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TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News October 9-15, 2021

The Hub, New Brunswick, NJ (top left); Shunde Future City, China (bottom left); Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan (top right); Palm City Village, San Diego, CA (bottom right)

Article of the Week

NEW YORK—New York City Adopts Zoning Rules to Advance Transit Accessibility
MTA, Mass Transit Magazine, October 11, 2021

Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit
Marc A. Hermann | MTA New York City Transit

Elevate Transit: Zoning for Accessibility is a collaborative partnership between New York City and the MTA that aims to leverage private development to help make the transit system fully accessible. The program uses easement certifications and density bonuses to incentivize station-adjacent developers to construct accessibility improvements, such as elevators or circulation improvements. For example, if a developer’s project involves giving an easement to the MTA for future accessibility projects, then they will receive targeted zoning relief. The transit improvement bonus gives developers that fund and construct new accessible infrastructure floor area bonuses of up to 20 percent. Currently, 30 percent of subway stations in New York City are accessible.

Courtesy of City of Oakland
Courtesy of City of Oakland, CA

How Cities Are Making Streets Safe During COVID
Jenny O’Connell, Streetsblog, October 15, 2021
Faced with rising traffic incidents on their streets, cities are applying lessons learned from quick-build COVID-19 response projects and targeting efforts towards making streets safer. These strategies include lowering speed limits (Atlanta GA and Austin TX), pivoting programs to provide temporary safety interventions at dangerous intersections (Oakland CA), and partnering with non-profits, artists, and community members to create a rapid-response network of streets across the city (Durham NC).

The Office of the Future Is Competing With Everywhere Else
Matthew Boyle, Bloomberg CityLab, October 13, 2021
According to Ryan Anderson, a workplace design expert at office furniture maker Herman Miller, interviews with hundreds of companies over the last year have shown that the office needs a redesign. “The office has to be a place for community socialization,” Anderson said, citing a former design director who believed that offices should be like “a daytime living room.” As for returning to the office, Anderson notes that “coming back is not a one-day event.”

Rendering of The Hub, New Brunswick, NJ. Courtesy of DEVCO
Rendering of The Hub, New Brunswick, NJ. Courtesy of DEVCO

NEW BRUNSWICK—‘The Hub’ is coming to N.J. The research center will have no rival, Murphy says.
Spencer Kent,, October 15, 2021
Governor Murphy, Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway, local and state officials, hospital CEOs, and others gathered in New Brunswick for the groundbreaking of the long-planned New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub or “The Hub.” Part research center, part incubator, The Hub will comprise 550,000 sq. ft. located across from the New Brunswick train station. When completed in 2024, the $665 million complex will house the Rutgers Translational Research facility, the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, an innovation hub and collaborative offices for project partners, which also include Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health. 

NEWARK—Changes Proposed for Approved Development in Newark’s Ironbound
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, October 15, 2021
Developer Bruen Holdings Urban Renewal, LLC has applied to change a previously approved site plan that originally specified an eleven-story mixed-use structure. If approved, the updated project would include a partial 12th story to include resident amenities and a mezzanine. The location of the project is within Newark’s Ironbound MX-3 zone, which allows for tall residential structures in the vicinity of Newark Penn Station. This development is situated a six-minute walk from the transit facility.

Courtesy of NJ TRANSIT
Courtesy of NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT Awards Contract for Portal North Bridge Project
Press Release, Road&Bridges, October 13, 2021
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a contract to replace the Portal Bridge, a century-old span that carries Northeast Corridor trains over the Hackensack River between Newark Penn Station and Secaucus Junction. The long-awaited improvement will eliminate critical issues caused by operation and maintenance of the existing swing bridge. The $1.6 billion project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line and is funded by U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT, and Amtrak.

Courtesy of GRO Architects
Courtesy of GRO Architects

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City Approves 55-Unit Development at 342 Johnston Avenue
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, October 8, 2021
The Jersey City Planning Board has approved a 55-unit mixed-use development in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood. In addition to 14 parking spaces, the development will include interior storage for up to 55 bicycles. The second floor will feature a “resilience space,” which, in the event of a flooding emergency, would provide water, medical supplies, and a safe gathering space. The project is within walking distance of the Liberty State Park stop on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

HILLSDALE—Developers Plan Project at Former Waste Management Site
Michael Olohan, Pascack Press, October 7, 2021The Hillsdale Borough Council is considering the selection of a developer for its redevelopment zone, particularly for a parcel that was once a waste transfer facility. The developers under consideration are Claremont Development and March Development. One of Claremont’s recent TODs, the James, was also built on a former waste transfer site in Park Ridge. If a mixed-use development were to move forward, its residents would be within a half-mile walk of Hillsdale’s NJ TRANSIT station on the Pascack Valley Line.

