Thursday, April 25, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News Jan 13-19, 2024

L.A.’s big Universal Basic Mobility experiment (right); Construction begins on Hoboken Connect; Millions lack reliable transport to healthcare; The 6 Ds of sustainable TOD; Free bus passes give Indian woman access to financial freedom (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Manki Kim | Unsplash

CALIFORNIA—America’s Biggest Universal Basic Mobility Experiment Is Taking Place in L.A.
Maylin Tu, Next City, January 15 2024
A pilot program led by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and LA Metro will provide more than 1,000 South Los Angeles residents with a $150 per month “mobility wallet.” The initiative, the largest U.S. experiment with Universal Basic Mobility, aims to increase low-income mobility and reduce carbon emissions by making funds eligible for public transit, taxis, and e-bikes. According to data from the first 6 months of the program, most users took trips on public transit, 40,087 out of a total of 67,379 trips.


Courtesy of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

PARAMUS—Paramus Approves First Phase of Plan to Transform Garden State Plaza
Stephanie Noda, North Jersey, January 19 2024
The Paramus Planning Board has approved the initial stage of a transformative redevelopment at the Garden State Plaza, set to introduce a transit center, nearly 1,400 residential units, a medical office, and a hotel. The first phase will consist of two five-story mixed-use buildings with 575 housing units and about 50,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The Planning Board’s goal is to create a new “downtown” area with a one-acre town green for community activities. Future phases include additional housing, an assisted living facility, a hotel, and more retail space. The project illustrates a larger trend of malls incorporating housing, as seen elsewhere throughout the state.

Courtesy of SLCE Architects

HOBOKEN—First 27-Story Phase of Hoboken Connect to Begin Construction in March
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, January 16 2024
The Hoboken Connect project, aimed at revitalizing the area around the Hoboken Terminal, is set to begin construction of a residential tower.
With support of a 10-year, $90 million Economic Development Authority (EDA) tax credit, LCOR plans to build a tower with 386 residential units, including 78 affordable units, and 1,221 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. Plans also call for an additional 20-story office building, pending Planning Board approval.

Courtesy of RWJBarnabas

NEW BRUNSWICK—New Brunswick’s Cancer Center & HELIX Drive Economic Growth
Kevin Canales, Hudson Reporter, January 16 2024
New projects in New Brunswick are transforming the central Jersey community, designated a NJ Transit Village in 2005. The Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center (part of RWJBarnabas), together with the recently announced HELIX Health + Life Science Exchange, will add to the city’s nexus as a health care center. HELIX is strategically located opposite the city’s rail station, while the 12-story Cancer Center is located less than a ¼-mile from the station.

Courtesy of the Port Authority of NY and NJ

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City Unveils Free 24/7 Bike Storage Pod at Newport Path Station
John Heinis, Hudson County View, January 13 2024
Cyclists in Jersey City have a new option, a Oonee Pod, 24/7 secure bike storage system that has been constructed near the Newport PATH Station. Jersey City plans 25 such facilities throughout the city, strategically placed around busy transportation hubs, to promote greener commuting options and to reduce vehicular traffic. The initiative is part of a larger effort to adopt more bike-friendly policies, including a recently approved ordinance that fines drivers who park in bike lanes.

Transit and Equity News

Kristina Blokhin | Adobe Stock

MARYLAND—Maryland’s Governor Wants to Tackle the State’s Housing Shortage
Dan Reed, Greater Greater Washington, January 11 2024
In an effort to address the state’s shortfall of 96,000 homes, the administration of Governor Moore has introduced three bills that would: streamline the approval process, increase financing for affordable housing development, and strengthen renter protections. The proposed Housing Expansion and Affordability Act would permit taller or denser buildings, particularly near transit facilities, provided such structures include at least 25 percent permanently affordable homes. The bill also calls for making it harder for local governments to block new construction.

bernardbodo | Adobe Stock

Millions of Americans Lack Reliable Transportation. It May Affect Their Health.
Steven Ross Johnson, US News, January 11 2024
A lack of transportation kept nearly six percent of U.S. adults from medical appointments, work, or other daily essentials, according to a recent CDC report. Equitable disparities were shown based on education level, race, age, and income, as 13 to 14 million adults encountered transportation issues in 2022. This highlights the need for reliable and accessible public transit to connect individuals to their daily needs.

