Saturday, April 13, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News February 17-23, 2024

Individualism & public transit (left); NJ considers ADU legislation; Washington State passes TOD bill; Colorado considers grants & tax credits for housing near transit; Egypt’s first high-speed rail (right top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Eddi Aguirre | Unsplash

Individualism Is Making Public Transit Worse
Jarrett Walker, Next City, February 9 2024
Jarrett Walker, in his new work, Human Transit, Revised Edition: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives, describes the positive effects derived from diversity on public transit, emphasizing the importance of catering to various needs concurrently. Acknowledging common challenges like inflexible routes, Walker underscores the potential for inclusivity and community-building within transit systems. He advocates for a balanced approach that respects individual needs while fostering a sense of collective responsibility and suggests that public transit can become a more effective and uplifting force in urban environments.


NJ TOD News

Courtesy of the PANYNJ

HARRISON—Port Authority Opens New $47.2 Million Accessible Station House at Path Harrison Station
Press Release, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, February 21 2024
The completion of a new $47.2 million station house at the Harrison station on the PATH signifies a significant milestone in the Port Authority’s efforts to modernize the regional transit hub, enhancing accessibility, safety, and resilience against flooding. Funded in part by a $40.7 million Federal Transit Administration grant, the 3,200-square-foot
facility features amenities such as an elevator, bicycle parking, and a contactless fare payment system. This investment underscores a commitment to fostering transit friendly living, facilitating easier access to public transportation, and supporting the economic vitality of the region.

Courtesy of MHS Architecture

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City’s Soaring New Tower Plans for Liberty Harbor Revealed
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, February 20 2024
Jersey City’s City Council may soon approve a new 300-unit development at 155 Marin Boulevard. Situated between two existing residential towers, the 32-story structure will occupy a 15,300-sq. ft. now-vacant site and will comprise a total of 300 units including 84 studios, 128 one-bedrooms, 78 two-bedrooms, and 10 three-bedroom units. The site, less than a mile of the Exchange Place PATH Station, is within the Liberty Harbor Redevelopment Plan and will undergo zoning amendments to allow its construction. The previous Plan initially called for a hotel but has since abandoned that idea. Council approval is anticipated for early March.

Courtesy of Citizen Bayonne

BAYONNE—Citizen Bayonne Now 70% Leased; Attracts Renters Seeking Value, Convenience and Luxury
Linda Lidner, ROI-NJ, February 16 2024
Almost at full capacity, Citizen Bayonne’s 252-unit development has attracted those looking for a modern rental community near Jersey City and Manhattan. Located at 155 Goldsborough Drive, the waterfront development includes studios, one- and two-bedroom units and will place residents within walking distance of a planned commuter ferry terminal. Amenities include shuttle service to the Grove Street PATH Station and 34th Street HBLR Station stops, bicycle parking, electric charging stations, and a coworking space. 

Courtesy of Accessory Dwellings

Singleton Bill to Support Accessory Dwelling Units Advances in Senate
TAPInto, February 15 2024
To address New Jersey’s housing shortage, state senators Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and Britnee Timberlake (D-Essex) introduced bill S-2347 to promote accessory dwelling units (ADU) throughout the state. S-2347 would not only permit ADU construction as-of-right but would also direct the Department of Community Affairs to issue sample zoning ordinances to municipalities. These units are most crucial for young and elderly low-income residents, who can meet their housing needs in flexible ways.

Courtesy of NJPAC

NEWARK—Aspire Tax Credits Approved to Advance Mixed-Use Development Anchored by NJPAC
NJEDA, February 12 2024
Neighboring the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a new mixed-use development will soon start construction in downtown Newark. The $332-million project facing the NJPAC Light Rail Station stop, received 60 percent funding through NJEDA’s Aspire Program, an initiative designed to support transit-oriented projects that have significant funding gaps. The project will include 350 housing units, 10,500 sq. ft. in office space, 12,600 sq. ft. in retail space, and over 70,000 sq. ft. for art and educational uses. Funding will also go towards improvements for the existing NJPAC site.


