Bayfront, Jersey City, New Jersey (top left); Mineta Report: TOD and Park-and-Ride: Which is Appropriate Where? (bottom left); Hue Soul, East Orange, New Jersey (right)
Article of the Week
‘Dear Colleague’: Biden Throws Trump Under the Bus and Supports Transit Funding, Gateway
Gersh Kuntzman, Streetsblog, February 16, 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation rescinded a 2018 “Dear Colleague” letter that had prevented progress on the Gateway program, a long-stalled project to rehabilitate and rebuild the century-old rail tunnels under the Hudson River. The ruling had prohibited local governments from counting low-interest loans of federal funds towards their share of a project. Though this major hurdle has been surmounted, an environmental review must still be conducted before construction can begin.
COVID-19 TOD News
NEW YORK—N.Y.C. Staves Off Cuts to Public Transit, Despite Dire Warnings
Christine Goldbaum, The New York Times, February 18, 2021
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that New York City bus and subway service would not be cut for the next two years, a dramatic shift from the 40 percent service reductions the agency had previously projected. MTA officials attributed the policy reversal to the recent federal bailout, and higher than expected tax revenues. The MTA board also approved a 7 percent increase in bridge and tunnel tolls, with the additional revenue to be directed towards transit.
Post-Covid, Transit Agencies Must Look Beyond Ridership
David Zipper, Bloomberg CityLab, February 16, 2021
Transit agencies, suffering from low ridership numbers due to the pandemic, can use this moment to recalibrate their service, focusing on access rather than ridership. In this context, access can be thought of as the ability for an individual to safely reach various employment centers using public transit and active transportation. One example would be calculating access for essential workers to adequately reach hospitals or grocery stores, and adjusting service and infrastructure to better fit their needs.
CALIFORNIA—Partial Downtown-Bound Muni Metro Service to Return in May
Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, February 16, 2021
Two San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) trolley lines, N-Judah and T-Third to West Portal, which have been closed since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, will reopen in May, as crowded shuttle bus replacements signaled demand for increased transit capacity. The N and T lines were briefly reopened in August 2020, though equipment malfunctions and a staff COVID case quickly led to a second shutdown. The closure of the downtown subway tunnel has given the SFMTA ample time to perform much-needed maintenance and upgrade track-switching hardware.
NEW YORK—MTA to Gradually Restore Overnight Subway Service Beginning Feb. 22
Lauren Cook, PIX11, February 15, 2021
The New York City subway, famous for its 24-hour service, was shut down in May 2020 from 1am to 5am each day for comprehensive overnight cleaning. Now, as COVID-19 cases begin to decline, the system’s hours will once again be expanded, from 4am to 2am daily, with a two-hour cleaning period still taking place each night.
NJ TOD News
Holland Park Proposal Could Bring New Light Rail Station, 800 Units to Jersey City
Chris Fry, JerseyDigs, February 16, 2021
Developer Lincoln Equities has proposed redevelopment of a parcel abutting the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks on the Jersey City-Hoboken border. The complex, called Holland Park, would create 800 housing units, a new light rail station, a public pedestrian plaza, and would require a zoning change to build to a height of 18 stories. Public comments will be open through February 24, with the final zoning plan to be presented on March 10.
Renderings Released for Approved ‘Hue Soul’ Mixed-Use Project in East Orange
Jared Kofsky, JerseyDigs, February 15, 2021
“Hue Soul,” a development by Novus Landmark East Orange Urban Renewal, will soon add 132 residential units to the municipality. The recently-approved project will be a five-story, mixed-use building situated between the area’s two NJ TRANSIT stations. The project will also include ground-floor retail space. The developer has applied for a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) tax abatement with the City of East Orange.
New Details Revealed for Jersey City’s Bayfront Project; City Council Gives Initial Approval
Peter D’Auria, NJ.com, February 12, 2021.
The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency will build 8,100 new units of housing on a city-owned brownfield abutting the Hackensack River. Income-restricted units will account for 35 percent of the total. In addition to housing, the project includes a new school, fire station, 19 acres of parkland, and a ferry pier. The development is a half-mile from the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s West Side Avenue Station, though city officials hope the line will be extended—bringing it closer to the site.
Regional and National TOD News
COLORADO—RTD Wants More Housing Near Stations. It May Sacrifice Unused Parking Spots to Make That Happen
Nathaniel Minor, CPR News, February 18, 2021
Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) will revise its agency policy in support of more transit-oriented development near its stations, particularly areas with underutilized park and rides. A chief aspect of the policy proposal is a non-binding objective to reserve 35 percent of new units for affordable housing. Developers could save on parking construction—$25,000 per space in garages, according to RTD—by sharing capacity with existing park and ride facilities. An assessment by the agency last year identified 12 stations as “Highest Potential Sites” for TOD.
