Hudson-Bergen Line Rail (left); Hoboken-Jersey City bike lane (top right); Silver Line extension to Dulles Airport (middle right); Manila’s multimodal MRT-Ayala Station (bottom right)
Article of the Week
Biden-Harris Administration Announces $13.1 Million in Grant Awards to Help Communities Plan for Transit-Oriented Development
Federal Transit Administration, November 17, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced 19 awards supporting expanded transportation options through development near new or expanded transit project corridors. The grants, funded by FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning, support local strategies to increase transit access and encourage ridership through mixed-use and mixed-income development near public transportation projects. As one of this year’s grant recipients, NJ TRANSIT will receive nearly $592,000 in funding to plan for TOD along the proposed nine-mile Northern Branch of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which when completed will extend the service into Bergen County for the first time.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Covid-19 and new development are changing commutes. Connecticut Avenue planning needs to reflect that.
Marlene Berlin, Forest Hills Connection, November 15, 2022
Arguing that the pandemic uprooted federal workers’ commuter patterns and the assumptions that underscore them, Marlene Berlin makes the case for greater investment in bicycle infrastructure in Washington, D.C. Convenient bicycle access, Berlin states, would keep commercial areas such as Connecticut Avenue competitive given the city’s new travel habits. Proposed improvements could advance a “15-minute” city design in the District and include superblocks with pedestrianized centers to retool the city for a post-pandemic paradigm defined by local shops, restaurants, parks, and other neighborhood services.
As More Employees Return to the Office, Mass Transit Volumes Soar, Some to Pre-COVID Heights
Larry Higgs, NJ.com/MSN, November 14, 2022
As the pandemic subsides in public consciousness, both mass transit and automobile commuter patterns in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are once again echoing their 2019 heights. For NJ TRANSIT, which has seen a 60-70 percent recovery of weekly commuter travel, the middle of the work-week—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday—now experiences the same or similar levels of ridership as in 2019. Surveys of Manhattan office workers suggest the current ubiquity of hybrid work drives this trend and will continue to shape the region’s commuter travel for the foreseeable future
HUDSON COUNTY—Mayor Fulop and Mayor Bhalla Announce First Protected Bike Lane Connection Between Hoboken and Jersey City
City of Hoboken, November 15, 2022
The mayors of Hoboken and Jersey City came together to announce the completion of the first-ever protected bike lane connecting the two cities. This protected connection reflects the communities’ commitments to Vision Zero transportation planning, which promotes design of transportation infrastructure with the intent of achieving zero traffic fatalities. Both cities have partnered with the bikeshare service, Citibike, which enables residents to more easily take advantage of this improvement, even without owning a personal bicycle.
JERSEY CITY—Jersey City’s Via Microtransit Awarded 2022 Outstanding Project/Program of the Year
Linda Lindner, roi-nj.com, November 10, 2022
The Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey named Jersey City’s on-demand microtransit service, Via, as its 2022 Outstanding Program of the Year. Via Jersey City provides transportation to residents of neighborhoods that lack immediate access to public transportation facilities, expanding the catchment for public transit ridership and helping to address transportation inequity. The service has already surpassed one million rides and serves more than 57,000 riders per month, showing microtransit as a promising stop-gap for “transit deserts.”
ILLINOIS—It’s Getting Real: Lightfoot Introduces the RLE Transit TIF to the City Council
John Greenfield, Streetsblog Chicago, November 16, 2022
The Mayor of Chicago has proposed a transit tax-increment financing (TIF) district that would fund a $3.6 billion South Red Line extension. The proposed “L-service” line would serve areas in the Far South Side of Chicago with predominantly Black residents, though the TIF district would generate most of its projected $959 million in revenue from neighborhoods further north. This “Robin Hood” funding mechanism has drawn criticism, but if funded, it would advance transit and socioeconomic equity and make the project eligible for up to $2.1 billion in additional Federal Transit Administration funding.
