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TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News October 1-7, 2022

Development in Newark’s Lower Broad Street neighborhood (top left); Senior housing near Wyandanch Station on Long Island (top right); Urban planning and BRT in the Global South (bottom left); Repurposed surface parking near Edgewood-Candler Park Station in Atlanta, GA (bottom right)

Article of the Week

HOBOKEN—Governor Murphy, State and Local Officials Break Ground on ‘Historic’ Hoboken Connect Project
Eva Reid, TapInto, October 5, 2022
State and local officials held a groundbreaking for the Hoboken Connect project that includes construction of TOD near a new bus terminal and the rehabilitation of an historic ferry terminal. The state government will contribute $176 million to the project that aims to support more than 15,000 permanent jobs in a walkable, transit-friendly space. The private phase of the project will feature mixed-use development, retail, a 20-story office tower, and 389 housing units with 20 percent designated as affordable housing.


COVID-19 TOD News

Europe’s Emerging Covid-19 Wave Reminds Us That the Pandemic Isn’t Over ’Til It’s Over
Joshua Cohen, Forbes, October 6, 2022
If we have learned anything over the last two-plus years, it’s that conditions created by the COVID-19 virus remain in flux. While many U.S. officials and most of the American public have adopted post-pandemic behaviors, the nation still faces between 400 and 500 daily Covid-19 related deaths. In Western Europe, cases and hospital admissions have seen a steady rise due to seasonality, waning immunity, and the emergence of new sub-variants. Reflecting these conditions, Germany has once again begun to require masks aboard all forms of public transportation.

NORTH CAROLINA—Chapel Hill Transit Bus Driver Numbers Improve, Although Still Not at Full Operation
Annika Duneja, The Daily Tar Heel, October 3, 2022
Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) remains hindered in returning to full pre-pandemic service by bus operator vacancies. CHT, which connects University of North Carolina to Chapel Hill communities, hopes that recruitment bonuses, increased wages, and opening the bus driver positions to university students will address the personnel shortage. CHT Director Brian Litchfield claims the transit system is at 86 percent of its pre-pandemic operations and that roughly twenty positions remain open.


NJ TOD News

NEWARK—Turning a Newark ‘No-Man’s Land’ into a Residential Neighborhood
Steve Strunsky, NJ.com, October 5, 2022
Russo Development plans a major TOD redevelopment in Newark through their $84 million Vermella Broad Street project. The project will add 296 rental apartments to the city’s Lower Broad Street neighborhood, situated within a half-block of the NJ TRANSIT Broad Street Station. Previous success in Harrison, New Jersey has fanned optimism from Russo and surrounding businesses that the Vermella project will help transform the area into a moderate-density, moderate-income, and mixed-use neighborhood.

DUNELLEN—Dunellen offers tax breaks to boost downtown redevelopment. Are you eligible?
Mike Deak, My CentralJersey.com, October 4, 2022
To accelerate downtown redevelopment spurred by upgrades to Dunellen Station, the Borough is offering tax exemptions for improvements to downtown residential and commercial properties. These tax breaks are expected to work in conjunction with a major development project called “The Nell” that would add 252 apartment units and 130 for-sale townhomes. The Borough has already approved another mixed-use project adding 33 apartments with 5 affordable units within two blocks of the station, showing their resolve to increase density in the community and to support development that will make it more transit friendly.

How a Plan for Buses Could Be a Compromise for the Controversial Turnpike-Widening Plan
Colleen Wilson, NorthJersey.com, October 3, 2022
Two arguments have been put forth regarding a proposed plan to widen the NJ Turnpike leading into the Holland Tunnel: one against on environmental grounds and another for, citing safety improvements that could come with the improvements. More recently, a third idea has emerged that would make safety improvements and widen travel lanes but only for bus use. This idea has been floated by Robert Menendez Jr., who is running for New Jersey’s 8th Congressional district seat. One option, to be more fully explored, would be to use a newly created lane as a dedicated bus-rapid transit (BRT) route.


Transit and Equity News

NEW YORK—Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $40 Million Affordable Senior Housing Development in Suffolk County
Press Release, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, October 6, 2022
Albanese Development Corporation and Selfhelp Realty Group have completed 11 Park Drive Apartments, a $40.4 million affordable housing development. The five-story building offers 94 apartments reserved for seniors aged 62 and older in households earning at or below 70 percent of the Area Median Income. The project is the fourth phase of development at Wyandanch Village, which now comprises a total of 395 apartments. Wyandanch Village sits on a 40-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Wyandanch Long Island Railroad station.

TEXAS—Nonprofit Groups Getting $20M in Project Connect Funds to Prevent Displacement
Chad Swiatecki, The Austin Monitor, October 4, 2022
With massive transit expansions planned, the City of Austin will distribute $20 million in Project Connect funds to 14 local non-profits in support of their anti-displacement efforts. This amount is part of the city’s larger anti-displacement effort, specifically drawing from its $300 million affordable housing fund. All Project Connect anti-displacement funds will focus on preventing displacement in risk areas within one mile of transit lines. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, praised the initiative’s aim to counterbalance the market pressures of transit improvements without sacrificing planned service.


