Using short stories to reengage transit riders (top left); US DOT announces grants to address homelessness through transit planning (bottom left); DART’s new transit line inspires development north of Dallas (right)
Article of the Week
The 30-year Rise of Transit-oriented Development, and Its Role in Creating a Resilient Region
George Kevin Jordan, Greater Greater Washington, May 25, 2022
The United States faces three interrelated challenges: the country’s exploding housing crisis, catastrophic climate change, and transportation disparity induced by car-oriented development. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a strategy that helps a region become more resilient by encouraging walkable, sustainable, and affordable development, with transit alternatives for everyone. TOD must be equitable to rectify and avoid replicating past injustices. According to Enterprise, a community development nonprofit, Equitable Transit-Oriented Development or eTOD is “compact, often mixed-use development with multi-modal access to jobs, neighborhood-serving stores and other amenities that also serves the needs of low- and moderate-income people.”
Covid Recovery and Sustainability Challenge Finalists Named
SmartCitiesWorld, May 25, 2022
Transit Tech Lab has named 10 finalists for its most recent Covid-19 Recovery and Environmental Sustainability Challenge. In 2020 the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership launched its first Covid-19 response challenge, resulting in eight projects advanced in partnership with the MTA, the Port Authority and NJ TRANSIT. The call for this round was announced in January 2022. The 2022 Covid-19 recovery challenge finalists include: Invision AI, which will use existing cameras and AI vision systems to create real-time 3D digital twins of transit stations, and Microgrid Labs, which will partner with NJ TRANSIT in its fleet electrification process using SaaS-based modelling, simulation, and optimization software known as EVOPT.
CALIFORNIA—San Francisco Public Transit Wants To Win Back Riders by Featuring Writers
Sarah Holder, Bloomberg, May 24, 2022
The Bay Area Rapid Transit District has launched a contest for commuters who happen to be writers. The agency will begin accepting short stories of 7,500 characters or less with a theme of “motion” starting June 1st. A panel of local writers will select 30 stories to dispense in kiosks placed in four stations across transit lines. Affected by COVID and remote work, the agency has struggled to restore its lost commuter base. Since weekend ridership is back to 60 percent while weekday ridership remains 35 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the BART chief communications officer Alicia Trost says the agency will concentrate on supporting remote-working riders when they are off of work. The short story contest is a way to “remind people of the role BART plays as part of the fabric of the Bay Area,” Trost added.
MARYLAND–Montgomery County Buses Will Resume Fare Collection in July
Luz Lazo, The Washington Post, May 20, 2022
A budget approved by the Montgomery County Council will return fare collection to Ride On buses starting this July, ending the two-year bus fare holiday program. Passengers will pay $1 per trip on the county’s bus system, half of what they paid before the pandemic. According to a transportation equity study, Ride On commuters have a median household income of $35,000, far below the county average of $108,820. Under the new system, express lines that charged $4.25 before the outbreak will also have fares reduced to $1, while the cost of a monthly pass will drop from $45 to $22.50
JERSEY CITY—Bluegate Partners Secures $150M Construction Financing For Devan in Jersey City
Linda Lindner, ROI, May 26, 2022
BlueGate Partners secured $150 million in senior construction financing for The Devan, a 336-unit transit-oriented multifamily development in Jersey City. Located at 3 New York Ave., along the Jersey City/Hoboken border, the property will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 600 to 1,500 sq. ft. The Devan will provide easy access to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stop as well as NJ TRANSIT and PATH stations, allowing residents an easy commute to New York City.
ELIZABETH—City of Elizabeth Celebrates $611K Grant for Historic Midtown Neighborhood
Editor, New Jersey Business Magazine, May 24, 2022
The City of Elizabeth received a $611,700 grant from Wells Fargo and Valley National Bank through the New Jersey Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program. The funds will help revitalize the City’s historic midtown neighborhood, a transit-oriented district currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation. The grant will fund the construction of the new headquarters for the YWCA of Eastern Union County and bolster economic activity around the Elizabeth train station, an area designated as a New Jersey Transit Village in 2007.
HOBOKEN—Hoboken Terminal Redevelopment Project Takes Step Forward
Kimberly Redmond, TAPintoHoboken, May 20, 2022
The Hoboken City Council approved amendments to the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan to make way for the revitalization of the area around Hoboken Terminal. Dubbed Hoboken Connect, the multi-phase development includes renovations to Warrington Plaza, the historic Ferry Terminal building, and Hudson Place, among other properties. Property redevelopers LCOR are yet to secure approvals for a 20-story office building proposed directly next to the street entrance for the PATH trains and a 28-story, 389-unit residential property on the adjacent site. There will also be infrastructure improvements to address flooding issues, pedestrian safety, and circulation.
DOT Announces New Grants to Address Homelessness Through Transit Planning
USICH, May 27, 2022
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced $13 million in competitive grants designed to help communities address homelessness through transit planning. The FTA will review opportunities to prioritize TOD planning grants in areas with high rates of homelessness as part of its effort to support House America, a federal-local partnership launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning will provide funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment.
