Earlier this year, the Small Streets Blog introduced us to the planned community of Jakriborg, founded in 1990 on 12.5 acres of farmland between the cities of Malmö and Lund in southern Sweden, next to a frequent commuter rail line and a bus stop. It has "parking on the outside," as planned for the Piscataquis Village Project in Maine, but there are very few - I count less than a hundred spaces for a population of over 500 families.
(There's also a disturbing lack of people on the street in most of the photos you see of Jakriborg. Maybe the photos were taken in the height of winter, but I always thought the Swedes were out getting fresh air in the height of winter.)
Building on my post criticizing park-and-rides, the Small Streets crew imagined replacing part of a park-and-ride with a dense, walkable village like Jakriborg or the Czech town of Telč. They astutely observe that if you build at Jakriborg densities, you get more riders than if you used the land for a park-and-ride, and these riders all live within walking distance of the station.
Phil LaCombe from Small Streets takes the example of the park-and-ride in Greenbelt, Maryland, which holds 3,399 parking spaces. Those 37 acres can fit almost three Jakriborgs, which can house over 4,000 people in total, including children. That's a net gain of 701 people over the park-and-ride. If the 701 additional people are children they probably wouldn't pay taxes, but their parents would pay taxes and shop at the local stores.
Inspired by Phil, whenever I see a large parking lot near a train station, I think to myself, "How many Jakriborgs is that?" The Metro-North parking lot at Croton-Harmon is 1.3 Jakriborgs, I believe. The parking lot planned for the North Tenafly station on the Northern Branch is 0.68 Jakriborgs.
I thought of this today when I read that the New Jersey borough of Dunellen has been accepted into the state's Transit Village incentive program. Acceptance is based on a detailed application where the municipality specifies land within a quarter mile of a transit station that can be developed into walkable housing and shops.
It would be really nice if the state put all of its accepted applications up on its website so that we could see what's being planned. We could then monitor the progress of the various municipalities and see how much they live up the the hype. No such luck.
Mayor Robert Seader, however, specifically mentioned the 19-acre Art Color site, a printing plant right next to the train station that was abandoned in 1968. That's a Jakriborg and a half right there.
All across New Jersey I've seen shitty "condo" developments where you can't go anywhere without walking across endless parking lots, like this garbage across the tracks from the planned North Tenafly parking lot. That's not transit-oriented, and its walk appeal is zero. With no train service I can kind of understand them building these parking lots, but otherwise no. I hope that whatever goes in the old Art Color site is more like Jakriborg and less like Daibes Park Residences.
Another quick note: Dunellen was originally formed from the township of Piscataway. Piscataway, in turn, was founded by Quakers and Baptists who didn't want to live under the Puritans along the Piscataquis River in Maine. So if Dunellen builds a Jakriborg-type carfree village with small streets on the Art Color site, it could end up being a Piscataway Village Project. And as I said, Really Narrow Streets need good trains. Of course, then it would help if the Raritan Valley Line were as frequent a train as the line that serves Jakriborg.