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New Jersey Transit Village

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
The MPO i work for sponsors a grant called TCDI

Transportation and Community Design Initiative. It runs every other year and typically we fund 5 projects. Collingswood was a winner two years ago, has recently won a "Transit Village" designation from the State (more funding), and has seen a 100% increase in real estate values in the last 3 years.

Here's the finished product of our $100k TCDI grant -

http://www.collingswood.com/?pn=itype&flag=484&rm=587
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Behind the flag pole is a young japanese maple. That's my old house. )-; I miss it.


I lived upstairs from the Tortilla Press for a year.


what a strange hybrid. The town centre looks like (I know this line is going to come back to haunt me) a developing high bourgeois consumerist watering hole, complete with flashy cursive-accented banners and flowerpots. Oddly, the rest of the town (and some remaining bits of downtown) are pure other-side-of-the-tracks working class rowhouse. Where do the customers of the downtown's upmarket businesses live?

It's really not strange at all. Mixed income is how a town should be. All you see from these pictures are Haddon Ave. (the main st.) and the blocks immediately adjacent. If you go two to three blocks off of Haddon Ave. the rowhomes disappear and you have much larger victorians, colonials, etc., particularly around the parks.

Most of the activity on Haddon Ave. is local traffic. Granted too many people in town insist on driving but the video store, the coffee shops, the grocery store, the hardware store, is all local. The borough council is making a concerted effort to keep the Ave. functional but a lot of the monied out-of-town draw is coming from the western end of Cherry Hill and from Marlton.

Don't be fooled by rowhouses and twins. They're mostly occupied by widows and as they die off they're being gobbled up by DINKs - i was one of them. The bigger houses are increasingly couples who left the city b/c they just had a kid and plan on having more. It's only a 16 minute ride from Collingswood to Rittenhouse Square - that's attractive to a lot of people who don't want to completely cut their ties with Philly.
 

boilerplater

Cyburbian
Messages
916
Points
21
Mr Resta,
So do you work for the Del Val Regional Plan Assoc.? NJ Transit has a TOD program where they fund studies of areas adjacent to transit stations. I participated in one for the site of the old Cherry Hill Racetrack a few years ago. Last I heard, the state stopped the town from building a senior complex there because someone pointed out that Cherry Hill had not met its affordable housing (Mt Laurel II) obligations and that the racetrack represented the last significant tract of land in the twp. Not long after that the developer gave up rights to development of the site. The old grandstands and horse facilities were being demolished last time I went by there.

Collingswood is nice, but I hope it doesn't become another Haddonfield, with all the conservative faux colonial stuff and pretentious shops.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
14,049
Points
58
jresta said:
Don't be fooled by rowhouses and twins. They're mostly occupied by widows and as they die off they're being gobbled up by DINKs - i was one of them. The bigger houses are increasingly couples who left the city b/c they just had a kid and plan on having more. It's only a 16 minute ride from Collingswood to Rittenhouse Square - that's attractive to a lot of people who don't want to completely cut their ties with Philly.

The boldface is exactly what is happening where my wife and I are moving soon - Oak Park, IL. It's a first-ring, streetcar suburb of Chicago (actually shares borders with Chicago). People that want to have a little more space, but still have the urban amenities (rapid transit - 2 CTA El lines, walkability for daily chores, little auto-dependence, etc.) are buying the small bungalows and new transit-oriented condo developments.

From your description, jresta, Collinswood, NJ sounds very similar to Oak Park, IL in urban form. I'd probably really like it.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
boilerplater said:
Mr Resta,
So do you work for the Del Val Regional Plan Assoc.? NJ Transit has a TOD program where they fund studies of areas adjacent to transit stations. I participated in one for the site of the old Cherry Hill Racetrack a few years ago. Last I heard, the state stopped the town from building a senior complex there because someone pointed out that Cherry Hill had not met its affordable housing (Mt Laurel II) obligations and that the racetrack represented the last significant tract of land in the twp. Not long after that the developer gave up rights to development of the site. The old grandstands and horse facilities were being demolished last time I went by there.

Collingswood is nice, but I hope it doesn't become another Haddonfield, with all the conservative faux colonial stuff and pretentious shops.

Collingswood will never become another Haddonfield. There are too many twins and too many apartments.

As for Cherry Hill, a friend of mine works there now - on the racetrack development specifically. The Mt. Laurel issues have been resolved and another developer bought the rights. The site has been completely cleared. I don't know if construction has started yet but i know there's already a waiting list for housing.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
mendelman said:
The boldface is exactly what is happening where my wife and I are moving soon - Oak Park, IL. It's a first-ring, streetcar suburb of Chicago (actually shares borders with Chicago). People that want to have a little more space, but still have the urban amenities (rapid transit - 2 CTA El lines, walkability for daily chores, little auto-dependence, etc.) are buying the small bungalows and new transit-oriented condo developments.

From your description, jresta, Collinswood, NJ sounds very similar to Oak Park, IL in urban form. I'd probably really like it.

I was just in Oak Park last May while visiting Chicago, and yes they are very similar. I had lunch at a greek place right on the main drag - across from the park. The differences i noticed is that in Oak Park the streets are much wider and the yards much bigger. The downtown in Collingswood might be a little bigger but not by much.

As sort of an aside, the borough council's approach in the redevelopment is unique. I think at this point the borough is the biggest property owner. They've been buying up duplexes (not twins) as they come on the market and renting them until they other half comes on the market and they're converting them back to single family and selling them. The rationale being that the town wasn't designed for the extra cars and school kids that comes with a second dwelling.

They also have a 55% stake in this -

taken over from an absentee management company. It was the source
of almost 50% of police calls before the boro tookover management and now it's down below the town average.

They also bought the Scottish Rite Auditorium that was on the auction block and turned it into a performing arts center . . . really any large piece of property that has been for sale the town has bought and used a surprisingly open, public planning process to guide redevelopment.

Now the mayor gives talks all over NJ and PA.
 
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