Wednesday, April 17, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News December 3-9, 2022

Auto-centric zoning & health (left); Pandemic-inspired parklets gain permanence (top right); Allure 258 in East Orange, NJ (bottom right)

Article of the Week

How Physical Activity, Land Use, Transportation, and Zoning Intersect
Robert Steuteville, Public Square, Dec 7, 2022
With half of the US population physically inactive, greater efforts need to be made to promote active transportation. Auto-centric zoning, particularly in Sunbelt cities, prevents Americans from walking and cycling by creating built environments devoid of human-scale features and attractions. Research from a CDC-funded group noted that zoning reform in line with New Urbanist principles has increased dramatically, showing that cities across the country are invested in becoming more walkable and, possibly, healthier.


COVID-19 TOD News

LOUSIANA—Covid Still Holds Back Lafayette Bus Service
Brittany LeJeune, the Current, Dec 7, 2022
Despite a general recovery in bus ridership from pandemic lows in the U.S. overall, the return of bus service in Lafayette continues to lag. The Lafayette Transit System currently operates 10 buses, compared to the 13 the agency ran pre-pandemic. With reduced service, headways (the time between buses are as long as an hour at night. Decreased ridership has slowed efforts to redress this situation; improved shelters for bus stops have been pitched as an idea to encourage ridership.

CALIFORNIA—Eyes on the Street: Glendora Village Parklets
Chris Greenspon, Streetsblog LA, Dec 6, 2022
Continuing a practice that began during the pandemic, Glendora Village officials intend to make outdoor features such as dining decks, lounge seating, and traffic barriers permanent fixtures of Meda Avenue. Noting the continued desire for common open space in Glendora and across the nation, officials plan additional improvements in 2023 including shade sails, games, and landscaping. These outdoor amenities provide a sense of community, and offer planners another post-COVID tool to support active transportation modes.


NJ TOD News

PLAINFIELD—Netherwood Flats Mixed-Use, Transit-Oriented Redevelopment Nears Completion in Plainfield
Linda Lindner, ROI-NJ.com, Dec 7, 2022
Plainfield will soon gain more than 70 new housing units when the Netherwood Flats project draws to completion. The project is located within a 3-minute walk of the NJ TRANSIT Netherwood Station, which provides transit access to Newark and New York City. The site formerly housed a used car dealership.

NEWARKUrby Newark Opens with 250 Brand New Studio to 3-Bedroom Apartments
Hoboken Girl, Dec 6, 2022
In October, leasing began on 250 new apartment units located in a restored and modernized 18-story Art Deco tower at 155 Washington Street in Newark. The project is located near the NJ TRANSIT Broad Street Station. The developer, Urby, has also put forth projects  in Jersey City, Harrison, New York City, and Stamford, CT.

EAST ORANGE—Allure 258 Surges to 75% Leased in East Orange, NJ
Real Estate Weekly, Dec 3, 2022
An East Orange TOD, Allure 258, has been speedily leased, demonstrating the demand for transit-friendly housing in North Jersey. Allure 258 comprises 213 apartments and is located within a 15-minute walk of the NJ TRANSIT Brick Church Station.


Transit and Equity News

CANADA—Steep Ramps, Broken Elevators: Report Outlines Accessibility Shortcomings of Transit in Edmonton
Katarina Szulc, CBC News, Dec 6, 2022
A new report shows that transit service in Edmonton reflects deep inequities for riders with disabilities. Elevators that are still under construction or are otherwise broken may be reported as working, hampering riders’ ability to depend on access to transit. Edmonton officials state they intend to tackle the issue and are currently implementing enhancements, such as staff accessibility training and improvements to track real-time accessibility information.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—DC Council Approves Free Metrobus Rides
Tom Fitzgerald, Fox 5 Washington DC, Dec 6, 2022
In a unanimous vote, the D.C. Council has approved free bus service in the nation’s capital, starting in 2023. The move will make transit more affordable and convenient for both residents and visitors and will promote both ridership and transit equity. The mayor has expressed opposition to the bill on fiscal grounds, but the votes are present to override a potential veto—ensuring D.C.’s future status as a provider of fare-free bus service.