Transit and Equity News

Courtesy of the Town of Chapel Hill, NC

NORTH CAROLINA—Town Lauded for Innovative New Public Transportation Model Where ‘Everyone Wins’: ‘A Critical Step’
Mike Taylor, Yahoo, February 21 2024
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) recently praised Chapel Hill and Carrboro for their efforts in fostering multi-modal communities. Combined, both towns feature 25 miles of greenways and 15 miles of bike lanes, and are planning for additional greenway extensions. Chapel Hill Transit also provides fare-free bus service, and has provided 3.4 million rides for a population of about 84,000 people, in 2022. Despite these local efforts, SELC notes that the state’s transportation budget is mandated to spend at least 90 percent of funds for highway projects, and bars funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Although some towns can raise funds to improve mobility, SELC
emphasizes the larger role of state policy in limiting transit-dependent residents.

ryancslimakphoto | Adobe Stock

WASHINGTON—What’s in the Transit-Oriented Development Bill the WA House Just Passed
Ryan Packer, The Urbanist, February 19 2024
The Washington State House of Representatives has passed House Bill 2160, which aims to promote transit-oriented developments. The bill requires cities to allow larger buildings near light rail, commuter rail, streetcar stops, and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines. This bill differs from last year’s Senate bill by including an affordability mandate of 10 percent of housing units for households making 60 percent of an area’s median income and maintaining affordability for 50 years.


Regional and National TOD News

mgfotos.com | Adobe Stock

COLORADO—Colorado Could Give Millions in Tax Dollars to Cities Willing to Build More Housing Near Transit
Seth Klamann, The Denver Post, February 21 2024
A recently introduced bill offers support to local government to adopt required density goals and unlock millions of dollars in grants and tax credits. This measure is part of a package of land-use bills supported by Democrats, who hold a majority in both the General Assembly and Senate, and Gov. Jared Polis. The bill would bolster the state’s housing stock and its transit systems through housing development in denser concentrations.

Courtesy of the City of Norwalk, CA

CALIFORNIA—Norwalk’s Former Youth Prison Set to Transform Into a Vibrant New Community Village in L.A. County
Sarah Nash, Secret Los Angeles, February 20 2024
The City of Norwalk plans to redevelop the site of the former Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic into a mixed-use development called Norwalk Transit Village. Proximate to the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Metrolink Station, the project will include a commercial center, a 150-room hotel, and up to 770 resident units and 308 affordable units. Plans call for the redevelopment to replace the vacant youth correctional center by 2030, creating a vibrant community.

ako-photography | Adobe Stock

What’s the Best Price for City Parking?
Aysha Khan, Next City, February 14 2024
Urban areas face a challenge with the mismatch between high car numbers and limited parking, resulting in overpriced private parking and underpriced on-street parking managed by cities. This imbalance worsens traffic congestion as drivers circle blocks searching for spots, leading to economic and environmental issues. Implementing variable pricing for on-street parking, as demonstrated in San Francisco, offers a solution by adjusting prices based on demand, effectively reducing cruising and optimizing parking usage.


International TOD News

oneinchpunch | Adobe Stock

From Montreal to Berlin, Cities Aim to Stay Open 24 Hours
Teresa Xie, Bloomberg, February 22 2024
Cities worldwide have begun to embrace 24-hour policies to bolster their nighttime economies, recognizing the economic and social significance of nightlife. Initiatives range from extending alcohol service hours to providing round-the-clock amenities beyond bars and clubs, aiming for inclusivity and vibrancy. Challenges like noise management and addressing social issues accompany these efforts, but the trend reflects a broader shift in urban policy toward maximizing the potential of nighttime activities.

Abs616 | Wikipedia

EGYPT—Elswedy Officially Awarded Contract to Operate Egypt’s First High-Speed Train
Benoit-Ivan Wansi, Afrik21, February 21 2024
Egypt is set to become the second African country with high-speed trains, following Morocco, as it awards a 15-year operating contract to Elsewedy and Deutsche Bahn International Operation (DB E.C.O). This ultramodern rail network will connect Cairo, the New Administrative Capital, and Alexandria, serving up to 30 million people by 2025 and eventually reaching Abu Simbel, Luxor, and Hurghada. With a strategic partnership with Germany, Egypt aims to bolster technological and human cooperation while investing in public transport to alleviate congestion in Cairo, a city with a population of 22 million.

Freetown, Sierra Leone. Michael | Adobe Stock

SIERRA LEONE—Sierra Leone’s Capital Introduces Buses to Ease Transport Crisis
Eric Kawa, Africa News, February 9 2024
In Sierra Leone, public transport relies solely on road transport, contributing to congestion. To combat traffic, Freetown has acquired 50 buses through the Integrated and Resilient Urban Mobility Project, with 42 buses already placed into operation. Critics argue that more needs to be done for significant change, leading the Ministry of Transport to consider commuter fares, to reduce the capital’s public transportation crisis.