CALIFORNIA — TOD and Park-and-Ride: Which is Appropriate Where?
John Miles and J.M. Pogodzinksi, Mineta Institute, February 17, 2021
A new Mineta Institute report examines the relationship among parking, housing capacity and transit ridership, challenging preconceptions about the effects of transit-oriented developments and Park and Rides. The researchers’ analysis of Park and Rides (PnR) and Transit-Oriented Developments (TOD) in Seattle, San Jose, and Los Angeles concluded that parking was often two to four times more important to ridership than transit-adjacent housing. In Kings County (Seattle), 100 new housing units were correlated with an 11 percent increase in transit ridership, while 100 new PnR parking spaces increased ridership by 44 percent. The study notes that PnRs and TODs can be employed collaboratively to drive ridership and reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT).
NORTH CAROLINA—Developer Proposes Hundreds of More Student Apartments for Busy Chapel Hill Corridor
Tammy Grubb, Raleigh News & Observer, February 17, 2021
Florida-based developer Russell Greer, with Progressive Capital Group, has submitted concept plans for The Flats, a 200-unit development with a 450-space parking deck to be built adjacent to a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill. The developer also expects to submit an affordable housing plan to meet or exceed the town’s inclusionary zoning ordinance—which typically amounts to 15 percent of total housing stock. Chapel Hill’s comprehensive plan, adopted in December, provides for development along this highly-trafficked route.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Art-themed Apartment Building Rises in North Bethesda, MD
Michele Lerner, The Washington Post, February 17, 2021
The Quad at Pike District is a transit-oriented development created through a partnership between the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“Metro”) and developer LCOR. The 294-unit project will host a commissioned wall mural by local artist Naturel. The Quad is in close walking distance to Metro’s White Flint Station.
CALIFORNIA—VTA Proposes Housing Near Gilroy Train Station
Eric Chalhoub, Gilroy Dispatch, February 16, 2021
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is seeking public feedback on creating a transit-oriented development at Gilroy Station, the southern terminus of the Caltrain system. Should the site be built upon, 20 percent of the project’s housing would be dedicated to affordable housing, according to VTA’s Transit-Oriented Development program. Such a development would help Gilroy toward its goal of 236 “very low income” affordable housing units by 2023.
INDIANA—Miller Offers Range of Development Opportunities with South Shore’s Double Track in Sight
Andrew Steele, The Times of Northwest Indiana, February 13, 2021
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has proposed a special Transit Development District (TDD) to coincide with the double-track expansion of the South Shore Line, which provides service to Chicago. The agency hopes to encourage new development in the Miller district of Gary, Indiana by leveraging growth in the district’s tax revenue to finance improvements there. The authority is also mapping out prime parcels for redevelopment within the TDD.
NEW YORK—RXR Realty Tops Out 28-Story New Rochelle Tower
Gail Kolinoski, MultiHousing News, February 11, 2021
One Clinton Park, built by RXR Realty in New Rochelle, will add 353 new apartment units to the city’s housing stock. The mixed-use development will take advantage of proximity to the Metro-North Railroad’s New Rochelle Station, and is part of a massive redevelopment partnership between RXR and the city, which will eventually add a total of 5,500 residential units.
International TOD News
ENGLAND—Galliard Completes TfL Deal for 92-home Crossrail Station Scheme
Tom Lowe, Housing Today, February 18 2021
TCWR Soho is a proposed mixed-use development to be constructed over London’s Tottenham Court Road Station, in anticipation of the completion of Crossrail, an east-west high-frequency commuter line. In a first phase, developer Galliard Homes will build 92 units and 10,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space for an estimated £55m (over $77 million) at the site, located directly above a new station entrance. Tottenham Court Road Station is projected to be one of the system’s busiest nodes when Crossrail opens in 2022.
SCOTLAND—New Ayr Train Station Could Boast Business Centre, Cafe and Restaurants, Says Study
Stuart Wilson, Daily Record, February 17, 2021
A historic, long-crumbling station hotel in the town of Ayr on Scotland’s western coast might be redeveloped for mixed-use, transit-oriented housing, according to a new report by Transport Scotland. The three-story structure, which fell into disuse in 2013, boasts over 4,800 square meters of floor space, and could be transformed into affordable housing, retail, or dormitories for local university students. It is situated at one of the busiest stations in Scotland’s rail network.
CANADA—Brigil Eyes Plan for Multiple Mixed-Use Highrises at Former Greyhound Bus Terminal Site
David Sali, Ottawa Business Journal, February 16, 2021
Real estate developer Brigil intends to construct a mixed-use complex anchored by multiple towers on a 2.7-acre parcel that previously served as Ottawa’s Greyhound bus station. Brigil hopes to build at least 1,000 units, as well as office and retail space. The developer is planning minimal parking for the project to encourage future residents to use transit instead. Greyhound Bus Lines ceased operating in Canada last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.