NEW YORK—MTA to Spend More Than $1B on Accessibility Upgrades
Stephen Nessen, Gothamist, Nov 28, 2022
Committing $965 million in accessibility improvements, New York City’s MTA is set to construct 21 new elevators and replace another 14. Along with an additional $106 million contract to add three new elevators and other upgrades, this MTA investment of more than a billion dollars follows a lawsuit settlement requiring 95 percent of the system’s stations be accessible by 2055. Disability advocates are positive about the progress being made but request greater transparency from the MTA regarding the construction costs of the improvements.


Regional and National TOD News

A $100 Billion Lesson in Why Building Public Transportation Is So Expensive in the US
Aaron Gordon, Vice, Dec 6, 2022
With $100 billion lined up for upgrades to the Northeast Corridor rail line, comparisons with international projects, such as Grand Paris Express in France, reveal that other countries achieve more with less funding. Experts believe the way American rail projects are planned and contracted fuels this discrepancy, with too much focus on whether a particular project is necessary rather than on broader transportation goals. Other potential factors contributing to this difference between American and international project costs are a lack of transparency on how costs are itemized and the wide range of organizations that are involved in American projects.

VIRGINIA—Creating Space for More “Missing Middle” Housing in the Washington, D.C., Suburbs 
Patrick J. Kiger, Urban Land, Dec 5, 2022
Infill development, adaptive reuse, and changes in zoning regulations are all ways to encourage the construction of “Missing Middle” buildings, an array of medium-density housing types that were popular before the rise of restrictive zoning regulation. These housing forms can be an important contributor to new housing and support walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods. Speakers at a recent event sponsored by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), with George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis and Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship, discussed how the approach could address the housing shortfall and rising prices in the suburbs of the nation’s capital.

Federal Transportation Program Expands to Curb Crashes and Emissions
Amelia Pollard, Bloomberg CityLab, Dec 2, 2022
Designed to accelerate the adoption of transportation technology, the seventh round of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FWHA) Every Day Counts program reorients its focus towards reducing crashes and combating climate change. The adjustment aligns with a more holistic direction sparked by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has encouraged the FWHA and other US DOT offices to expand their scope beyond auto-centric infrastructure. The acting FHWA administrator stated that the newest iteration of Every Day Counts focuses on projects and technologies that promote safety, sustainability, and equity and inclusion.

CALIFORNIA—BART Approves Developer for North Berkeley Transit Oriented Development
Bay Area Rapid Transit, Dec 1, 2022
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) approved the BRIDGE Housing Corporation to begin planning a transit-oriented development (TOD) project near North Berkeley Station that could site 500 to 1,200 homes on BART-owned land. A vision document by the City of Berkley and BART recommends that at least 35 percent of the project’s housing units be affordable, with this recommendation likely extended to a future project planned at Ashby Station. Construction will occur over several stages, with the first phase expected to start in 2025.


International TOD News

CANADA—New Vision for Waterfront Station: A World-Class Transit Hub in Downtown Vancouver
Kenneth Chan, Daily Hive Urbanized, Dec 5, 2022
With perennial public interest in revamping Vancouver’s downtown Waterfront Station, global architectural firm Perkins&Will designed renderings of the site’s potential future. The rendering’s monumental architecture symbolizes a “gateway” that would integrate transit services that are currently only co-located. While not a proposal out right, Perkins&Will’s design for the station provides a basis to relaunch 2009 efforts and turn Waterfront Station into a world-class transit hub.

BANGLADESH—Tejgaon Business Hub: Everything to Be Within Walking Distance from Transport Points
The Business Standard, Dec 4, 2022
Bangladesh Railway, the state-owned rail transport agency, intends to construct a 40-acre transit-oriented business hub around the Tejgaon Railway Station in Dhaka. The project has an estimated capital cost of $98.84 million and will incorporate residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of transit improvements. Bangladesh Railway also plans to build multi-modal transport hubs, markets and hotels in order to maximize the potential of its currently underutilized land in the area.