Monday, June 24, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News March 2-8, 2024

A new vision for Metropark Station (right); Master plan update challenges in Haddonfield; Federal program for TOD conversions hits snags; SEPTA & Conshohocken approve MOU; Malaysia revives HSR plans (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Courtesy of Hackensack Meridian Health

WOODBRIDGE—Transformative Project at MetroPark Station, Led by HMH, Approved for $113M Aspire Award
Tom Bergeron, ROI-NJ, March 7 2024
Metropark Station in Woodbridge Township will undergo an innovative mixed-use development, blending health care, office, retail, and residential spaces with a $113 million Aspire grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. This innovative project, involving Hackensack Meridian Health, Russo Development, Onyx Equities, and Dinallo Development LLC/Terminal Construction, aims to create a cohesive community hub centered around the station, enhancing mobility and connectivity for residents as well as NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak passengers along the busy Northeast Corridor line. Governor Phil Murphy sees this as part of a broader commitment to sustainable growth and improving public transportation infrastructure to foster vibrant, future-oriented communities.


NJ TOD News

Runway with Manhattan in the background. Maciek | Adobe Stock

These Two New Jersey Cities Are Among the Noisiest in the Country, Study Says
Manahil Ahmad, North Jersey, March 6 2024
A new report, from Steel Guard Safety Corp, identifies Jersey City and Newark as two of the nation’s noisiest cities. New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Miami are also in the top 10 list. The study measured several variables such as population density, traffic volume, public transit availability, construction activity, daily flights, air pollution, nightlife density, and the presence of public parks. The report notes the negative impacts of heavy traffic within dense corridors, while emphasizing the value of public parks for noise mitigation.

Courtesy of MVMK Architecture

HOBOKEN—Hoboken’s Windsor Wax Development Site Hits the Market
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, March 6 2024
Replacing a former industrial site near Hoboken Terminal, the Hoboken City Council recently approved a 60-unit, 4,300 sq. ft. luxury mixed-use development. Located at 601-619 Newark Street, the seven-story project will feature 35 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom, and five three-bedroom units, as well as three spaces for ground floor retail. The development will provide 40 parking spaces, indoor retail space, and a covered plaza. The building’s design pays homage to its 1930s roots as the home of the Windsor Wax Company.

The Place at Haddonfield. Courtesy of Community Investment Strategies, Inc.

HADDONFIELD—Familiar Refrains from Haddonfield Land Use Boards in Master Plan Update Meeting                             
Matt Skoufalos, NJ Pen, February 28 2024 During a session focused on Haddonfield’s master plan update, Pennoni consultants engaged with members of Haddonfield’s planning and zoning boards, discussing challenges such as housing diversity, parking availability, and resiliency to climate change. Suggestions were made to address the shortage of diverse housing options, including the introduction of “missing middle” housing types and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), raising concerns among board members who cited issues of neighborhood character, parking, and school overcrowding. The mayor countered and stressed the need to
balance accommodating new housing types with
maintaining affordability and diversity.


Transit and Equity News

Loveland, CO. Jacob | Adobe Stock

COLORADO—Colorado Lawmakers Consider Bill Aimed at Increasing Housing Near Transit
Brandon Richard, Denver7 Local ABC News, March 6, 2024
Colorado’s HB24-1313 bill garners support for its dual purpose: alleviating the affordable housing crisis and advancing climate goals through transit-oriented housing incentives. Advocates emphasize its critical role in ensuring access to affordable housing for various communities, including those with mobility challenges who rely on transit. Supporters argue that the bill aligns with broader efforts to increase housing density, addressing concerns raised by both environmentalists and business groups. Moreover, the bill’s penalty provision, withholding state highway funding for non-compliance, is viewed as a crucial enforcement
mechanism to drive tangible progress in housing development.

Tacoma Residential Infill Project. Courtesy of Ross Chapin Architects

WASHINGTON—Seattle Mayor’s Plan Seeks to Bring ‘Missing Middle Housing’ to Every Neighborhood
Helen Smith, King 5, March 5 2024
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposed updated to the city’s comprehensive plan seeks to tackle housing affordability and future population growth by emphasizing “missing middle housing” and increased density, aiming for 100,000 new units within 20 years, particularly near transit. Harrell acknowledges the displacement caused by soaring housing costs and aims to diversify housing options in all neighborhoods. The plan, developed with community input over two years, includes strategies like incentivizing affordable housing, creating new neighborhood centers, and promoting
transit-oriented development while prioritizing
climate goals.

EWY Media | Adobe Stock

Federal Program for Transit-Oriented Conversions Hits Snags
Erik Sherman, Globest, March 5 2024
The White House’s proposal to facilitate commercial property conversions into residential units initially seemed promising, as it aims to alleviate housing shortages and reduce emissions. However, reviews have revealed challenges such as limited funding and stringent criteria, particularly for transit-oriented projects, leading to doubts about its effectiveness. Developers have encountered hurdles such as lengthy approval processes and financial constraints, prompting concerns about the program’s viability. Despite success stories in programs like New York City’s Office Conversion Accelerator, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s initiative faces criticism
for its complex requirements and slow progress, with no
loans closed yet despite ongoing projects.


