Thursday, July 25, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News October 21-27, 2023

Will Chicago adopt congestion pricing? (left); Addressing NJ TRANSIT’s financial woes (top-right); Improving bus access to Head Start Centers (middle-right); Biden-Harris Administration supports office to residential conversions (bottom-right)

Article of the Week

Congestion Pricing for Ride-Hail Programs in the Downtown Zone Area. Courtesy of the City of Chicago

ILLINOIS—At Transalt’s Vision Zero Cities Conference in NYC, a Window on What Robust Congestion Pricing Could Do for Chicago
John Greenfield, Streetblogs Chicago, October 20 2023
Implementing congestion pricing in downtown Chicago has the potential to significantly reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety. London’s congestion pricing reduced traffic by 15 percent, decreased congestion levels by 30 percent, and prevented about 100 crashes annually. In 2019, Chicago took a step forward by passing a new “congestion pricing” tax on ride-hail trips in the downtown area, to promote long-term sustainable solutions, while missing a $153 million grant deadline.


Courtesy of MHS Architects

JERSEY CITY—Jersey City Approves Two-Tower, 613-Unit Development Along Marin Boulevard
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, October 26 2023
Marin Boulevard in downtown Jersey City may soon be home to two 14-story towers connected by a shared podium. Pegasus Partners have gained approval to construct 613 residential units, 92 designated affordable housing, and 200 parking spaces. Falling within the Jersey Avenue Light Rail Redevelopment Plan area, the project aims to improve the pedestrian experience by incorporating 5,120 sq. ft. of ground floor retail, 308 bicycle spaces, a pool, and a fitness center.

Gov. Phil Murphy at an NJ TRANSIT Press Conference, December 17, 2018. Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office | Flickr

NJ Elections: Advocates Make an Issue of NJ Transit’s Financial Woes
John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight News, October 23 2023
NJ TRANSIT has begun considering service cuts and fare hikes, amidst budget challenges experienced since COVID-19. Advocates urge Governor Phil Murphy for funding amid lawmakers’ inaction. Democrat Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, running for governor in 2025, supports maintaining a surcharge to aid NJ TRANSIT. The agency currently operates on a $2.68 billion budget but faces a potential $1 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2026.

Courtesy of CPA Architecture

RED BANK—Parents of Kids With Autism Are Pushing for a ‘First-Of-Its-Kind’ New N.J. Housing Project
David Chiu, People, October 9 2023
The Red Bank Zoning Board approved the state’s first housing complex designed specifically for autistic adults to live independently. THRIVE Red Bank will feature 32 one-bedroom apartments. Parents With A Plan, the project’s nonprofit leader, emphasizes the benefits to neurodiverse residents, including easy access to walking, biking, and the Red Bank Station. With a 2025 opening, the project will provide housing for some of the 1 in 34 New Jersey children diagnosed with developmental disabilities.

Transit and Equity News

Gov. Ralph Northam. Mallory Hampton Head Start Center | Flickr

VIRGINIA—Nearly Two-Thirds of Virginia Head Start Centers Beyond Walking Distance for Toddlers
Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury, October 26 2023
Nearly 100 Head Start centers in Virginia are located within one mile of a transit stop, but not within walking distance for toddlers. Roughly 27 percent of Virginia’s centers, which offer health and nutrition services for low-income families, fall within a toddler-friendly walking distance of 0.2 miles, compared to only 19 percent of such centers in the U.S. overall. To enhance accessibility, the Civic Mapping Initiative suggests strategies such as bus stop relocation and integrating Head Start facilities into transit planning and decision making.

