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TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News June 13-19, 2020

New NACTO guide for street design (left); Two towers to be built in Toronto (top right); First Coast Flyer BRT, Jackson Transit Agency (bottom right).

COVID-19 Related TOD News
Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery
Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery

Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery
National Association of City Transportation Officials, June 16, 2020
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released a guide for street design and management earlier this week. “Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery” compiles best practices and implementation resources from cities throughout the world that have begun to rethink urban spaces and evolve to prioritize the movement of essential workers, goods, and businesses and ensure that there are safe spaces for social distancing. The living document will be revised and expanded in the coming months to include new strategies and provide up-to-date information on different design practices.

CONNECTICUT—The coronavirus has sunk public transportation ridership. Will it come back?
Sean Teehan, Hartford Business Journal, June 15, 2020
As the Connecticut Department of Transportation works to keep bus lines in full service and reinforce cleaning procedures during the pandemic, the City of Hartford is optimistic that public transportation in the region will bounce back in the next year. Bureau Chief of Public Transportation Rich Andreski says that “ridership will see a slow, but full recovery” after bus ridership fell by 65 percent and rail service ridership fell by 95 percent in mid-March. With a third of Hartford’s households relying on transit and active mobility, community officials and advocacy leaders are eager to accelerate plans to promote more transit ridership and bike use.

New York City by Radoslav Bali on Unsplash
New York City by Radoslav Bali on Unsplash.

An Urban Exodus? Not Yet, New Research Shows
Marie Patino, CityLab, June 15, 2020
Despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic will empty out urban centers, data from real estate websites suggest that people have not lost interest in city life. Author Marie Patino reviews demographic and real estate data from CityObservatory.com referencing Joe Cortright’s prediction about housing and density patterns. “Cities adapt in ways that can make them better or stronger,” he says. “I don’t think this challenge is different from the ones we’ve faced before. It’s the sort of thing that cities evolve and adapt to.”

Fear of Public Transit Got Ahead of the Evidence
Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow, The Atlantic, June 14, 2020
The early days of the coronavirus pandemic response included an onslaught of anti-transit rhetoric from a number of sources. Sadik-Khan and Solomonow review the data that framed transit as the culprit in the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City and compared it to cases in other cities. As cities adapt and deploy pandemic-proof systems, public transit remains indispensable to a city’s function. Transit plays an important role in transporting essential workers and goods, and maintaining economic stability.

NJ TOD News

Second Phase of Brownstones Up in the Air
Rahway Rising, June 16, 2020
As the first phase of the Brownstones project in Rahway approaches completion, Linden-based developers Capodagli Property Company are taking a step back to study alternatives for the second and third phases of the project. The Capodagli Property Company originally planned a 487-unit rental housing complex, but after constructing 172 of those planned units, the company is looking to renegotiate the redevelopment agreement with the city and is exploring mixed-use alternatives. City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Robert Landolfi extended support for the revisions, but said that renegotiation would require the developers to complete courtyard improvements and the construction of amenities planned for phases 1 and 2.

New Bridge Network Arch. Courtesy of Amtrak.
New Bridge Network Arch. Courtesy of Amtrak.

Long-Stalled New Jersey Rail Project Gains Trump’s Support
Paul Berger, Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2020
In a series of tweets last Friday, President Donald Trump wrote that he had authorized $800M in federal support for the Portal North Bridge in Newark, New Jersey. The century-old swing bridge is part of a $30B program that would double rail capacity between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. Amtrak and the State of New Jersey will finance the remainder of the $1.9B project. According to NJ TRANSIT CEO Kevin Corbett, construction should begin as soon as possible. NOTE: Account is required to access article.

Regional and National TOD News
RITHM at Uptown rendering. Courtesy of Gresham Smith.
RITHM at Uptown rendering. Courtesy of Gresham Smith.

FLORIDA—Bay Area Looking Toward Major Redevelopment in Uptown District to Increase Jobs and Safety
Lauren Rozlya, ABC Action News, June 16, 2020
The transformation of the Florida Bay Area continues as leaders from the Tampa Innovation Partnership present plans to revitalize the Uptown District near Tampa’s university area. The proposal includes redevelopment of the University Mall into RITHM at Uptown, a mixed-use development central to the proposed Uptown Innovation District. The plan includes provisions for bike- and pedestrian-oriented infrastructure, sidewalk redesign, and affordable transit-oriented housing.

NORTH CAROLINA—Plans for former Eastland Mall site, Atrium Health midtown campus get OK from Charlotte City Council
Ashley Fahey, Charlotte Business Journal, June 16, 2020
On Monday, Charlotte City Council approved two rezoning applications for properties in midtown and east Charlotte, allowing two redevelopment projects to move forward. The approvals come with the commitment to provide more affordable housing to the city. The approvals will make way for mixed-use developments on the site of Atrium Health’s 70-acre flagship campus and the former 78-acre Eastland Mall property. Development is expected to break ground in the next 10-to-16 months.

WISCONSIN—Rock County Clears First Hurdles in Redevelopment of Former Pick ‘n Save
Ashley McCAllum, Gazette Extra, June 16, 2020
Janesville Planning Commission approved the redevelopment plan for the site of Rock County’s former Pick ‘n Save grocery store. The Commission also approved rezoning for the property from light industrial use to general commercial use. The new development is expected to house county services and a job center, as well as a clinic, pharmacy, fitness center, and a bus stop with transit service to Janesville and Beloit.

