New CA law support social housing (right); NJ Complete Streets (top-left); The U.S. needs 3.9 million more housing units (middle-left); Americans are walking less (bottom-left)
Article of the Week
CALIFORNIA—Groundbreaking California Law Will Create Innovative Pathways for Social Housing
Esther Portillo, NRDC, October 26 2023
The Stable Affordable Housing Act of 2023 (SB 555), authored by California State Senator Aisha Wahab, requires the state to combat housing inequalities by promoting public, nonprofit, and cooperative housing production. As many as 55 percent of California renters are considered “rent-burdened” and 2.5 million “house-burdened.” The law seeks to provide affordable housing and promotes innovative concepts such as social housing—where rents remain affordable, and tenants have a path to ownership—and supports transit-oriented development strategies.
CAMDEN—Virtua, Michaels Organization Break Ground on Mixed-Use Housing, Healthcare Project in Camden City
Matt Skoufalos, NJ Pen, November 1 2023
Virtua Health leads the $24-million Oliver Station Project in the Whitman Square neighborhood that promotes proximity to essential services. The innovative project combines housing, healthcare services and transit, offering 48 rental units, including 5 units for those experiencing housing instability. The “neighborhood-centric medical campus,” will span 6,000 sq. ft. and include 13 medical examination rooms on the property. Also see: A First in South Jersey: Affordable Housing and Medical Campus to Rise in Camden
NEW BRUNSWICK—New Brunswick Fully Approves New 30-Story Tower from Boraie Development
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, November 1 2023
The New Brunswick Planning Board has approved plans for a $120 million mixed-use project to replace a parking garage at 11 Spring Street. The project by Boraie Development will comprise 342 residential units (including 20 percent designated affordable housing), 112 parking spaces, and 1,718 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. Located across the street from the NJ TRANSIT New Brunswick Station and adjacent to the future the Health + Life Science Exchange research facility (the “HUB”), the project should contribute to the ongoing transformation of the New Brunswick Transit Village area.
NJDOT Announces 2023 Complete Streets Awards
NJDOT News, November 1 2023
Designed for all users, all modes of transportation, and all abilities, Complete Streets enhance accessibility and create more resilient New Jersey communities. NJDOT Commissioner, Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, in collaboration with Rutgers University Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, announced the 2023 Complete Street Excellence and Champion Awards at the New Jersey Complete Streets Summit. Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Jersey City, and Trenton received Excellence Awards, while Shereyl Snider & the East Trenton Collaborative, Tyler Cenci, a high school student and resident of Cranbury, and Jennifer Duckworth of Millburn received Champion Awards.
HOBOKEN—JLL Arranged the Sale and $27M in Financing for the 69-Unit Edge Lofts in Hoboken New Jersey
Yield Pro, October 31 2023
JLL Capital Markets successfully closed a $27 million sale and financing deal for Edge Lofts, a multi-housing community of 69 residential units. The two five-story buildings, the Clinton Street and Adams Street properties, provide convenient access to the Hoboken PATH Station, Hoboken Ferry, and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. JLL secured a10-year, fixed-rate loan through a life insurance company.
NEW HAMPSHIRE—Hanover Gets Feedback as Town Crafts First Master Plan in 20 Years
Patrick Adrian, Valley News, October 25 2023
The updated master plan for Hanover, NH, home to Dartmouth College, calls for development of approximately 800 housing units by 2040. The plan, the first in 20 years, recognizes a 30 percent reduction in private vehicle trips from 2020, due in part to the rise of remote work and increased ridership on the area’s free bus service, Advance Transit. To further reduce vehicle emissions, Hanover seeks to expand public transit, promote ridesharing and e-bikes, and improve pedestrian/cycling routes, and increase the downtown building height.
No State Immune to Housing Supply Shortage
Emily Passi and Sophia Flionis, American Planning Association, October 13 2023
A new report by Up for Growth, sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA), identifies the underproduction of 3.9 million housing units in the United States, a 3 percent increase from 2019. The report also highlights the nation’s 21.6 million cost-burdened renter households, disproportionately affecting BIPOC renter households. APA calls on planners to address this crisis by working to eliminate parking minimums, construct accessory dwelling units, and promote mixed-use developments.
TEXAS—To Fight Climate Change and Housing Shortage, Austin Becomes Largest U.S. City to Drop Parking-Spot Requirements
Joshua Fechter, Texas Tribune, November 2 2023
Austin, TX, has become the largest city in the country to drop its requirement that new development include a set amount of parking. Officials estimate that one additional parking space per unit increases rent by $200 per month as a typical surface parking spot can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. Advocates argue that the move will reduce car dependency and help address climate change.
Report: Americans Are Walking Less as Pedestrian Deaths Rise
George Kevin Jordan, Streetblogs USA, November 2 2023
A new report from Streetlight, the data analytics firm, discusses a concerning trend regarding modes of travel. Between 2019 and 2022, the number of walking trips declined by 36 percent, while the number of trips made while driving fell by 4 percent since 2019. The reduction in walking trips poses a challenge to those working to mitigate climate change impacts and address public health objectives. The report’s authors suggest increased investment in active transportation in all 50 states to address the 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the transportation sector.
VIRGINIA—Virginia to Consider Metro’s Funding Request to Address Projected $750 Million Shortfall
Virginia Mercury, Royal Examiner, October 27 2023
To address its $750 million funding shortfall, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro) officials are urging the State of Virginia to adjust its 3 percent cap on annual payments to the agency. This adjustment would provide Metro with funds to prevent service cuts and employee layoffs caused by revenue decrease, contractual commitments, inflation, and the loss of COVID-19 relief funding. Metro provides crucial transportation services in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area where 60 percent of population reside within a half-mile of a transit facility.
INDIA—How ‘Chawl’ Tenements Helped Mumbai Become a Megacity
Ronojoy Mazumdar, Bloomberg, November 1 2023
In Mumbai, historic “chawls” located in the city’s downtown and near industrial workplaces face replacement by market-rate high-rise residential towers. Spaces in chawls, four or five-story tenement-like buildings, can be rented for as little as $1 per month. The demolition of chawls to make way for the development of high-rise residential towers has displaced families and deteriorated tightly knit communities.
BANGLADESH—Hemayetpur-Bhatara Metro Rail Work to Begin on 4 Nov with Agargaon-Motijheel Route Opening
Jahidul Islam, TBS News, October 30 2023
Construction of Dhaka’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-5 (North) will begin on November 4th, the same day that the 20.1km (12.5-mile) Agargaon-Motijheel section of Line-6 will begin service. When fully complete, the Line-6 route will reduce travel time by 68.6 minutes. The future Line-5, to be completed by 2028, is expected to serve 1.23 million daily passengers.
UKRAINE—Ukraine Plots Course to Sync With EU Railways, Dump Russian Gauge Legacy
Olena Hrazhdan, Euromaidan Press, October 30 2023
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have introduced a groundbreaking railway infrastructure project to replace old Soviet tracks in Ukraine. The $16-billion project aims to create EU-compatible tracks by upgrading the track gauge, connecting Ukraine to Europe, and strengthening its relationship with countries to its west amidst the war with Russia.