Rendering of remodeled Baltimore Penn Station (left); Public transit service to vaccination sites in Will County, Illinois (top right); Rendering of 475 Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey (bottom right)
Article of the Week
Pandemic Life: How COVID-19 Is Changing San Diego’s Transportation Planning
Andrew Bowen, KPBS, Thursday, March 18, 2021
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is reevaluating its future regional transportation plans, looking to incorporate COVID-19 commuting changes, strict emissions limits, and new equity emphases. The agency is carefully considering its options and developing an “Equity Index” to help make decisions on future projects.
COVID-19 TOD News
NEW YORK—LIRR Unveils Real-Time Seating Availability, Accessible Trip Planning
MTA Long Island Rail Road, March 25, 2021
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will now provide real-time crowding information via both its station signage and the LIRR Train Time app, allowing customers to more appropriately social distance across a train. The commuter railroad also announced that it would be restoring service levels, as recent cuts had caused crowding in the system.
Riders Are Abandoning Buses and Trains. That’s a Problem for Climate Change
Somini Sengupta, Geneva Abdul, Manuela Andreoni and Veronica Penney, The New York Times, March 25, 2021
Dramatically low public transit ridership, wrought by the global pandemic, is dealing a blow to efforts to fight climate change. In nations across the world, transit agencies are struggling with reduced passenger numbers and serious budgetary shortfalls. Going forward, the challenge for transit, and for the battle against climate change, is to restore confidence in these systems, and perhaps, to reinvent public transportation for new, reduced commutes.
UNITED KINGDOM—Restoring Confidence in Transport, Post-Covid
Tom Stone, Traffic Technology Today, March 17, 2021
New technologies and mobile applications, such as contactless payment and apps that show crowding levels on a train or bus, can help restore confidence in public transportation. Making touchpoints, often payment or fare validation, as seamless and contact-free as possible, and providing real-time crowding data can go a long way to making the public feel safe on transit.
ILLINOIS—Most People in Chicagoland Can Access COVID Vaccination Sites via Transit
Steven Vance, Streetsblog Chicago, March 17, 2021
Steven Vance, with the help of an analysis using transportation software, found that the majority of residents in the Chicago Metropolitan Area could access at least four vaccination sites via transit within 60-minutes “door-to-door.” Solutions for the small group of residents lacking relatively convenient access include expanding transit, more walk-up vaccination sites, and on-demand transit for those in isolated areas.
NJ TOD News
40-Unit Development Approved at 475 Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, March 26, 2021
The Jersey City Planning Board approved a plan to redevelop a parcel currently occupied by a car wash with a 5-story mixed-use development. Four of the project’s 40 units will be reserved for people making 50-80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The building will feature ample bicycle parking and is a short walk from the Hudson Bergen Light Rail’s (HBLR) Garfield Avenue Station and several NJ TRANSIT bus lines.
Biden Administration Moving Ahead on Gateway Tunnel Crucial to N.J., Buttigieg Says
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com, March 25, 2021
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told the House Transportation Committee that the Gateway Program, which will build a new train tunnel under the Hudson to facilitate repairs for the existing tubes and increase capacity, has full support from the Biden administration. Buttigieg shared that the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) intends to complete the project’s environmental impact statement—required before engineering and construction can begin—by June.
Glassboro-Camden Line Representatives Talk about New Developments with SGA
Corey Rothauser, The Whit Online, March 24, 2021
Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) CEO John Hanson and DRPA Chief Engineer Michael Venuto spoke recently with Rowan University students about the planned Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL), which would connect Camden and Gloucester counties with service to Philadelphia. Hanson said the project would be similar to NJ TRANSIT’s RiverLINE, and that the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) has committed $200 million to the project to date.
Approvals Sought for High-Rise Tower at Journal Square’s Pep Boys Site
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, March 23, 2021
The Jersey City Planning Board is currently reviewing a proposal for a tower that would stand at between 28 and 31 stories and be located close to Journal Square, providing convenient access to the PATH Station. and other transit services. The mixed-use building would feature retail, hotel, restaurant, and event space uses, as well as 186 housing units. According to the plans, the housing would be market-rate only.
Regional and National TOD News
CONNECTICUT—First Phase of $17 Million Apartment and Retail Project in Berlin Slated to be Finished by 2021
Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, March 23, 2021
Developer Newport Realty Group is transforming a vacant lot adjacent to Berlin’s Amtrak and CTRail Station. A 16-unit building with ground-floor retail, is a minute’s walk from the station, which connects the town with New Haven and with connecting service to New York and Boston. The developer cited the new Hartford Line service as a motivator for the multiphase project, which will include a medical office center as well as additional apartments and retail space.
CALIFORNIA—Transit District Announces Development Plans for Carlsbad Stations
Steve Puterski, The Coast News, March 23, 2021
The North County Transit District (NCTD), which provides bus, light rail, and commuter rail service to northern San Diego County, is looking to develop parts of its parking lots at the Carlsbad Village, Poinsettia, and Oceanside Transit Center Stations. NCTD planners hope to leverage existing, underutilized space to meet regional housing needs.
UTAH—Utah Governor Signs Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Act
Utah State Legislature, March 22, 2021
Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed into law the Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Act, which enables the use of tax-increment financing (TIF) within designated Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zones. A certain portion of revenue collected within the TIF would be deposited in the Transit Transportation Investment Fund for future capital projects.
UTAH—Brixton Capital Seeks Zone Amendment for Potential Provo Towne Centre Projects
Genelle Pugmire, Daily Herald, March 19, 2021
As the Utah Transit Authority begins preliminary engineering for a new BRT route in Provo, developer Brixton Capital asked the City to upgrade zoning for the Provo Town Centre Mall to a Transit-Oriented Development Zone. This change would allow for the construction of denser structures as part of the mall site redevelopment effort.
VIRGINIA—City Councilmember Wants to Extend TOD Zoning Along Broad Street
Jonathan Spiers, Richmond BizSense, March 19, 2021
To complement Richmond’s Pulse bus rapid transit (BRT) line, City Councilmember Andreas Addison recently proposed changing zoning regulations from General Business (B-1) to a Transit-Oriented Nodal District (TOD-1), which would run along the length of the BRT corridor to the city limits. Councilmember Addison cited the addition of more housing options in his district as a primary reason for the change.
MARYLAND—Amtrak and Developers Push Ahead with Multimillion-Dollar Transformation of Baltimore’s Penn Station
Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun, March 18, 2021
Amtrak and development partners have announced that they will invest $90 million to remodel Baltimore’s Penn Station, a facility which typically serves 3 million passengers each year. In addition to station improvements, the agency is exploring transforming nearby parcels it owns into office or residential space.
International TOD News
VIETNAM—Master Plan for HCMC’s Further Development Discussed
Manh Hoa and Mai Hoa (Translated by Kim Khanh), VN Explorer, March 23, 2021
Nguyen Thanh Nha, the director of the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Department of Planning and Architecture spoke to the HCMC People’s Council about progress and plans to transform the city by more holistically connect the area via TOD and the development of a high-capacity public transit system. Nguyen also discussed the planning of Thu Duc City, a new city by that will focus on the advancement of science and technology.
INDIA—RLDA floats RFQ for Leasing Land Parcel for Residential Development
IANS, March 19, 2021
The Indian Rail Development Land Authority (RDLA) released an RFQ (Request for Quotation) to develop land alongside a new rail corridor. The RLDA hopes to spur construction of new transit-oriented residential units on a lakeside parcel in Gorakhpur’s Ramgarh Tal area.