Planning for equity in Richmond, VA (top left); Transit-oriented sustainable development in Adelaide, Australia (top right); Woodbridge’s Avenue & Green TOD (bottom right); and a new TOD on the Hoboken-Jersey City border (bottom left)
Article of the Week
Trams, Cable Cars, Electric Ferries: How Cities Are Rethinking Transit
Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, October 3, 2021
As cities move to electrify their transit networks, and shift residents out of their cars, they are looking at how various electric-powered modes can enhance service. Bogotá is planning seven lines of electric TransMiCable gondolas around the City’s hills. Bergen, Norway, is leading as it converts ferries to run on electric batteries. Berlin, like Lisbon and Dublin, is investing in rebuilding its legacy tram network. Full electrification, however, will require accelerating this progress. Currently, only 16 percent of the world’s city buses are electric.
TEXAS—Despite Fewer People Riding Metro in Houston, Report Makes Case for More Public Transit
Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, October 7, 2021
COVID and Public Transit in the Houston Region, a report by Air Alliance Houston, finds that transit must be adjusted and invested in post-pandemic. Many of the riders surveyed expressed concern about COVID safety and cleanliness on the bus, leading them to choose different modes. Still, transit was a lifeline for many participants, leading to several key policy recommendations: restore service to pre-pandemic levels; implement more comprehensive cleaning and health protocols; increase transit investments at the local, state, and federal levels; and look to complement transit with other modes, such as micromobility options.
EAST ORANGE—East Orange’s Brick Church Could Undergo 75-Unit Adaptive Reuse and Expansion Project
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, October 6, 2021
A developer has applied to convert Brick Church Station’s namesake into a mixed-use structure, expanding the red brick church in East Orange with 75 residential units and commercial space, while retaining a worship space. Currently, two inbound and three outbound trains provide express service from Brick Church Station to New York Penn Station as well as additional service to Hoboken each weekday.
WOODBRIDGE—Transit-Oriented Development Opens in Downtown Woodbridge
Susan Loyer, My Central Jersey, October 2, 2021
The Avenue & Green TOD in Woodbridge opened leasing for its 232-unit mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. In addition to residential space, the building has 10,500 sq. ft. of retail on its ground-floor, including a coffeehouse scheduled to open in December. The five-story structure is located adjacent to the NJ TRANSIT Woodbridge Station, with service on the North Jersey Coast Line.
HOBOKEN—Hoboken Approves Ambitious ‘The Boundary’ Mixed-Use Development
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, October 1, 2021
The Boundary is a 500,000 sq. ft. mixed-use project from the developer JDA Group. Set on the Hoboken-Jersey City Line, the development will include 192 housing units, an event facility, restaurants and retail, medical offices, and a rooftop park. The new development will be located several blocks from the 2nd Street Station on the NJ TRANSIT Hudson-Bergen Line.
VIRGINIA—What Makes a Racially Equitable City?
Maritza E. Mercado Pechin, Next City, October 6, 2021
The Deputy Director of the City of Richmond writes about Richmond 300, a new Master Plan that looks to build a more equitable Richmond—where “all Richmonders have equal or equivalent access to goods, services, status, rights, power, and amenities.” Key initiatives include: rewriting Richmond’s zoning ordinance, originally rooted in racial segregation, to permit a wider range of housing options; reknitting the City to connect communities disconnected by highway infrastructure; establishing programs to build generational wealth; and expanding engagement and education for the city planning process.
CANADA—Metrolinx: ‘Making Transit More Equitable’
Railway Age, October 4, 2021
The Ontario, Canada rail transit agency Metrolinx has commissioned a 30-person volunteer team to find new methodologies and techniques to add an equity lens to its transit planning. The agency is exploring new community engagement strategies, as well as community metrics, to better understand and evaluate how future planning decisions could affect marginalized communities.
FLORIDA—Corner Lot Plans 340-Unit Downtown Southbank Apartment Community
Mike Mendenhall, Jacksonville Daily Record, October 7, 2021
The Corner Lot Development Group has applied to construct a 340-unit apartment building and 425-space parking garage on the Downtown Southbank. The development is adjacent to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s Kings Avenue Skyway Station, with service to the City’s downtown. Additionally, the developer will provide a new bicycle and pedestrian corridor between the site and the station.
MASSACHUSETTS—Indigo Block, Mixed Use Housing Complex in Uphams Corner, Opens its Doors
Grace Mayer, Dorchester Reporter, October 7, 2021
The mixed-use, affordable Indigo Block development in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood celebrated its official opening. The 80-unit structure includes 44 apartments reserved for persons earning less than $56,400 annually, and 36 allocated for persons earning less than $76,100 each year. Nearly 3,000 people have applied to a housing lottery for the project. This transit-oriented development is within walking distance of the MBTA’s Fairmount Line—a corridor where commuter rail fares have been lowered to equal subway prices in a pilot program.
CALIFORNIA—State-Owned Parking at Montclair Transit Center Eyed for Housing
Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, October 5, 2021
The Montclair TransCenter sits on the San Bernardino commuter rail line, with service to Los Angeles, and, the City hopes, an eventual extension of the Metro L Line to the station. Currently, Montclair is attempting to negotiate with Caltrans, which owns the adjacent parking lot, hoping to purchase the parcel and convert it into housing, with new garages built to compensate for the lost spaces.
WISCONSIN—Future Noise Concerns Could Scuttle Housing Along Planned Transit Corridor
Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal, October 3, 2021
A decision by the U.S. Air Force to begin using newer, louder F-35 jets at its base in Madison has raised questions over whether a new transit-oriented housing plan should proceed. In zones deemed too loud for residential use, the City had previously planned for 1,600 units to be developed, the majority along a nearby BRT corridor. That plan, now, is being reconsidered.
CONNECTICUT—79 New Apartments—With 3 New Parking Spaces Pitched For 9th Square
Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, September 30, 2021
Beacon Communities, a Boston-based affordable housing developer, proposed constructing 79 apartment units in New Haven, with only 3 new onsite parking spaces. The units would be rented for a range of incomes: 16 to be allocated to persons making 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI), 33 to those making no more than 50 percent AMI, 16 to those earning 30 percent AMI, and the remaining 14 rented at market rate. The developer’s attorney argued that because the project contained 48 indoor bike parking spaces, was adjacent to CTrail’s State Street Station, and was within walking and biking distance of many of New Haven’s destinations, it was truly transit-oriented, and merited the removal of minimum parking requirements.
AUSTRALIA—Adelaide’s Aspirations for Greener Growth
Stephanie Johnston, IN Daily, October 6, 2021
Though transit-oriented development is not as popular in South Australia as in other parts of the country, a handful of TOD projects are underway in the state, part of efforts to achieve government targets for infill growth. However, the Adelaide metropolitan area lacks a comprehensive public transit network, making it difficult to incentivize transit use, even after building transit-adjacent housing. In one case, Mawson Lakes, a new medium-density suburb, saw only about seven percent of residents using a form of transit to get to work.
IRELAND—Call for New Dublin Train Station to Service Development of 40,000 Homes
Olivia Kelly, The Irish Times, September 30, 2021
Planners in South Dublin have proposed two new infill stations to unlock development potential at a 700-hectare site in a low density area, which, with the new station, would become quickly accessible to the city center. The redevelopment would focus first on medium-rise buildings, aimed toward a higher-income clientele. According to the developer, seeing people choosing to live in a different style structure could persuade the community to embrace a denser housing model—then supportive housing could be built into the project.