Transit ridership continues to lag (left); Transit-friendly living in South Amboy (top right); Banks and parking (bottom right)
Article of the Week
WOODBRIDGE—MetroPark to Become More Than a Train Station Under Plan to Build Offices, Apartments
Larry Higgs, NJ.com, October 12, 2022
Governor Phil Murphy and NJ TRANSIT and local officials have announced a public-private partnership to redevelop 12 acres of parking lots at the MetroPark Station into mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD). Advancing the station beyond its park-and-ride model, this redevelopment is planned to construct between 230 and 250 apartments, 250,000 sq. ft. of office space, and ground level retail. The project developers have stated they intend to add community amenities, station improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure upgrades.
COVID-19 TOD News
NEW YORK—Car, Air Traffic in NYC Almost at Pre-Pandemic Levels, But Transit Continues to Lag: Report
Ben Brachfield, amNY, October 12, 2022
According to a new report from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, weekday transit ridership continues to be at about 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while auto and air travel have nearly returned to earlier levels. Lander observed that a shift from public transportation to personal vehicles adversely affects city residents by making it more difficult to reduce emissions and by contributing to traffic violence. MTA Chair Janno Lieber attributes some of the depressed weekday ridership to the rise in work from home. Weekend ridership exceeds 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels..
CALIFORNIA—‘Inaccurate and Disappointing’: BART Scolds Bing Maps Over COVID Transit Alert
Silas Valentino, SFGATE, October 7, 2022
Bing Maps issued erroneous warnings that San Francisco authorities were cautioning against using transit services due to COVID-19 risk. The Bay Area Rapid Transit decried the alert, stating that it was “misleading, inaccurate and disappointing to see an online mapping tool to so boldly discourage transit trips.” Microsoft, the parent company that owns Bing Maps, has stated they intend to remove the alert.
VIRGINIA—Can Virginia transit providers innovate their way out of an operator shortage?
Wyatt Gordon, Virginia Mercury, October 7, 2022
Prior to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, transit agencies faced challenges in hiring and retaining bus operators. Shifts in labor markets as a result of the pandemic have accelerated this situation. To meet this challenge, Virginia transit providers have increased operator pay. However, front-line workers report working conditions as a more significant issue affecting the industry. Hampton Roads Transit and the City of Norfolk have partnered to provide additional support for operators in earning their Commercial Driver’s License and transit providers are reconsidering how company culture rewards bus operators.
NJ TOD News
SOUTH AMBOY—South Amboy, N.J.: ‘Nice and Quaint and Quiet’
Kathleen Lynn, The New York Times, October 12, 2022
South Amboy’s transformation into a true post-industrial city has been elevated in potential and speed by the upcoming ferry service straight to Manhattan. Replacing industrial uses that once defined South Amboy’s waterfront, residential development is ushering in a projected 1,000 new apartments along its shoreline. Walkable due to its dense, pre-war layout, the Middlesex County community has already seen successful transit-oriented development near its commuter rail station. The NJ Department of Transportation designated South Amboy as a New Jersey Transit Village in 1999.
BOUND BROOK—Transit-Oriented The Rail at Bound Brook Secures $32.45M Construction Financing
Jessica Perry, NJ Biz, October 7, 2022
JLL Capital Markets has secured $32.45 million to finance the construction of a mid-rise apartment complex in Bound Brook called “The Rail.” The project is expected to create 143 housing units and will be oriented toward the Borough’s amenities and transit services. The project will also include 650 sq. ft. in retail space and a parking garage. The NJ Department of Transportation designated Bound Brook a New Jersey Transit Village in 2003.
Transit and Equity News
CALIFORNIA—New Shuttles Will Serve this Transit-Starved San Francisco Neighborhood
Garrett Leahy, The San Francisco Standard, October 11, 2022
San Francisco transit officials are developing “dynamic shuttles” service to connect a transit-starved neighborhood to the region’s wider transit network. The service is expected to operate 8-15 seat electric buses from August 2023 to March 2026, with riders hailing rides and paying through a mobile app. The program will be funded by a $10.5 million grant from the California Air Resource Board’s Sustainable Transportation Equity Project.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces Progress in Implementing Its Housing Supply Action Plan
The Office of the White House, October 7, 2022
Responding to a constrained national housing market, the White House announced critical goals for an upcoming Housing Supply Action Plan. The White House intends to finalize measures that would reform federal financing for housing, encourage more housing options near transit, and promote the coordination of transportation and housing planning. The Administration also expressed increased interest in expanding federal financing for projects that link transit-oriented development (TOD) and affordable housing efforts.
