Site of transit-oriented eco-community in Norwalk, CA (left); Funding bike connections in Mercer County, NJ (top right); Planning for new Purple Line seeks to catalyze transit friendly development in Maryland (bottom right)
Article of the Week
CALIFORNIA—Oakland Is Testing What Happens When You Give People $300 to Ride the Bus
Jose Fermoso, The Oaklandside, February 22, 2022
In December, the City of Oakland’s Department of Transportation (OakDOT) rolled out its free transit card program called “Universal Basic Mobility.” Five hundred individuals received transit cards in two $150 installments from the agency to pay for rides on AC Transit, BART, city bikes, and scooters. To help plan for future expansion, OakDOT is studying the program’s influence on travel patterns through a survey of participants and tracking anonymous GPS data available from the cards. The program has received positive reviews from participants and advocates hope that it will pave the way toward free transit in the future.
PENNSYLVANIA—As Some Transit Agencies Rebound from the Pandemic, SEPTA’s Ridership Continues to Decline
Ryan Mulligan, The Business Journals, February 24, 2022
Of the country’s top six transit agencies, SEPTA, and the Chicago Transit Authority were the only two to report a decline in ridership last year. While agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and New Jersey reported increases, Chicago lost less than 1 percent of its passengers in 2021, and SEPTA’s ridership decreased by 7 percent in 2021 to about 127 million passengers. SEPTA lost about $1 million a day in September due to lower ridership and is now shifting from a traditional 9-to-5 commute schedule in response.
PENNSYLVANIA—Transit Workers’ Union Wants to Delay Port Authority’s Vaccine Mandate
Margaret J. Krauss, WESA, February 22, 2022
The Pittsburgh-based Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union wants an Allegheny County judge to delay enforcement of the vaccine mandate announced by the Port Authority last month. Union leaders, representing about 2300 employees, said in a court filing that enforcement of the agency’s policy violates the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties. The mandate requires all employees to be vaccinated by March 15th. Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman described the policy as the most effective way to protect both transit workers and riders. According to the agency officials, as of January, 75 percent of all employees have received at least a first dose.
RAHWAY—Rahway Downtown Strategic Plan Presented to Public at February City Council Meeting
Michael Clark, tapinto.net, February 19, 2022
The City of Rahway’s Downtown Strategic Plan, presented at the City Council’s February meeting, highlighted a vision statement to allow the downtown to flourish and sustainably grow. The planning process began with a community survey conducted in fall 2021. The plan prioritizes development around the train station, which will provide opportunities for new businesses and other improvements to transform downtown as a “transit village.” This transit-oriented development aims to increase Rahway’s daytime population and stimulate the economy.
MERCER COUNTY—Two Mercer County Towns Get Funds For Bikeway Connection Improvements
Sarah Salvadore, patch.com, February 18, 2022
The towns of East Windsor and West Windsor in Mercer County received $190,000 and $330,000, respectively, as grants under the State Bikeway Grant Program. This initiative to invest in biking aims to promote alternative forms of transportation and decrease our dependence on cars. In East Windsor, the funds will be utilized to improve bikeways connecting Pulte pathway to East Windsor Police Athletic League, East Windsor Regional High School, and Airport Road Crosswalk. In West Windsor, the grant will be used to connect the North Post Road to South Post Road Bikeway at Village Road West.
Just announced: $8.75 million available through FTA’s Tribal Transit grant program, which increases access to jobs, school and healthcare on tribal lands. https://t.co/JwwtE0w8W6 pic.twitter.com/3UVwIPFo0b
— Federal Transit Admn (@FTA_DOT) February 22, 2022
$8.75 Million Available for Tribal Public Transit Projects
Jenna Kunze, Native News Online, February 24, 2022
This week the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced its $8.75 million in competitive grant funding for rural tribal communities to improve transit services. This funding for tribal transit comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes $45.8 million in competitive funding dedicated to tribal transit over the next five years. The U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the funding will foster opportunities, advance environmental justice, and empower Tribal self-governance in transportation. In order to qualify, the applicants must be members of a federally recognized tribe in a rural area with a population of fewer than 50,000.
