6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal

Bill Adams | San Diego UrbDeZine

Artist rendering of the condos being constructed at Voltaire and Catalina.

Artist rendering of the condos being constructed at Voltaire and Catalina.

For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.

1) Failing to Understand How to Provide for Pedestrian and Other Active Transit:

Too often, cities and towns seem to think that all pedestrians need are sidewalks to walk on and greenery to look at. The same goes for bikes and bikelanes. It goes without saying that pedestrians and bikes work differently than cars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, a newish residential development near my home provides ample sidewalks along its curving streets. Much of the development is only a stones throw from a park and three public schools comprising K – 12.

Cars can drive there in a few minutes, but pedestrians must take the same circuitous route as cars, which of course takes much longer. A simple narrow walkway or stairs down the slope, to steep for cars but easily traversed by pedestrians , could have been a boon to walkers in the area. What makes this oversight particularly tragic is that in the adjacent older neighborhood where I reside, there are three sets of stairs that do exactly that, and which should have served as a model for the new development. Another example is in the downtown area in which my office is located. Read more

PennDOT: 91 Projects to Improve Mobility, Safety with Act 89 Multimodal, Transit Funds

Staff | Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Artist rendering of the condos being constructed at Voltaire and Catalina.Eighty-six projects in 35 counties will improve safety and mobility with $84 million in Multimodal Transportation Fund investments from Act 89, the state’s transportation plan.

“All types of transportation drive our economy and Act 89 gave us the tools to ensure our non-highway modes receive the funding they need to maintain a connected transportation system,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “These are vital investments that underscore Governor Corbett’s dedication to improving transportation in communities across the state.”

In addition to the 86 multimodal projects announced, PennDOT is investing $7.2 million in Act 89 transit funding for five transit projects that applied for multimodal funding.

These grants were made possible by Act 89, which increased transit funding and established dedicated multimodal funding for aviation, passenger rail, rail freight, port and bicycle-pedestrian projects. The project funding comes from three state fiscal years of Act 89 investments.

PennDOT evaluated the applications and made selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability. Read more

Construction To Begin On New Commuter Rail Stations In Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin

Don Stacom | Courant

The New Haven to Springfield commuter rail service that’s scheduled to begin in 2016 will be called the Hartford Line, said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who announced Friday that station construction will start this fall in Wallingford, Meriden and Berlin.

Running a high-frequency schedule of trains along the Amtrak route paralleling I-91 will get traffic off the highway, reduce workers’ commute time, and encourage new retail and housing development around the stations up and down the line, according to Malloy and the state transportation department.

The single track carries about six long-distance Amtrak trains each way daily, chiefly aimed at feeding its Northeast Corridor service between Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Connecticut plans to add a second track along most of the route, and run 12 to 17 trains a day, mostly for commuters.

The Hartford Line service will link Connecticut River Valley communities with more than a dozen others in New Haven, Fairfield and Westchester counties.

Workers have been installing signals and underground cables along the New Haven-to-Hartford-to-Springfield line, and will now begin construction at three key stations. They’ll add high-level platforms on both sides of the track, overhead pedestrian bridges with new elevators, snow-melting systems for the platforms, and public address and video surveillance equipment. Read more

UTA Moves Forward with Second Transit-Oriented Development Project in Two Months

Staff | UTA

On the heels of the groundbreaking of the East Village transit-oriented development in Sandy, attended by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, UTA is moving forward with its second transit oriented development (TOD) in West Jordan City. Today the Board of Trustees approved the conveyance of land surrounding the Jordan Valley TRAX Station to the joint venture entity established with the chosen developer.

The $40 million first phase of the Jordan Valley Station TOD, called Bangerter Station, will be a model multi-use TOD, with 267 housing units, retail shops, and structured parking within walking distance of the Jordan Valley TRAX station.

“This is a great moment for West Jordan City, UTA and the entire Salt Lake Valley. When it is completed, Bangerter Station will be a vibrant part of the city, providing a great place to live and work,” said Michael Allegra, UTA president and CEO. “Bangerter Station will be a great destination with excellent transit access, reducing traffic congestion while improving air quality.”

When all phases are complete, Bangerter Station will boast nearly 1,400 residential units, 83,000 square feet of office space, structured parking, and nearly 35,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.

Located next to the TRAX Red Line, the development will provide easy access to major destinations in the valley including the University of Utah, downtown Salt Lake City, the Jordan Landing shopping center and more. Read more

Station construction begins for commuter-rail program in Connecticut

Staff | Progressive Railroading

 

The Baltimore region has been less affected by federal spending cuts than other parts of the state, helping to make it a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster Maryland economy, a federal economist said Thursday. (David Hobby, The Baltimore Sun)Construction has begun on three new stations that will be part of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter-rail program, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) officials announced late last week.

Located in Wallingford, Meriden and Berlin, the stations are part of the new commuter-rail service that has been branded the Hartford Line. Construction on the three stations is scheduled to be completed by the time the service launches in late 2016, state officials said in a press release.

The stations will feature high-level platforms on both sides of the track; an overhead pedestrian bridge with new elevators and stair towers on both sides of the track to connect the two platforms; platform snow melt systems; electric vehicle charging stations; ticket vending machines; and passenger information display systems.

“The [New Haven-Hartford-Springfield] rail program will not only offer more frequent, convenient and faster passenger-rail service, but it will also cultivate significant benefits to communities along the rail line, including local economic and transit-oriented development activities at and around these stations,” said Malloy. Read more

Hollywood hopes to get a Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Downtown at Hollywood Blvd.

David Volz | Hollywood Gazette

The Baltimore region has been less affected by federal spending cuts than other parts of the state, helping to make it a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster Maryland economy, a federal economist said Thursday. (David Hobby, The Baltimore Sun)

The City of Hollywood is hoping that the Tri-Rail Coastal Link will place one its stations in the City.

“We would like to be one of the first train stations for the Coastal Link and we believe Hollywood would be a good place to locate a train station,” said Raelin Storey, spokesperson for Hollywood.

This commuter train service would connect up the downtowns of coastal South Florida and Hollywood is one of the cities that is being considered for a train station to be located in Downtown Hollywood on 21st Avenue and Taylor Street.

“Hollywood is an ideal location for a stop because the rail corridor is immediately adjacent to our historic downtown. The land use is already in place for a regional activity center. This creates a very walkable, transit and pedestrian friendly stop. There is existing residential with 600 more units planned along with existing retail and office development all within a one fourth mile of this proposed stop,’ said Susan Goldberg, deputy director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

Also there is discussion underway for the expansion of the existing higher education facility, Barry University, which will further the area’s appeal for creating a true transit-oriented development. Read more

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