Kansas City, MO (upper left), Atlanta, GA (middle left), Singapore (lower left), Perth Amboy Station (upper right), and proposed development in South Philadelphia (lower right).
NJ TOD News
NJ Transit Approves $500M Bond Request for Trains, Buses
David Hutter, NJBiz.com, December 11, 2019
On Wednesday, NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved several measures designed to improve service. The board authorized the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to seek the issuance of $500M in 28-year bonds to purchase trains and buses. Increasing capacity of the fleet and updating services are planned to meet growing transportation needs. The board also approved the use of eminent domain to purchase properties needed for the Portal North Bridge project, a major component of the Gateway Project to improve trans-Hudson travel. Finally, the Board approved a contract for final engineering design services and construction assistance for accessibilities improvements to the Perth Amboy Station. Gas tax increases will finance the bonds.
More NJ Transit Buses Coming to Essex, Hudson, Bergen
Eric Kiefer, Patch.com, December 13, 2019
On Friday, NJ TRANSIT received almost $17.3M in federal funding for a new fleet of buses to be used in Essex, Hudson, and Bergen counties. The USDOT granted funds for the purchase of 25 new, 60-foot articulated buses to serve the region’s increasing ridership and need for transit. The new fleet, which will be further augmented by 183 new cruiser buses and 85 articulated buses scheduled to arrive in 2020, will allow for nearly 2,000 more daily passenger trips.
NJ Transit Approves Upgrades for Historic Perth Amboy Train Station
Susan Loyer, Bridgewater Courier News, December 13, 2019
The historic 91-year old Perth Amboy Station will receive nearly $7M in funding for an accessibility improvement project to update the station’s facilities and to meet ADA standards. Renovations include the installation of four elevators, upgraded entries, a new commuter communication system, and several platform improvements. Plans to build a ramp to connect the station to the pedestrian bridge are also underway.
NJ Transit Makes American Dream Expanded Bus Service Permanent
Kimberly Redmond, Patch Staff, December 13, 2019
On Wednesday, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved the permanent expansion of bus service to the American Dream mall in the Meadowlands. The pilot program started last August, offering premium fares for a daily express bus service from Port Authority Bus terminal and from Secaucus Junction. Expanded operating hours on buses from Hoboken to Secaucus, Paterson to East Rutherford, and Hackensack to the Meadowlands have also been added to the permanent service schedule.
One Seat Ride: Assembly Approves Bill to Require Feasibility Study
Regina Wilder, Tapinto.net, December 17, 2019
On Monday, the NJ State Assembly approved a bill to require NJ TRANSIT to conduct a feasibility study on the restoration of a one-seat ride to New York via the Raritan Valley Line. The restoration of the direct route would provide 10 percent of daily riders a convenient and time-saving commuting option between New Jersey and NY Penn Station. The bill would require NJ TRANSIT to prepare and submit a report on the results of the study within six months of the assessment.
NJEDA Begins Accepting Micro-Business Loan Applicants
Daniel J. Munoz, NJBiz.com, December 19, 2019
On Wednesday, NJEDA began accepting applications for its new micro-business loan program for start-ups and small businesses. Applicants may request up to $50,000 for improvements and business expansions. Tim Sullivan, the agency’s CEO, said that the fund is aimed at supporting micro-businesses and early stage companies, and emphasized that increased access to capital is “critical to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy.”
Regional and National TOD News
City Council Moves toward Extending Funding for Affordable, Transit-Oriented Development
Donna Bryson, The Denverite, December 11, 2019
On Wednesday, the Denver Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness Committee filed a request for a 10-year extension on a loan fund that helps the city secure land and property for below-market-rate TOD. The original fund was started in 2010 and is set to expire at the end of this year. On December 23rd, the proposal will be presented to the full city council for consideration.