MARYLAND—Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition to Host Virtual Panel on Transit Equity in Baltimore Feb. 24
Laura Stewart, Baltimore Fishbowl, February 23, 2022
A virtual panel discussion on a new vision for transit equity and the environment in Baltimore was scheduled for February 24 by the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition and the Johns Hopkins University Science Policy Group. A key topic slated for discussion by four transit advocates included the relationship between public health, environmental pollutants, and the transportation sector in Baltimore. The event came about in response to the release of a report that exposed racial inequity in access to public transit in Baltimore City.
WASHINGTON—Sound Transit Board Approves Terms for 2 Transit-Oriented Developments in SeaTac
SeaTac Blog, February 24, 2022
The Sound Transit Board of Directors has approved terms for two transit-oriented development (TOD) sites adjacent to Angle Lake Station and garage in SeaTac. On the north lot, measuring three-quarters of an acre, LLC Mercy Housing Northwest will build a mixed-use transit-oriented development. The building will consist of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom residential units with the ground floor reserved for commercial or office space. A minimum of 85 units will be set aside as affordable housing with approximately 20 units for residents living with disabilities. South 200th Street Station LLC plans to integrate the two-thirds acre property to the south into its master plan with a minimum of 230 housing units of which 20 percent will be affordable housing.
CALIFORNIA—Norwalk Looking at New Development at Youth Authority Property
Brian Hews, Hews Media Group, February 23, 2022
Norwalk Council is seeking public input on the plan to build a transit-oriented eco-community on the former 32-acre California Youth Authority property at 13200 Bloomfield Avenue. Known as the Norwalk Transit Village, the development will be located proximate to Zimmerman Park and the Metrolink rail line station. In accordance with state law, 80 percent of the development area will be dedicated to residences of which 40 percent will be classified as “affordable.” It may also feature open spaces, parks, walking and biking pathways, and improved access to the park and station.
MARYLAND—Purple Line Project ‘Promotes Active and Engaged Communities’
Bob Pepalis, The Center Square, February 22, 2022
Maryland Transit Solutions is set to begin construction on the 16.2-mile Purple Line light rail service in Maryland this spring. The light rail service will be the result of a $9.284 billion public-private partnership between the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Transit Authority, and Purple Line Transit Partners. The project’s partners intend the Purple Line to catalyze Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and promote more walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods in the region. To advance this goal, the National Center for Smart Growth is working with the Purple Line Corridor Coalition and has begun engagement with area residents and technical analysis along the corridor. The organizations expect to release a draft Purple Line TOD Implementation plan this summer.
PENNSYLVANIA—Port Authority Pursuing $53M – $69M Revamp of South Hills Junction Station
Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 21, 2022
The Port Authority is seeking between $53 million and $69 million in funding to advance its plans to revamp the South Hills Junction Station. The project aims to improve accessibility by merging light rail and bus stops on the same platform, installing a pedestrian bridge between Mount Washington and Beltzhoover and allocating more than 100,000 sq. ft. to private development. Other access improvements include retrofitting walking trails with new stairs and ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The Port Authority also plans transit-oriented development to improve housing and other services around the stations.
MALAYSIA—Kerjaya Prospek Secures RM710.1mil TOD Construction Contract
Ayisy Yusof, New Straits Times, February 22, 2022
Nikmat Merpati Sdn Bhd has awarded the Kerjaya Prospek Group a contract worth RM710.1 million to develop Astrum Ampang, a 2.73-hectare transit-oriented development (TOD) located near Jalan Jelatek and Jalan Ampang, Selangor. The project involves the construction of the main building and the external works of a residential development project. Astrum Ampang will provide seamless connectivity to residents with its 150-meter covered walkway connecting the development to the Jelatek LRT Station. Additionally, Setiawangsa Station, which connects to the upcoming MRT3 line, is one stop away.
INDONESIA—Jakarta Aims to Lead in Sustainable Transportation
Antara News, February 19, 2022
Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan announced the City’s vision to emerge as a global leader in sustainable public transportation. He stated that reforms in the transportation sector included the government’s plan to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists, followed by mass public transportation, emission-free vehicles, and lastly private vehicles. Baswedan elaborated on the City’s need to shift from Car-Oriented Development to Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to achieve sustainable mobility goals. He noted that Jakarta has increased its public transportation coverage from 42 percent in 2017 to 82 percent and that it is on target to achieve 95 percent coverage in 2022.