Saturday, April 20, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News March 22-29, 2024

Vacant land near stations offers opportunities (left); Study finds Red Bank Station fit for redevelopment; Clashing views on MBTA Communities Act; Station Yards at Ronkonkoma Station; Galway explores TOD (right top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Map of City-owned vacant lots (light blue) and privately owned vacant lots (light orange) in East Garfield Park, centering around the Garfield Park Eco-Orchard. Courtesy of Elevated Chicago

ILLINOIS—Study on Vacant Lots Near Transit Shows Opportunities for Development
Tia Carol Jones, Citizen Weekly, March 27 2024
A study by Elevated Chicago and the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University examines the impact of vacant lots near transit stations in communities of color. Focused on two train stations, the study highlights implications for quality of life and transit access, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of vacant land. Findings indicate a need to leverage public investment to attract new development and address disinvestment in these communities, while also empowering residents to repurpose vacant lots for neighborhood enhancement. Access to city-owned vacant lots presents an opportunity for community-driven development with the support of better dialogue and relationships between residents and the city.


Courtesy of the Office of Governor Murphy

New Jersey TTF Renewed Through 2029
Marybeth Luczak, Railway Age, March 28 2024
A newly signed state law will reauthorize and replenish the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), as announced by Governor Phil Murphy. The recent legislation ensures a consistent, statewide funding stream for transportation projects, with over $8.84 billion in bonding authority given to the TTF Authority. NJ TRANSIT will also receive more than $813 million annually to fund capital projects, a 6 percent increase from their current TTF allocation. The funding will be in effect from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2029.

East Coast Second Space Work Suites at Avalon Somerville Station. Courtesy of AvalonBay and Industrious

SOMERVILLE—Somerville Retail Reinvention Brings Second Space to East Coast
Jessica Perry, NJBIZ, March 28 2024
AvalonBay Communities Inc. will open Second Space Work Suites’ first East Coast location adjacent to the NJ TRANSIT Somerville Rail Station, at the transit-oriented redevelopment known as Somerville Station. This 374-unit apartment property, located within a 31-acre mixed-use development by Inspired by Somerset Development, marks the largest such project approved in the borough. Avalon acquired 15 acres of the site in 2020, originally planning for street-level retail before integrating Second Space Work Suites into the project.

Sidewalks and Parking Lots in proposed Red Bank Train Station Redevelopment Area

RED BANK—Red Bank: Study Finds Station Fit for Redevelopment
Brian Donohue, Red Bank Green, March 26 2024
BFJ Planning, consultant to the Red Bank Planning Board, has determined that the area around the Red Bank Rail Station qualifies as an “area in need of redevelopment.” This designation would allow for potential development incentives, including superseding zoning rules and issuing tax abatements. BFJ Planning found that the majority of the area satisfies the criteria for redevelopment, which includes parking lots owned by NJ TRANSIT and other privately-owned commercial buildings. The next step involves a public hearing on the findings, scheduled for April 10.

PALISADES PARK—This Small New Jersey Town Became a Different Kind of Suburb
Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times, March 25 2024
The Bergen County Borough of Palisades Park presents a potential solution to the housing crisis faced by coastal cities. In this op-ed, Appelbaum highlights how allowing the replacement of single-family homes with duplexes has led to significant population growth and economic revitalization. This “light-touch density” approach demonstrates the benefits of modest zoning changes in addressing housing shortages and improving affordability,
serving as a model for other communities grappling with similar challenges.

Transit and Equity News

Dsndrn-Videolar | Pixabay

MASSACHUSETTS—Political Notebook: MBTA panel clash | A fare deal | Call him Charlie
Gintautas Dumcius, Bruce Mohl and Jennifer Smith, CommonWealth Beacon, March 29 2024
The MBTA Communities Act, mandating multifamily zoning around public transit stations, has sparked debate over local control versus statewide regulation. A recent panel discussion in Quincy highlighted this tension, with a city council president expressing reservations while a state legislator emphasized the need for transit-oriented development to address housing challenges. The discussion touched on issues like unreliable transit and changing commuting preferences post-Covid, illustrating the complexity of implementing transit-oriented policies at the local level.

Rendering of 150 Centre Street, Dorchester. Courtesy of Trinity Financial

MASSACHUSETTS—$69 Million Investment to Create and Preserve More Than 775 Income-Restricted Homes Across Boston
Press Release, City of Boston, March 22 2024
Mayor Michelle Wu, in collaboration with the Neighborhood Housing Trust (NHT) and the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), recommended funding for projects aimed at creating or preserving 826 housing units, with 775 designated as income-restricted homes. These initiatives, totaling $68.96 million in awards, encompass 14 developments across nine neighborhoods and many emphasize Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) principles. By strategically leveraging resources such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), HOME, Community Preservation Act (CPA), and Linkage, the City aims to bolster affordable housing options while promoting accessibility and connectivity to public transportation infrastructure.

