The second phase of a high-rise development planned in Vancouver (top); a walkable TOD in Tempe (bottom right), several planned buildings in Plainfield (bottom left); and Metro tests discounted transit passes for apartment residents in Minneapolis
Article of the Week
ARIZONA—Developers Offer Mobility Services to Lure Car-Free Renters
Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, September 8, 2021
The new Culdesac Tempe development will restrict residents from parking a car with ¼ mile of the complex, instead offering an array of multimodal transportation options. The 761-unit development will provide residents with a Lyft Pink membership, Valley Metro transit passes (a light rail station is across the street), and discounted e-scooter pricing. Though some remain skeptical that residents will be able to access the broader Phoenix metropolitan area, leasing and waiting list figures indicate strong demand.
MBTA, OCTA: $1B in ARP Grants for COVID-19 Response
Marybeth Luczak, Railway Age, September 10, 2021
Two transit agencies, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), were awarded $859 million and $163.9 million respectively in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. Other transit agencies have received funds as well: BART, in San Francisco, was allocated $330.8 million. NJ TRANSIT received $255.7 million in August. An additional $2.2 billion in additional transit pandemic-associated funding will be disbursed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) later this year.
As People Continue Working from Home, the Monthly Transit Pass Needs to Change to Remain Worth It
Ugo Lachapelle and Georges A. Tanguay, The Conversation, September 2, 2021
Urban studies professors from the University of Quebec at Montreal argue for more innovative transit passes to serve riders whose habits have changed. Using research from Statistic Canada, they write that transit agencies should create various fare structures tailored to constant commuters, those with 12 in-office days per month (equating to 3 per week), and those with eight in-office days each month (2 per week). The authors also suggest that transit agencies become more creative with their roles—some are now casting themselves as “mobility managers,” tasked with facilitating non-driving transportation alternatives for customers.
BOUND BROOK—Six-Story Apartment Building Proposed in Bound Brook
Mike Deak, My Central Jersey, September 10, 2021
Bound Brook may see another transit-oriented development, with a 6-story 143-unit building to be constructed on the site of a former strip mall. At full build-out, the development will comprise 240 units, with between 2,000 and 15,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. The developer has agreed to a 25-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) arrangement with the Borough, in which 10 to 13 percent of its gross revenue will be paid to the municipality over its duration.
NEWARK—New Renderings Released of 241-Unit Project involving Newark’s Paramount Theater Site
Jared Kofsky, Jersey Digs, September 8, 2021
The “Corners at Four Corners” is a 14-story mixed-use tower, built on the site of the historic Paramount Theater on Market Street in Newark. According to the developer’s application to the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission, they wish to demolish the interior, while retaining the façade. The building, if constructed, would designate 20 percent of its 241 apartment units as affordable.
New Jersey’s Next Hot Housing Markets
Patricia Alex and Kathleen Lynn, New Jersey Monthly, September 3, 2021
For transit-oriented development, municipalities with strong transit connections, such as Bayonne, Bloomfield, South Amboy, and Somerville, are predicted to continue to grow. In addition, Glassboro, home to Rowan University, expects to see continued mixed-use development as the Glassboro-Camden light rail is planned.
PLAINFIELD—Four-Building, 367-Unit Project Approved in Downtown Plainfield
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, September 2, 2021
The Plainfield Planning Board approved a redevelopment plan for the western edge of the City’s downtown, which would involve the construction of three new buildings, and the redevelopment of a fourth. The development will add 357 new housing units to the area, with the majority inside an 11-story building. The developments will be within a few blocks of Plainfield Station on the NJ TRANSIT Raritan Valley Line.
How Can Transit Deliver Urban Equity and Sustainability?
Skip Descant, Government Technology, September 2021
Beyond the elimination of fares, how can transit systems leverage innovative technology to become more equitable and sustainable? To truly be effective at expanding equity, a transit system must be planned in consideration with housing, land use, and climate change, according to Simon Berrebi, a transit researcher at Georgia Tech. Some agencies, such as LA Metro are at the forefront of this shift, and offer models for how agencies can better utilize data, such as real-time information on performance and ridership, to run more efficient and equitable service with scarce resources.
