Thursday, June 13, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News June 1-7, 2024

If NYC’s congestion pricing is out, what’s next? (right) Road diets for Newark; U.S. roads still dangerous by design; MARTA’s mini-city station makeover; The best climate activist is a good urban planner (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Courtesy of NYC DOT

NEW YORK—If Not Congestion Pricing In New York City, Then What?
Lillian Hunter, Tax Vox, June 7 2024
New York City’s congestion pricing plan, advocated by Lillian Hunter of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, hit a roadblock as Governor Kathy Hochul unexpectedly delayed it. Hochul’s concerns about financial burdens led to the postponement, despite the plan’s potential benefits. Designed to raise funds for vital MTA improvements, the plan involved tolls for drivers entering Manhattan’s Central Business District. However, alternative funding options met resistance from lawmakers. This delay highlights the difficulty of implementing congestion pricing policies in politically charged environments, despite their proven success elsewhere. Without a clear path forward, addressing transportation, environmental, and budgetary challenges remain a pressing policy issue.


Courtesy of NJ TRANSIT

NEWARK—Pedestrian Safety: ‘Road Diets’ in Store for Downtown Newark Streets
Matt Kadosh, TAP into Newark, June 4 2024
The City of Newark hired rePLACE Urban Studio Architects to design street safety improvements in response to 28 fatal crashes between 2015 and 2021. The proposed plan includes narrowing roads, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle zones, and updating key intersections, funded by a $6.5 million state grant to be utilized by 2026. These changes aim to prioritize safety and manage traffic flow, though some congestion is expected.

Courtesy of Russo Development

NEWARK—Newark Cuts the Ribbon on 296-Unit Vermella Broad Street
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, June 5 2024
Developer Russo Development has opened Vermella Broad Street, their first project in Newark, aiming to revitalize the area around the Broad Street NJ TRANSIT station. The low-rise complex includes 296 rental apartments, 40,000 square feet of amenities, and a community gallery space, and received a 30-year tax abatement in 2021. Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka praised the project as a significant step in the city’s transit-oriented development strategy, transforming the area into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood.

Courtesy of LCOR

HOBOKEN—Massive Hoboken Connect project to transform historic terminal is underway. It only took 20 years.
Teri West, Jersey Journal, June 2 2024
Hoboken’s historic terminal, plagued by flooding and disrepair, is undergoing a major transformation as part of the Hoboken Connect project, nearly 20 years in the making. The $900 million initiative, led by LCOR and NJ TRANSIT, will modernize the terminal, create a pedestrian plaza, and restore public access to the terminal’s second floor. Construction began last month with the demolition of an old train building, and the project is expected to be completed by 2029.

Atlantic Avenue Pedestrian and Bike Access specified in the Connect 2020 plan

COLLINGSWOOD—Collingswood Commissioners Field Questions at Water Tower Redevelopment Project Community Input Session
Matt Skoufalos, NJ Pen, June 1 2024
Collingswood’s municipal government, led by Mayor Jim Maley, plans to redevelop the Atlantic Avenue “Water Tower” site to expand its ratable base and enhance the business district with new residential apartments. The project includes creating additional public parking, senior housing, and aligning with multimodal goals from the Connect 2020 plan. The redevelopment aims to balance community input, affordable housing, and transit-oriented development, with a second visioning session scheduled for June 8.

Transit and Equity News

Brooklyn Community District 18 – Land Use. Courtesy of NYC Planning

NEW YORK—Community Board 18 Votes Down City of Yes for Housing Opportunity
Linda Steinmuller, Canarsie Courier, June 4 2024
At a packed Community Board 18 special meeting, the NYC Department of City Planning presented Mayor Adams’ City of Yes for Housing Opportunity initiative, which aims to address the city’s housing shortage by amending zoning laws to allow more residential units in every neighborhood. Despite the potential benefits outlined, including accessory dwelling units and transit-oriented development, community members and local officials overwhelmingly opposed the plan, citing concerns about infrastructure strain, environmental issues, and the preservation of neighborhood character. Ultimately, the CB18 board unanimously voted against the proposal, with further votes and a public hearing to follow before final decisions are made by the City Planning Commission and City Council.

Halo Creative Studio | Adobe Stock
Halo Creative Studio | Adobe Stock

MASSACHUSETTS—Housing Advocates Rally for Law That Would Allow Accessory Dwelling Units by Right
Alison Kuznitz, Ahtol Daily News | State House News Service, June 3 2024
At a rally organized by Abundant Housing Massachusetts, housing advocates and officials, including Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus, voiced support for a statewide policy to permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by right, which is part of a $4.1 billion housing bond bill filed last October. The proposal aims to address the housing shortage by allowing ADUs and other housing types, potentially adding over 8,000 units in five years. Despite strong advocacy, local resistance and concerns about infrastructure and community character persist, with the bill still needing to clear legislative hurdles.

