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November 2006
Volume 2, Number 2

Communicating the Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development (2006)

By Cali Gorewitz and Gloria Ohland, Reconnecting America’s Center for Transit-Oriented Development,
Carrie Makarewicz, Albert Benedict, and ChaNell Marshall, Center for Neighborhood Techology and
Dr. Jan Wells and Martin Robins, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
(Prepared for the US EPA's Development, Community and Environment Division)

Communicating the Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, examines two sub-regions that have capitalized on the benefits realized from transit-oriented “redevelopment” — Hoboken and Jersey City in New Jersey, and Evanston, Illinois. Formerly in economic decline, both areas are now economic engines, attracting businesses and residents to a growing inventory of new development.

In the Hoboken and Jersey City example, Dr. Jan Wells and Martin Robins, both of Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, trace how once derelict and abandoned properties facing Manhattan are now large, mixed-use real estate gold mines. The recent introduction of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line which serves the area has added a positive mobility dimension to these locations. In the Evanston example, Carrie Makarewicz, Albert Benedict, and ChaNell Marshall, of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, recount how the city launched its 1986 economic revitalization plan to transform the downtown by attracting new construction to locate near its under-utilized Metra and El rail stations. Both sub-regions now boast healthy and vibrant economies that appeal to urban dwellers who are taking advantage of the ready access to the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas via public transit.

The study can be downloaded from Reconnecting America.

 

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Building Livable Communities with Transit: Planning, Developing, and Implementing Community-Sensitive Transit (August 2006)

By the Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), through its Livable Communities Initiative (LCI), issued this manual to help local governments, transit agencies and transit planners address community concerns as they develop and enhance transit facilities, such as light rail stations. This LCI guide strongly emphasizes that transit planning should knit itself more closely to its community planning counterpart. A community-sensitive transit facility, for example, would include readily available customer information, provisions for a safe and secure environment, sufficient bike and pedestrian access, and architecture reflecting the values of the community. Using a five-step process for the development of transit facilities — metro planning, programming, project development, project implementation, and operations/maintenance — this manual suggests that active civic involvement should be sought at each phase. Active participation of the stakeholders, especially those traditionally underrepresented, will ensure the transit facility meets the needs and expectations of potential users.

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The LCI has helped fund 21 projects across the country. Two examples are projects in Baltimore and Chicago. In Baltimore, the Maryland Transit Administration, using an LCI grant, built a child care center and police substation at the Reisterstown Road Metro Station Park and Ride. The station also received landscape improvements, covered walkways, and enhanced customer information. Similarly, at the Tech/35th Street Station along the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line, an LCI-funded project improved bus connections, added safety and security features and enhanced pedestrian walkways, among other improvements. The Building Livable Communities manual summarizes each of the LCI-supported projects in the appendices.

 

Creating Walkable Places (2006)

By Adrienne Schmitz and Jason Scully
(Urban Land Institute)

Richly illustrated with color photographs, site plans, and diagrams, this new book explains how to create pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use developments including those with “transit-oriented cores.” Topics cover the need for active lifestyles in light of today’s health and obesity concerns, how to get financing for mixed-use, new urbanist, and higher-density projects that don’t “fit the mold,” the role of the public sector, how to reconfigure old places and plan and design new projects, and what to do about parking. Case studies describe walkable, mixed-use town centers, and pedestrian-focused communities in urban and suburban settings. This is the perfect gift for planning board members and community leaders to help them understand and see the possibilities of more compact, well-designed development focused around walking and biking.

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Transit Village Symposium: "Progress and Future"
Symposium Proceedings
(2006)

By Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
and New Jersey Department of Transportation
with support from The New Jersey State League of Municipalities

Now available on line: Summary of Proceedings from the Second Transit Village Initiative Symposium, “Progress and Future,” held Friday, June 9, 2006 and sponsored by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers — The State University of New Jersey. More than 150 leaders from the public sector, private industry and non-governmental organizations gathered at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick to take stock of New Jersey’s effort to support the Transit Village Initiative and transit-oriented development.

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