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Passenger Trains > NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station


Date: 06/12/19 09:23
NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Lackawanna484

Does anyone have info on how this huge project is coming along?

A new station, South of Jersey Avenue on the NEC. Planned to have eastbound and westbound platforms.

This is in the same area as the turn back, which allows westbound trains to cross up and over the NEC, and return as eastbounds.

Target and Costco are already operational, and rental / condo units will be on the property.

http://www.centraljersey.com/news/north-brunswick-pushes-for-complete-train-station-platform/article_c5093593-898f-5e5a-8f68-40c7b7cd364b.html

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Date: 06/12/19 17:11
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Passfanatic

While I laud the majority of the new retail and residential development in operation here, there is obviously one big piece that is still missing-a train station. Between Jersey Avenue and Princeton Junction is a very long stretch without a station. When the new station opens up at North Brunswick, it will not only attract people who live in the development, but it will help people who live in places like S. Brunswick, Monroe Twp, Jamesburg, and Cranbury. The future site of the North Brunswick Train Station would be very close to several highways: 1, 130, and the NJ Turnpike. For those people, living in Monroe Twp, Cranbury, Jamesburg, and S. Brunswick, who would access the station-it looks like they would be able to take Adams Lane. In the future, it might be nice for a new street overpass to be built a little closer to the station.

As for Jersey Avenue Station, they need two platforms on both sides of the tracks. It's an embarrasment seeing how only the westbound side has a platform in addition to the spur track. Having two platforms on both sides of the main tracks would enable trains to stop there in both directions at all times of the day. Jersey Avenue Station is also in a good location. It's good if you live south of Downtown New Brunswick and don't wait to drive all the way into downtown to get the train.



Date: 06/13/19 02:22
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: sums007

Passfanatic Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------


>
> As for Jersey Avenue Station, they need two
> platforms on both sides of the tracks. It's an
> embarrasment seeing how only the westbound side
> has a platform in addition to the spur track.
> Having two platforms on both sides of the main
> tracks would enable trains to stop there in both
> directions at all times of the day. Jersey Avenue
> Station is also in a good location. It's good if
> you live south of Downtown New Brunswick and don't
> wait to drive all the way into downtown to get the
> train.

I think you meant to say that they need a platform on each side of the tracks.



Date: 06/13/19 09:36
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Jishnu

Both  eastbound and westbound high level platforms are planned for Jersey Avenue, and a new station is planned in North Brunswick roughly at the erstwhile location of the Johnson & Johnson facility there. But the clock has been set back by at least five years if not more by the budgetary shenanigans of Mr. Christie. First NJT has to recover from that mess before it can proceed on any of these major capital projects.



Date: 06/14/19 05:17
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: abyler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone have info on how this huge project is
> coming along?

The County Yard project, which this project depends on, should start construction next year, finally.  Checking my notes, I made the preliminary layout design of County Yard in June of 2013, six years ago.

> A new station, South of Jersey Avenue on the NEC.
> Planned to have eastbound and westbound
> platforms.

Its a minimum of 5 to 6 years until this happens if the project begins simultaneously with County, but realisitically, 10+ years until it opens.  To be conservative, I will put the timeframe of this station (and the Midline Loop) opening in post-2030.

> This is in the same area as the turn back, which
> allows westbound trains to cross up and over the
> NEC, and return as eastbounds.

This got me wondering whether a simple tail-back track with an overjump would be cheaper and more efficient than the loop.  Like used to exist in Paoli.

Wonder if anyone considered just building a mainline stop at North Brunswick and investing the money for the Delco Lead and Midline Loop in an overjump at County and rebuilding the Millstone Branch as the terminus of the New Brunswick trains.  That would actually serve a lot more people.

> Target and Costco are already operational, and
> rental / condo units will be on the property.

Why would anyone want to live next to a Target and a Costco?  Do planners ever actually think these things through?  No one walks to Costco to pick up a few things.

You really have to wonder why it is so hard for planners to go and take a walk in a town with a train stop like Princeton, South Amboy, or Millburn, take notes, and then go replicate that as a "Transit Village".  Anyone with eyes will note towns like those do not include walkable big-box stores.

