Friday, July 19, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News March 9-15, 2024

Why is it so hard to build housing near transit stops? (left); Transforming Hoboken Terminal; Capping Atlanta’s I-75/85 Connector with “The Stitch”; Norwalk gets TOD right; Advancing TOC through mobility, planning & design (right top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Housing construction in New Brunswick, NJ. Jin | Adobe Stock

Why is it so hard to build housing near transit stops?
Daniel C. Vock, Route Fifty, March 12 2024
Two recent studies, one by Yonah Freemark at the Urban Institute and the other from the Regional Plan Association, delve into the challenges of building dense housing near transit stations, affecting environmental and housing goals. Freemark’s analysis exposes a trend where American communities overwhelmingly favor housing development distant from transit hubs, despite the advantages of transit-oriented development (TOD). The RPA report advocates for state intervention to facilitate TOD and tackle housing affordability concerns. It highlights New Jersey’s progress in aligning land use with transit capacity but underscores New York’s struggles due to fragmented coordination between transit agencies and
local governments.


Ribbon cutting celebrating the start of ferry service from South Amboy on Oct. 30, 2023. Courtesy of U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone’s Office

South Amboy—Pallone Secures $800K for South Amboy Ferry Terminal
Matthew Fazelpoor, NJBiz, March 14 2024
The South Amboy Ferry Terminal received $800,000 in federal funds from a recent spending bill signed by President Biden, with U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone playing a key role in securing the funding. The terminal, which opened last October, currently operates from a temporary facility and is awaiting completion of a permanent $30 million structure. The funds will support various infrastructure projects, including construction of bulkheads, access roadways, parking, and environmental remediation, contributing to the terminal’s accessibility and safety for passengers.

Courtesy of NJ TRANSIT

Hoboken Connect Project to ‘Transform the Terminal’ Set to Break Ground
Matt McCann, TAPintoHoboken, March 13 2024
Hoboken Connect, a new mixed-use development set to transform the Hoboken Terminal, will begin construction later this year. The project, the result of a partnership between NJ TRANSIT and LCOR, will include a 386-unit building with a 20 percent set-aside for affordable units, a 20-story office space, 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and additional bike and pedestrian improvements. NJ TRANSIT officials estimate the development will generate $2.08 billion annually, creating and supporting over 13,000 jobs.
The partnership allows NJ TRANSIT to finance affordable units
through ground lease payments and aligns with the agency’s
NJT2030 Strategic Plan.

Bayfront rendering. Courtesy of the City of Jersey City

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City’s Transformative Bayfront Project Gets $1.6M Federal Grant
Staff, ROI-NJ, March 12 2024
Jersey City has secured a $1.6 million federal grant for its Bayfront Redevelopment Project to support the transformation of a vacant 100-acre site into a vibrant mixed-use community. In his announcement, Mayor Steve Fulop underscored the grant’s significance for its promotion of affordable housing and its potential to catalyze redevelopment along the Hackensack River waterfront. Project requirements specify that 35 percent of all units built be set aside for low- and moderate-income households. Construction of the initial infrastructure is underway.

Courtesy of NJEDA

NJEDA’s Aspire Program Advances New Construction of Transit-Oriented Residential/Mixed-Use Development in Essex and Middlesex Counties
Press Release, NJ Economic Development Authority, March 11 2024
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) highlighted the use of tax credits under the Aspire Program in recently endorsed projects in Newark and Woodbridge. The Newark project will construct a 25-story mixed-income development with approved Aspire tax credits equivalent to 60 percent of total project costs up to $90 million. The “Metropark at Woodbridge” project will build a mixed-use site at the Metropark Station with approved Aspire tax credits equivalent to 50 percent of the total project costs, up to $113.65 million for the total project. Collectively, these projects will create 538 residential units, 107 of which will be affordable, with a combined investment of $310.6 million.

Transit and Equity News

MichaelVi | Adobe Stock

CALIFORNIA—New Caltrans Application Puts Equity on the Map
Skip Descant, Government Technology, March 12 2024
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has introduced its Transportation Equity Index (EQI) tool, designed to aid in the evaluation of transportation projects by identifying key equity variables through a web mapping application with layered data. The tool can be used to assess inequities along several metrics such as demographics, traffic burdens, and access to destinations to prioritize areas needing remediation. This initiative reflects a statewide commitment to create equitable transportation systems, addressing historical disparities in infrastructure planning and highlighting the importance of community engagement and federal initiatives such as Justice40.

Brockton South TOD. Courtesy of NeighborWorks

MASSACHUSETTS—NeighborWorks Housing Solutions Breaks Ground on Brockton South Transit-Oriented Development, 1200 Montello Street
Citybiz, March 12 2024
NeighborWorks® Housing Solutions broke ground on the Brockton South Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in the City of Brockton, 25 miles south of Boston. The project at 1200 Montello Street will feature 94 affordable housing units and ground-floor retail, and be located adjacent to the Brockton Campello Commuter Rail Station. Using Passive House design and with a focus on sustainability, this project seeks to revitalize a former truck repair shop into a vibrant community, aligning with the Brockton Campello TOD Master-Plan Residential District. Supported by various entities, including governmental and financial institutions, the project illustrates a collaborative effort to address the housing crisis in southeastern Massachusetts.

