Sunday, May 19, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News March 30-April 5, 2024

Ensuring disabled riders’ needs in transit planning (right); Jersey City’s recent 1,114-unit downtown project; New book tackles the affordable housing crisis; Biden-Harris invests $17.6M through TOD Planning Grant; Trudeau pledges $6B for enhancing housing density (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Sherm | Disabled and Here

WASHINGTON—Disabled Riders Need Comprehensive Public Transit Planning
Bianca Gonzalez, Next City, April 2 2024
This article, part of Next City and Prism’s series “Disability Justice for All,” explores the challenges facing disabled individuals in accessing transportation, especially with Washington State’s transition to zero-emissions vehicles. It emphasizes the urgent need for inclusive solutions to address infrastructure gaps and amplify disabled voices in policymaking. Recommendations include investing in inclusive infrastructure, engaging communities, and implementing policy reforms.


Municipal Lot #6. Courtesy of Google Street View

PLAINFIELD—Here’s Where a New Plainfield Apartment Building Might Be Built
Mike Deak, My Central Jersey, April 4 2024
Plainfield is set to undergo further urban development with plans for a six-story apartment building on the site of a municipal parking lot. The proposal, presented by 115-117 East Second St. LLC, includes 104 apartments and commercial space, showcasing the city’s ongoing revitalization efforts spearheaded by TD+ Partners. This development, located less than half a mile from NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line station, marks another step in Plainfield’s transformation. The Plainfield Planning Board
will review the project on April 18.

Courtesy of Arquitectonica

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City to Review First Phase of 1,114-Unit Downtown Project
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, March 27 2024
Jersey City is on the brink of approving a 47-story tower, part of a plan to revitalize the last undeveloped parcels along its Hudson River waterfront. Plans call for the project, situated in the Newport area’s Northeast Quadrant, to include 298 one-bedroom, 180 two-bedroom, 49 three-bedroom, and 2 four-bedroom units, catering to a diverse range of residents. This proposal, requiring no zoning variances, is set for review at the Jersey City Planning Board meeting on April 2.

Jonbilous I Adobe Stock

BAYONNE—Rent Control Reconsidered in Bayonne for Community Benefit: What to Expect
Staff Writer, Hudson Reporter, April 2 2024
Bayonne Councilman Neil Carroll is leading an effort to reinstate rent control to address housing costs in the Hudson County community. Support from the rest of the council is mixed however, and instead the council has approved a study on how rent control would be used to counter the affordable housing crisis.

Transit and Equity News

Courtesy of Google Street View

ILLINOIS—City of Chicago Puts Over 350 Vacant Lots on Market to Fuel Neighborhood Development
Jo Marquez, Hoodline, April 2 2024
To spur development in several neighborhoods, including transit-served areas, the City of Chicago has begun to offer more than 350 lots through its ChiBlockBuilder application portal. These properties cater to both residential and commercial uses, with opportunities for housing and retail. The initiative reflects the City’s commitment to redevelopment and private ownership, leveraging its sizable inventory of city-owned lots to foster urban renewal across diverse neighborhoods.

Courtesy of Google Street View

Waiting for the Bus Doesn’t Have to Be This Bad
Asia Mieleszko, Strong Towns, March 29 2024
Transit infrastructure in the U.S. often fails due to inadequate funding priorities and a focus on superficial enhancements over fundamental issues. Waiting for transit can be uncomfortable and discouraging due to inadequate shelters, unrealistic schedules, and safety concerns. Decision-makers regularly prioritize new projects over improving existing infrastructure, leading to missed opportunities to enhance the overall transit experience.

Volodymyr Kyrylyuk I Adobe Stock

Experts tackle affordable housing crisis in revealing new book. A conversation.
Jacqueline Cutler,, March 26 2024
The U.S. housing crisis persists despite known solutions. A new book, “Housing the Nation: Social Equity, Architecture, and the Future of Affordable Housing,” highlights the urgency of the issue and offers insights from experts, including David Dante Troutt, a distinguished professor at Rutgers Law School, on addressing complex housing challenges through collaboration, innovative design, and policy reform. Through essays and discussions, the book emphasizes the need for equitable solutions and showcases examples of well-designed affordable housing projects aimed at tackling the crisis head-on.

