Saturday, April 13, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News December 16-22, 2023

Pedestrian safety (left); NJ lawmakers consider affordable housing overhaul; AC’s mobile groceries; How much parking do we need; Indonesia’s new net zero capital (right top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

Courtesy of Streetlight Data
Courtesy of Streetlight Data

The Other Reason American Pedestrian Deaths Are Rising After Dark
Kea Wilson, Streetblogs USA, December 11 2023
Citing a New York Times article that examines the concerning rise in nighttime pedestrian fatalities in the US, which nearly doubled from 2009 to 2021, Wilson points out an often-ignored factor: the decline in pedestrian road use, which dropped by 36 percent from 2019 to 2022, contributing to higher death rates. The article explores the “cycle of unwalkability,” highlighting how increasing car presence exacerbates conditions for pedestrians.


NJ TOD News

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation

The Other Reason American Pedestrian Deaths Are Rising After Dark
Kea Wilson, Streetblogs USA, December 11 2023
Citing a New York Times article that examines the concerning rise in nighttime pedestrian fatalities in the US, which nearly doubled from 2009 to 2021, Wilson points out an often-ignored factor: the decline in pedestrian road use, which dropped by 36 percent from 2019 to 2022, contributing to higher death rates. The article explores the “cycle of unwalkability,” highlighting how increasing car presence exacerbates conditions for pedestrians.

Courtesy of the State of New Jersey
Courtesy of the State of New Jersey

New Jersey Lawmakers Plan Overhaul of Affordable Housing System
Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, December 18 2023
Recently drafted legislation by New Jersey lawmakers targets the state’s affordable housing shortage. The bill seeks to enhance homeownership access and proposes the dissolution of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). It suggests transferring regulatory powers to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA). Importantly, the legislation would allow municipalities to receive bonus credits for developing affordable housing near public transit.

Corner of Witherspoon and Nassau in Princeton, NJ. Kate Gabrielle l Flickr
Corner of Witherspoon and Nassau in Princeton, NJ. Kate Gabrielle l Flickr

PRINCETON—Temporary Parking Banned on Witherspoon Street Amid Pedestrian Transformation
Abby Leibowitz, Daily Princetonian, December 13 2023
The Princeton Town Council has approved an ordinance that removes free, temporary parking on part of Witherspoon Street to combat traffic congestion, which aligns with ongoing efforts to enhance pedestrian and cyclist facilities. Additionally, the Princeton Planning Board will soon review proposals for affordable housing projects. A 2020 mandate requires that 753 affordable housing units be constructed in the community by 2025.


Transit and Equity News

Courtesy of Virtua Health
Courtesy of Virtua Health

NEW JERSEY—With No Supermarket for Residents of Atlantic City, New Jersey and Hospitals Create Mobile Groceries
Wayne Parry, Niagara Gazette, December 16 2023
Without a local supermarket for nearly two decades, Atlantic City residents have until very recently had to travel over 30 minutes for groceries. To address this for the city’s nearly 40,000 inhabitants, Virtua Health and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) have initiated the “Eat Well” program. The program uses a repurposed school bus to bring fresh food to the community, offering it at 30 to 50 percent lower than standard retail prices.

Courtesy of Sound Transit
Courtesy of Sound Transit

WASHINGTON—Sound Transit Light Rail to Cost $3 a Ride — For Trips Near or Far
Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, December 15 2023
Sound Transit’s Board has decided to adopt a $3 flat fare for light rail services in the Seattle area, replacing the current distance-based fare model. The change will take effect in fall 2024 with the opening of a 8.5-mile, four-station extension from Northgate to Lynnwood. The flat fare policy is part of a strategy to boost transit ridership after the pandemic by offering a more affordable travel option. The agency anticipates the new fare structure to generate $59.4 million in 2024 and accounting for 2.1 percent of the agency’s revenue. Sound Transit is also exploring fare capping policies.