TEXAS—New Hub in Austin’s Georgian Acres Neighborhood to Give Residents Mobility in ‘Transit Desert’
Sumaiya Malik, Community Impact, November 14, 2022
A partnership of local government, academia, and nonprofits have teamed up in Austin to create a transportation hub in a neighborhood with measurably limited transit options. Recognizing the neighborhood, Georgian Acres, as a “transit desert,” stakeholders came together to provide residents micro-connections to a public park, a bus stop, and other locations. Residents can make these connections through access to free Lime scooters service or by scheduling a ride with two circulator buses operated by a local non-profit, Jail to Jobs.
TENNESSEE—Nashville Eliminates Minimum Parking Space Requirements in Urban Areas
Cassandra Stephenson, the Tennessean, November 16, 2022
The City Council of Nashville voted to eliminate parking minimums in the city’s urban core. Supporters of the decision expressed a desire to advance TOD principles in future Nashville developments, in order to prioritize the flexibility and affordability of new development and potential transit ridership. In concert with instituting a parking maximum that developers can appeal on a project-by-project basis, Nashville’s efforts cut down on excess parking in future developments as the city transitions to a more transit-oriented built environment.
Zoning That Supports Physical Activity Rising in the US
Robert Steuteville, Public Square, November 15, 2022
Research by a CDC-funded public health group found that a greater share of American jurisdictions have implemented zoning that supports physical activity. The longitudinal study found that, among the studied localities and states, there was a 53 percent increase in new urbanist, TOD-style zoning between 2010 and 2020. Highlighting broad health benefits from this increase in TOD, the study also notes that progress remains highly concentrated in urban centers and additional zoning reform in suburban communities would further support physical activity among the nation’s residents.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Silver Line Extension Opening Tuesday Afternoon with Link to Dulles
Justin George, Michael Laris, and Lori Aratani, Washington Post, November 15, 2022
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) 11.5-mile Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport officially opened this week, adding six stations and connecting all three of the Washington D.C. area’s major airports to public transit. The project enables the proliferation of TOD further into Fairfax County, Virginia, in step with a steady recovery in commuter ridership. Officials noted busy crowds waiting for the line’s opening as a cause for confidence in the future of the region’s public transit.
NEW YORK—Buffalo’s Future Ride Towards Metro Rail Expansion
Bradley Bethel, Buffalo Rising, November 15, 2022
Analyzing Buffalo’s storied history and the nature of the post-industrial city’s steady recovery, Bradley Bethel argues for the expansion of its Metro Rail service. With underinvestment in the city’s urban core hampering connectivity for decades, Bethel identifies the restoration of accessible transit to commercial hubs in Buffalo as a better way forward. Expansions to the Metro Rail could tie important destinations such as university campuses, downtown locations, and airports, and allow creation of transit-oriented development (TOD) at each station area.
LRT Growth Continues, But at Restricted Speed
David Peter Alan, Railway Age, November 10, 2022
The boom of light rail transit (LRT) in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s revitalized many medium-sized American and Canadian cities, but recently efforts to expand such services have stalled. Exploring this shift requires examination of the history of LRT and its chief competitor: busways. The future of LRT remains linked to its ability to generate business, and the ability of transportation planners to apply and articulate LRT’s best use cases may get expansion of the mode back on track.
PHILIPPINES—Southbound EDSA Carousel Buses to Be Relocated in One Ayala
Catalina Ricci S. Madarang, Interaksyon, November 17, 2022
In the Philippines, the site of a demolished hotel is being converted into a multimodal mobility hub called the One Ayala, which will be serviced by buses and modern jeepneys. The One Ayala will also site 309,000-square meters of transit-oriented development (TOD) and offers a direct connection to MRT-Ayala Station, a stop for Manila’s underground rail service. Bus services to commercial and office centers are announced to begin this month, with the connection to MRT-Ayala Station opening in early December of this year.
INDIA—Explainer: How Effective Transportation Planning Can Ensure Seamless Mobility
Nagesh Aras, Citizen Matters, November 17, 2022
Detailing the role of urban planning in shaping traffic and transit service, Nagesh Aras explains the basis of travel demand modelling and how it is applied to transportation planning. Travel demand modelling explores the push and pull of travel between geographic zones, mode choice, and expected impacts that policy makers may have to balance with new infrastructure. Effective transportation planning recognizes the economic and technical inputs illustrated by these models to guide travel demand towards greener and more efficient modes of transit.