Federal grants for accessibility (top left); The past & future of the Dinky (bottom left); Carbon footprint of Washington, D.C. (right)
Article of the Week
Nearly 30 Years After the ADA, Transit Agencies Awarded Federal Money to Make Stations More Accessible
Daniel C. Vock, Route Fifty, December 19, 2022
The Federal Transit Administration has announced federal grants totaling $686 million to transit agencies to make their rail stations more accessible to people with disabilities. Agencies in nine states will receive funds, though more than half of the support will go to improve New York City subway and Chicago L train stations. The All Stations Accessibility Program grants mark the first time the federal government has specifically set aside funding for improving accessibility of some of the more than 900 subway, commuter rail, and light rail stations that were built before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive $254 million to improve three stations in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx. NJ TRANSIT was awarded a total of $34 million for three different projects (see below). The NY-NJ Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Corporation will receive $1.6 million to study needed accommodations in four Manhattan stations. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will receive $56 million for station upgrades on two different lines.
COVID-19 TOD News
NEW YORK—MTA Surpasses 1 Billion Subway Riders in 2022, a First in COVID Era
Ben Brachfeld, amNY, Dec 27, 2022
The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Tuesday that subway ridership passed the billion mark in 2022, the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark the occasion, MTA Chair Janno Lieber celebrated Sasha Salazar, the billionth rider, as the “model MTA customer,” and presented her with a new OMNY card pre-loaded with $100, a free membership to the Transit Museum, and a framed work of subway art. Transit providers throughout the U.S. have struggled to regain pre-pandemic ridership levels. Annual ridership between 2016 and 2019, averaged more than 1.7 billion, according to MTA statistics.
VIRGINIA—‘Fifteen-Minute Cities,’ Gaining Traction in a Post-Pandemic World, Are Already Here in Arlington
Jo DeVoe, ARLnow, Dec 20, 2022
For some, the pandemic spurred an exodus from urban centers, enabled by newly adopted work-from-home policies. However, for others, the pandemic demonstrated the benefits of urban living. This group wishes to live where their basic needs can be met within a short walk or bike ride, a concept that has gained acceptance as the “15-minute city.” The D.C. suburb of Arlington has embraced this idea as it aligns its transit-oriented development efforts and its plans for additional development near compact urban villages situated at Orange and Blue Metro stations and the bus-connected Columbia Pike.
NJ TOD News
PRINCETON—$190M Light Rail Plan Proposed to Replace Dinky Rail Line
Bill Sanservino, Community News, Dec 27, 2022
A recently completed study considers four options for one of the last rail spurs to a college operating in the U.S. In use since 1865, the Dinky transports passengers between the Princeton Junction Station, on the Northeast Corridor Line, to Princeton, where the station is located adjacent to the Princeton University campus. The study recommends replacing the current short rail line with a dual-purpose light rail line and a bus rapid transit system that can be expanded into other areas and support development at the Princeton Junction station. Following a year of demolition and site work, developer Avalon Bay plans to begin construction of W Squared, a $350 million, 25-acre mixed-use residential and retail community adjacent to the Princeton Junction Station in West Windsor.
HUDSON COUNTY—The NJ Turnpike project’s price tag exceeds $1B per mile. Neighbors say that’s not the only cost.
Nancy Solomon, Gothamist, Dec 24, 2022
Plans to widen the New Jersey Turnpike extension and replace the Newark Bay Bridge continue to draw criticism from local officials, environmental advocates, and residents. The Turnpike Authority and other administration officials argue that widening the roadway and replacing the bridge are necessary to mitigate traffic. However, opponents believe these plans do not address a critical issue, the limited size of the Holland Tunnel that connects the highway to Manhattan, and advocate for more funding for mass transit.
DUNELLEN—Leasing Launches at The Nell in Middlesex County
Jessica Perry, NJBIZ, Dec 16, 2022
Prism Capital Partners have begun leasing apartments and retail space at The Nell, located at 100 South Washington Avenue, directly across from the NJ TRANSIT station in Dunellen. The project comprises 252 apartments and 10,000 sq. ft. of retail. In fall 2022, residents also began occupying 130 for-purchase townhomes, which K. Hovnanian Cos. developed as part of this project. Dunellen was designated a NJ Transit Village in 2012.
