Tegel Airport, Berlin (top left); Plans for New Orleans River District (bottom left); Port Authority Bus Terminal (right)
Article of the Week
MICHIGAN—GR, Wyoming, Kentwood Seek Development Opportunities Along South Division Corridor
Kate Carlson, MiBiz, June 20, 2021
Planners at the Interurban Transit Partnership, also called The Rapid, have just concluded a study on how to catalyze development along a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route that has seen growing ridership but little construction since it began in 2014. The route connects the City of Kentwood on Division Avenue to downtown Grand Rapids. The Division United Study looks to spur transit-oriented development along the BRT route by adding density near 11 stations. Each recommendation contains proposed zoning changes and special improvements for the area, as well as enhancements for active transportation. The next step to implementation is for the cities of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood to consider the suggested alterations to their zoning codes.
PENNSYLVANIA—SEPTA to Gradually Restore Services Cut in Pandemic Under New Budget
Darryl C. Murphy, WHYY, June 24, 2021
SEPTA, the Philadelphia metropolitan area’s transit authority, committed to a plan that would slowly restore service levels across the network.
Buses, subways, and trolleys will return to 96 percent of previous operating levels, while SEPTA’s regional rail service, hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, will return to 80 percent over the course of a year. The plan includes freezes on fare increases, and additional spending on facility cleaning and security.
NEW JERSEY—Advocates Say NJ Transit Risks Future Fare Hikes Without Funding, Budget Reforms
Brenda Flanagan, NJ Spotlight News, June 23, 2021
Advocates for New Jersey TRANSIT are decrying a new state budget currently under consideration in Trenton that takes funds from the agency’s capital allocations to fund operating expenses. They argue that continuing to do so will force the transit operator to raise fares, which could hurt a burgeoning recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOBOKEN—Plans For Expansion, Veterans Housing Revealed at Hoboken’s American Legion Post
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, June 24, 2021
Hoboken’s American Legion Post 107 hopes to expand into a nearby parking lot, adding new function spaces, as well as three flours of housing for homeless veterans. The project, located at 308 Second St, is located near the NJ TRANSIT Hoboken Terminal.
Construction on New Port Authority Bus Terminal Could Start in 2024
Larry Higgs, NJ.com, June 24, 2021
The Port Authority plans to begin construction of a redevelopment of the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) in 2024. The eight-year project, which will transform the facility, will include four towers built above that will help to finance the new PABT. At a recent public meeting, some commenters expressed concern that the new project did not address air quality issues, or consider constructing the terminal, which is served by many NJ TRANSIT buses, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson.
HOBOKEN—New Development Proposed for Hoboken’s Southwest
Marilyn Baer, Hudson Reporter, June 24, 2021
A developer hopes to turn a vacant industrial complex in the Southwest neighborhood of Hoboken into a new apartment complex. The mixed-use development would contain 60 housing units (with 6 designated as affordable), and 4,890 sq. ft. of retail or restaurant space. A Hoboken City Councilman touted the lack of parking on the ground floor, saying that it would add vibrancy, instead of being a “dead zone.” The development would be a short walk to Hoboken Terminal, with connections to several NJ TRANSIT commuter rail lines, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and the PATH train.
JERSEY CITY—With Urby Project Halted, HCCC Could Sell Journal Square Properties to JCRA
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, June 23, 2021
The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) moved to acquire eight lots in Journal Square from Hudson County Community College. The parcels were originally to be developed by the firm Ironstate into mixed-use housing and retail. Presumably, JCRA will look to develop something similar for these parcels, which are a short walk to the Journal Square PATH Station.
CAMDEN—HUD Secretary Marica Fudge Announces $35 Million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant During Visit to Camden, NJ
Insider NJ, June 2, 2021
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marica Fudge visited Camden to announce the award of a $35 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. The money will go towards replacing distressed housing in the Cramer Hill neighborhood, potentially for a plan proposed by the Housing Authority of the City of Camden to build 425 mixed-income housing units on the site of the William Stanley Ablett Village public housing development.
WASHINGTON D.C.—Opinion: Transit Equity Should Be A Priority in D.C.’s Budget
Michael Havlin, Greyson Mann, and Delia Houseal
Activists argue that Ward 7, a section of Washington D.C. at its westernmost edge, deserves an equitable east-west transit connection after a legacy of racist planning that neglected to put transit in the area, and built barriers such as highways instead. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed budget contains a proposed extension of the D.C. Streetcar into Ward 7, which would add much-needed transit connectivity. The Ward 7 residents ask that the City Council not forget equity needs as they vote on the 2022 budget.
