Sunday, July 21, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News June 8-14, 2024

It’s tough to get things done in New York (left); Hudson Tunnel Project unlocks funding; Oakland’s Fruitvale as a model for eTOD; FHWA continues with Reconnecting Communities programs; First and Last mile solutions for Asian cities (right top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Stuart Monk | Adobe Stock
Stuart Monk | Adobe Stock

NEW YORK—It’s Tough to Get Things Done in New York. Here’s Why.
Dana Rubinstein and Emma G. Fitzsimmons, New York Times, June 14 2024
With Governor Kathy Hochul’s reversal on congestion pricing, the decision places congestion pricing amongst a growing list of halted infrastructure projects. These include plans for a subway to Staten Island and a new Port Authority Bus Terminal. The city’s history of ambitious projects often stumbles due to economic, social, and logistical hurdles. Despite this, significant developments like expanding the bike lane network and transforming a Midtown post office into Moynihan Hall, show that progress is possible with strong leadership and clear execution strategies.


Courtesy of New Brunswick Tomorrow

NEW BRUNSWICK—New Brunswick Tomorrow’s Mark Its First Housing Project as Lead Developer
Chuck O’Donnell, TAP into New Brunswick, June 13 2024
New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) has launched its first affordable housing project as the lead developer, aiming to provide low- and moderate-income homeownership opportunities. The project, located near the New Brunswick Station stop, will rehabilitate properties on Drift Street and Power Street, addressing a critical need for affordable housing. Major Jim Cahill emphasized the project’s importance for community development and providing quality housing for families.

Courtesy of the Gateway Development Commission

NORTH BERGEN—Hudson Tunnel Project Unlocks $25M in Grant Funding
Mathew Fazelpoor, NJBIZ, June 10 2024
Officials have signed a $25 million grant agreement to fund the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation Project, a crucial part of the Hudson Tunnel Project under the Gateway Program. This funding, part of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program, supports early work on the New Jersey side of the tunnel initiative, marking a significant milestone for the nation’s most critical infrastructure project.

Courtesy of Caryl Communications

NEW PROVIDENCE—Garden Communities Breaks Ground at 111 Spring Street, New Providence
Bill Armbruster, TAP into New Providence, June 10 2024
Garden Communities has begun construction on a 192-unit property at 111 Spring Street in New Providence, located just half a mile from the NJ TRANSIT Murray Hill Station. This development, which will add much-needed housing density, will feature both townhomes and apartments, addressing the high demand for new housing in the area. Completion is expected by winter 2025.

Courtesy of Urby

JERSEY CITY—Planning Board to Take Up Journal Square Affordable Housing Proposal Tuesday June 11
Bill Armbruster, TAP into Jersey City, June 8 2024
The Journal Square Community Association (JSQCA) supports a recent City Council resolution mandating affordable housing in Journal Square, which will be discussed by the Planning Board on June 11. The JSQCA urges the inclusion of key districts 5,7, and 8 in the proposal, which were previously part of the planning documents but are currently excluded. President Tom Zuma of JSQCA highlights the importance of “fighting to keep this neighborhood affordable for residents who have put down roots here.”

Transit and Equity News

Courtesy of BART

CALIFORNIA—In Oakland’s Fruitvale, a Model of Urban Development That Serves Working Class
Blanca Torres, KQED, June 11 2024
In Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the Fruitvale Transit Village has become a model for transit-oriented development (TOD) that serves working-class Latinos and other immigrants. Led by the Unity Council, the organization has developed 591 apartments and 235,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. The Unity Council also provides social services like childcare, teen mentorship, and workforce training, aiming to create a supportive community and address local needs.

Stanley Dullea l Adobe Stock

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Six Big Ideas to Improve Transit and Regional Rail
Sean Maiwald, Greater Greater Washington, June 10 2024
Sean Maiwald, a Deaf urbanist passionate about policy and politics, outlines six recommendations to improve the Metro and regional transit in the Washington, D.C. area. Maiwald advocates for restructuring WMATA and other transit agencies to create a sustainable funding model and a unified vision. His proposals include a new regional network operator, stable funding through regional taxes, and transit-oriented development (TOD). The goal is to enhance efficiency, accountability, and service while addressing housing and environmental issues.