Regional and National TOD News

IQRemix | Flickr

MARYLAND—Why Transit Reliability Is Difficult in Midsized Cities
Kea Wilson, Streetblogs USA, January 17 2024
According to the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance’s (CMTA) annual report card, many mid-sized U.S. cities have not provided reliable transit services, leading to a decline in ridership. Looking in its own backyard, the CMTA gave Baltimore a D+ for service reliability. One consequence of lagging reliability is growing car usage, leading to increased congestion. Moreover, congestion, and inadequate infrastructure, makes sustainable travel modes such as buses less effective. Other mid-sized cities, such as Orlando, Columbus, and St. Louis ranked lower than Baltimore, while Portland and San Antonio scored well in terms of reliability and data integrity.

Rendering of forthcoming 125th Street Q Train Station in Harlem. Courtesy of the MTA

NEW YORK—Governor Hochul Lays Out Major Transportation Plans for New York City’s Second Avenue Subway Extension and Interborough Express
Daniel Roche, The Architect’s Newspaper, January 12 2024
In her 2024 State of the State address, Governor Hochul has laid out major transportation plans designed to promote safe and efficient services in transit deserts. Among the projects she discussed was the $7.6-billion second phase of the Second Avenue Subway Extension, which will add ADA-accessible stations at 106th Street, 116th Street, and 125th Street in Harlem, connecting seven subway lines and over 20 bus routes, and, a new orbital service, the proposed IBX, in Brooklyn and Queens that will make use of a 16-mile long abandoned LIRR freight line and connect Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Borough Park.

Olga K | Adobe Stock

The 6 D’s of Sustainable Transit-Oriented Development
Brendan Hurley, Momentum Mag, January 12 2024
The six Ds approach seeks a balance between sustainability and transit friendly living by focusing on several key principles: destination, distance, design, density, diversity, and demand management. Each dimension can be expressed in concise, plain language such as “Be on the way!” for destination and “Fill it in!” for density. The framework informs the efforts taken by TransLink in Vancouver as it works in support of transit friendly development. Overall, the six Ds emphasize development along busy transit routes, and ensures that neighborhoods are walkable and bike-friendly.

International TOD News

Takashi Images | Adobe Stock

PORTUGAL—What Is the Plan in Portugal for High-Speed Rail?
Bruno G. Santos, The Portugal News, January 17 2024
The “Linha do Norte,” a major rail project in Portugal, seeks to enhance the link between Lisbon and Porto, a route heavily traveled by both freight and passenger trains. The second phase of the three-phase project, scheduled to be completed in 2030, will include double tracking to improve efficiency and reduce congestion. The high-speed railways will significantly cut travel times, potentially making a direct Porto-Lisbon trip in just 1 hour 19 minutes.

iammattdoran | Adobe Stock

INDIA—Free Bus Passes Are Giving Indian Women More Financial Freedom
Kavitha Yarlagadda, Reasons to Be Cheerful, January 11 2024
Karnataka and other Indian states have launched “Shakti,” a free public transit initiative for women. Shakti has made significant strides in promoting gender equality in India, despite challenges such as public resistance and discrimination against women using the service. Notwithstanding these obstacles, the effort may prove essential for many Indian women, where their participation in the labor force ranks among the lowest in the world at less than 25 percent for those aged 15 and older in 2022.

Farrukh Athar I Flickr

PAKISTAN—80 More Vehicles Added to City’s Peoples Bus Service Fleet
Tahir Siddiqui, Dawn, January 11 2024
The provincial government in Karachi has added 80 more buses to the Peoples Bus Service (PBS) fleet, including 30 diesel hybrid and 50 electric buses. The new buses will provide significant support for the operation of 11 routes in Karachi. Yet, the city needs over 15,000 public buses to sustainably meet travel demand and has witnessed a sharp decline in its bus fleet. Since 2017, the fleet has shrunk from over 12,000 to less than 5,000, and now serves fewer routes. The government is also working towards the adoption of an eco-friendly “electric vehicle system” that would include a rent-to-own model for buses.