Rendering courtesy of City of Wilmington, Delaware.
Rendering courtesy of City of Wilmington, North Carolina.

NORTH CAROLINA—City of Wilmington Asked to Enter into Agreement for Redevelopment of Castle Street Property
Port City Daily, June 15, 2020
Negotiations on the redevelopment of a former transit bus depot may bring more affordable housing to the City of Wilmington if the City Council has their way. The most recent revisions to the year-old proposal include an increase in residential units from 18 to 24 and a reduction in commercial space by nearly half. According to a report, 14 of the 24 residential units are reserved for households making less than 80 percent of the area median income. The City Council hopes to prioritize the community’s need for more affordable housing as they make their decision at the council meeting on June 16.

MINNESOTA—A Comprehensive Transit Overhaul for the Twin Cities: Part III
Eric Ecklund, Streets MN, June 15, 2020
This week brings the third and final installment in Ecklund’s comprehensive review of transit infrastructure in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The article caps off the series with a look at regional rail, emphasizing the need to bolster transit within the Twin Cities region and several key cities in the outlying areas. Ecklund identifies potential changes to service in the Twin Cities, Mankato, Rochester, and St. Cloud that can improve transit mobility and regional accessibility and diversify the range of travelers that the system serves.

CALIFORNIA—Downtown San Jose Affordable Housing Tower is Eyed for SoFA District
George Avalos, Mercury News, June 13, 2020
Despite pandemic-related delays and economic pressure, developers are eager to build a 30-story residential tower in downtown San Jose. Designed and conceptualized by Campbell-based Anderson Architects, the development will include 354 units, all of which will be affordable. The project site is near busy light rail and bus lines, and is a half-block away from Interstate 280.

First Coast Flyer BRT, Jackson Transit Agency.
First Coast Flyer BRT, Jackson Transit Agency.

FLORIDA—On the Road: Federal Grant Helps JTA Green Line
Dan Scanlan, The Florida Times-Union, June 12, 2020
Earlier this month, the Federal Transit Administration announced $23M in grants as part of a federal pilot program helping cities across the country develop and expand their transit systems. The Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) will receive nearly $1M to help spur development along the Green Line, a 10-mile route in the agency’s First Coast Flyer Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network. The route serves several low-income neighborhoods and Opportunity Zones. The agency intends to use the federal grant to spur transit-oriented projects and economic development in those areas.

INDIANA—Federal Grants add $1.2M for Housing, Business Development near South Shore Stations
Tim Zorn, Post-Tribune, June 12, 2020
The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District received $1.2M in federal funding last week, bolstering plans for transit-oriented development along the South Shore Line, West Lake Corridor, and Double Track. Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority’s COO Sherri Ziller says the grant will allow the region to be “more creative,” as the Federal Transit Authority hopes to encourage developers and planners to build development that “better connects residents to jobs, education, and services.”

International TOD News

INDIA—Mobile Bengaluru: DULT to Get at Least 15 Experienced Hands
Naveen Menezes, Bangalore Mirror, June 19, 2020
Under the direction of V Manjula, who began as Commissioner last month, the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) will be hiring 15 new staff members in order to better achieve its goals of advancing public and non-motorized transportation and transit-oriented development. New hires will fill a range of positions, including those in urban transport and planning and intelligent transit systems, allowing the agency to reduce reliance on consultants. The governmental agency, established in 2007, has a history of developing plans for improvements but has lacked staff for implementation.

Rendering submitted to the City of Toronto.
Rendering submitted to the City of Toronto.

CANADA—Two Tower High-Rise Complex Proposed to Replace Harbourfront Parking Garage
Ainsley Smith, Toronto Storeys, June 18, 2020
An eight-story parking garage in Toronto’s Harbourfront neighborhood may soon be replaced by a two-tower complex. A proposal calls for 41-story and 71-story towers, comprising 1,372 market-rate and 110 affordable rental units and ground floor non-residential space. The buildings will share a four-story underground garage for both residential and commercial users. Bicycle parking is integral to the proposal, which includes 1,334 long-term and 149 short-term bike parking spaces above grade and underground. Plans call for a privately-owned, publicly-accessible open space (POPS) with a bike-share station, water bottle fill-up station, and a bike repair facility, to be located at the corner of the site. The site is located adjacent to the Queens Quay Light Rail Line.

Bajaj (three-wheeled taxi). Photo by Rezal Scharfe on Unsplash.

INDONESIA—Four Busy Commuter Line Stations in Jakarta Get Makeover to Smooth Transfers
Sausan Atika, The Jakarta Post, June 18, 2020
Jakarta commuters should now be able to transfer more easily between the city’s various transit modes as the city recently completed upgrades to four busy commuter line stations, Tanah Abang, Sudirman, Senen and Juanda. The newly integrated facilities connect commuter train lines with Transjakarta buses, MRT trains, angkot (public minivans), ojek (motorcycle taxis) and bajaj (three-wheeled taxis). The hope is that the upgrades will make traveling by public transport more convenient than using private vehicles. City officials have delayed opening the new facilities until COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease. Plans are in the works for similar improvements at five additional commuter stations.