Murphy Crossing rendering. Courtesy of Culdesac

GEORGIA—Murphy Crossing Moves Forward
Libby Allnatt, What’s Now Atlanta, March 21 2024
Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and Invest Atlanta have approved developers for the Murphy Crossing project, which includes affordable housing. Culdesac and Urban Oasis Development, along with Kronberg Urbanists + Architects, LDG Consulting, and T. Dallas Smith and Co., will work on the 20-acre development. With about 1,100 new residential units and commercial space, 30 percent of the housing will be affordable to households earning 60 to 80 percent of the area median income, prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle-friendly infrastructure and access to public transit and the BeltLine corridor.

Regional and National TOD News

deberarr | Adobe Stock

NEW YORK—MTA Gives Final Approval for Congestion Pricing in NYC
Stephen Nessen, Gothamist, March 27 2024
The MTA board finalized approval for congestion pricing, implementing a $15 daytime toll for drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street. Despite years of planning and approval, the program’s fate remains uncertain pending ongoing lawsuits. The tolling structure, largely unchanged from previous iterations, includes exemptions for certain vehicles and surcharges for taxis and for-hire vehicles, while opponents argue against its implementation, citing concerns over increased traffic and pollution. Proponents highlight the program’s potential to reduce Manhattan gridlock by up to 20 percent and fund $15 billion worth of MTA construction projects, emphasizing
its role in bolstering public transit infrastructure.

Courtesy of Station Yards | Instagram

NEW YORK—A $1.2 Billion Transit-Oriented Development Aims to Create a New Downtown Destination
Andrea Cheng, CoStar News, March 27 2024
Station Yards, a $1.2 billion mixed-use development next to Long Island’s busiest railway station, aims to establish a new downtown destination in Ronkonkoma. Plans call for 1,450 residential units, 360,000 sq. ft. of office space, 195,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 60,000 sq. ft. of hospitality space. Located adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road’s Ronkonkoma Train Station, the development is approximately 50 miles east of midtown Manhattan.

Concept for TOD rezoning in Cuyahoga County, OH. Courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission

OHIO—RTA Aims to Help Rebuild Cleveland, Cuyahoga County with Network of Bus Rapid Transit Lines – Analysis
Steven Litt,, March 24 2024
The Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is leading efforts to retrofit and revitalize Cleveland and Cuyahoga County through an expansive network of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines. Their focus on transit-oriented development includes plans for a 15.7-mile BRT line from North Olmsted through Fairview Park to Ohio City, intersecting with key stops on the RTA rail rapid transit Red Line. This project reflects RTA’s broader collaboration with Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and suburban areas to stimulate dense, walkable, transit-oriented development and reshape the region’s transportation landscape.

Courtesy of PennDOT

PENNSYLVANIA—Downingtown Is on a Remarkable Growth Trajectory
J.F. Pirro, Main Line Today, March 21 2024
Downingtown’s rich history, dating back to its origins as Milltown, now intersects redevelopment efforts, namely the Hankin Group’s River Station project. The transit-oriented, mixed-use development seeks to improve walkability and connectivity, featuring a multimodal bridge, 445 residential units, retail spaces, and outdoor amenities along the Brandywine River and near the borough’s replacement ADA-accessible SEPTA station. Despite concerns about overdevelopment and environmental considerations, stakeholders are optimistic
about Downingtown’s revitalization, balancing its past with its
future while navigating challenges in land use and public-private partnerships.

International TOD News

Jurong East Interchange Metro Station. neiezhmakov | Adobe Stock

SINGAPORE—Two Bids Submitted by Consortium for Mega Site in Jurong Lake District, Slated to Be Singapore’s 2nd CBD
Grace Leong, The Straits Times, March 26 2024
As part of the effort to establishing the second largest business center in Singapore, an investor group of leading real estate companies have placed a bid for a major site in the Jurong Lake District. This 16-acre area, spread across three lots, lies conveniently between the Jurong East MRT transfer station and the future Cross Island Line’s Jurong Lake District station. Officials expect the site to hold over 1,700 residential units, 1.5 million sq. ft. of office space, and 785,766 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. The project will develop over three phases, set to complete construction by 2040.

Concept for Oranmore. Courtesy of Polysee | YouTube

IRELAND—‘Gateway to Galway’ Video Shows Whole County Transformed Under ‘Transit Oriented Development’ Plan
James McCarron, Galway Beo, March 25 2024
The urban planning expert and architect, John Smith, shared a visionary redesign for Oranmore using transit-oriented development principles, details of which can be seen featured on the YouTube channel Polysee. Galway faces high rents and traffic. It is also limited by the National Development Plan that discourages cities from growing outward and delays and denials for dense development from An Bord Pleanala, Ireland’s national independent planning body. Smith advocates for TOD around existing public transport links like Oranmore Station, potentially unlocking significant economic growth
for the region.