 15 percent discount from a typical fare. With hybrid work schedules in effect for many commuters, the agency hopes that this offering will better serve customer needs.
NEW YORK—Commuter Trains Have Kept Rolling. Will All Those Riders Ever Return?
Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times, August 28, 2021
The New York region’s commuter railways, the three with the highest ridership in the country, have struggled to replace the sturdy revenue they relied upon before the pandemic. Leadership at the MTA’s Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad are contemplating changing to a more “regional” approach, with service spread more evenly throughout the day. An analysis from McKinsey & Co. suggests that commuter rail ridership will return to 80 percent of 2019 levels in the next few years.
MASSACHUSETTS—Wooing Back Riders: A Tale of 2 Transit Agencies
Bruce Mohl, Commonwealth Magazine, August 26, 2021
In addition to offering flexible ticket bundles, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has retooled commuter rail schedules to hourly service rather than focusing on peak frequencies in the morning and evening. But the agency could also learn from Washington D.C.’s Metro, which, in addition to increasing service, has reduced individual fares as well as bus and rail passes.
NJ TOD News
DUNELLEN—Dunellen Approves Nine Apartments Next to QuickChek
Mike Deak, My Central Jersey, August 31, 2021
The Borough of Dunellen approved a nine-unit, mixed-use development in the municipality’s Downtown Redevelopment Area and Transit Village District. The three-story building will be a four-minute walk from NJ TRANSIT’s Raritan Valley Line, and seven minutes from four bus lines.
EWING—Development with Nearly 140 Apartments Planned Near West Trenton Train Station
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, August 30, 2021
Developer Ewing Prop, LLC has applied to the Ewing Township Planning Board to construct 138 units of housing across five buildings. The site is adjacent to the SEPTA West Trenton Line’s terminal station, with service to Philadelphia, as well as NJ TRANSIT bus connections to Trenton.
GALLOWAY—Take a New Train to the Plane? Group Pushing for Atlantic City Airport Station.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com, August 22, 2021
The South Jersey Transportation Authority and NJ TRANSIT will study the feasibility of an Atlantic City airport infill station in Galloway, which would be included in the site plan of a private developer. Local officials hope that the new link would provide better connectivity for travelers to the region, replacing a shuttle service at the nearby Egg Harbor Station. Galloway has previously received Transit Friendly Planning program assistance from NJ TRANSIT.
Transit and Equity News
Three Ways Improving Housing Stability Can Make Long-Term Progress toward Racial Equity
Kathryn Reynolds and Kaitlyn You, Urban Institute, September 1, 2021
In this article, researchers highlight how housing reform can be used to promote equitable outcomes. First, building more affordable housing can improve racial equity by reducing housing instability, which affects Black and Latino communities that have been historically discriminated against. Second, government capacity at all levels must be increased to achieve more effective distribution of housing relief funds, which as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, can be slow to reach recipients. Finally, the systems themselves must be transformed, such as refining the process to give small community-based organizations priority for rental assistance resources.
WASHINGTON—Why We Can’t Afford to Ignore the Needs of Non-Drivers With Disabilities
Kea Wilson, Streetsblog, August 30, 2021
A new report by the Disability Mobility Initiative, which consists of interviews with a hundred Washington state residents with disabilities, found that respondents overwhelmingly called for well-maintained pedestrian infrastructure, reliable transit, and accessible housing in dense neighborhoods. Overall, the report calls for centering the needs of persons with disabilities in transportation and planning decisions, and contains key policy recommendations for transit and land use, among other arenas.
Regional and National TOD News
MARYLAND—Prince George’s County Outlines Plans for Ambitious Transit-Oriented Development Along the Blue Line
Ethan Goffman, Greater Greater Washington, September 2, 2021
Prince George’s County adopted an economic development platform that calls for transit-oriented development along four Metro Blue Line Stations. The Blue Line plan aims to attract 50,000 people to the county in these areas and add 26,000 housing units. To promote affordable housing for middle class Prince George’s County residents, 75 percent of the new housing units will be dedicated at or below 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).
UTAH—Transit Oriented Development in Traverse Mountain Clears First Hurdle
Nicole Kunze, Lehi-Pointe, September 2, 2021
The Lehi City Planning Commission approved a preliminary subdivision application for a 404-unit TOD in the community. The potential development would be served by frequent bus service to points north, such as S alt Lake City, as well as a nearby commuter rail station.
INDIANA—Indianapolis Zoning Ordinance Intended To Spark Transit-Oriented Development Approved
Jill Sheridan, WFYI, September 1, 2021
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission approved a new zoning ordinance intended to promote diverse housing development and increased walkability and connectivity along the area’s BRT lines. The zoning amendments update lot and yard standards to incentivize infill development, allow for a variety of new housing types, and add design standards for better walkability.
VIRGINIA—One Million Square Feet of Transit Oriented Joint Development Advances in Northern Virginia
James Brasuell, Planetizen, August 26, 2021
Fairfax County and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) announced a joint development agreement for a one million sq. ft. mixed-use development at the West Falls Church Metro Station. The project, on Metro’s Orange Line, will now begin the rezoning process, with construction expected to begin in 2023.
International TOD News
INDIA—TOD Highlighted in Draft Regional Plan 2041
The Hindu, September 3, 2021
The draft 2041 Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) calls for Transit-Oriented Development policies along designated transit corridors. The MPD looks to coordinate revitalization and housing growth near public transportation nodes, creating better walkability and last-mile connections for residents.
INDIA—BMRCL Ties up with Research Institute to Enhance Transit Around Metro Corridors
Chiranjeevi Kulkarni, Deccan Herald, September 3, 2021
Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has contracted with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to assist with TOD and multimodal planning for two corridors in the capital city of Bengaluru. The agency hopes to better coordinate “unprecedented growth” with an expansion of mass transit infrastructure. The WRI will assist with TOD practices such as land value capture finance.