Courtesy of The Renaissance

NEW YORK—New Rochelle Affordable Housing Complex Offers High-End Amenities Without Pricey Rent
Helu Wang, LoHud, June 6 2024
Residents at the Renaissance at Lincoln Park will enjoy luxury amenities for a fraction of the price. The project, which offers 179 affordable housing units, is part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to build 100,000 affordable homes in New York state. Located near the New Rochelle Metro-North Station stop, the project includes 20 studio apartments, 96 one-bedroom apartments, and 63 two-bedroom apartments, aiming to revitalize the historically underserved Lincoln Park neighborhood. The development will transform the site of a former Boy and Girls Club, while reserving units for those earning 37% to 80% of the area’s median income.

Regional and National TOD News

Courtesy of FHWA

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods
Press Release, USDOT–FHWA, June 14 2024
To address infrastructure that divides communities, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently launched the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program and Neighborhood Access and Equity Program. Both initiatives fund community-led projects like highway caps, removals, and new transit lines to enhance connectivity. Notable examples include the ReConnect Rondo in Saint Paul, MN, aiming to establish a cultural district to restore a neighborhood affected by Interstate 94. Similarly, Seattle’s Reconnect South Park project focuses on the restructuring of State Route 99 to improve neighborhood access. Following these projects, USDOT will implement the Reconnecting Communities Institute in 2024, which will provide technical assistance to existing grant winners.

SounderBruce l Wikimedia

WASHINGTON—The East Link Showcases Progress and Enthusiasm for Public Transit
Elisa Ramirez, Transportation for America, June 11 2024
Sound Transit has hit another milestone, with the new East Link light rail connecting Redmond to Bellevue and Seattle. The expansion cost up to $3.7 billion, with funding from federal grants, state aid, and local tax revenues. Major concerns from the Eastside community that were addressed through the new line include safety, affordable housing, and bike-friendly infrastructure. Key figures, such as Senator Patty Murray and former Mayor Greg Nickels, played pivotal roles in realizing this project, advocating for federal funding and defending the light rail’s benefits.

New York subway train arrives at the station. Transport of NYC.
Maria Sbytova l Adobe Stock Stock

NEW YORK—Project 2025 Would Increase Costs for Commuters, Defund Transit Maintenance, and Undermine Economic Growth
Kevin DeGood, CAP 20, June 10 2024
Kevin DeGood, Director of Infrastructure Policy at the Center for American Progress, warns that Project 2025, would eliminate federal transit funding, increase, cost for commuters, and undermine economic growth. The plan aims to defund essential programs like the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Capital Investment Grants (CIG), crucial for maintaining and expanding local transit systems in New York. Ending FTA funding would potentially disrupt the successful federal-local partnership essential for public transit across the U.S., leading to increased congestion, higher transportation costs, and reduced economic activity.

International TOD News

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

ESTONIA—Zaha Hadid Architects begins construction on Ülemiste Passenger Terminal in Tallinn
Estonia Architecture News, World Architecture, June 11 2024
Zaha Hadid Architects has begun construction on the Ülemiste Passenger Terminal in Tallinn, Estonia. This multimodal transit hub will serve regional commuters, national and international rail passengers, and air travelers from the nearby Tallinn Airport. The project aims to integrate the city’s bus, tram, rail, and cycle networks, and is part of the larger Rail Baltica project connecting Estonia with Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The terminal is designed to meet BREEAM sustainability standards and will significantly enhance connectivity and accessibility within the region.

169169 I Adobe Stock

AUSTRALIA—Councils Warned: Deal with Housing Targets or Relinquish Planning Control
Tim McKibbin, Australian Property Investor, June 11 2024
New South Wales (NSW) faces a tough challenge in meeting five-year housing targets. Concerns range from delays in approving developments, high building costs, and record-high property values. The NSW Government’s goal to deliver 377,000 new homes by 2029, supported by major rezoning announcements and the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Program, is hindered by a 114-day average for development approvals and escalating costs. Faster approvals and clearer guidelines are essential to address the housing and rental crisis, ensuring affordable homes and economic growth.

Hong Kong, China - April 23, 2017: Bus Station Platform at Island in Hong Kong, China.
Markobe I Adobe Stock

“First and Last Mile Access to Public Transport: Safe and Inclusive Mobility Solutions for Asian Cities”
Ariadne Abel and Boonyanin Pakvisal, UNESCAP, June 10 2024
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is tackling the first and last-mile (FLM) access problem in urban transit networks and will discuss FLM solutions at an upcoming meeting. Their Sustainable Urban Transport Index (SUITI) shows cities with high public transit accessibility often face traffic fatalities due to motorbikes, with 21 percent of traffic deaths involving two- and three-wheelers. Addressing these issues is vital for creating safer, more sustainable urban mobility networks.