Tuesday, July 16, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News August 5-11, 2023

How zoning led to our housing crisis (left); Trenton tops most unaffordable list (top-right); Lagging downtown travel (center-right); Train vs. air in Europe (bottom-right)

Article of the Week

Spiroview Inc. | Adobe Stock

The Invisible Laws That Led to America’s Housing Crisis
Nathaniel Meyersohn, The Philadelphia Tribune, August 5 2023
Historically, zoning laws have shaped American society since 1910s, segregating neighborhoods by use, leading to housing shortages and rising home prices. These regulations resulted in the current landscape where more than 75 percent of land zoned for residential use in American cities is for single-family homes. Pro-housing advocates, known as YIMBYs (Yes in My Backyard), call for the end of single-family zoning and support zoning that allows construction of dense multi-family housing and accessory dwelling units.


Scranton – New York Route Map via the “Lackwanna Cut-Off.” Courtesy of Amtrak
Scranton – New York Route Map via the “Lackwanna Cut-Off.” Courtesy of Amtrak

SUSSEX COUNTY—These Transit-Oriented Developments Align More Real Estate Projects With Commuting
Briana Vannozzi, NJ Spotlight News, August 8 2023
Progress has been made in the expansion of NJ TRANSIT service in Sussex County through the restoration of the Lackawanna Cut-Off and the construction of a new train station in Andover. Congressman Josh Gottheimer recently led Amtrak officials on tour of the Andover construction site. This visit aligns with Amtrak’s goal of reinstating rail service between New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania, potentially using the Lackawanna Cut-Off route and considering a stop at the newly constructed Andover station.

close-up of a sign in front an apartment building
Blacqbook | Adobe Stock

TRENTON—April Rent Report: Trenton, NJ, Tops the Most Unaffordable List
Anna Helhoski, NerdWallet, July 21 2023
According to an analysis examining Zillow rental and Census income data, Trenton recently secured the top position on the list of the nation’s most “unaffordable” places, cities where residents face the highest levels of rent-to-income ratio. The rent-to-income ratio in Trenton stands at 70 percent—anything more than 50 percent is considered severely burdened. High rent burdens create financial strain and diminish the overall quality of life for residents.

Transit and Equity News

Courtesy of EAH

CALIFORNIA—$70M Affordable Project Rises in California’s Capital
Diana Firtea, Multi-Housing News, August 8 2023
Ecumenical Association for Housing (EAH) has begun construction of a transit-oriented mixed-use development in Sacramento. The development, On Broadway, will comprise 140 fully affordable housing units and a ground-floor commercial space on a 1.2-acre site. When completed in 2025, On Broadway will serve families with incomes 30-60 percent of the median income, offer supportive services, and include bike storage and 75 parking spaces.

Rendering of Flagler Station. Courtesy of Housing Trust Group

FLORIDA—New Affordable Housing Apartment Complex, Flagler Station, Completed in Downtown West Palm Beach
Scott Sutton, WPTV, August 7 2023
A partnership between the City of West Palm Beach and the Housing Trust Group has resulted in the city’s first new affordable downtown apartments in 30 years. Flagler Station, a $33 million transit-oriented development, will provide 1- to 3-bedroom apartments for West Palm Beach residents earning no more than 30, 60, 70, or 80 percent of the area’s median income. Rents for the 94 apartments range from $393 to $1,689. The project incorporates tracks from the 19th century Florida East Coast Railway into a linear park. Financing for the project includes low-income housing tax credits, construction and permanent lending, and a county grant. The Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County projects demand for 20,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.

Regional and National TOD News

Courtesy of the City of Dallas

TEXAS—City Plan Commission Green Lights Transit-Oriented Development Near Walnut Hill DART Station
April Towery, CandysDirt, August 9 2023
The Dallas City Plan Commission plans to create a mixed-income housing development within walking distance of the Walnut Hill DART Station. The project will comprise up to 1,740 apartments on a 19-acre tract, and be designed to promote walkability, connectivity, and open spaces. Asana Partners, based in North Carolina, will collaborate on the project.

USDOT Announces $13.4 Million Grant for Transit-Oriented Development Planning
Intelligent Transport, August 8 2023
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced a $13.4 million grant opportunity in support of transit-oriented development efforts. The Federal Transit Administration Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning solicits proposals designed to promote local planning around transit hubs, fostering sustainable, livable and equitable communities. The application deadline is October 10, 2023.

Dahlia3D | Adobe Stock

Downtown Travel Has Not Recovered from COVID-19, Data Shows
Skip Descant, Government Technology, August 3 2023
Research by the transportation analytics firm INRIX finds that traffic and transit activity remains below pre-pandemic levels in the nation’s largest cities, largely the result of ongoing work-from-home preferences. Reduced commuting to downtown locations has depressed local economies that rely on spending from workers and reduced public transit usage, but also has resulted in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from car travel and less time spent in traffic. According to Nico Larco, director of the Urbanism Next Center at the University of Oregon, downtowns with a mix of uses and jobs in different industries have fared better than those that cater primarily to offices.

International TOD News

Krzysztof Bubel | Adobe Stock

EUROPE—Poland Has One of Most Affordable Train Travel in Europe
Schengenvisa News, August 7 2023
The environmental group Greenpeace examined travel itineraries throughout Europe to compare price differences between train and air travel tickets, which revealed train tickets in Poland to be among the cheapest forms of transportation on the continent. Notably, rail travel in Spain is 3.9 times more expensive than air fare.

Courtesy of Canada Infrastructure Bank

CANADA—These Transit-Oriented Developments Align More Real Estate Projects with Commuting
Kristian Gravenor, CoStar News, August 2 2023
The long-delayed opening of Montreal’s Réseau Express métropolitain (REM) light rail route occasions a city-by-city review of mass transit projects and accompanying transit-oriented development efforts across Canada. In the case of Montreal, the opening of a single station is expected to trigger the creation of 7,000 housing units as well as accompanying retail, restaurant, and office spaces.