The outsized effect of car noise pollution on redlined neighborhoods (left); Jersey City waterfront to gain two residential towers; Cambridge MA historic preservation & affordable housing; Carrots, not sticks, to promote housing; Best urban transport: Helsinki! (top-to-bottom right)
Article of the Week
Car Noise Pollution Is Worse in Redlined Neighborhoods — And Not Just for Humans
Kea Wilson, Streetblogs USA, December 6 2023
A study of 83 American cities indicates that low-income communities of color, historically redlined in the 1930s, face dangerous levels of transportation noise today of 89.8 decibels—the CDC finds that consistent exposure to noise levels above 70 decibels can begin to harm hearing over time. In addition, redlined neighborhoods experience increased levels of pedestrian deaths, car and air pollution, flood risks, and health issues. Cities could create green spaces, reduce vehicle speeds, and increase mobility to tackle the issues related to redlining’s racism.
JERSEY CITY—Construction to Begin on 58-Story Residential Tower on Jersey City Waterfront
New Jersey Business Magazine, December 4 2023
Tishman Speyer has secured a $300 million construction loan for the construction of 55 Hudson Street, the first tower in a two-building development. MHS Architects and Handel Architects will design the 58-story structure, which will feature 1,017 rental units, as well as 75,000 sq. ft. of amenities and 60,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The second tower, 50 Hudson, will result in a total of nearly 2,000 apartments and a 32,000 sq. ft. waterfront plaza and 70,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Both towers will sit adjacent to the PATH, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and fast ferries to New York City.
EAST ORANGE—East Orange Approves Washington Street Development
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, December 1 2023
The East Orange Planning Board unanimously approved plans for a five-story, 41-unit residential project to be built at 31-33 Washington Street. Currently a large vacant lot, the new building will feature a lobby, lounge, fitness room, 52 parking spaces, and a 1,130 sq. ft. rooftop terrace. This initiative contributes to the transformation of the built environment along the South Harrison Street corridor, enhancing transit accessibility.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS—Jersey Shore Town to Remove Parking Spots and Raise Prices in Some Areas
Ted Greenberg and Emily Rose Grassi, NBC Philadelphia, November 30 2023
The Jersey shore community of Seaside Heights faces pushback from residents as it undergoes parking changes that include the elimination of 60 parking spots located near the boardwalk. The Borough also plans to block off street ends, raise beach fees, and establish uniform metered parking rates of $3 per hour. The newly raised funds will go towards the recruitment of enforcement officers and finance parking kiosks, which town officials argue will enhance driver and pedestrian safety.
MASSACHUSETTS—Providing Affordable Housing Through Historic Preservation in Cambridge, Massachusetts
HUD User, December 5 2023
Opened in July 2023, Frost Terrace Apartments is a 50,000 sq. ft. 40-unit affordable housing complex in the transit-oriented Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge. The project offers a mix of studios and one-bedroom units, in three restored historic houses and one new building. Most of the units target households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). The site, which also includes 44 bike parking units, is two blocks away from a commuter rail stop and the Porter Square subway station.
COLORADO—Free Rides Reduced Driving, RTD Report Says. But Quest to Reduce Transportation Pollution Faces a Long Road
Nathaniel Minor, CPR News, December 4 2023
The Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) free transit program, implemented in July and August, resulted in an estimated reduction of 9 million vehicles travelled. Free rides reduced driving in the Denver region by more than 145,000 miles per day and accounted for a drop of 6.1 million pounds of greenhouse gases and more than 2,000 pounds of each of nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds. These findings support investment in public transit to make it faster, better, and more accessible than cars.
CALIFORNIA—El Cerrito Proves That Carrots, Not Sticks, Create Lasting Housing Solutions
League of California Cities, December 6 2023
El Cerrito has successfully surpassed its housing goal of 398 units, permitting 651 units between 2015 and 2023. This figure includes 81 affordable units. The City’s 2014 San Pablo Specific Plan aimed to revitalize a commercial corridor into a mixed-use community, and was later amended to include 2,500 residential units. The City also promotes transit through the building of affordable housing near the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) with a 743-unit residential project.
PENNSYLVANIA—Feds Have Good News for Passenger Rail From Pennsylvania to New York
Kurt Bresswein, Lehigh Valley Live, December 5 2023
In a recent win, federal lawmakers announced that northeastern Pennsylvania is included in the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development Program. The program aims to re-establish direct passenger rail service between Scranton and New York City through the restoration of the Lackawanna Cut-Off route. The FRA also announced a $500,000 Corridor ID grant for the Schuylkill River Passenger Authority to study passenger rail corridor linking Reading to Philadelphia and New York City.
Biden Administration Announces More Than $300 Million Available to Make Transit Stations Accessible for All
Federal Transit Administration, December 1 2023
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced $343 million in FY 2024 funding to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) aims to upgrade subway, commuter rail, and light rail systems through additions such as elevators or changes to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates a total of $1.75 billion for the ASAP program through FY 2026.
FRANCE—Paris Is Getting a Massive New Metro System
Liv Kelly, Timeout, December 7 2023
Serving nearly 4 million passengers each daily, the Paris Métro currently struggles to accommodate demand. To address this, the new Grand Paris Express, under construction since 2016 will add a 200 km (~125 mi) long system to the city and offer four new lines, two extensions, and 68 stations. With an anticipated completion date of late 2025, it will enhance capacity and efficiency.
One-Third of Nations Neglect Public Transport in Climate Action Plans, Says New UITP Report
Intelligent Transport, December 6 2023
A report from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) reveals that one in three countries globally omit public transport from their climate action plans. Among nations that do include public transport in their national plans, only half allocate a specific budget. UITP emphasizes the need to prioritize public transport as a sustainable tool to combat climate change.
FINLAND—Helsinki, Amsterdam Named Best Cities for Urban Transportation
Guillermo Molero, Bloomberg, December 4 2023
Helinski has been ranked as the city best prepared for the future of urban mobility in an assessment of 65 global cities by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley. The City has maintained its investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, advanced cycling networks, and a growing public transit system. include Amsterdam, Stockholm, San Francisco, and Munich complete the top five cities and rank high for their robust public transit networks, efforts to transition from fossil fuels, commute times, and walkability.