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October 2014

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

Millennials Are in Motion, But Not Necessarily by Car

Todd Litman | Planetizen

Following approval by the board of trustees, the Utah Transit Authority will move ahead with its second transit-oriented development to be located in West Jordan. Kristin Murphy, Deseret NewsA new report, Millennials in Motion: Changing Travel Habits of Young Americans and the Implications for Public Policy by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Frontier Group shows mounting evidence that the Millennial generation’s dramatic shift away from driving is more than temporary. While the 2000s saw a marked decrease in the average number of miles traveled by young Americans, the study explains that those trends appear likely to continue even as the economy improves—in light of the consistency of Millennials’ surveyed preferences, a continued reduction of Millennials driving to work, and the continued decreases in per-capita driving among all Americans.

“Millennials are different from their parents, and those differences aren’t going away,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG and co-author of the report. “After five years of economic growth with stagnant driving, it’s time for federal and state governments to wake up to growing evidence that Millennials don’t want to drive as much as their parents did. This change has big implications and policy makers shouldn’t be asleep at the wheel.”

It includes many findings that suggest that Millennials’ shift away from driving last decade is continuing:

  • Census data shows that the share of 16 to 24 year-olds traveling to work by car declined by 1.5 percentage points between 2006 and 2013, while the share of young people getting to work by public transportation, on foot or by bicycle, or else working from home, had increased.
  • Young people aged 20 to 30 are less likely to move from central cities to suburbs than at any time since at least the late 1990s.
  • Millennials consistently report greater attraction to less driving-intensive lifestyles — urban living, residence in “walkable” communities, and openness to the use of non-driving modes of transport—than older generations.
  • Fewer young people are getting their driver’s licenses than even a few years ago. The percentage of high school seniors with driver’s licenses declined from 85 percent to 73 percent between 1996 and 2010, according to the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety, with federal data suggesting that the decline has continued since then. Read more

Baltimore economy stands out amid lackluster state growth

Natalie Sherman | The Baltimore Sun

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 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 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.

Employment in the Baltimore region grew about 1.8 percent between September 2013 and September 2014, comparable to the 1.9 percent rate in the U.S. overall. In Maryland overall, jobs have grown at a rate of about 0.6 percent.

R. Andrew Bauer, a Baltimore-based senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va., predicted that Baltimore will continue to outperform Maryland next year while the state experiences a “year of catch-up.”

“It’s not going to be an exciting time, but a steady time,” he said at the Hilton Baltimore, where the Greater Baltimore Committee hosted its economic outlook conference. “My version of optimistic is perhaps a revision of what optimistic is. … Growth is going to be more moderate.”

Maryland’s job growth started to slow in 2011, when Congress passed the Budget Control Act imposing spending caps and setting the stage for future automatic spending cuts, Bauer said. Those sequester cuts went into effect in 2013, placing another damper on growth. Read more

Urban Land Institute: Investment Momentum Will Continue

Paul Bubny | Globe Street

Following approval by the board of trustees, the Utah Transit Authority will move ahead with its second transit-oriented development to be located in West Jordan. Kristin Murphy, Deseret NewsWith the Urban Land Institute’s Fall Meeting in full swing here, a pair of surveys cosponsored by ULI predicts the industry’s current momentum will carry over into 2015. The 2015 edition of ULI’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, co-published by PwC US and issued Wednesday at the conference, cites the rise of markets outside the coastal gateway cities, with Houston leading the way. Similarly, the semi-annual ULI/EY Real Estate Consensus Forecast issued last week predicts continued strengthening in the capital markets and in commercial real estate fundamentals.

Commenting on the PwC/ULI report, ULI global CEO Patrick L. Phillips notes that investors are “looking closely at opportunities beyond the core markets. These cities are positioning themselves as highly competitive, in terms of livability, employment offerings and recreational and cultural amenities.”