Regional and National TOD News

Boston, Massachusetts. SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

MASSACHUSETTS—Boston’s Squares + Streets Zoning Initiative Advances
David Ingraham, Adrienne Rosenblatt, David Linhart, and Matthew J. Kiefer, The National Law Review, April 4 2024
Boston’s planning-led rezoning initiative, championed by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), focuses on enhancing mixed uses, walkability, and infill development, particularly around transit nodes. The Squares + Streets zoning plan, set for Zoning Commission consideration on April 17, 2024, encompasses updated regulations and identifies specific districts for implementation, starting with Mattapan. The initiative includes six templates tailored for various urban contexts, each facilitating a range of building heights, uses, and floor plates, and it aligns with broader planning efforts such as PLAN: Charlestown and PLAN: Downtown.

Courtesy of Stephane DiPetrillo

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $17.6 Million to Help Communities Add Affordable Housing Near Transit
Press Release, Federal Transit Administration, April 2 2024
The Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation will provide $17.6 million in TOD Planning grants to 20 communities to support equitable transit-oriented development, aiming to create affordable housing near transit corridors. This initiative, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, reflects the administration’s commitment to promoting equity and affordability while encouraging ridership and fostering local economic growth.

Ambler Station (2017). Montgomery County Planning Commission | Wikipedia

PENNSYLVANIA—Initial Step Taken to Amend Zoning Ordinance in Ambler to Allow for New Development Around Train Station
Kevin Tierney, Around Ambler, April 2 2024
The Ambler Borough Council voted 7-0 to consider suggested zoning changes from the Montgomery County Planning Commission for the Transit Oriented Development Ordinance during its March 19th meeting. These changes aim to facilitate redevelopment near the Ambler Train Station, following a proposal from SEPTA. Recommendations from the Planning Commission include promoting mixed-use development, requiring active storefronts, implementing architectural standards reflective of Ambler’s identity, enhancing sidewalks and streetscaping, adjusting dimensional standards, and revising parking requirements to align with modern best practices. Now, the Borough’s planning commission will draft an amended ordinance based on these suggestions for consideration by the council.

International TOD News

AleCam I Adobe Stock

CANADA—New Zoning, Amenities, Tenant Protections Support People, Create Livable Communities
Press Release, BC Gov News, April 3 2024
New legislation aims to support local governments in creating affordable housing and protecting tenants from eviction due to redevelopment efforts. These changes will streamline approvals for affordable housing and mixed-income developments. The guidelines also include provisions for inclusionary zoning, density bonus updates, infrastructure enhancements, and tenant protection bylaws. Provincial officials will issue guidance to assist local governments in fall 2024.

@JustinTrudeau |Twitter

CANADA—Trudeau Offers $6 Billion Infrastructure Cash for Housing Density Program
Kenneth Chan, blogTO, April 3 2024
The Government of Canada has introduced the $6 billion (US$4.4 billion) Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund to aid in building infrastructure supporting residential density and population growth. However, most of the fund, $5 billion (US$3.9 billion), will first go to provincial governments, with only $1 billion (US$780 million) allocated to municipal governments for urgent infrastructure needs. The federal government is leveraging this funding to encourage provincial governments to enact legislation mandating municipal governments to enable higher residential density, among
other federally mandated housing directives.

Marília Castelli | Unsplash

BRAZIL—São Paulo, Brazil: A City Transformed by Public Transport
Staff Writer, World Bank, April 1 2024
Launched in 2010, São Paulo’s Metro Line 4 quickly became a lifeline for the city’s residents. Success stories include 11-year-old Breno who aspires to be a conductor, and bookseller Julia, whose work commute declined to just 20 minutes. This project, a partnership between the São Paulo government and private operator ViaQuatro, is primarily funded by a $434 million grant from the World Bank. With plans to extend Line 4, officials anticipate serving an extra 100,000 passengers annually.