Regional and National TOD News

Renderings of Post District. Courtesy of MVE + Partners and Blaser Ventures

UTAH—South Salt Lake Could Land a Huge New Mixed-Use Project on Land That Was Almost a Car Dealership
Taylor Anderson, Building Salt Lake, March 6 2024
South Salt Lake pivots from a failed Porsche dealership deal to partner with Blaser Ventures, planning affordable housing and retail on a 5-acre parcel. Brandon Blaser plans to purchase the site at 2280 S. State and utilize a local-first approach to leasing out retail spaces, while targeting residential units below 80 percent median income. The project aims to revitalize the area, utilizing transit-oriented development and shared equity models for renters, despite some criticism from the city council.

Thayer-Silver Spring Garage. Courtesy of Montgomery County Department of Transportation

MARYLAND—County Council Loosens Parking Requirements for Developments Near Public Transit
Ginny Bixby, MoCo 360, March 5 2024
The Montgomery County Council passed a bill to ease parking requirements for new housing developments near public transit, exempting them from baseline parking ordinances if within a half-mile of a Metro or Purple Line Station, or within a fourth-mile of an existing or funded for construction bus rapid transit station. Sponsored by Councilmembers Evan Glass, Andrew Friedson, and Kristin Mink, the legislation aims to foster affordable housing near transit hubs and reduce reliance on cars. Effective 20 days after the vote, the bill embraces market-based approaches and addresses outdated regulations, reflecting the council’s goal of prioritizing people over cars.

Kyle | Adobe Stock

Heading to New York? Amtrak to Boost Northeast Corridor Service
Jeff Clabaugh, WTOP News, March 4 2024
Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service experienced a significant 29 percent increase in ridership from D.C. to Boston in 2023, prompting the addition of more weekday and weekend routes along the Northeast Corridor. With four additional weekday roundtrips between the two cities, plus expanded service to other key locations, Amtrak anticipates a 20 percent increase in weekday service and a 10 percent increase on Sundays, totaling more than 1 million additional seats. Ridership rose to 28.6 million passengers systemwide in FY2023, which ended in September—a 24 percent increase over FY2022. Northeast Regional ridership accounted for 9.2 million of those
passengers.

Conshohocken, PA. Jin | Adobe Stock

PENNSYLVANIA—Read the Memorandum of Understanding Agreed to by SEPTA and Borough of Conshohocken Regarding Possible Transit-Oriented Development
Kevin Tierney, More Than The Curve, March 2 2024
The Conshohocken Borough Council voted 6-1 during a February 21st meeting to approve a memorandum of understanding with SEPTA concerning a riverfront property initially intended for a parking garage. Despite objections from Council Member Kathleen Kingsley, SEPTA and the Borough agreed to explore mixed-use development options, including apartments, while acknowledging the borough’s authority over zoning regulations. However, the outcome of future elections could potentially influence these arrangements, as the
agreement does not legally constrain future councils from
altering zoning codes.

Edward Orde | Wikipedia

MASSACHUSETTS—Housing, Transit Top of Mind as City Looks to Alewife’s Future
Laurel M. Shugart, The Harvard Crimson, March 6 2024
Concerns arose two years ago when a Denver-based real estate firm purchased land near the Alewife MBTA Red Line Station for laboratory development, prompting city officials to impose a moratorium on such development. The City later approved a rezoning of the Quadrangle with a focus on affordable housing, but as new developments increase population, transportation strains and the lack of a commuter rail station (in addition to the rapid transit station) remain key concerns for residents and advocates.


International TOD News

Inter-city rail in Penang, Malaysia. uskarp2 | Adobe Stock

MALAYSIA—Malaysia Revives ‘Ambitious’ High-Speed Rail Plan Amid Hurdles
Norman Goh & Tsubasa Suruga, Nikkei Asia, March 6 2024
Malaysia has revived plans for a high-speed railway connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, inviting proposals from private sector consortiums including China Railway Construction and Hyundai Rotem. MyHSR, the government-owned entity leading the project, will shortlist consortiums for the next phase, with expectations to present the proposal to Singapore within the next few months. The project, initially proposed in 2013, aims to boost cross-border business and regional development, but faces hurdles including funding challenges and past delays.

Site plan of 7790-7850 King George Boulevard, Surrey.  Courtesy of Barnett Dembek Architects/Crispen Development/BCG Village

CANADA—20 Apartment Buildings with Over 3,200 Homes Coming to Newton in Surrey
Kenneth Chan, Urbanized, March 5 2024
Surrey’s Newton area is poised for a major transformation as a 36-acre trailer park site is slated to become a low-rise apartment neighborhood for up to 10,000 residents, with Surrey City Council’s approval. The development, featuring 20 low-rise buildings and over 3,200 homes, will be transit-oriented, directly served by TransLink’s R1 RapidBus with potential for future rail connections. As part of the redevelopment, arrangements have been made to relocate existing trailer park residents, with assistance provided for securing new housing options and managing moving logistics, starting from late 2024 through 2028. Scheduled for completion in phases between 2029 and 2037.