Planning For Growth and Safer Streets at Bronx Metro-North Stations

Stephen Miller | StreetsBlog NYC

The study examined development opportunities and street safety needs around eight existing and proposed Metro-North stations. Image: DCP

The study examined development opportunities and street safety needs around eight existing and proposed Metro-North stations. Image: DCP

Once the MTA’s East Side Access project is finally complete, a few additional upgrades will allow Metro-North’s New Haven Line trains to stop at new stations in the East Bronx and cross the Hell Gate Bridge before heading to Penn Station. The Bronx is also expected to grow faster than any other borough in the coming years. With both factors in mind, the Department of City Planning has released a new report on the potential for transit-oriented development at Metro-North stations in the Bronx.

The study examines not only potential development but also how to improve access to train stations in neighborhoods divided by highways, rail lines, hills, and superblocks.

The plan focuses on eight Metro-North stations: University Heights and Morris Heights on the Hudson Line; Williams Bridge, Fordham, Tremont, and Melrose on the Harlem Line; and Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest on the proposed Hell Gate Line.

“The reason we chose these stations is because they had the greatest capacity for growth,” DCP project manager Shawn Brede told the City Planning Commission during a presentation last week. The borough is projected to have the fastest growth rate in the city, with nearly 200,000 additional residents by 2040, a 14 percent increase over today.

DCP hopes to focus much of that growth in transit-accessible areas, and shifts already underway in the borough’s commuting patterns show why Metro-North stations could be especially important. “The Bronx has the largest reverse commute [population] in the nation, and likely the fastest-growing,” said Carol Samol, director of DCP’s Bronx office. Nearly one in ten working Bronx residents commutes north of the city, according to Census data cited by DCP, and the highest concentration of jobs is along the New Haven Line. Read more

Can Palo Alto traffic woes be solved? City inks $500K management deal, explores new parking fixes.

Lauren Hepler | Silicon Valley Business Journal

The City of Palo Alto is moving forward with a nearly $500,000, three-year investment in a new Transportation Management Association to help diversify the modes of transit used by local workers and residents. That effort comes as the city mulls other potential remedies for scarce parking, like new satellite lots and technology upgrades for existing garages.

The City of Palo Alto is moving forward with a nearly $500,000, three-year investment in a new Transportation Management Association to help diversify the modes of transit used by local workers and residents. That effort comes as the city mulls other potential remedies for scarce parking, like new satellite lots and technology upgrades for existing garages.

Try driving through Palo Alto during rush hour and you’re likely in for some quality time behind the wheel.

The wealthy Peninsula city known for its concentration of high-paying jobs is a poster child — along with other Silicon Valley office hubs like Mountain View and Sunnyvale — for the traffic gridlock that results from decades of unbalanced economic development.

Because Palo Alto has a very limited supply of homes priced under $1 million, tech workers, professional service providers, hospitality workers and Stanford academics alike commute into the city each day for work, leading to clogged streets and packed parking lots. As I have reported, the city had 3.1 jobs for every one housing unit as of 2012, U.S. Census data shows.

Recognizing that keeping commuters employers happy is a good thing for the city’s tax base, Palo Alto officials are working on multiple fronts to curb traffic woes and parking shortages fueled by the jobs-housing mismatch.

This month, the city approved a $499,880, three-year contract with Berkeley-based consulting firm Moore Lacofano Goltsman Inc. (MIG) to organize a downtown nonprofit Transportation Management Association, according to a report by Palo Alto Weekly. The city aims for the group to “coordinate incentives for downtown employees to switch from cars to other modes of transportation,” the paper adds.

“The city, employers and transit agencies have already promoted trip reduction and alternative options,” according to a memo on the need for the new downtown Transportation Management Association. “Yet, these initiatives are not comprehensive in nature and have not been effective from a district-wide standpoint.” Read more

NYC ‘Transit Village’ to add 1 million square feet of office space, residences, retail to city

Photo by New York YIMBY

Photo by New York YIMBY

Alexandra R. Meier | The Daily Targum

Construction projects blotching New Brunswick suggest that the city is receiving a makeover – newly leaked information regarding a New Brunswick Transit Village expansion suggests that “facelift” may be the more appropriate term.