CALIFORNIA—Bus Maker Settles Fraud Case Tied to Government Contract
Noam Scheiber, The New York Times, May 26, 2022
Bus manufacturer New Flyer settled with the labor advocacy group Jobs to Move America to hire and promote more women and minorities, guaranteeing that federal funds to replace diesel buses with electric buses benefit workers in underserved communities. The deal came in response to a lawsuit filed against the company for failing to provide more than 50 full-time positions, at its Ontario, CA facility, of which more than 90 percent would pay at least $18.35 per hour, as was promised in 2013 when the company won a $500 million contract to supply 900 buses to LA Metro. New Flyer stated that women, minorities, and U.S. military veterans will comprise at least 45 percent of new hires and benefit from 20 percent of all promotions.
MINNESOTA–North Minneapolis Neighborhood Worried About Blue Line Light Rail Extension
Janet Moore, Star Tribune, May 18, 2022
Lyn Park residents expressed their outrage against the Blue Line light-rail extension project that could split their predominately Black neighborhood in two. Last month, Met Council and Hennepin County planners unveiled the new Blue Line extension route, opting for West Broadway in north Minneapolis over Lowry Avenue after nearly two years of research. Residents of Lyn Park prefer the trains to go along Washington Avenue from Target Field, turning onto West Broadway instead of Lyndale. Hennepin County’s senior program administrator, Dan Soler, said Lyndale was the only option that did not demand the acquisition of single-family homes. He assured that modifications could still be made but gave no guarantees. NOTE: Sign-in may be required to access article.
NEW YORK—Town Square, Railroad Redevelopment Among the Top Requests for Funding as Projects Outlined Seeking Portion of $10M Grant
Tim Gannon, Riverhead News-review, May 25, 2022
Riverhead Town will consider 13 projects, including a transit-oriented development project, for a share of the $10 million grant allocated as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). RXR and Georgia Green Ventures, the developers of the TOD project, are proposing to contribute $100 million while seeking an additional $5.26 million through DRI funding. Plans call for a five-story mixed-use building near the railroad station. It would comprise a multi-level parking garage with the ground floor allocated for commercial purposes and the upper floors for residential apartments.
CALIFORNIA—Congestion Pricing? Free Buses? Monorails? How L.A.’S Next Mayor Could Change Your Commute
Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2022
The outcome of the next mayoral election could significantly impact how people commute in Los Angeles. The mayor controls four seats on the 13-member board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency and can substantially influence upcoming rail projects, bus schedules, and transit fare collection. The passage of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax that gives Metro $120 billion over four decades, was one of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most significant accomplishments. Representative Karen Bass and Los Angeles Councilman Kevin de León, two of the three candidates, say improving safety and accessibility of trains and buses is their top priority.
MASSACHUSETTS–6-Story, 175-Unit Apartment Complex Proposed for Downtown Framingham
Editor, Framingham Source, May 24, 2022
Developer Boghos Properties submitted a proposal to construct a six-story, mixed-use apartment complex in downtown Framingham. The 176-unit project will comprise 96 one-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom units, with 18 units deemed affordable. The site is about a mile from the Framingham Commuter rail station. The project will integrate its entrances and exits with existing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, offering safe access to the commuter rail station as well as downtown Framingham.
CALIFORNIA–Cityview Breaks Ground on South Bay’s Newest Multifamily Development
Cityview, Globe News Wire, May 23, 2022
A representative of developer Cityview, Gardena Mayor Tasha Cerda and other officials broke ground on a new multifamily transit-oriented development in Gardena called South Bay X. The project will feature 265 workforce units with a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 510 to 1,197 sq. ft. Located at 12850 Crenshaw Boulevard, South Bay X is two blocks from the LA Metro Green Line and less than five miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
TEXAS—Developers Put Down Billions in Bets on DART’s New Silver Line
The Black Chronicle News Service, May 21, 2022
While not scheduled to open until 2024, the DART’s new 26-mile Silver Line will connect DFW International Airport and Plano and eight stations in between. Also known as the Cotton Belt Line, the commuter rail line has inspired multiple developers to propose and begin projects close to stations in Dallas’ northern suburbs. Over the past seven years, Wynne/Jackson and Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions have built a large student housing and retail project next to a stop at the north end of the University of Texas at Dallas’ campus. In Addison, the City recently selected two developers to build a $472 million mixed-use project that will comprise residential units, entertainment venues, and parking.
MALAYSIA—Lee: Three Locations Identified For Proposed Transit Oriented Development
Marilyn Ten, Borneo Post, May 24, 2022
The Transport Minister, Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, identified three sites for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), with the number expected to increase following the completion of Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART). The ART, powered by hydrogen fuel cells and running on virtual rails, is the core component of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project, envisioned to be the backbone of a modern and green public transportation system for Greater Kuching. The ART project consists of two lines: the Samarahan Line, which runs 28 kilometers from Rembus to Hikmah Exchange and passes through 14 stations, and the Serian Line, which runs 24 kilometers from Mile 12 to Isthmus and passes through 13 stations.
CANADA–Dense, Transit-Oriented Housing Finally Eyed For Nanaimo Skytrain Station
Kenneth Chan, Daily Hive, May 21, 2022
The area around Nanaimo Station, currently surrounded by single-family homes, is being explored for high-density, transit-oriented development 36 years after SkyTrain’s original Expo Line opened. A proposal for three high-rise towers aims to redevelop three land assembly sites next to the station. The proposal includes two 33-story towers and a 35-story tower comprising 861 dwelling units and 12,000 sq. ft. of retail spaces on the ground floor, immediately facing the SkyTrain station and bus exchange. Additionally, the municipal government intends to perform an area plan for Nanaimo Station, which will guide building densities, transportation infrastructure, and other amenities to support future growth.