Transit and Equity News
Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University
Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University

MARYLAND—Report Shows There’s Still a Hole that Needs Filling in Baltimore’s Transit System
Sandy Smith, Next City, October 13, 2021
A study by Johns Hopkins University, Transit Equity and Environmental Health in Baltimore, found that despite recent attempts to increase service, Baltimore’s historically-disadvantaged neighborhoods still face longer travel times, as well as higher health and environmental costs. Mapping efforts along four key metrics (transit, social vulnerability, air pollution, and health) showed persistent inequities. The report recommends investment in smarter transit (such as the canceled Red Line light rail), more local control of transportation decisions, and work to interconnect “transportation, affordable housing, food security, employment, [and] healthcare.”


Local Officials Acknowledge History of Racism in City Planning, Pledge Change
The Real Deal, October 12, 2021
Nearly two dozen planning directors from cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and Houston, signed an open “Commitment to Change” statement, acknowledging the past “role that city planners have played in contributing to systemic racism and segregation.” The signatories pledged to integrate equity into their work, including “explicitly acknowledging that quality, safe housing for all, in every neighborhood, is a foundational goal of our work,” and “championing housing choice and economically diverse neighborhoods.”

Regional and National TOD News
Courtesy of MTS
Courtesy of MTS

CALIFORNIA—San Diego MTS Board Approves Construction of 390 Housing Units Along Trolley Line in South Bay
San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, Mass Transit, October 15, 2021
San Diego’s metropolitan transit agency (MTS) has entered into agreements with two private developers to build Palm City Village. The development, comprising 390 units of housing for low and moderate-income households, will be built upon part of a lot currently used as part of a park and ride serving the Palm Avenue Station. A similar project, 250 units of both affordable and market-rate housing at the Grantville Trolley Station, broke ground in April 2021.

Courtesy of the Eisen Group
Courtesy of the Eisen Group

COLORADO—Transit Oriented Multifamily Development in Olde Town Arvada to Break Ground
Mile High CRE, October 14, 2021
A 252-unit multifamily development from High Street Residential (HSR) will commence construction near Denver’s G Line commuter rail at Olde Town Arvada Station. The developer is also working on a complementary project nearby that will feature a hotel, as well as retail and restaurants.

Courtesy of City of Boston
Courtesy of City of Boston

MASSACHUSETTS—Boston Establishes New Limits on Parking in Large Developments
Christian MilNeil, Streetsblog, October 13, 2021
The City of Boston has announced new parking maximums for large residential developments consisting of 50,000 sq. ft. or more (roughly, 50 units or more). The maximum parking ratios are assigned based on mobility scores, assigned to Boston parcels based on “proximity to multimodal transportation options, grocery stores, job accessibility, and walkability.” Parking minimum requirements still exist for smaller developments, though the City Council is considering a proposal to remove them as well. Notably, these minimum requirements were used to challenge a small affordable development earlier this year.

Courtesy of Perkins Eastman
Courtesy of Perkins Eastman

Bouncing BackArchitects Are Looking to Nature as a Guide to Protect Communities from Climate-Related Disaster
Perkins-Eastman, October 7, 2021
According to architecture firm Perkins-Eastman, resiliency planning requires context-sensitivity, a diversity of strategies, and redundant systems. For example, for the Hoboken Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan, the firm identified three zones for the City: the Blue Zone—focusing on retention, the Green Zone—focusing on infiltration, and the Gray Zone—oriented toward detention. Resiliency planning also informs the planning of transit. Transit system expansion work in Portland includes miles of sidewalks, crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and plans for affordable housing.

International TOD News
Courtesy of Ronald Lu & Partners
Courtesy of Ronald Lu & Partners

CHINA—Ronald Lu & Partners Designs High-Density Environments Across the Rapidly Urbanising Greater Bay Area in South China
Andreea Cutieru, ArchDaily, October 14, 2021
This profile of the architecture firm Ronald Lu & Partners showcases their extensive work in Transit-Oriented Development in China, which incorporates sustainability elements and human-scale design. A current project is Shunde Future City, which looks to build “smart homes, co-working spaces, and shared residencies” on a site in South China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA)—an area that consists of Hong Kong, Macau, and nine other quickly-growing cities in Guangdong Province.

Courtesy of SMM Intermoda
Courtesy of SMM Intermoda

INDONESIA—Transit-Centered Developments Are a Forward-Looking Asset Class in Indonesia
Gareth Wong, The Business Times, October 11, 2021
With 75 percent of Indonesian households expected to live in urban areas by 2045, smart growth strategies centered in promoting TOD are needed for this population expansion to occur sustainably. However, according to the author, there is a lack of robust investment in TOD in Indonesia. An additional emphasis is needed to make TOD a core part of the country’s future growth.