Pedestrian plaza rendering, Edgewater, New Jersey (top left); The Green Line, Minneapolis, Minnesota (bottom left); Rendering of Bayfront Redevelopment, Phase One, Jersey City, New Jersey (top right); Powell Street, San Francisco. Photo by Sergio Ruiz (bottom right).
COVID-19 Related TOD News
As Mobility Patterns Change, Cities Shift Gears
Dorottya Miketa, American Planning Association Planning Magazine, June 1, 2020
Across the globe, more and more cities are seeing a decline in private vehicle use and a rise in cycling and active transportation. Bogotá, Colombia, Oakland, California, and Berlin, Germany are among the cities where strong pro-cycling movements have established temporary bike zones and bike lanes, encouraging city officials to adopt more cycling-friendly policies that may have lasting impacts in a post-COVID-19 world.
Can 8 Million Daily Riders Be Lured Back to NY Mass Transit?
Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, June 1, 2020
As lockdown restrictions ease and more people return to city streets, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is hoping to win back the eight million daily riders that used the network of subways, buses, and railways. In addition to increased service levels, enforced mask use, and safety measures against overcrowding, transit agency officials urge companies and employers to continue work-from-home plans or allow flexible start times to ease crowding and encourage safe transit use.
Portrait of a City on Pause
Sergio Ruiz, American Planning Association Planning Magazine, June 1, 2020
In a stunning, sobering, and inspiring photo series for the APA Planning Magazine, active transportation planner Sergio Ruiz captures the impact of the coronavirus and shelter-in-place orders on urban life around San Francisco and the Bay Area. Snapshots of empty train stations and highways alongside photos of people on scooters, bikes, and sidewalks depict places devoid of activity and suggest the role that active transportation and bike and pedestrian infrastructure may play in a post-COVID world.
Will N.J. downtowns survive the pandemic? Coronavirus puts one town’s identity at stake
Riley Yates, NJ.com, June 1, 2020
Warmer months usually mean more people out and about as well as an uptick in business in downtown districts such as Somerville, New Jersey, but as the pandemic and social distancing measures continue, storefronts and sidewalks are empty. Read about how mom-and-pops shops and business owners are coping with the uncertainty posed by the pandemic and how local leaders and investors are working to help these businesses survive.
Creating More Space for Safe Active Transportation and Outdoor Activity During COVID-19 and Beyond
Cities Speak,org, May 29, 2020
After months of physical distancing measures, COVID-19 continues to shape the ‘new normal.’ For many, that includes changes in mobility and experiencing the outdoors. Taking advantage of the 50 percent reduction in traffic, more and more cities are opening streets to pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities, installing temporary bicycle infrastructure, and blocking areas from vehicle traffic. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) predicts that demand for outside space and open streets will continue to grow, even as traffic increases to pre-COVID-19 levels. The group urges city leaders to consider permanent adaptations that will safely accommodate people who are “walking, biking, running and rolling as a means of transportation or recreation.”
Oh No, Here Comes the Transportation Hellscape
Shira Ovide, New York Times, May 27, 2020
While the future of transportation and urban navigation is uncertain for many, New York Times writer Shira Ovide shares a few ideas on how technology can make post-COVID transportation safer and more effective for all. Ovide highlights tech-related solutions and smart city policy—including reservation systems, all-in-one ticketing, on-demand or pop-up transit routes—and muses on the possibilities of closer collaboration between public transit agencies and private companies. Registration may be required to access article.
PHILIPPINES – Life After Lockdown: Limited Operations for Land Transport as More Filipinos Hit the Road
Franco Luna, Philippine Star, May 31, 2020
After more than two months of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the Philippine government lifted restrictions on travel this week, and reopened its public transportation sector at reduced capacity. The Department of Transportation released Omnibus Public Transportation Protocols and Guidelines that outlined safety procedures for passengers and operators that include capacity and passenger load factors to help riders adhere to social distancing standards. With buses and train cars boarding at less than half-capacity, longer wait times of two-to-three hours are expected at queues.
NJ TOD News
Jersey City Officials Reveal 8,000-Unit Housing Development on Hackensack River Waterfront
Sebastian Morris, New York YIMBY, June 4, 2020
Recently a consortium of state agencies granted developers Bayfront Development Partners and BRP Development Group permission to move forward with the first phase of construction on the Bayfront, a 100-acre mixed-use compound in Jersey City. The development will be the “largest-ever mixed-income development in the Tri-state area” and will bring up to 8,000 new units to the city’s West Side, where the NJ TRANSIT is working on the extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line. The development is expected to break ground for construction in fall 2020.
Hartz Mountain’s 259-Unit Development in Weehawken Approved
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, June 1, 2020
The Weehawken Township Planning Board recently approved development plans for Atir, a mixed-use project on a 2.2-acre site on the waterfront. The project proposal outlines additions of housing, parking, retail, and open space to the Harbour Boulevard neighborhood. When complete, the two-story structure will comprise a parking garage, a dog park, and more than 1,000 sq. ft. of retail space adjacent to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The property is also proximate to the Lincoln Harbor Station on the NJ TRANSIT Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line.