Housing at Transit: Berkeley Moves to Comply with New State Zoning Law
Melanie Curry, Streetsblog California, December 12, 2019
This month, the Berkeley City Council agreed to begin rezoning parking lots near its three BART stations to accommodate the development of housing complexes that will feature affordable units. At least 35 percent of units will be reserved for low-income households. BART is preparing guidelines to help the city with this process. Construction is schedule to be completed in 2021. Despite push back from residents and council members, the city is committed to this timeline and is making aggressive efforts to address the housing crisis that is plaguing the state.
Why Kansas City’s Free Transit Experiment Matters
Laura Bliss, CityLab.com December 13, 2019
In 2020, Kansas City will become the first major U.S. city to provide no-fare public transportation services. The city will allocate approximately $9M to implement this project, but officials are hoping that increased mobility and accessibility of lower income residents will improve the city’s economic activity overall and help recoup this cost. Mayor Quinton Lucas and councilmembers show an “unusual willingness to experiment with new ideas,” according to transit experts, a sign that the city is ready to learn something new about how to improve public transit.
Regional leaders adopt sweeping, $27B transit expansion plan. Now what?
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta, December 16, 2019
The ATL (aka Atlanta-Regional Transit Link Authority), a 13-county regional transit agency, recently published the ATL Regional Transit Plan, which reports on $27.4B worth of investments devoted to 192 transportation projects to transform the metro Atlanta transit network. The roster includes heavy and light rail lines, expanded bus services, and cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure improvements. Major projects planned include the Clifton Corridor ($1.9B transit line connecting MARTA Lindenbergh Station to Emory University) and the $1.4B extension of the MARTA Gold Line. These projects, if realized, could result in a truly regional transit network for Atlanta, though timelines for many of these projects are unspecified.
6 Clever Urban Design Ideas That All Cities Should Steal
Patrick Sisson, Curbed.com, Dec 17, 2019
Many underestimate the impact and long-term benefit brought about by small transportation projects and instead look to megaprojects (with their long cycles of funding, design, and construction) to achieve improvements. In 2019, six projects achieved impressive results through “small, surgical changes” and provide insights into how other cities can address issues of transportation access, equity, and affordability: the 14th Street Busway in New York City, HouseZero project built by the Center for Green Building at Harvard University, the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Restoration project in New Mexico, the Chicago Public Library and Housing Projects, Park Avenue Green in the Bronx, and adaptive reuse resulting in 75 affordable workforce housing units at the Millworks Lofts in Minneapolis.
South Philadelphia Developer Resists Calls for More Parking, Promises Grocery Store
Meir Rinde, WHYY.Org, December 17, 2019
Despite complaints from long-time residents that new apartments would aggravate traffic congestion and contribute to overcrowding in Passyunk Square, South Philadelphia developer Leo Addimando of Alterra Property Group asserts that the company will not change development plans for a 170-unit apartment complex at 1100 Wharton St. The building will have only 59 parking spaces for lease in an underground garage and residents of the neighborhood demanded that Alterra build more parking spaces and fewer units. The company found that fewer than 20 percent of its residents have cars, Addimando says.
International TOD News
A Lesson from Singapore’s TOD
Seth Tan and Poh Mei Yi, The Jakarta Post, December 14, 2019
As more and more Asian cities build transit infrastructure to accommodate growing needs for urban housing, transport, and mobility, Jakarta officials look to Singapore for inspiration. Singapore’s long-standing practices integrate urban transit design with spatial planning, and seek to effect urban renewal through transit network expansion. The result of nearly half a century of transit-oriented development is a complex, but self-sustaining, network of satellite towns surrounding a central core city, with rail networks that access industrial parks. Singapore’s success in increasing transit ridership and creating livable urban spaces reflects effective TOD policies and implementation.
Toronto City Council Approves Multiyear Property-Tax Hikes to Fund Transit, Housing
Oliver Moore, The Globe and Mail, December 18, 2019
After hours of debate, Toronto City Council approved a property tax increase by a 21-3 margin on Tuesday. The multi-year series of property tax increases will continue through 2025 and raise billions for transit and affordable housing. Tax increases are expected to reach a maximum of 10.5 per cent in 2025.