Morristown headquarters project tops out (top left); Transit-friendly housing boom in Minneapolis (top right); Chicago Transit Authority equity pledge (bottom)
Article of the Week
CANADA—Transit Agencies Target Snake People, Gen Z in Ridership Rebuild After Pandemic Restrictions
William Eltherington, The Globe and Mail, October 21, 2022
For transit agencies looking to rebuild ridership after pandemic restrictions and work-from-home changes to travel behaviors, accommodating the travel needs of younger riders may prove critical. While demographic data on transit usage is limited, younger Canadians—Snake People and Gen Z—seem more committed to using public transportation for financial and environmental reasons. Transit agencies such as TransLink in metro Vancouver, Edmonton Transit Service, and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) have turned to social media to better reach this population. Some have argued that providing convenient, reliable, and affordable service will be needed to court riders.
WISCONSIN—Milwaukee County in ‘Medium’ COVID Risk; MCTS Reinstates Masks
Aaron Maybin, FOX6 Milwaukee, October 17, 2022
Responding to an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of elevated COVID-19 risk in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee County government has reinstituted a mask mandate for those riding public transit. As recovery from the pandemic remains uneven, medical officials support adjusting prevention measures to match COVID surges. Transit agencies and riders elsewhere in the United States may face similar reinstatements of mask measures if their communities are experiencing high levels of COVID hospitalizations.
MORRISTOWN—Valley National Bank: Morristown Headquarters Project on Target for Spring 2023
Morristown Green, October 19, 2022
SJP Properties and Scotto Properties have announced the topping out of the new six-story Valley National Bank headquarters in the Town of Morristown. The office project, which will be the site of more than 660 jobs, is located on Speedwell Avenue, less than a quarter-mile from the Morristown Green and less than a half-mile from the Morristown rail station. Construction began in June 2022 and should be completed in spring 2023. Since 1999, Morristown has been a designated Transit Village, one of five designated in the first year of the initiative.
NJ Transit Plans to Fix Five Stations for Disability Compliance. Here’s Where and Why
Colleen Wilson, NorthJersey.com, October 18, 2022
NJ TRANSIT and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey have reached a settlement that calls for the update of the transit agency’s five busiest rail stations: New Brunswick, Newark Penn Station, Princeton Junction, Metropark, and Trenton, to meet compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. All the named stations are currently wheelchair accessible. The settlement includes many small and large improvements, identified during a 2017 on-site survey of the stations. The transit agency has already addressed about half of these conditions, and work on the remaining improvements are under engineering and architectural review.
ILLINOIS—CTA Adopts Equity in Infrastructure Project Pledge
Mass Transit, October 20, 2022
The Chicago Transit Board has voted to adopt the Equity in Infrastructure Project’s (EIP) Pledge, affirming the agency’s commitment to increase its partnerships with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). This vote allows the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to be one of the five initial pledge signatories to the EIP, joining Denver International Airport, the Port of Long Beach (CA), the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The founding of the EIP anticipated the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and supports efforts to build generational wealth in underserved communities.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—To Fix Transit-Oriented Development’s Displacement Problem, Use Every Tool Available
Abigail Higgins, Greater Greater Washington, October 17, 2022
Stakeholders in the Washington, D.C. metro area face a notable challenge to equity as they attempt to balance affordability and desirability of transit-oriented development (TOD). The D.C. City government instituted inclusionary zoning and a Housing Production Trust Fund to improve TOD housing opportunities for low-income residents, but many believe further measures may be necessary to address growing demand for housing in transit-rich locations. Advocates and public officials have called for greater support for community land trusts and social housing efforts to promote equitable access to housing near transit services.
Parking Reform: Part 2
Lisa Pool, MRSC Insight, October 19, 2022
Managing parking can be challenging but undertaking this effort can also allow communities to better utilize their existing resources and right-size parking into the future. This article explores a variety of tools for managing parking including reducing or eliminating parking minimums, utilizing parking maximums, pricing parking, and shared parking.