Courtesy of Oombra Architects

PENNSYLVANIA—Proposed North Philly Apartments Would Give Seniors an Alternative to Rowhouse Living
Jake Blumgart, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 25 2023
TPP Capital Holdings plans to develop 90 affordable units, each less than 500 square feet, for residents aged 55 and older. The project, situated a half-mile from SEPTA’s Erie Station subway stop, will also feature 60 bicycle parking spots to encourage an active lifestyle. While the development will utilize a small subsidy, TPP Capital Holdings delivered earlier promises regarding higher density and no on-site parking. Rents will range from $1,100 to $1,600. Despite the waitlist of 300 households, the developer has received push back on the project due to its constrained size. The project will receive additional review by the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Courtesy of 46 Flats

INDIANA—New Indianapolis Building Offers More Than 170 Affordable Units
Jill Sheridan, wfyi, October 23 2023
In Indianapolis, Forty Six Flats is under development through a partnership between the City, the developer, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and nonprofit Partnership for Affordable Housing. The project is close to several bus routes, as well as the planned Nickel Plate Trail expansion, a pedestrian trail. The complex will offer 173 affordable units, most reserved for residents earning 60 percent or less of AMI. Rent on most units will be less than $1,000. The City has allocated $2.7 million in federal relief funding to support development.

Regional and National TOD News

trialartinf | Adobe Stock

Fact Sheet: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Takes Action to Create More Affordable Housing by Converting Commercial Properties to Residential Use
White House, October 27 2023
In response to a 30-year high in office vacancies across the U.S., the Biden-Harris Administration has announced its support for converting commercial properties into affordable housing. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation has released new guidance for the use of more than $35 billion in federal funding for transit-oriented development. This initiative, part of the White House Housing Supply Action Plan, will leverage $10 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding to help transform underutilized spaces, to both address the housing shortage and support urban revitalization.

Courtesy of GoTriangle

NORTH CAROLINA—A New Transportation Hub Is Coming to Downtown Raleigh
Sharryse Piggott, WUNC, October 24 2023
GoTriangle has initiated construction of a new multimodal transit hub in downtown Raleigh. Plans call for enhancing connectivity by integrating cars, buses, trains, and pedestrian pathways. The project, expected to be completed in 2025, includes a modern bus facility, a residential tower with 380 apartments, and retail spaces, aiming to foster a walkable community.

Antrell Williams | Flickr

LOUISIANA—New Orleans Households Drive Enough Miles to Circle the Globe Each Year
Alex Fitzpatrick and Carlie Kollath Wells, Axios, October 23 2023
According to the Brookings Institute Study, “Building for Proximity: The Role of Activity Centers in Reducing Total Miles Travelled,” the average household in the New Orleans metro area travels approximately 29,303 miles annually, the equivalent to circling the equator every year. Living near activity centers could save the average driver up to $1,200 in transportation expenses and reduce their carbon footprint by at least 2,255 pounds of carbon dioxide. Facilitating proximity and multimodal transit in urban hubs can promote overall living.

International TOD News

Adam Cohn | Flickr

PAKISTAN—Suffocating in Peshawar
Asif Mohmand, The Friday Times, October 26 2023
Peshawar, the “City of Flowers,” faces severe air pollution due to increased vehicular traffic. The city’s air quality ranks among the worst in the region, with PM2.5 levels exceeding WHO-recommended levels 11.8 times, reducing the life-expectancy by up to 7 years. Highway construction is a primary contributor, responsible for nearly 59 percent of the city’s air pollution. The public health impacts of this environmental crisis suggest a need for government intervention.

Adhi Rachdian | Flickr

SAUDI ARABIA—Saudi Arabia: Medina to Get Rapid Bus Service
Ramadan Al Sherbini, The Gulf News, October 26 2023
The city of Medina, home to Islam’s second holiest site, will introduce a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. The BRT system will comprise two routes totaling 52 kilometers (about 32 mi), feature 33 stations, and serve 1,800 passengers per hour. The initiative, pursued in collaboration with the private sector, aims to improve public transportation for residents and 10 million religious pilgrims this current season.

Gerrard-Carlaw South Station on the future Ontario Line. Transit-Oriented Communities |

CANADA—Where 6 New Transit-Oriented Communities Are Planned for Toronto
Calvi Leon, Toronto Star, October 20 2023
The Ontario government have announced plans to establish five transit-oriented communities along the future Ontario Line and one on the Scarborough Subway Extension in Toronto. The developments will introduce a total of 5,900 new residential units. Plans call for creating mixed-use communities and aim to low the cost of building infrastructure for taxpayers. The developers currently await city approval, pending outreach to Indigenous communities and other stakeholders.