According to New York YIMBY, a site that covers architecture, construction and real estate in the New York City region, New Brunswick Development Corporation plans to spearhead a project that would add additional commercial, residential and retail space to the lots surrounding New Brunswick Station.

This includes 1 million square feet of office space, more than 500 residences and 100,000 square feet of street-front retail.

In comparison, the adjacent Gateway Transit Village (comprised of The Vue luxury apartments, among other occupancies) is 632,000 square feet, according to a DEVCO project sheet. Gateway, completed in 2011, cost $143 million.

An overview shot of the renderings shows pedestrians can access at least two stories of walkways and pavilions. A parking deck would be concealed, New York YIMBY reported. Read more

FDOT mulls adding SunRail platform at new downtown Orlando hotel

Anjali Fluker | Orlando Business Journal

Tremont Realty Capital is proposing building a new hotel at Church Street Station, one that could include a new SunRail platform in downtown OrlandoThe Florida Department of Transportation is looking at an idea that would make a proposed hotel in downtown Orlando extremely transit-oriented.

The city of Orlando appearance review board on Aug. 21 looked at a “courtesy review” request from TSCF Church Street Development LLC — a subsidiary of the Boston-based owner of Church Street Station, Tremont Realty Capital — for plans to build a new 13-story, 205-room HyattPlace Hotel with a potential SunRail station platform, city documents showed.

The proposed project would include 4,312 square feet of meeting space and a 461-space integrated parking structure and is being proposed for an existing parking lot on Garland Avenue adjacent to the Church Street Ballroom, city documents showed. The existing SunRail Church Street Station is nearby this site. Read more

Rail~Volution 2014 coming to Twin Cities Sept. 21 – Sept. 24

TwinCities.com

Dan Bartholomay, CEO of Minneapolis-based Railvolution, is gearing up for his organization’s national conference on Sept. 21 – Sept. 24 in the Twin Cities.

He’ll have folks like Dr. Beverly Scott, the director of Boston’s MBTA transit authority on hand rubbing elbows with directors and engineers from public transit authorities in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle, to name a few.

Bartholomay, who was once the commissioner for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, helped launch the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative through his previous position with the McKnight Foundation, as well as the Itasca Project. He’s all about figuring out how to use public transit to connect workers to jobs and spur economic development.

The fact that his group’s national conference will be in his hometown next month — based at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency with events spread throughout the metro — excites him to no end. “We move from site to site every year, and I expect we won’t end up in Minneapolis for another 12 to 15 years,” he said.

“We bring together one of the more diverse groups of people anywhere around these issues. The last four years we’ve been in DC, Seattle and LA and now we’re here. We’ll have probably 25 or so transit agencies represented, including a bunch of the CEOs, and we also have a bunch of engineering firms.” Read more

CTfastrak takes riders for a spin along bus rapid transit route

Kathleen Schassler | West Hartford News

Courtesy CTfastrak The new CTfastrak 40ft. bus in front of the Capitol Building in Hartford, CT. www.ctfastrak.com ,www.cttransit.com — with Capitol Building, Hartford, CTand New 40ft. CTfastrak bus at Capitol Building Hartford,CT.Connecticut offers a variety of mass transit options for travelers, choices soon to multiply as the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system begins to take shape.

Slated to begin operations in March 2015, the 9.4 mile busway from New Britain to Hartford is about 70 to 75 percent complete, according to CTfastrak officials.

The department held a recent tour of the busway that features a 5-mile multi-use trail running along the New Britain to Newington section.

Officials hope CTfastrak will cut congestion on I-84 and connect communities along the route.

In West Hartford, an apartment complex with affordable and market-rate units is being built across from the Elmwood Station. Planning ahead for new development along the Elmwood Fastrak station, the town council passed an ordinance allowing for more residential development in areas zoned for industrial use. Officials hope the ordinance will encourage development around the Elmwood station, a area that is predominately an industrial zone within the town.

The new construction project in Elmwood, called The Goodwin, will be the first new property for the West Hartford Housing Authority in more than 30 years. It’s geared toward families but is not age restricted. It includes 15 workforce/affordable units and 32 market rate units. The project complies with the responsible growth and transit-oriented design standards, according to WHHA. The project is near the heart of Elmwood center, close to shopping, restaurants and CTfastrak and other transit options. Read more

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