While it may be difficult to think of the nation’s largest commercial property market as old news, New York City is not in the top five among markets ranked by survey respondents in the PwC/ULI study. Nor is it in the top 10; Manhattan ranks number 14 and Brooklyn number 22. With the energy sector continuing to drive market growth, Houston was ranked number one for development and investment expectations, and number two for its housing market expectations. Read more

UTA moving forward with transit-oriented development in West Jordan

Jasen Lee | Deseret News

Following approval by the board of trustees, the Utah Transit Authority will move ahead with its second transit-oriented development to be located in West Jordan. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Following approval by the board of trustees, the Utah Transit Authority will move ahead with its second transit-oriented development to be located in West Jordan. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Following approval by the board of trustees, the Utah Transit Authority will move ahead with its second transit-oriented development to be located in West Jordan.

On Wednesday, the board approved the conveyance of land surrounding the Jordan Valley TRAX station.

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

Upon completion, Bangerter Station will boast almost 1,400 residential units, 83,000 square feet of office space, structured parking, along with nearly 35,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Read more

CTfastrak station nears completion

Scott Whipple | New Britain Herald

 

Kevin Bartram | Staff Connecticut DOT representative Lisa Rivers, left, and Tyler Tompkins from Baker Construction inspect the nearly complete downtown New Britain CTFastrak station on Friday. The dedicated busway from New Britain to Hartford is scheduled to begin service next year.
Kevin Bartram | Staff Connecticut DOT representative Lisa Rivers, left, and Tyler Tompkins from Baker Construction inspect the nearly complete downtown New Britain CTFastrak station on Friday. The dedicated busway from New Britain to Hartford is scheduled to begin service next year.

While working on the New Britain Downtown Station, a CTfastrak construction worker hums the theme to “The Jetsons.” Lisa Rivers, transit manager for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, knows why.

“He says the lampposts look like flying saucers,” she said. “We used a lot of stainless steel here. It’s easy to maintain and it has a modern look”.

With the station nearing completion and needing only finishing touches, Rivers gave a visitor a tour of the site Friday.

Rivers said construction teams have been getting the 9.4 mile busway and its stations built. “Now we’re making sure what we built works for our customers,” she said. She was especially proud of the level platform, so riders can enter and exit buses easily.

“We adjusted the bellows on buses to ease the berthing,” Rivers explained. “A finishing touch will be a rub rail along the curve so drivers can use their mirrors to line up the bus with the platform. The rub rail bumps the tires so the bus can’t get too close.”

Opening day is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2015. However, there could be an earlier soft opening showcasing express buses. Signs will tell riders when their bus will arrive and its ultimate destination. People with visual impairments can push a button and hear the message on the sign.

All stations will be completed on time, though, at this point, downtown New Britain is farther along than stations closer to Hartford.

“The other stations started later, and we‘ve been using those locations as a lay-down area [storage for construction.],” Rivers said.

The solar panels for the platform will be installed next weekend, and later the ticket vending machines. Over the winter, more bits and pieces will be added. Read more

Cycling in the cities: 7 new local inventions for bike enthusiasts here and around the globe

Brian Martucci | The Line Media

 

PHOTO BY MICAH TAYLOR/FLICKR
PHOTO BY MICAH TAYLOR/FLICKR

As everyone knows by now, it’s great to be a cyclist in the Twin Cities. From folks ditching their cars for bikes, to Minneapolis and St. Paul creating nation-leading bikeway plans, pedal power has a lot of momentum here. As transit-oriented developments hits its stride along the Green Line and other key corridors, the bicycle looks to figure even more prominently into our local transit mix.

The Twin Cities isn’t only a leader in bicycle use, however, but also a major innovator in bicycle design and technology. The seven inventions profiled below have, or will have, an impact on the local and global cycling industry. And the pace of innovation shows no sign of slowing down.

Bicycle maintenance 

Park Tool: Bike Repair Stands

Two generations ago, repairing a bike meant getting on your hands and knees. No more. In 1963, cycling-crazy St. Paulites Howard Hawkins and Art Engstrom invented the world’s first bicycle repair stand, Model PRS-1. Suddenly, accessing bike chains, spokes, gears and especially tubes was a snap. The duo formed a company, Park Tool, and began marketing their innovation to bike shops and riders around the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest. Schwinn Bicycle Company was an early customer.