Plan for The Stitch. Courtesy of Central Atlanta Progress

GEORGIA—Georgia Lawmakers Announce $157 Million Grant for ‘The Stitch’ Project to Cap Interstate with Usable Space
Jesse Nussman and Tresia Bowles, 11 Alive News, March 12 2024
Georgia lawmakers, including Sens. Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock, and Rep. Nikema Williams, have announced a $157 million grant for “The Stitch” project, which seeks to cap the I-75/85 Connector with greenspace and to promote affordable housing and transit-oriented development. Set for a 2026 construction start date, the project seeks to reconnect divided neighborhoods and address historical racial inequalities caused by interstate highway construction. Despite concerns about traffic and displacement, leaders and residents express support for the initiative, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s
Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program and the Inflation
Reduction Act’s Neighborhood Access and Equity (NAE) Program.

Regional and National TOD News

Central Corridor | Wikipedia

MINNESOTA—Blue Line Extension Part 2: Land Use Problems
Richie Song,, March 15 2024
Transit advocate Richie Song explores the intricacies of land use along the METRO Blue Line extension, examining station areas from Brooklyn Park to Minneapolis. He underscores the significance of dense developments, pedestrian infrastructure, and transit-oriented designs for transit system success, discussing challenges like sparse developments and traffic issues. Moreover, Song highlights initiatives such as TOD zoning and community engagement, which aim to foster vibrant, equitable communities through sustainable transportation and social equity.

Rendering the Merritt 7 Station

CONNECTICUT—Merritt 7 Train Station Sets Standard for Transit-Oriented Development: ‘Norwalk Gets It Right’
Katherine Lutge, The Wilton Bulletin, March 12 2024
Recently completed improvements to Norwalk’s Merritt 7 Train Station work to satisfy commuter needs, connecting them to the office complex and beyond. Governor Ned Lamont lauds the station as a TOD model, emphasizing its pivotal role in addressing housing demands and fostering sustainable transportation choices. Plans for additional apartment construction underscore Norwalk’s dedication to TOD principles, aiming to enhance connectivity and livability in the area while promoting alternative transit options.

Courtesy of YIMBYtown

Time to Take Over NIMBYville: There’s a Big YIMBY Gathering in North America, and It’s Awesome
Naama Blonder, Storeys, March 11 2024
YIMBYtown, an annual gathering of those advocating for transit-oriented development (TOD) and affordable housing, recently convened in Austin, Texas. The event bills itself as catalyst for change, fostering discussions on housing policy, and sharing successful strategies from various regions. Participants explore challenges to implementing equitable TOD and parking reforms and highlighted examples of success, such as Toronto’s investment in transit and mixed-income neighborhoods. These examples underscore the importance of
amplifying YIMBY voices to drive meaningful change in housing affordability.

International TOD News

Courtesy of SvN

CANADA—Transit-Oriented Communities: Mobility, Planning and DesignStephen Velasco, Urbanize Toronto, March 14 2024
In an exclusive interview, Shonda Wang, a Principal at SvN, shares her insights into the benefits and challenges of Transit-Oriented Communities (TOCs). Wang defines TOCs as vibrant, livable areas centered around transit stops, designed to reduce car dependency. She focuses on project timelines, explaining how early collaboration secures affordability for new units and better incorporates various stakeholder groups. Wang highlights the challenges of balancing private and public interests, advocating for a more holistic approach that organizes actions based on a long-term vision.

Sam2905 | Wikipedia

INDIA—Plans Afoot for 12-Storey Tower at Thirumangalam That Will Have Chennai Metro Trains Passing Through
The Hindu, March 9 2024
Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) plans a unique transit-oriented development at Thirumangalam Station in the southeast Indian city of Chennai. The plan draws inspiration from China and calls for trains to pass through and serve a station and platforms on the fourth floor of a 12-story building. CMRL aims to enhance revenue and promote mass rapid transport usage across its phase II network, with similar development plans for other stations like Koyambedu and Alandur, integrating
commercial spaces with the stations through walkways or skywalks.

Courtesy of Connect 3 Million

FRANCE—Undersea Tunnels Linking France to Channel Islands Under Discussion
Natalie Wilson, Independent, March 7 2024
A proposal to connect France and the Channel Islands via an underwater rail tunnel has gained traction as plans move forward. The project, first discussed in 2019 as part of the Connect 3 Million campaign, will create three stations at St. Peter Port, Jersey Airport, and Saint Helier, connecting Jersey to Guernsey. The proposed railway will cost £25 million per kilometer ($51.2 million per mile) and an additional £100m ($127.4 million) for each station. Once completed, officials estimate 8,000 daily trips in either direction, with travel times of 15 minutes. The project
may take 10 years to build but French officials see its construction as crucial to relieving its housing crisis.