4-70 Littleton Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey (top left); One Central project, Chicago, Illinois (bottom left); An example of work by Pritzker Architecture Prize winners Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal (top right); San Francisco Muni bus yard (bottom right)
Article of the Week
CONNECTICUT—Connecticut Is Considering Statewide Zoning Reform. This Map May Be Why
Emily Nonko, NextCity, March 17, 2021
The Connecticut Planning and Development Committee recently met to discuss proposed Senate Bill 1024, which would encourage lower parking requirements, and denser and more transit-oriented development statewide. The bill is part of a push by Desegregate CT, a coalition of nonprofits and advocacy groups, to redefine Connecticut’s housing laws that they contend have created a segregated state. The organization recently published the Zoning Atlas, a publicly accessible, comprehensive zoning map that visually demonstrates the state’s stark inequities.
COVID-19 TOD News
NEW YORK—Transit Workers Union Sues MTA to Reverse Subway Service Cuts
David Meyer, New York Post, March 18, 2021
TWU Local 100, the largest union of New York City subway workers, filed suit against the MTA for prolonging service cuts along the F and C lines, arguing that the agency should not lower frequency after receiving $14.5 billion in federal aid. The union also cited concerns about overcrowding due to the reduced number of subway runs as ridership begins to rebound.
ILLINOIS—High-Tech Air Purification System to be Installed on Metra Railcars
Metra, Mass Transit Magazine, March 18, 2021
Almost 700 railcars in Metra’s fleet will be upgraded with a new ventilation system that filters 99 percent of airborne particulates, including COVID-19. The $66 million investment uses a three-step process and will be implemented in all Metra cars not due to be replaced; new cars will have a similar system.
Transit Got $30 Billion in Stimulus Aid. What Does That Mean for Riders?
Christina Goldbaum and Pranshu Verma, The New York Times, March 15, 2021
The passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan gave transit providers across the country a cumulative $30.5 billion to continue operations. With the funds, 22 Metro stations in Washington, D.C. will remain open, Los Angeles’ Metro will end a 20 percent service cut, and Amtrak will reopen service on 12 long-distance routes. However, agencies, such as New York’s MTA, are exploring reconfiguring their service patterns to meet changing needs, such as decreased commuting to the city’s central business district.
NEW JERSEY—21 NJ Transit Workers Died From COVID. Now, Frontline Workers are Getting Vaccinated
Larry Higgs, NJ.com, March 15, 2021
NJ TRANSIT president Kevin S. Corbett honored the 21 employees who have passed away from COVID-19 with a tribute, roughly one-year after Governor Murphy declared a pandemic-induced state of emergency. Between March 4 to 10, over 300 vaccines were administered to NJ TRANSIT frontline transit workers.
NJ TOD News
Namdar Secures $120M Construction Loan for Latest Jersey City Apartment Tower
Real Estate Weekly, March 18, 2021
The Namdar Group recently secured financing for 618 Pavonia Avenue, the second phase of a three-tower, 777-unit project in Journal Square, ensuring the start of construction. The second-phase building will be 27 stories, with 40 percent of its 432 units designated as efficiencies. The project is a short walk from the Journal Square PATH Station.
Lengthy Tax Abatement Possible for ‘Affordable’ Newark Residential and Medical Project
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, March 16, 2021
Newark’s Municipal Council will vote whether to use PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) funding for a development combining 78 units of affordable housing and a Rutgers healthcare center in the Fairmount neighborhood. Instead of property taxes for the first 35 years, the developer would pay the City 5 percent of its annual gross revenue. The six-story building would be situated about a half-mile from the Newark Light Rail’s Orange Street Station.
Developer’s Plan for ‘The Halo’ in Newark now Involves Three High-Rise Towers
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, March 15, 2021
In downtown Newark, developer Washington Street Urban Renewal LLC plans to construct “The Halo,” three towers ranging from 38 to 46 stories tall, that would bring 949 new units to the transit-rich area. The developer would also construct 343 parking spaces on an aboveground podium structure below the buildings.
The Other ‘Penn Station’ Readies for Its Makeover
David Kidd, Governing, March 12, 2021
Newark Penn Station, a sixteen-minute ride from New York Penn Station, will undergo a $190 million renovation over the next five years. The intricate art-deco architecture will receive much-needed restoration, and amenities, such as air circulation and restrooms, will be modernized. The seventh busiest train station in the United States, Newark Penn saw 732,000 intercity passengers in 2019.