In another life and with the proper power, I would have really enjoyed building actual transit villages.  These have:
A minority of apartments
1/8 to 1/4 acre lot homes with an occasional 1/2 acre double lot
Use of durable materials in construction to give the impression of permanence
Shaded sidewalks (please don't cut down all these trees to make construction easier)
On street parking and driveways
Narrow non-conforming two way streets
No cul-de-sacs
Critical socio-cultural institutions - at least 4 churches, a library, a small park/playground intermixed in the neighborhood
A variety of small stores, but especially a small grocer, barbers/beauticians, a dry cleaner/tailor, a shoe repair store, a convenience store, a pharmacy, at least 4 bars, and at least 4 restaurants
An elementary school with a playing field for field sports and a ball field

And most importantly a centrally located trains station with parking

Critical mass of the elementary school would be 40 to 50 children per class, which implies a town size of 3200 to 4000 if you don't overdo the number of apartments.  If this also gives you 2000+/- workers in town, you might get 200 to 500 walkers/short distance riders from the train station.

I'm sure many planners run these numbers and decide 300 riders won't justify a massive train station (although there are small human scaled stations like that around Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago).  Which is why these aren't actualy getting built.
 



Date: 06/14/19 07:00
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: joemvcnj

abyler Wrote:

> Critical socio-cultural institutions - at least 4
> churches, a library, a small park/playground
> intermixed in the neighborhood
> A variety of small stores, but especially a small
> grocer, barbers/beauticians, a dry cleaner/tailor,
> a shoe repair store, a convenience store, a
> pharmacy, at least 4 bars, and at least 4
> restaurants

What, no nail shop ? 



Date: 06/14/19 07:12
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Duna

abyler Wrote:

> In another life and with the proper power, I would
> have really enjoyed building actual transit
> villages.  These have:
> A minority of apartments
> 1/8 to 1/4 acre lot homes with an occasional 1/2
> acre double lot
>  


That yields about 220 homes within walking distance (1/4 mile) of the station.  About 2,300 household per sq. mile. Very low density, not nearly enough to support a rail transit system.

Los Angeles, the densest large US urban area currently has about 3,000 households per sq mile. About 1.3 times as dense as you propose.

TODs need to consist of multi-floor housing.  Single-family detached homes won't work.

RS
(practicing land use and transporation planner)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/19 07:16 by Duna.



Date: 06/14/19 08:00
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: RRTom

I keep hearing that the big box stores will be gone in 20 years and the land will be re-developed.
What do professional land use planners (and amateurs too) think the future holds?



Date: 06/14/19 08:02
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Lackawanna484

The plans that I saw a decade ago (likely scrapped), called for office buildings, several residential towers with some senior citizen housing, and two parking garages near the station.  The Costco, etc would be on the south end of the property. 

The town, at the time, was trying to maximize taxable ratables, like the office buildings and Costco.  While minimizing the impact on schools.  The COAH housing folks were involved, as well as some important people in Middlesex county politics.  Good recipe for impasse.



Date: 06/14/19 08:04
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: joemvcnj

1/4 mile ? That's only a 5 minute walk. People walk 10 - 15 minutes to rail stations all the time and it eliminates parking costs and capacity issues. Non-permit parking spots are usually filled in many stations by 7am. A mixed bag of private homes, condos, townhouses, and apartment building within a half mile distance are fine. Even at neighboring Edison station, most of the station parking ($4) is a 5 - 7 minute walk to the inbound station platform. 

In New Brunswick, parking can get you for $22 a day, which is very high. Most rail stations, it is $3 - $8 
https://www.njtransit.com/rg/rg_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=TrainStationLookupFrom&selStation=103&x=26&y=10
There are plenty of high-rises going up, though some are for University students, but some are a 10 minute walk to the station.

BTW, I work in New Brunswick. I drive 12 miles, then catch a county bus as I can't stand the traffic in the last 7 miles, the downtown traffic, though I could park much cheaper per my employer.

 



Date: 06/14/19 08:12
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: Duna

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 1/4 mile ? That's only a 5 minute walk. People
> walk 10 - 15 minutes to rail stations all the time
> and it eliminates parking costs and capacity
> issues. Non-permit parking spots are usually
> filled in many stations by 7am. A mixed bag of
> private homes, condos, townhouses, and apartment
> building within a half mile distance are
> fine. Even at neighboring Edison station, most of
> the station parking ($4) is a 5 - 7 minute walk to
> the inbound station platform. 
>
> In New Brunswick, parking can get you for $22 a
> day, which is very high. Most rail stations, it is
> $3 - $8 
> https://www.njtransit.com/rg/rg_servlet.srv?hdnPag
> eAction=TrainStationLookupFrom&selStation=103&x=26
> &y=10
> There are plenty of high-rises going up, though
> some are for University students, but some are a
> 10 minute walk to the station.
>
> BTW, I work in New Brunswick. I drive 12 miles,
> then catch a county bus as I can't stand the
> traffic in the last 7 miles, the downtown traffic,
> though I could park much cheaper per my employer.
>
>  


1/4 mile walk distance is the "standard" distance used for this sort of thing. Of course some people will walk further, some less. But after 1/4 mile, the number falls off sharply. It just does.