PRS-1 was a simple design: The device’s clamps lock on to the seat tube and raise the bike off the floor, allowing arm-level access. “The original version actually held the bike upside down,” says Paul Schoening, Park Tool’s marketing director. The next version, PRS-2, flipped the bike right side up for the first time. Read more

10 ways to get to a more vibrant central Connecticut

Staff | CTfastrak

A new pedestrian bridge over nine railroad tracks will offer a shortcut between Sacramento City College and Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood. It will be built off-site, transported next to the tracks and installed via crane.MANNY CRISOSTOMO/MCRISOSTOMO@SACBEE.COMA vibrant community is a livable community. One that connects people to everything they need – jobs, housing, business opportunities and health care centers—making their lives better and easier. Beginning early 2015, central Connecticut will have exactly that. Introducing CTfastrak. CTfastrak is Connecticut’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, providing state-of-the-art transit service on a bus-only, traffic-free roadway. This valuable system will do so much more than reduce congestion along I-84. It will become an economic engine that will drive central Connecticut to a more vibrant community.

1. Reduced transportation costs

Between high prices for gas, insurance and downtown parking, everyday driving can get expensive. On CTfastrak, riders can avoid these costs. A trip will cost the same regular low fare as CTTRANSIT buses—currently $1.50 local fare and distance-based $2.70 to $5.15 express fare. CTfastrak will save money in other ways too. With fewer cars on the road, there will be fewer emissions and less wear and tear. Which means less money spent cleaning up air and highways, and more money spent where people need it most.

2. Expanded regional access

Using CTfastrak, passengers will travel between New Britain and Hartford in 20 minutes. Express buses from Bristol, Waterbury, Cheshire and Southington will use the bus-only roadway to get downtown faster, while circulator and connector routes allow passengers to get to and from destinations within nearby communities. Working together to create a fast-paced network that connects communities and provides a variety of people with easy access to jobs, dining, shopping, health care, education and entertainment throughout the region, including:

– Major downtown employers, like Aetna, Travelers and many others

– Central Connecticut State University

– UConn Health Center

– Westfarms Mall

– St. Francis and Hartford Hospitals

– Buckland Hills area

– Bushnell Park

– XL Center

3. State-of-the-art transit

CTfastrak is more than an innovative solution to a complicated traffic congestion problem. The system incorporates many state-of-the-art technologies designed to provide an efficient, convenient, user-friendly and eco-friendly transportation alternative. Read more

Silicon Valley sprawls East: How tech jobs, housing and transit are shaping a megaregion

Lauren Hepler | Silicon Valley Business Journal\

As Silicon Valley sprawls out of the confines of the South Bay, business advocates and city planners in the East Bay's Tri-Valley region are angling to leverage transit, housing and sophisticated federal laboratories to grow the local tech industry. Here, a rendering of a proposed transit-oriented development area in Livermore, should the city win a controversial extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
As Silicon Valley sprawls out of the confines of the South Bay, business advocates and city planners in the East Bay’s Tri-Valley region are angling to leverage transit, housing and sophisticated federal laboratories to grow the local tech industry. Here, a rendering of a proposed transit-oriented development area in Livermore, should the city win a controversial extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).

On the outside, the SpinDx technology pioneered at Livermore’s Sandia National Laboratory looks like little more than a beige cube with a retro CD player on one end.

But the “lab-on-a-disk” tool developed with $4 million in federal funding has been hailed as a potential game changer in the detection of biological warfare agents, like anthrax, for its capability to manipulate and identify unknown substances.

Now, startups in the Tri-Valley area of the East Bay — a region immediately northeast of Silicon Valley, centered around the cities San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton — want to harness the technology’s healthcare potential to diagnose cancer or conduct in-home fertility testing.

The technology represents the crystallization of the type of public-private business development work that Tri-Valley officials and economic boosters want to use to foster a growing local tech industry.

In addition to research spun out of national research centers in the area like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, they cite the region’s highly-educated workforce, strong base of corporate tenants, an emerging startup scene and increasing economic ties to Silicon Valley as variables working in their favor.

Though the Tri-Valley’s billion-dollar research tenants offer a potential leg up, the business push also comes as outlying regions from Santa Cruz to the San Joaquin Valley up to Davis also look to strengthen ties to Silicon Valley. It all adds fuel to demographers’ predictions that Northern California will likely look like a 24 million-resident “Megaregion” in just a few decades. Read more

 

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