Courtesy of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Courtesy of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority

WASHINGTON—Sound Transit Light Rail to Cost $3 a Ride — For Trips Near or Far
Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, December 15 2023
Sound Transit’s Board has decided to adopt a $3 flat fare for light rail services in the Seattle area, replacing the current distance-based fare model. The change will take effect in fall 2024 with the opening of a 8.5-mile, four-station extension from Northgate to Lynnwood. The flat fare policy is part of a strategy to boost transit ridership after the pandemic by offering a more affordable travel option. The agency anticipates the new fare structure to generate $59.4 million in 2024 and accounting for 2.1 percent of the agency’s revenue. Sound Transit is also exploring fare capping policies.


Regional and National TOD News

Courtesy of the City of Wilson, NC
Courtesy of the City of Wilson, NC

On-Demand Microtransit Can’t Escape This Big Problem
David Zipper, Bloomberg, December 19 2023
In Wilson, North Carolina, the RIDE program exemplifies how micro transit can be effective in offering door-to-door services when supported by government subsidies. However, the usefulness of such services may be limited as the services do not become more efficient as they grow and will be subject to budget limitations. To address these challenges, Zipper suggests solutions such as rationing services, raising passenger fares, or implementing fixed-route services.

Courtesy of the Morristown Parking Authority
Courtesy of the Morristown Parking Authority

Commentary: Two Billion Spaces, and Counting. How Much Parking Do We Need?
Linda Stamato, Morristown Green, December 18 2023
Rutgers Bloustein School’s Linda Stamato argues that America needs to address its parking space surplus. Citing research by Henry Grabar, Stamato discusses the links between parking, housing shortages, environmental issues, and increased fatalities, and Seattle’s efforts that led to a 18,000-space reduction between 2012 and 2017. Currently, there are approximately seven parking spaces for every car in the U.S.

Courtesy of the PANYNJ
Courtesy of the PANYNJ

Port Authority Approves $1 Billion Budget Hike in NJ, NY
Eric Kiefer, Patch, December 15 2023
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has approved a $9.3 billion budget for 2024, marking a $1 billion increase from the previous year. This budget allocates $86 million towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions and $219 million for innovation. Key projects supported by the funding include: the construction of a new Midtown Bus Terminal, a modern “tap-and-go” fare collection system for the PATH, development of a new AirTrain Newark system, and a two-terminal expansion and redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport.


International TOD News

Toronto Housing. George Hornaday l Flickr
Toronto Housing. George Hornaday l Flickr

CANADA—Canada Revives Wartime Home Strategy to Address Housing Crisis
Laura Dhillon Kane, Bloomberg, December 12 2023
The Canadian government is reinvigorating a strategy from the 1940s to tackle its current housing shortage—offering pre-approved home designs to expedite construction and lower costs. With a target to build 3.5 million units by 2030 to improve affordability, the plan will promote designs that increase density and will include multiplexes, mid-rise buildings, and senior housing.

Courtesy of the Nusantara Capital City Authority
Courtesy of the Nusantara Capital City Authority

INDONESIA—Indonesia’s New Capital Aims to Be a Net Zero Model City
Bambang Susantono, The Japan Times, December 11 2023
Cities are pivotal in combating climate change, consuming 78 percent of global energy and generating 60 percent of greenhouse gases. Indonesia’s significant contribution to this effort is the establishment of Nusantara, its new capital. Slated for development in 2024, plans call for Nusantara to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. The Nusantara Net Zero 2045 Strategy, presented at COP28, centers on the developing eco-friendly infrastructure, harnessing renewable energy, and improving transportation efficiency.

Courtesy of Alstom
Courtesy of Alstom

THAILAND—Bangkok’s MRT Opens Monorail to Passengers for the First Time
Cat Vitale, Railway Technology, December 11 2023
Alstom has initiated tests of its automated Innovia monorail on Bangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Pink Line. The trials, which began with an inauguration by the Prime Minister, are part of a “free public trial” that will continue through January. This service aims to improve transport links for over five million residents in Bangkok’s northern regions and Nonthaburi. Future expansions, expected by 2025, include the addition of two more stops on the Pink Line.