Jersey City redevelopment (left); eTOD in Connecticut (top middle); Nairobi begins Railway City project (top right); Gaps in transit access (bottom right)
Article of the Week
ILLINOIS—Researchers Illuminate Gaps in Public Transportation Access, Equity
Lois Yoksoulian, Illinois News Bureau, Feb 15 2023
Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have found that, even when there are many transit stops available, certain riders and potential rider groups are left without practical access. In this study, former civil and environmental engineering student Dale Robbennolt and Applied Research Institute senior research scientist Ann-Perry Witmer applied contextual engineering and employed economic data to differentiate between poverty-stricken families and low-income college students. The results of the study could inform policymakers to make better choices when allocating resources and help bridge the gap in access to public transit.
WESTFIELD—Westfield approves redevelopment ordinance for $350 million downtown plan. Now what?
Mike Deak, MyCentralJersey, Feb 16 2023
The Westfield Town Council has approved a $350 million redevelopment ordinance for One Westfield Place, a multi-building transit-oriented downtown project. The ordinance lays out plans for the adaptive reuse of the former Lord & Taylor department store building, office and residential spaces, retail space and public garages. Construction is slated to begin in late 2024.
PRINCETON—NJ Transit Report Recommends $145 Million Upgrade to Dinky Line
Julie Bonette, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Feb 15 2023
NJ TRANSIT will consider making a $145 million upgrade of the 157-year-old Dinky line that would create an efficient dual-purpose light rail and bus rapid transit system. This proposal calls for eight additional stations and a parallel pedestrian path along the 2.7-mile stretch and could result in an increase of 2,215 daily riders. The future of the Dinky has sparked debate among local transit authorities and advocates who aim to create an accessible and effective transportation system that meets the mobility needs of Princeton’s residents.
This Urban Planner Wants to Build a Massive Circular Rail Track Connecting Jersey City, Newark, Paterson
Darren Tobia, Jersey Digs, Feb 15 2023
Christopher Kok, a planner working in New Jersey, aims to create a massive circular rail network connecting Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City by taking advantage of existing infrastructure, such as the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and the Newark City Subway. Kok’s urban planning could be the first step to better connecting three of New Jersey’s largest cities and providing an alternative to car-oriented development. By using existing railway corridors, this large-scale transit project could bring job and housing opportunities to the region.
JERSEY CITY—Renderings Revealed for High-Rise Tower at 626 Newark Avenue in Jersey City
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, Feb 7 2023
The Namdar Group is introducing a six-tower development to Jersey City’s bustling Journal Square area. 626 Newark Avenue’s 27-story structure will feature 576 apartments, 8,231 sq. ft. of retail, and 9,988 sq. ft. of office space with bicycle parking areas and a rooftop amenity. This transit-oriented development is the fourth for Namdar in Jersey City, a sign of continuing growth in the area.
CONNECTICUT—Should Greenwich put more housing by its train stations? An affordable housing group is pushing the idea
Robert Marchant, CT Insider, Feb 15 2023
The Work Live Ride Act, set to be introduced to lawmakers in Hartford, would provide technical assistance to, and expand planning capacities for, local communities through transit-oriented district designations. Pete Harrison, Desegregate CT director, is touring the state to promote the initiative, which could create access to jobs, more affordable homes, and safer streets near transportation hubs. Greenwich’s Planning & Zoning Commission will receive information on the plan at their virtual meeting held on February 22.
CALIFORNIA—City Council Votes to Encourage Housing Development on 5,000 Acres Near Transit
Elizabeth Ireland, Times of San Diego, Feb 15 2023
The San Diego City Council recently voted 5-4 to approve updates to local development regulations, including new incentives to encourage building housing near transit. This change will add more than 5,000 acres of developable land within one mile of major public transit stops and offer an opportunity to build more affordable housing and promote sustainable transport. The updated definition for Sustainable Development Areas replaces the definition of Transit Priority Area and is designed to help the city reach its climate and housing goals.
GEORGIA—Downtown acre at MARTA’s doorstep up for development. Any big ideas?
Josh Green, Urbanize, Feb 15 2023
Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to redevelop a parking lot and small plaza at the MARTA Garnett Station as an intermodal project offering a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments. As outlined by Invest Atlanta, this project aims to create at least 200 housing units, of which 100 must be income-restricted, and to provide easy access to thousands of jobs around the metro. With this proposed transit-oriented development (TOD), Invest Atlanta seeks to revitalize core areas of downtown and further MARTA’s trend of replacing parking lots with dense apartment communities and other uses.
VIRGINIA—Housing’s Missing Middle: A Debate in Arlington, VA., Magnified the Challenge
Patrick Sisson, Commercial Observer, Feb 13 2023
Arlington County’s debate over zoning reform, changes which would allow for small multi-story homes in single-family neighborhoods, has stretched local civic comity to its breaking point. If passed, the Missing Middle proposal would allow for a greater diversity of housing types near transit corridors, increasing homeownership opportunities and creating more livable communities. Arlington, a wealthy, tech-savvy community, may serve as a model for other communities to pursue similar reforms.
FRANCE—Montpellier introduces free transport: Where else in Europe can you travel for free?
Angela Symons, EuroNews.Travel, Feb 16 2023
In southern France, the city of Montpellier is set to become the largest metropolis in the nation to introduce a free public transportation system. With this change, the city seeks to reduce emissions, improve accessibility and support social justice. Several cities in European nations, including those in Estonia, Luxembourg, Spain, and Germany, have already embraced free public transport schemes. These changes have primarily been motivated to achieve climate ambitions and social equity goals by reducing the cost of living and carbon dioxide emissions.
KENYA—Kenya Railways Begins Early Works on $223mln Nairobi Railway City
P. Doel & Anoop Menon, Zawya, Feb 16 2023
The initial stages of the Nairobi Railway City project, which includes a pedestrian footbridge, a new Central Railway Station, and a public square, are underway. The project is being funded by the UK with an MOU offering up to £1.5 billion to finance priority infrastructure projects. Ground-breaking occurred in December 2019 in the presence of President William Ruto, putting this transformative transit-oriented development well on its way to completion.