Courtesy of Smart Growth America

Pedestrian Deaths Are Up by a Staggering 75 Percent Since 2010
Abigail Araya, T4America Blog, May 30 2024
The 2024 edition of Dangerous by Design highlights the link between roadway design and rising pedestrian deaths, ranking U.S. metros by fatalities from 2018 to 2022. Pedestrian deaths have surged to 7,522, a 75 percent increase since 2010, with Memphis identified as the deadliest city. The report emphasizes that Black and Indigenous Americans, older adults, and those in low-income communities are most at risk.

Regional and National TOD News

jcg_oida | Adobe Stock

NEW YORK—Governor Halts Plan to Charge Most Drivers Entering Manhattan $15 for Transit and Traffic Fixes
Jake Offenhartz and Philip Marcelo, AP News, June 5 2024
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul halted the implementation of a $15 congestion pricing plan for Manhattan, citing economic recovery concerns and the financial burden on residents. This decision disrupts a long-planned program meant to fund transit improvements and reduce emissions. The move has sparked criticism from transit advocates and raised questions about funding for necessary transit upgrades.

Site Plan, The Residences at Bowfield Green. Courtesy of Sachdev Real Estate Development Group

CONNECTICUT—Construction on 2 Major Apartment Complexes Bringing New Homes to CT Town
Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, June 4 2024
The Sachdev Real Estate Development Group, established by a local veterinarian and his family, broke ground on The Residences at Bowfield Green, a 77-unit mixed-use project near Windsor Station on the Hartford Line. The property is about two-fifths of a mile from the station and close to Founders Square, a new transit-oriented, mixed-use development featuring 106 units and 12,000 sq. ft. of retail space under construction less than a block from the station in the town center.

Vision for Indian Creek Village vision. Courtesy of MARTA; designs, WSP USA, Perez Planning + Design, Hummingbird, Bae Urban Economics

GEORGIA—MARTA’s Mini-City Station Makeover Takes Key Step Forward
Josh Green, Urbanize Atlanta, May 31 2024
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has approved the rezoning of 64 acres, including the area near Indian Creek Station, for transit-oriented development (TOD), advancing MARTA’s plan to create a self-sustaining mini city. This rezoning aligns with the 2050 DeKalb Comprehensive Plan and paves the way for dense housing, green spaces, and walkable areas, crucial for securing federal funding. MARTA’s vision for Indian Creek Village includes residential units, retail spaces, offices, and parking, aiming to enhance community connectivity and access to essential services in
Stone Mountain.

SeanPavonePhoto | Adobe Stock

Commentary: How Local Governments Can Put Their Assets to Work
Ben McAdams and Tracy Hadden Loh, Brookings, May 30 2024
Ben McAdams, CEO of Common Ground Institute, and Tracy Hadden Loh, Fellow at Brookings, argue that as local governments present their budgets for fiscal year 2025, many are missing opportunities to enhance revenues, particularly through housing density near transit. The volatility of state and local government finances during COVID-19, compounded by recent revenue declines, underscores the need for strategic planning. With the depletion of federal support from the American Rescue Plan Act, cities must maximize existing assets, such as transit-oriented development, to stabilize their financial health and support sustainable growth.

International TOD News

Zero-carbon neighborhood, Paris. Courtesy of Ville de Paris | Jean-Baptiste Gurliat

“The Best Climate Activist Is a Good Urban Planner”
Hélène Chartier, Dezeen, June 6 2024
Hélène Chartier, director of urban planning and design at C40 Cities, argues that urban planning significantly contributes to addressing climate change challenges in cities by adjusting land-use policies, which can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She references the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, emphasizing the importance of adopting policies promoting compact, resource-efficient urban growth for substantial emissions reduction by 2050. Chartier asserts the vital role of urban planners in shaping resilient and sustainable cities for the future.

Courtesy of NSW Government

AUSTRALIA—Housing Under Threat: The Plan to Kill Off Sydney’s Signature Density Policy
Alexandra Smith, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 4 2024
The NSW Liberals have initiated steps to dismantle the Minns government’s density reforms and planning controls at 37 train stations, where six-story apartment blocks were proposed under the transport-oriented development program. Opposition spokesperson for planning, Scott Farlow, announced plans to introduce a bill to abolish these transport-oriented development locations, potentially affecting all 37 sites. The program, aimed at increasing density and housing supply, has faced criticism for lack of community engagement and infrastructure planning, prompting the opposition’s move to overturn it. Note: may require subscription.