Transit and Equity News
PENNSYLVANIA—Nearly 6,000 Picked So Far for Free and Reduced-Fare Transit Rides
Staff, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec 18, 2022
The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) has approved and distributed its first batch of ConnectCards for free and reduced price transit rides on the Pittsburgh Regional Transit system. The 12-month pilot program, announced in September, will provide a variety of passes to eligible participants, those aged 18 to 64 residing in Allegheny County and receiving benefits via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The benefits, free fares or 50 percent discounts, are assigned at random. The pilot program will offer discounts to 14,000 people.
NEW JERSEY—NJ Transit Gets $34M to Make 5 Train Stations More Accessible to People with Disabilities
Colleen Wilson, NorthJersey.com, Dec 20, 2022
NJ TRANSIT will receive $34.1 million to make accessibility improvements at five rail stations on three lines. The majority of the funds will be used for improvements including high platforms, accessible ramps, tactile warning strips, accessible parking spaces and upgraded communications systems at three stations—Anderson Street-Hackensack and New Bridge Landing Stations on the Pascack Valley Line ($18.2 million), and Bradley Beach Station on the North Jersey Coast Line ($14.5 million). The remaining $1.4 million will be used to study and design new platforms at the Chatham and Orange Stations on the Morristown Line.
Regional and National TOD News
COLORADO—Westminster Station, Downtown a Slow But Steady Project
Luke Zarzecki, The Westminster Window, Dec 28, 2022
If development continues as planned, the City of Westminster will see 4,500 new residents occupying 2,200 new homes, including apartments, townhouses, and condos, as well as more than 2 million sq. ft. of office space, 700,000 sq. ft. of retail space, more than 300 hotel rooms, and an entertainment district in LEED Silver buildings with access to public transit. This development near the Westminster Station has received an $80 million investment from the city and regional partners and about $450 million in private investment. Located midway between Denver and Boulder, the city and the station are served by the RTD B-Line, a commuter line, which opened in 2016. Pre-pandemic ridership on the line exceeded expectations.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Mapped: The Carbon Footprint of Washington Neighborhoods
Cuneyt Dil, Axios, Dec 20, 2022
New research finds that dense, transit-friendly neighborhoods tend to support lower carbon emissions than other neighborhoods. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, working with EcoDataLab, measured household CO2 emissions resulting from transportation, foods, goods, and services. Viewing maps of the data provided by the New York Times, clear patterns emerge, which show that urban areas along Metro corridors have emissions equal to or below the national average.
NEW YORK—State Announces 11 Approved DRI Projects for Amityville
Staff, Amityville Record, Dec 20, 2022
The State of New York has announced approval of 11 projects to be funded via a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award to Amityville, in the Town of Babylon on Long Island. The award will fund efforts to improve access to the Amityville LIRR station and wayfinding from the downtown to the station. Other projects will support Complete Streets improvements and mixed use development in the village’s transit-friendly downtown.
NEW YORK—New York Housing Policy Must Mesh with Transit
Kate Slevin, New York Daily News, Dec 19, 2022
East Side Access, New York’s massive infrastructure project that extends the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from Queens to Grand Central Madison, a new station under Grand Central Station on the East Side of New York City, will finally open in early 2023. With its completion, Kate Slevin, Executive Vice President of Regional Plan Association, calls for city and state officials to carefully consider housing policy and plans for where and how much housing gets built in relation to the region’s transportation infrastructure. She advocates for more transit-friendly housing, particularly in communities on Long Island benefitting from the East Side Access project, and where housing development has lagged in comparison to other places in the New York Metro Region.
International TOD News
INDIA—Navi Mumbai: 12K Applications for CIDCO’s Ulwe Housing Scheme
Amit Srivastava, The Free Press, Dec 17, 2022
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the entity responsible for the development of Navi Mumbai, a planned city located east of Mumbia in Maharashtra, has received about 12,000 applications for 7,849 housing units in the Ulwe node, one of 11 nodes in the city. The project is a walkable distance from Bamandongri and Kharkopar railway stations of the Nerul / Belapur-Uran corridor of the Mumbai Suburban Railway.