Regional and National TOD News

GEORGIA—Before/After: MARTA Parking Lots Transformed into 350 Homes, More
Josh Green, Urbanize, October 6, 2022
Following a six-year, three-phase effort, two surface parking lots at the MARTA Edgewood-Candler Park Station are now the site of a $95-million TOD community. The 6.4-acre site comprises 357 apartments (75 affordable units), a half-acre public park, a retail and office building, a youth development center, and a 393-space parking deck serving riders, shoppers, and tenants. This project is one of a number of TOD projects moving forward along MARTA’s Blue/Green Lines.

U.S. Department of Transportation Expands Its Financing Program to Help Even More Infrastructure Projects Move Forward
U.S. Department of Transportation, October 4, 2022
U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, announced additional financial support for transit and TOD projects up to “the maximum level authorized under law.” The USDOT Build America Bureau will act as the one-stop-shop for local and state governments seeking federal infrastructure funding aid, and will authorize flexible, low-cost financing for transit and TOD projects to speed up construction. One mechanism to be used is allowing project sponsors to borrow 49 percent of eligible project costs, up from the previous cap of 33 percent.

NEW YORK—Update: Town Board Designates TOD Master Developers ‘Qualified and Eligible’
Alek Lewis, Riverhead Local, October 4, 2022
The Riverhead Town Board unanimously voted to authorize a TOD development near the town’s Long Island Rail Road Station. The developers intend to buy the site for $7.29 million and construct a four- or five-story, mixed-use building with 243 apartment units as well as a separate mixed-use structure with another 36 units. The project site is owned by the town and county.

CALIFORNIA—Americans’ Addiction to Parking Lots Is Bad for the Climate. California Wants to End It
Ciara Nugent, Time, September 28, 2022
California recently passed a law eliminating parking minimums for residential, retail, and commercial developments within a half-mile of major transit stops. Similar measures have been implemented in over three dozen American cities to stem the environmental and economic burdens of excessive parking and promote density. In conjunction with a reduction in off-street parking, some California cities, including San Francisco and Ventura, have introduced demand-based pricing for on-street parking.

DISTICT OF COLUMBIA—How the Region’s Housing Targets Can Support Transit-Oriented Communities
Ethan Goffman, Greater Greater Washington, September 30, 2022
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has recently drafted the Region United Framework for 2030 to reflect a growing consensus around supporting community-focused transit-oriented development (TOD). Known as transit-oriented communities (TOC), this approach frames equity as an essential component to the sustainability of TOD. The COG is leveraging $500,000 for its Housing Affordability Planning Program to build affordable residential units near transit hubs in addition to other commitments, as it seeks to get buy-in from D.C. area localities for its 2030 Framework.

CALIFORNIA—MTC Adopts Landmark Policy to Promote Housing, Commercial Development Near Transit Stations
Rebecca Long and John Goodwin, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, September 28, 2022
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the regional transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, has adopted a new Transit-Oriented Communities Policy to increase housing supply, ridership, and commerce around transit hubs. The policy will eliminate minimum parking requirements in areas well-served by transit and increase permitted residential density, while taking special measures to protect current residents at risk of displacement. The MTC says the new policy replaces its 2005 Transit-Oriented Development Policy and will be applied to areas surrounding several BRT, light-rail, commuter rail, and ferry service providers’ stations and terminals.


International TOD News

CANADA—It’s Happening: Toronto is Working to Become a Car-Free Society
Naama Blonder, Storeys, October 6, 2022
Toronto issued a comprehensive review labeled, “Our Plan” that supports building compact, walkable areas next to transit hubs to reach sustainability goals. The City previously eliminated parking minimums and continues to fulfill this aim of reducing car dependency through ongoing investment in transit and complete streets. In the short term, Toronto will implement critical transit-oriented development (TOD) project investments to include a 35 percent expansion of the current bicycle network and a new 15-station Ontario Line subway line that will support the construction of over 7,700 housing units.

BANGLADESH—Creating Virtuous Circles Between Urban Planning and Urban Transit
Nick Tsivanides, Somik Lall, and Mumba Ngulube, The Daily Star, October 5, 2022
Looking at the relationship between transportation and economic development, Tsivanides (UC-Berkeley) Lall (World Bank), and Ngulube (World Bank) discuss the challenges faced by cities in the Global South, where informal economies elude travel patterns that support centralized, hub-based transit systems. The authors draw attention to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and how it has been used to great success in Latin America and suggest that BRT may be able to bridge urban fragmentation in areas that have populations large enough to require mass transit but do not have labor markets that provide consistent commuter ridership. They call for addressing the differences between conventional transit and how riders relate to transit modes in places with different forms of urbanism across the world.