Anecdotes are just that. When I lived in Portland, I walked 1/2 mile on each end of my LRT home-to-work trip.  That's "only" 2 miles walking per day, but would kill many in Fatmerica.

The health club nearby where I live now has valet parking...

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/19 08:14 by Duna.



Date: 06/14/19 21:21
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: RuleG

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Why would anyone want to live next to a Target and
> a Costco?  Do planners ever actually think these
> things through?  No one walks to Costco to pick
> up a few things.

Not far from where I live in Pittsburgh is a Target store.  Near this store are high-density residential complexes, one of which is next to a transit station.

The nearest Costo is several miles from my house, but I have walked to the Target (about a 20 minute walk) "to pick up a few things."

>
> You really have to wonder why it is so hard for
> planners to go and take a walk in a town with a
> train stop like Princeton, South Amboy, or
> Millburn, take notes, and then go replicate that
> as a "Transit Village".  Anyone with eyes will
> note towns like those do not include walkable
> big-box stores.

There are many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and in communities outside of the city which were developed around streetcar and railroad lines.  As such they have the characteristics of transit oriented development which many are trying to create from scratch in newer urban communities.
>  



Date: 06/15/19 06:10
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: abyler

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> joemvcnj Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > 1/4 mile ? That's only a 5 minute walk. People
> > walk 10 - 15 minutes to rail stations all the
> time
> > and it eliminates parking costs and capacity
>
> 1/4 mile walk distance is the "standard" distance
> used for this sort of thing. Of course some people
> will walk further, some less. But after 1/4 mile,
> the number falls off sharply. It just does.

That's correct, and that's why SEPTA retains numerous commuter rail stops located less than 1 mile from each other in Philadelphia and lower Delaware County (and likewise Metra on Chicago's South Side), much to the complaint of many uninformed planners who believe station spacing should be much further apart.  This is also the station spacing on the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, the Norristown High Speed Line, Staten Island Rapid Transit

Station spacing that is too far apart is also the single biggest failure of all new rail lines I have seen built.

I'd like to remind people that you cannot ride or use a line that does not stop where you live or want to go even if it goes right past your house.



Date: 06/15/19 06:45
Re: NJ "Transit Oriented Development" at North Brunswick station
Author: abyler

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> abyler Wrote:
>
> > In another life and with the proper power, I
> would
> > have really enjoyed building actual transit
> > villages.  These have:
> > A minority of apartments
> > 1/8 to 1/4 acre lot homes with an occasional
> 1/2
> > acre double lot
>
> That yields about 220 homes within walking
> distance (1/4 mile) of the station.  About 2,300
> household per sq. mile. Very low density, not
> nearly enough to support a rail transit system.
>
> Los Angeles, the densest large US urban area
> currently has about 3,000 households per sq mile.
> About 1.3 times as dense as you propose.

In my view, the critical factor for success of commuter rail isn't great housing density, but employment density in a walkable urban core connected to areas with modest housing density where professional/office workers want to live..  And location of the station(s) in the midst of the employment density.  Philadelphia, a metro area 1/3 the size of LA has the same total employment (300,000) downtown.  That's why Phill'y commuter rail and rail transit work and LA's doesn't.  Heck, Pittsburgh, which has 1/9th the inhabitants of Los Angeles has 50% fo the total employment in its downtown that LA does.

> TODs need to consist of multi-floor housing. 
> Single-family detached homes won't work.

And yet traditional "TOD" along the commuter rail lines of the northeast is exactly that density of ~5,000+ people per sq mile and has worked for over 150 years to make for pleasant towns people want to live in. This is the real disconnect of planners and their Manhattan/European mindset from reality.  American's do not want to live in multi-floor housing in their peak working/child raising years from 30 to 60.  This is especially true of higher earning workers in professional/office/medical/clerical fields.



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