Edgewater Planning Board Could Advance Redevelopment at 615 River Road
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, May 29, 2020
In 2014, River Road Partners purchased a 19-acre parcel of land at 615 River Road in Edgewater from the Hess Corporation with the intention of developing a major 1,200-unit residential project. The latest plans propose 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space, an Edgewater public school, and a new ferry stop. After six years of legal arbitration, developers are awaiting a resolution by the Edgewater Planning Board.
42-Unit Development Proposed for Property in Bound Brook
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, May 26, 2020
This week, the Bound Brook Planning Board will review a proposal from developers Triad Management & Consulting, LLC for a 42-unit apartment complex on 209 East Second Street, directly across from the Bound Brook post office. The development site is within a quarter mile of the Bound Brook Station, with service on the NJ TRANSIT Raritan Valley Line, and has access to bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.
Regional and National TOD News
MARYLAND—Montgomery County Could Loosen Up Single-Family Zoning in Silver Spring, Sort Of
Dan Reed, Greater Greater Washington, June 5, 2020
Last Thursday, the Silver Spring Planning Board voted unanimously to expand the boundaries of the Silver Spring Downtown Plan to include single-family neighborhoods within walking distance of the future Purple Line light rail and Flash bus rapid transit. The change allows the county to build “missing-middle” housing on former single-family lots, including townhouses, apartments, and duplexes. Many residents of the area attended the public hearing or wrote in to voice their opposition to the change, but the Planning Board stated they believe it is necessary to make active changes to build more density around transit.
Parking Requirements and Foundations Are Driving Up the Cost of Multifamily Housing
Hannah Hoyt and Jenny Schuetz, Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, June 2, 2020
This piece by Hannah Hoyt and Jenny Schuetz is the third installment in a four-part series on innovations in design and construction written for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, NeighborWorks America, and The Brookings Institution. Hoyt and Schuetz discuss three strategies to improve the efficiency of constructing housing by reducing the costs of parking, substructure work, and site preparation. The authors also explore the issues of zoning and land use such as the reduction or elimination of minimum parking requirements to reduce development costs of multifamily buildings, especially in transit-rich areas.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces $891 Million for 12 Transit Infrastructure Projects Across America
Federal Transit Administration, May 29, 2020
The recent announcement on federal funding decisions brings big news for bus rapid transit. On Friday, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration announced a total of $891M in allocations for public transit. Eight of the twelve capital investment grants approved are bus rapid transit projects. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao says that the decision will “facilitate the ability of millions of Americans to access jobs and critical services.”
MINNESOTA—What Happens When You Build Things Near Transit? An Unsurprising Case Study
Alex Schieferdecker, Streets MN, May 28, 2020
The arrival of transit can cause dramatic changes to surrounding neighborhoods. Since the opening of the Green Line light rail in 2014, neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota have found themselves in a period of rapid transformation. The author documents the changes over less than a decade, during which time these neighborhoods have gained housing and ground-level retail and reduced car parking. This, together with increasing ridership at neighborhood stations, demonstrates that while transit “should not be planned for the purpose of development, [it] can be a nice side effect.”
International TOD News
Could Europe’s Car-Free Zones Become Long-Term Solutions? A Look at Three Cities’ Efforts
Megan Amrich, Triple Pundit, June 5, 2020
As a result of COVID-19, many European cities eliminated cars from certain streets to create more room for cycling and walking as alternative forms of mobility to public transit and to promote social distancing. City leaders and transportation professionals in London, Milan, and Budapest are now studying the effects of the changes on residents’ well-being and environmental congestion and pollution to determine if the changes should be permanent.
Transdev Signs €1.2 Billion Public Transportation Contracts in Europe
Krishtina D’Silva, Urban Transport News, June 1, 2020
Transit agencies in Europe are ramping up efforts to comply with the EU’s Green New Deal. Earlier this week, Transdev announced its partnership with the Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (Stockholm’s public transit authority) and its intention to continue sustainable mobility efforts in the Netherlands. In Sweden, Transdev will be taking on operations of buses and suburban trains in three service areas north of the Swedish capital. In the Netherlands, Transdev will continue to convert fleets to 100 percent zero-emission battery- and hydrogen-powered electric buses, an investment made possible by the EU’s Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE and JIVE2).
Want to Fix Urban Sprawl? Ditch the Cul-de-Sac
Flavie Halais, Wired, May 31, 2020
With more than half the world population living in urban spaces, urban growth is inevitable but sprawl does not have to be. A recent study shows that while some cities in the developed world are actively pursuing more compact, walkable, transit-friendly development, many developing cities are plagued by disconnected street networks and neighborhoods filled with cul-de-sacs, dead ends, and single-family homes. This article by Wired writer Flavie Halais reviews the implications of disconnected street networks on congestion, carbon emissions, and social equity.