Eric LeGrand To Open Coffee Shop by Woodbridge Train Station
Carly Baldwin, Woodbridge Patch, March 10, 2021
Former Woodbridge and Rutgers football star Eric LeGrand plans to open a coffee shop in a new transit-oriented development next to Woodbridge Station. LeGrand, who was tragically paralyzed in a 2010 Rutgers-Army game, intends to use the coffee shop for events when the development is completed later this year.
How Westfield Wants a Developer to Fit 193 Apartments on 5.6 Acres
Matt Kadosh, TapInto Westfield, March 8, 2021
Westfield’s Town Council will hold a public hearing on a redevelopment plan that would advance the construction of a dense transit-oriented development near its border with Garwood and a fifteen-minute walk from Westfield Station on NJ TRANSIT’s Raritan Valley Line. The plan is a response to concerns about the proposed construction of two buildings comprising 193 apartments by Elite Properties. If completed, the project will reserve 15 percent of the units as affordable, a number mandated by Westfield’s 2017 affordable housing settlement with the Fair Share Housing Center.
Regional and National TOD News
CALIFORNIA—S.F. Advances Plan to Build More than 500 Homes on Renovated Muni Bus Yard in the Mission
Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 2021
The redevelopment of a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) bus yard will include a housing development on top of the rebuilt maintenance facility. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the plan, which will include between 50 and 100 percent affordable housing units. Note: This article may require a paid account to access.
ILLINOIS—$20 Billion Chicago Megaproject Reaches Agreement with Transit System over Construction
Zachary Phillips, Construction Dive, March 18, 2021
Landmark Development reached an agreement with Metra Electric, a Chicago commuter rail system, to construct a megaproject over and around its facilities near Soldier Field. The One Central project would include more than 9,000 units, a new Metra Station, and a $3.8 billion transit connection for Amtrak and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).
ILLINOIS—2nd Affordable Transit-Oriented Development Proposed Near Logan Square Station
Courtney Cobbs, Streetsblog Chicago, March 17, 2021
Evergreen Square Real Estate Group plans to build a largely affordable 80-unit development on CTA land adjacent to the Logan Square Blue Line Station. The Near Northwest Side Logan Square neighborhood has experienced dramatic gentrification in the last decades, and the CTA and developer hope the building will add much needed affordable housing to the area.
MASSACHUSETTS—Littleton Officials Eye Proposed Zoning District for Train Station Area
Margaret Smith, Eagle Independent, March 16, 2021
The Littleton Planning Board will consider zoning changes in accordance with recently passed state law, Chapter 40R, which made zoning changes for dense, mixed-use transit-oriented development easier in Massachusetts. The draft plan would create high- and medium-density residential or mixed-use zones, which include affordable housing, adjacent to the Littleton/Route 495 commuter rail station.
TEXAS—Wood Partners Announces Groundbreaking of Alta Leander Station in North Austin
Wood Partners, PR Newswire, March 15, 2021
Developer Wood Partners will construct Alta Leander Station, a 276-unit development in the City of Leander adjacent to the commuter rail station and the line to downtown Austin. Alta Leander Station will also be near Northline, a new transit-oriented development district planned by the City of Leander to create a denser, more walkable urban core.
MASSACHUSETTS—Nonprofit to Convert Market-Rate Development to Affordable Housing
Affordable Housing Finance, March 15, 2021
Non-profit The Neighborhood Developers (TND) intends to turn a 32-unit market-rate development into affordable and workforce housing in Chelsea. TND partnered with MassHousing, a public agency that has obtained funding from numerous sources to convert all but two of the units. The site is within walking distance of Chelsea’s commuter rail and bus rapid transit station.
FLORIDA—Ground Broken on Grove Central Transit-Oriented Development
Paola Colberg, Biscayne Bay Tribune, March 15, 2021
In Miami, a new 23-story tower will connect 402 residential units and 170,000 sq. ft. of retail space with the Coconut Grove Metrorail Station, bus routes, and the city’s trolley network.
International TOD News
CHINA—Songjiang Eyes Overseas Urban Planning Designers for New Town
Yang Yang, Shine, March 18, 2021
International urban designers met recently in the suburban Songjiang area of Shanghai to discuss transit-oriented development planning for the district. This is part of a larger push to build economic development zones in five clusters around the Shanghai region.
FRANCE—Can America Learn From France’s Award-Winning Public Housing Architects?
Kriston Capps, Bloomberg CityLab, March 17, 2021
French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal recently won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize for their work renovating and reinventing public housing, rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. The architects specialize in transforming spaces by using economical materials and increasing light, and advance their efforts in accordance with their motto: “Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse.”
Updated: March 23, 2021