TOD News

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August 2014

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

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. , — 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

Real-Time Tracking Coming to the MBTA’s Green Line

Steve Annear | Boston Daily

MBTA GREEN LINE PHOTO UPLOADED BY ERIC FISCHER ON FLICKRMassDOT Secretary Richard Davey is a man of his word.

Back in 2010, he said as the MBTA looked to enhance its technological capabilities, despite its deteriorating infrastructure, riders who frequent the Green Line trolleys and subway cars would one day be able to track their rides in real-time, without having to wait idly at T stations, wondering when their train would appear. That time has come.

The MBTA confirmed Friday that they’re working with outside vendors to put the finishing touches on a new system in both the train cars and underground passageways so that passengers can pinpoint the exact arrival times of the Green Line using smartphone apps. The real-time tracking capabilities will likely be powered by AVI and GPS hardware.

“In keeping with the commitment made by Secretary Richard Davey last year, tracking equipment is being installed on the trolleys and in the tunnels,” said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo in an email to Boston. “The MBTA’s goal is to begin introducing the tracking technology on the Green Line by the end of the year.” Read more

New vision taking shape for area around Oakland’s Coliseum

Michael Cabanatuan | SFGate

MBTA GREEN LINE PHOTO UPLOADED BY ERIC FISCHER ON FLICKROakland city officials released planning studies Friday for the grand development scheme they envision around the outmoded and isolated Coliseum.

The draft environmental impact report and specific plan for Coliseum City call for construction of a new neighborhood that would feature three sports venues, 5,750 housing units and 8 million square feet of retail development.

In addition to a new ballpark for the A’s and a new football stadium for the Raiders, the plan includes an arena for the Golden State Warriors, who have announced their plans to abandon the Oracle Arena and move to a new facility they want to build in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. The new Oakland arena would also serve as an events center.

A transit hub would be built next to the Coliseum BART Station, and an elevated pedestrian concourse would run from the transportation center to the sports and entertainment facilities, shops, restaurants and hotels and residential areas. Read more

All Aboard Ohio tallies $5.5 billion in transit-oriented development in Cleveland

Progressive Railroading

More than $5.5 billion worth of real estate investment has been or is being made within 2,000 feet of transit-rail or bus rapid-transit stations in greater Cleveland over the past two years, according to the passenger-rail advocacy group All Aboard Ohio.

Some of the investments — mostly by the private sector — were attracted or influenced in design by the presence of a nearby station, according to a recent inventory of real estate development projects measured by All Aboard Ohio, officials from the nonprofit organization said in a press release.

An example of one such transit-oriented development is the proposed $110 million Intesa mixed-use development slated to begin construction this year near the new Little Italy-Mayfield Red Line train station. Read more

Why San Francisco, New York and DC may be more affordable than you thought

Kaid Benfield | Switchboard

This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.Highly enlightening new data from the New York City-based Citizens Budget Commission demonstrate the immense importance of walkability and transit in shaping how affordable large US cities are for a range of household types.  When typical housing and transportation costs are considered together and measured against incomes, cities generally thought to be relatively unaffordable because of high rents – such as San Francisco and New York – actually turn out to be more affordable than sprawling cities because of the high cost of driving in spread-out locations.

For example, San Francisco, Washington, DC and New York City have relatively high housing costs, all ranking in the top seven of 22 large US cities studied by the CBC.  But all also rank among the lowest-cost cities for transportation, because of their relative urban density, facilitating walking, and their extensive and heavily used mass transit networks.


The authors explain:


“Because low transportation costs help balance the relatively higher price of housing in New York City, it ranks ninth lowest among the 22 cities in combined housing and transportation costs. Location costs total $20,452 in New York City compared to the lowest costs in Philadelphia ($19,283) and the highest costs in San Jose ($29,337).

Read more

Haves, have-nots in New York divided by apartment poor doors

Associated Press | The Daily Times

On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.
On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.

One new Manhattan skyscraper will greet residents of pricey condos with a lobby in front, while renters of affordable apartments that got the developer government incentives must use a separate side entrance — a so-called poor door.

In another apartment house, rent-regulated residents can’t even pay to use a new gym that’s free to their market-rate neighbors. Other buildings have added playrooms and roof decks off-limits to rent-stabilized tenants.

New York is a city where the rich and relatively poor have long lived side by side, with who pays what often a closely held, widely varying secret. But a recent spate of buildings with separate amenities for the haves and have-nots is hurling that question out in the open, provoking an uncomfortable debate over equality, economics and the tightness of the social fabric.

“Nobody treats me like a second-class citizen in my own home,” says Jean Green Dorsey, who filed a complaint with the city Human Rights Commission this spring over her Manhattan building’s fitness center. She and fellow rent-stabilized tenants aren’t allowed to enter it despite a willingness to pay a fee; market-rate renters use it gratis.

Motivated by business

Developers say they’re motivated by business, not bias, and reserving some prime features for higher-paying residents is the price of having affordable housing in hot neighborhoods.

But officials are broaching proposals to force more inclusiveness, troubled by seeing landlords use affordable-housing tax and zoning breaks to create what critics view as a caste system.

In a city where Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected last year on pledges to increase affordable housing and shrink income inequality, an outcry erupted after his housing department signed off last month on the affordable bona fides of the Manhattan poor door building; the project was approved and started construction before de Blasio took office. Its creator, Extell Development Co., declined to comment. Read more

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