ILLINOIS—Chicago’s Equitable TOD Plans Call for Vibrant Community Centers in Underinvested Areas
Logan Nagel, Urban Land Institute, September 8, 2021
Chicago’s ETOD plan, released in June, proposes to stimulate development in the City’s south and west sides, which have seen far less TOD investment than neighborhoods on the north side. The plan calls for anchor institutions to be developed, such as community centers or library-based projects, that combine affordable housing with expansion or renovation efforts. The goal of the plan is to revitalize disinvested communities through transit-oriented development—without enabling gentrification-driven displacement.
TEXAS—Austin Residents Will Have ‘Right to Return’ in New Development for the First Time
Emily Nonko, NextCity, September 8, 2021
Founded in 1894, Austin’s St. John neighborhood began with the purchase of 300 acres by emancipated slaves. In the 20th century, that community was split in two with the construction of I-35. Now an agreement for a new large-scale development hopes to right some of the wrongs wrought by systemic disinvestment in the neighborhood. The new 560-unit complex from developer Greystar will allocate half of all units to households making between 50 and 70 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Additionally, units will be made available to Black families displaced by gentrification in Austin, according to 2018 Right to Stay and Right to Return policies adopted by the City. This would be the first time such policies are tested in practice.
NORTH CAROLINA—Growing Town of Morrisville Alters Zoning Laws to Allow For Denser Development
Aaron Sanchez-Guerra, The Herald Sun, September 9, 2021
In North Carolina’s growing Research Triangle, the Town of Morrisville has revised its zoning laws in several districts, including an area along Chapel Hill Road, to accommodate TOD along a planned transit corridor. The TOD zoning area will permit buildings of up to 75 feet in height, and commercial uses such as breweries and distilleries.
PENNSYLVANIA—Trains Made the Main Line. Why are We Designing its Future Around Cars?
Alex Davis, WHYY, September 9, 2021
A graduate planning student discusses the history of the Main Line, a cluster of rail-oriented communities to the west of Philadelphia. The boroughs of Norristown and Media, for example, have population densities of 7,000 and 10,000 people per square mile. The author argues that municipalities with lower densities could be transformed into transit-oriented communities through zoning reforms.
CONNECTICUT—Dallas Developer Proposes 238 Apartments at Former Industrial Site along CTfastrak in Newington
Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, September 8, 2021
Developer Anthony Properties has proposed constructing a 238-unit apartment complex adjacent to a station on the CTfastrak Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the Town of Newington. A four-story building would be built, along with 310 parking spaces, and a sidewalk connecting the development to the CTfastrak station, which offers service to Hartford and New Britain. According to an analysis by the assistant town planner, the project is compliant with Newington’s Transit-Oriented Development Zone.
MINNESOTA—Metro Transit Expands Pilot including Transit Passes with Apartment Dwellers’ Rent
Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, September 5, 2021
Metro Transit, which operates in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region, announced the expansion of a pilot program that provides monthly transit passes bundled with rent payments to apartment, condominium, and multifamily building residents. Under the program, building owners compensate Metro Transit $14 per unit, in exchange for an unlimited pass for each household. The transit agency’s pilot study found that 60 percent of residents took advantage of the Residential Pass.
ARGENTINA —Tríptico Building in Córdoba is Divided into Three Vertical Houses
Jenna McKnight, Dezeen, September 9, 2021
Innovative architectural styles, such as this vertical design in Còrdoba, Argentina, provide practical examples of adding ‘gentle density.’ Called a trial in “micro-density” by its architects, each of the building’s 3 units occupies 3-meter-wide segments on each level. For a city of 1.5 million people, the Tríptico building offers a unique model of low-rise density.
CANADA—Massive Second Phase Redevelopment Proposed for Marine Gateway
Kenneth Chan, Urbanized, September 8, 2021
Marine Gateway 2 would build on the success of the initial transit-oriented development in Vancouver, which built office, retail, and residential space along a station on the rapid transit Canada Line. The second redevelopment project would transform two car dealerships into 1,053 housing units, 280,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 40,000 sq. ft. of restaurant and retail space. The project must still be approved by the City of Vancouver, which is looking to fast-track developments that promise to significantly expand affordable housing and economic development opportunities.