North Branch Industrial Corridor in Chicago (top left); Funding transit (top right); Indianapolis Blue Line BRT Project Map (bottom left); African megacities & mass transit (bottom right)
Article of the Week
COVID-19 Reshaped the Work and Mobility Landscape in U.S. Cities
Skip Descant, Government Technology, November 4, 2022
American cities are at a crossroads between becoming more auto dependent or encouraging nascent, but increasing, interest in leisure, bicycle, and pedestrian travel. Commuter patterns continue to be redefined by the pandemic. Overall public transit ridership has declined, but recent significant rebounds are prompting local governments to reimagine the economic drivers and daily travel destinations within their cities.
As Transit Fares Plummet, Federal Money Increases 95%
Elyse Apel, Tom Gantert and Brett Rowland, The Center Square, November 8, 2022
Shifts in ridership and funding spurred by the pandemic have reduced the ability of transit agencies to rely on fare revenues. Federal aid has prevented funding shortfalls, but much of this aid is temporary. As the country emerges from COVID’s shadow, American transit agencies will likely have to find other sources of support to maintain and expand transit service.
Seven NJ Transit Projects to Advance with $43M in Federal Funding
Linda Lindner, ROI-NJ.com, November 9, 2022
Seven NJ TRANSIT projects will receive $43 million in federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding. In concert with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), NJTRANSIT announced allocation of this funding to bike sheds, bus garage electrification, and micro-transit pilot projects, as well as other investments. Officials from the agencies noted the importance of first mile/last mile and micro-mobility options in advancing the state’s sustainability, energy, and transportation goals.
SOUTH AMBOY—Here’s When South Amboy Ferry Terminal Construction Is Expected to Begin
Susan Loyer, MyCentralJersey.com, November 8, 2022
Bids for the new ferry terminal project in the City of South Amboy are due December 7th and construction is expected to begin in 2023. This terminal will provide ferry service between this Middlesex County community and Manhattan, supporting development of South Amboy’s waterfront. South Amboy plans to establish a temporary ferry service prior to construction of the terminal facility, advancing the community’s vision of an intermodal transit-friendly future.
CAMDEN—$25 Million in Federal Infrastructure Funds to Rebuild Neighborhoods and Port
Camden County, November 7, 2022
Upgrades designed to improve access to the Port of Camden and surrounding area will receive significant support from a recently announced $25 million federal infrastructure grant. These funds will be used in combination with about $11 million of state Department of Transportation (NJDOT) grant funds to improve a truck route between the Port and Interstate 676 and to enhance stormwater management within the Port access area and adjacent Camden neighborhood of Waterfront South. By improving the lighting, sidewalks, signage, pavement markings, curbs and ADA ramps, the project will also address pedestrian conditions and access for riders of NJ TRANSIT buses connecting to the Port.
CALIFORNIA—Newly Elected Los Angeles Leaders Must Prioritize Transit-Oriented Housing
Thomas Irwin and Alix Ollivier, Cal Matters, November 9, 2022
In this opinion piece, housing advocates Thomas Irwin and Alix Ollivier argue that as Los Angeles rents rise, changes to how the city approaches transit-oriented development (TOD) will be necessary to improve housing and transportation equity for residents. The City’s Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) program should be modified to legalize apartment construction near transit stops by right and to offer density bonuses for affordable unit constructions. The price point of single-family residential zoning excludes many Los Angeles residents and when unchallenged near transit hubs, prevents affordable multimodal access and construction of much-needed TOD housing stock.
WASHINGTON—Sound Transit Advancing Equitable Transit-Oriented Development in the U District
Stephen Fesler, the Urbanist, November 9, 2022
Sound Transit plans to build affordable transit-friendly housing on properties it owns in the University District of Seattle. The site of the development is within two blocks of U District Station and is currently occupied by a temporary tiny house village. The number of additional affordable units the development could add depends on whether the transit provider receives permission to build over an existing alley. If granted, Sound Transit could construct a six- to eight-story structure and add about 77 homes to the location.
ILLINOIS—How Does Zero-Emission Fit in the Southwest Industrial Corridor Modernization Plan?
Ruth Rosas, Streetsblog Chicago, October 28, 2022
Balancing environmental justice and industry activity, Chicago’s Southwest Industrial Corridor Modernization plan aims to decarbonize freight and industrial traffic on neighborhood streets. This plan has prompted a 31st Street Corridor Study on the impacts of heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles. The work is being supported by the participation of local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups. The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization has promoted outreach for the study and conducted truck counts along 31st Street—efforts designed to help achieve a more multimodal, environmentally equitable Southwest Chicago.
CALIFORNIA—Uncommon Plans Mixed-Use Apartment Building at 7771 W Beverly Boulevard
Steven Sharp, Urbanize LA, November 7, 2022
Having gained approval for a Beverly Grove mixed-use apartment building in 2019, the development firm Uncommon plans to build a near-duplicate project within a few blocks of the first site. At 53 residential units, the second site will provide four fewer units than its sister development, and will offer significantly fewer parking spaces—32 rather than the 70 spaces included in the first project. This development represents increasing commitments to TOD principles in Los Angeles, and the proliferation of mixed-use, multifamily residential housing.
TEXAS—Two Stations Along DART’s Silver Line Under Construction in Plano, Texas
Virginia Mingorance, Local Profile, November 7, 2022
A 2024 extension of the Silver Line in Dallas will connect the metro-core to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. When completed, the Silver Line will be the first Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail service to offer an east-west connection in the city and region. With two new DART stations already under construction, neighboring communities such as Plano continue to make TOD investments to keep pace with modal shifts in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
INDIANA—Blue Line Route Change Seen as Huge Loss for Westside Neighborhoods
Jill Sheridan, wfyi Indianapolis, November 3, 2022
Cuts to IndyGo’s planned Blue Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service means Westside neighborhoods in Indianapolis will be excluded from anticipated infrastructure improvements. Expenses for Blue Line construction increased as political delays, inflation, and other economic factors ballooned the project cost to $520 million, more than double the original proposed cost. The lost economic development and delays in road improvements in Westside neighborhoods illustrate the important role BRT can play in local development.
MARYLAND—Mixed-Use Development to Take Flight Near Airport
Liam Farrell, Maryland Today, November 3, 2022
The University of Maryland and other stakeholders have taken interest in a transit-oriented development (TOD) project that would develop areas adjacent to the College Park Airport. The airport holds particular significance as the world’s oldest continuously-operated airport and the former base of the Wright Brothers. Stakeholders hope to continue acknowledging this legacy through TOD and support for College Park as a premier college city, where students and residents will have full access to the forthcoming Purple Line light rail to Washington, D.C.
Why Cities in the Global South Should Collaborate on Mobility
Marcela Guerrero Casas, World Economic Forum, November 8, 2022
Improvements in mobility represent common advantages for Global South nations, as international exchanges between officials increasingly highlight. Electrified transportation—such as electric buses and bicycles—facilitate the economic development of budding industry and enable social participation that would otherwise be physically inaccessible. Such innovations in Global South mobility should be shared and communicated effectively to collaboratively continue this growth.
NIGERIA—Africa’s Mega-Cities Look to Mass Transit to Ease Growing Pains
News 24, November 7, 2022
As a metropolitan area of over 20 million, Lagos, Nigeria struggles with intense transportation issues exacerbated by an underdevelopment of metro-rail service. Commuters face an auto-dependent transportation mix that generates multi-hour trips on the road to and from work. Responding to this situation, the Lagos State government aims to expand waterway and rail service beyond the recently-developed Blue Line and to attract transportation investment to the rapidly urbanizing city.