Transit stations (left), Canada’s buses (upper right), Bike lanes in Boston (lower right)
NJ TOD News
Garfield’s Transit Crossing Development Changes Hands
John Jordan, Globe St.com, November 1, 2019
Transit Crossing, the luxury multi-family two-building complex at 163-200 Schley Street was recently sold to a New York investor. Built in 2018, Transit Crossing is proximate to Plauderville Train Station, with commuter access to New York Penn Station. The brokerage firm of CBRE represented the seller, which received more than 10 offers for the property.
Direct Service Resumes on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line
Kirstin Cole, PIX11, November 4, 2019
The Raritan Valley Line resumed off-peak direct service to New York Penn Station on November 4, after a delay in the installation of a federally-mandated positive train control braking system caused service to halt last year. Towns in Essex, Union, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties can now expect service to begin again, but due to a shortage in engineers, delays are still imminent. Last year, NJ TRANSIT initiated a 20-month engineer training program to increase availability of engineers. In May 2019, the first class graduated 12 engineers and 7 more are expected to graduate this fall.
27-Story Development Planned for 618 Pavonia Avenue Near Journal Square
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, November 5, 2019
A New York-based company, 618 Pavonia LLC, submitted plans earlier this year to build a 27-story mixed-use structure and pedestrian plaza in Jersey City on four parcels of surface parking lots. The company has yet to schedule a meeting with the Jersey City Planning Board and receive approval to build the high-rise and the pedestrian plaza. If approved, the project will be located near Journal Square station on the PATH line to 33rd Street in Lower Manhattan. According to the proposal, the building will comprise first-floor retail and residential amenities; the second, third, and fourth floors will accommodate additional amenities and office space. The remainder of the building will house 376 market-rate residential units. The building will also provide bicycle storage, but there will be no car parking.
OneWall Launches $50M Fund for Transit Workforce Housing
Real Estate Weekly, November 6, 2019
One Wall recently announced the launch of a $50M preferred equity fund called Nova Appian Preferred Income Fund I. It is open to investors looking to invest in real estate and will target transit-oriented workforce housing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. The fund has the goal of underwriting 15 multi-family residential developments over five years. OneWall and several investors have already committed $2.5M to the fund and are in discussion with other investors to secure an additional $10 to 15M.
Regional and National TOD News
A Denver Real Estate Nonprofit Secures Land for Affordable Housing and More Near Westminster Station
Donna Bryson, Denverite.com, November 3, 2019
The Denver-based Urban Land Conservancy provides multi-family rentals below market rates, and has just purchased a 5.5-acre parcel of land near the RTD B Line Westminster Station. The B Line connects the suburbs on the northwest edge of Denver to the more central Union Station. Some units will be offered at market rates, but overall the project will cater to a range of incomes, creating “a better balance for the community.” The nonprofit, founded in 2003, retains land ownership and makes it available to developers by way of 99-year renewable leases. This model allows developers to reduce land acquisition costs (which comprise a large portion of the cost of building development), ensuring long-term affordability for the tenants.
Bikes and Buses Getting More Dedicated Lanes in Downtown Boston
Christian MilNeil, Streetsblog MASS, November 4, 2019
Boston is preparing to paint new bus and bike lanes on one of its most congested bus segments, city officials confirm. Washington Street between Herald Street and Downtown Crossing will welcome new shared bus-and-bike lanes in both directions. Boston Transportation Department (BTD) crews have begun to spray paint and lay down striping on parts of the street but design details have yet to be finalized. Final striping is set to happen in November, weather permitting. The project aims to serve the Silver Line’s bus routes and reduce congestion from Dudley Square to Downtown Crossing and South Station.