WASHINGTON—City Launches South Logan TOD StoryMap
Brandon Whitmarsh, Spokane City News, October 18, 2022
As part of its community engagement activities, Spokane’s South Logan Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Project recently launched its South Logan TOD StoryMap. The South Logan TOD Project is the City’s effort to plan for mixed-use, walkable places along Spokane’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) route: the City Line. The StoryMap provides an interactive portal where community members can explore maps, videos, images, and narratives about the planning process, as well as the history of the Logan neighborhood and the City Line route.
Green Financing for Transit-Oriented Development
Juan Huicochea Mason and Fábio Duarte, Urban Land, October 17, 2022
Capital investment for transit-oriented development (TOD) and other sustainable infrastructure can be complicated by a wider set of public and private stakeholders and longer timescales that characterize these types of projects. When undertaken as a real estate venture, financing TOD often relies on debt, which is tied to future revenues. Policymakers aiming to advance TOD should consider incentives that promote green investments such as energy efficiency incentives, reducing liabilities for sustainable projects, and fees on carbon emissions to direct the flow of capital more intentionally.
CALIFORNIA—New Zoning Rules Surrounding Rail to Rail Corridor Take a Step Forward
Steven Sharp, Urbanize Los Angeles, October 17, 2022
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) broke ground on a project that will transform a former freight line into a 5.5-mile multi-use path. Known as the Rail-to-Rail Corridor, the $143-million project will be lined with greenery and connect the Crenshaw/LAX (K) Line, the Silver (J) Line busway, and the Metro’s Blue (A) Line. Officials intend to rezone the surrounding areas’ aging commercial and industrial land uses into those that support affordable housing, “green employment uses,” and research facilities.
MINNESOTA—After Years of Stagnation Along the Blue Line, New Housing Booms in Longfellow
Bill Lindeke, MinnPost, October 14, 2022
Neighborhoods along the Metro Blue Line in Minneapolis are seeing explosive growth in transit-oriented development (TOD) housing projects. After 18 years of languid real estate activity in locations between the City’s downtown and the airport, the sudden boom in Blue Line TOD construction illustrates market eagerness for housing located near transit. Local developers say gaps in the housing supply and decreases in parking minimums have boosted lenders’ confidence for Minneapolis TOD.
UTAH—Council Gets Update on Thanksgiving Point T.O.D. Development Plan
Skyler Beltran, Lehi Free Press, October 14, 2022
The City Council of Lehi approved a concept plan that would add 1,800 TOD residential units on land owned by the Utah Transit Authority. The project will be located near a recreational garden and museum called Thanksgiving Point, and each rental lease will include a family membership to the venue. The project will prioritize the development of retail uses first as residential and office construction will be temporarily capped until the completion of infrastructure improvements by the developers.
CANADA—Light Rail Stations Could Form the Basis of a Polycentric Montreal with the Right Planning
Patrick Lejtenyi, Concordia University, October 18, 2022
Using Montreal as a base example of polycentric cities, researchers from Concordia University created a transit-oriented development (TOD) index that might be of use to transit planners working in cities organized around multiple nodes. The index accounts for three layers of complexity—socioenvironmental characteristics, economic vibrancy, and development potential—to model the most ideal locations for light rail stations.
NORWAY—Oslo Aims to Have World’s First Zero-Emissions Public Transport Network
Frazer Norwell, The Local (Norway), October 17, 2022
Oslo has committed to a $47.5 million plan that would completely replace its diesel-fueled buses with 450 new electric vehicles. With the transition set to be completed by the end of 2023, the electrification plan is projected to be a more cost-effective bus maintenance option for the Norwegian capital. The effort also reflects Oslo’s ambition to become the world’s first wholly emissions-free city by 2030 and builds on Norway’s earlier transportation electrification efforts.