ILLINOIS—Chicago Launches Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Program
City of Chicago, Roads & Bridges, June 22, 2021
Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, spoke about the advent of a new Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Pilot Program, intended to foster the development of “healthy, affordable, and accessible developments near transit.” One aspect of the program is a $135,000 pilot to fund up to 10 microgrants in support of community-driven ETOD proposals. The ETOD Pilot Program was conceived to support Chicago’s ETOD Policy Plan, which was recently adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission.
OHIO—The White House Wants To Fight Climate Change and Help People. Cleveland Led The Way
Dan Charles, NPR, June 21, 2021
Community activists and planners in Cleveland have been working on the scope of an equitable climate action plan. As Cleveland considered priorities, the City arrived at three key focus areas: housing, transit, and trees. The City hopes that these priorities, which align with President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, will receive much-needed funding to put the plan into practice.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal: What Does It Mean for Transit?
Mischa Wanek-Libman, Mass Transit, June 25, 2021
The $973 billion bipartisan infrastructure agreement contains $49 billion for public transit investments, as well as an additional $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. Another portion of the funds, $7.5 billion, would assist with conversion of school and transit fleets to electric buses. Finally, $20 billion would support creation of an Infrastructure Financing Authority, which would disburse funds for clean transportation and clean energy projects.
MASSACHUSETTS—Brockton Could Get 64-Unit ‘Amenity-Rich’ Apartment Building Downtown
Darvence Chery, The Enterprise, June 23, 2021
Developer South Shore Property Management plans to build a 64-unit housing complex on the site of an abandoned pizza restaurant, adjacent to Brockton’s MBTA commuter rail station. The project is awaiting approval from the City of Brockton, and certification from Massachusetts’ Housing Development Incentive Program, which assists in the construction of market-rate housing in designated gateway cities.
CALIFORNIA—Report: How to Prioritize Housing and Right-Size Parking at Transit Stations
Melanie Curry, Streetsblog, June 17, 2021
Bay Area planning and advocacy firm TransForm and BART partnered to create guidelines for how transit agencies and municipalities can consider transit-oriented development. They make clear that tradeoffs for parking considerations are often the biggest barriers to constructing TODs. The report was funded by a Sustainable Transportation Planning grant from Caltrans.
NEW YORK—New York Affordable Senior Housing Project Kicks Off
Agota Felhazi, Multi-Housing News, June 15, 2021
A recent project in Tarrytown, NY redeveloped a 110-year old YMCA building into 109 affordable housing units, intended for persons over 55 earning between 30 and 70 percent area median income (AMI). The project was financed in part through the New York State Homes and Community Renewal office, which provided $8.5 million through tax-exempt bonds, $16.5 million through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, and $11.4 million in grants. Westchester County and an area Housing Development Fund Corporation provided an additional $14 million for the project, which is situated on Main Street, a half-mile from Tarrytown’s Metro-North Railroad Station.
LOUISIANA—Gensler to Lead Design of the $1 Billion New Orleans River District
Matthew Marani, The Architect’s Newspaper, June 11, 2021
A new mixed-use district is in development along the Mississippi River waterfront in New Orleans, to include 1,000 market-rate housing units, and a corporate campus, as well as hotels, parks, and a Louisiana Civil Rights Museum. The developer notes that an additional 450 units will be allocated towards workforce and affordable housing, and 30 percent of retail space reserved for disadvantaged business enterprise (DBEs). A proposed $40 million extension of the Riverwalk streetcar line would provide transit connectivity, in addition to protected bike lanes and pedestrian-oriented streets.
GERMANY—Berlin Eyes Its Biggest Redevelopment Since the Fall of the Wall
Aggi Cantrilll, Bloomberg CityLab, June 24, 2021
Berlin is moving forward with the redevelopment of Tegel Airport, a former Soviet facility that has been rendered redundant. The plan, part of an effort to address housing pressures, involves homes for more than 10,000 residents, supported by electric buses that will then be converted into tram lines. The massive development will also include technological innovation and education hubs, and 40 percent of the newly-built units will be designated as social housing.
UNITED KINGDOM—Important Milestone Reached in Development of New Train Station
ITV, June 21, 2021
British railway operator Network Rail has submitted plans to construct a new station to better connect the Cambridge Biomedical Campus with London. Network Rail writes in their application that such a project would relieve congestion at the existing station, promote sustainable transportation modes, and provide access to a burgeoning employment center.
THAILAND—One of the World’s Most Congested Cities Has Big Public Transport Plans
Prim Chuwiruch, Bloomberg CityLab, June 17, 2021
Bangkok hopes that Bang Sue Grand Central Station, a new central hub connecting the city’s electric trains with a new high-speed line, will spur public transit use in a region with devastating gridlock. The city government is looking to incentivize development near the station, located near a large weekend market and the headquarters of many companies and government agencies, an ideal place for new residential development. However, auctions thus far have attracted little interest.