Medical Care Alone Won’t Halt the Spread of Diabetes, Scientists Say
Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times, October 5, 2022
Research has resulted in a better understanding of Type 2 diabetes and tools for managing the condition. However better treatments do not address root causes, leading experts to focus on walkable communities, improved housing, and access to health care and better food, particularly in minority communities.
Regional and National TOD News
3 Ways Cities Can Promote New, Greener Mobility Services
Andreas Nienhaus and Steffen Rilling, World Economic Forum, October 14, 2022
Mobility services, such as scooters and bike rentals, may help to reduce car dependence and thus congestion and pollution. However, harnessing the potential of these innovations requires that cities think how to effectively integrate their use into existing systems. One such way is by optimizing its use for first-/last-mile connections to public transportation, especially to electric bus, streetcar, and light rail systems.
ILLINOIS—Chicago to Reduce Cars Through Transit-Oriented Development
Sarah Freishtat and Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, October 13, 2022
In July, the City of Chicago passed a transit-focused development ordinance, known as “Connected Communities,” to reduce auto-dependency. Among many other measures, the ordinance caps parking for new residential buildings near train stations at one space for every two housing units and requires pedestrian-friendly design within a half-mile of stations. The success of Connected Communities will be heavily influenced by the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) ability to maintain and improve service to better compete with driving and attract long-term local support for TOD projects.
VIRGINIA—Dulles to Join Reagan as the Most Public Transit-Accessible Virginia Airports
Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury, October 12, 2022
Passengers traveling via Washington Dulles International Airport will soon have a new option for accessing the facility. After nearly 15 years of work, final inspections are planned for the Silver Line extension of the DC Metro system to the airport. Metro riders will utilize an existing underground passenger walkway that runs from a parking garage to the main terminal.
CONNECTICUT—Governor Lamont Approves Seven State Grants to Encourage Transit-Oriented Development in Six Municipalities
The Office of the Governor, State of Connecticut, October 12, 2022
The State of Connecticut has announced the approval of $6.8 million in grants for seven TOD projects in six municipalities. Distributed through the Office of Policy and Management’s Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program, these grants are intended to spur Connecticut’s economic growth by concentrating development within a half-mile of transit hubs. One project in New Britain will receive $2 million to improve pedestrian infrastructure, erect bus shelters, and implement Complete Streets enhancements.
Secret Parking Minimums Are Driving Up Development Costs
Ned Oliver, Axios Richmond, October 11, 2022
Banks often undercut municipal efforts to decrease the parking provided in new development by placing their own parking minimum conditions on loans to developers. These bank-required parking minimums typically call for at least one parking space per unit, even when developers may only be legally obligated to provide one spot for every two units. Given that parking spots can cost as much as $35,000 to construct, these hidden, bank-mandated parking minimums can drive up the costs of development, making new projects less affordable and economically productive.
FLORIDA—Doral Transit-Oriented Development Near Groundbreaking
Gabriela Henriquez Stoikow, Miami Today, October 11, 2022
Groundbreaking for a $1.2 billion Upland Park TOD project near Miami-Dade County’s Dolphin rapid transit station is scheduled for November. The developers, Terra International Services, have committed to a three-phase construction plan for 47 acres leased for 90 years. The first phase will construct 441 garden apartments, 350 multifamily units, and 35,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Phase Two is scheduled to begin in May 2025 and Phase Three in November 2027.
International TOD News
GERMANY—1 Ticket to Ride: Germany Eyes Public Transit Revolution
The Associated Press, ABC News, October 13, 2022
Lawmakers in Germany have expressed interest in issuing a nationwide public transit pass that would cost 49-euros (equivalent to $47) per month. This pass would build upon a 9-euro pass for three months of travel that was offered to German transit riders in summer 2022. Though the new 49-euro pass could not be used for intercity train travel, it would simplify user experience on all the country’s regional bus, train and tram networks and promote transit ridership in Europe’s largest economy.
INDIA—JICA to Help Develop Stations on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor
Paurush Omar, Livemint, October 12, 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will send transportation experts to assist Indian stakeholders in the construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) corridor and its stations. The MAHSR line will have 12 stations over its 508km (315.5 miles) length. The JICA has stated their cooperation is intended “to enhance accessibility and convenience [for] commuters and other stakeholders and to promote economic activities” through station design and TOD in surrounding areas.