Atlanta Cuts Bait with Surplus Properties to Help ‘Acute and Growing’ Affordability Problem
Josh Green, Atlanta Curbed.com, November 5, 2019
This week, the City of Atlanta moved forward with the Affordable Housing Homesteading Program, a project created in 2017 to increase development targeted to low-income households. Two empty lots and a 1940’s cottage near the city’s MARTA stations have been identified by the city’s Department of Enterprise Assets Management and the Office of Housing and Community Development as priority projects that are “surplus” or “not useful to or needed by the city.” City officials will issue an RFP for the disposition of each property and will evaluate developers’ ideas for building affordable housing on the three lots. The Affordable Housing and Homesteading Program is one of several initiatives to address Atlanta’s “acute and growing” housing shortage.
How Transit Ballot Measures Fared in 2019 Election
Mischa Wanek-Libman, Mass Transit Mag, November 6, 2019
Six out of nine public transportation-related ballot measures were passed in the recent 2019 elections, according to the tracking results of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Center for Transportation Excellence. In Lake County, OH, a vote to increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent was passed to fund Laketran services. Cincinnati voted to support the elimination of the sales tax and replace it with a 0.7 percent funding initiative for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and Issue 22. Similarly, in Albuquerque, NM, voters approved a 0.25 percent gross receipts tax to fund road maintenance and transit improvement projects. In Texas, the Harris County Metro Transit Authority received 68 percent of the votes for Proposition A, a plan to issue up to $3.5B in bonds to fund the METRONext Moving Forward Plan. The initiative includes 290 miles of road and route improvements, rail extensions, bus service enhancements, and accessibility and usability improvements.
Cities at Turning Point: Will Upzoning Ease Housing Inequalities or Build on Zoning’s Racist Legacy?
Liz Enoch, Shareable, November 6, 2019
As some American cities move away from single-family zoning laws and towards more inclusionary zoning, other cities are concerned with the possibility of property depreciation and environmental degradation due to density-increasing development. Recent research, however, indicates that carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lower in densifying cities. Additionally, many advocate for increased public and cooperative housing development, cessation of segregationist policies, and inclusionary measures to up-zoning initiatives. UCLA’s Paavo Monkkonen suggests steps to reduce resistance to new housing and achieve more equitable land systems.
International TOD News
THAILAND – Hishine Flagship Hi-End Mixed-Use Condominium Project Along Skytrain and Subway Routes to Meet New-Gen Lifestyle
Bangkok Post, October 29, 2019
Global real estate developer Hishine Group is building four new condominiums in Thailand. These transit-oriented developments will be located along the Skytrain, Bangkok’s elevated rapid transit system, and the Subway, the city’s metropolitan rapid transit system composed of two heavy rail lines. The developments are meant to cater to luxurious “new-gen” (new-generation) lifestyles in strategic locations to achieve travel convenience. The mixed-use project offers eight residential buildings with nearly 5,000 fully-furnished units, a 15,000 square meter shopping center, and numerous luxury facilities.
CANADA – City Budget Shovels Millions Toward Transit, Housing
Kate Porter, CBC News, November 6, 2019
At a city hall meeting on Wednesday, Ottawa City officials laid out plans to invest $7.5M on bus services and $15M on affordable housing in 2020. The draft budget will add 59 buses to the fleet to alleviate transit woes. Ridership rose by less than 1 percent in 2019, but the 2020 budget anticipates a 2.6 percent increase. Officials are looking to delay a fare increase, currently set for January 1, 2020, to ease breakdowns and strains on the current transit system. If approved, the affordable housing allocation would be the “largest direct contribution to housing capital” in Ottawa’s history, according to Mayor Jim Watson.
UK and SINGAPORE – Transforming Transportation Collaboratively
Shamini Priya, Open Gov, November 6, 2019
At a conference in Singapore last week, transportation experts from the United Kingdom presented ideas on transportation innovation, specifically in the areas of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), connected and autonomous vehicles, electro-mobility, and smart cities that will transform both countries’ transport policies and initiatives. An interview with Professor Phil Blythe, Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the Department of Transport (DfT) and Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) at Newcastle University, UK, explored opportunities and challenges, such as ensuring cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles and limits in global battery production for zero-emission vehicles.