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YIMBYLAND Launches a Newsletter

Kathy Hochul shuts the door on congestion pricing and Oklahoma City opens the door to the heavens.

Welcome YIMBYs!

I’m finally starting the newsletter that I should have started two years ago. As the YIMBY movement continues to grow, it’s becoming harder and harder to stay abreast with what’s going on. Here, you’ll get a rundown of the top YIMBY stories of the week, some interesting reads, and some great YouTube videos.

Want more walkable neighborhoods and affordable homes? Forward the YIMBYLAND newsletter to your friends and family!

In this week’s recap:

  • Hochul's Congestion Pricing Fumble: WTF Happened?

  • Virginia’s Bold Move for Better Rail Service

  • Burj OKhalifia: Oklahoma City Approves Unlimited Height for U.S. Tallest Skyscraper

  • Michigan Central Station Shines Again

  • Strong Bipartisan Support for Housing Policies

  • Builder’s Remedy Arrives at Menlo Park Strip Mall
     

THE WEEKLY RECAP

TRANSIT

This Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul shocked everyone when she suddenly shelved the long-awaited plan to implement congestion pricing in New York City. Hochul’s indefinite delay of the congestion pricing plan is a significant setback for the city's efforts to alleviate traffic and reduce emissions. Even further, it cuts off critical funding needed to upgrade the city's aging mass transit system which would have been funded by the tolls collected. Congestion pricing isn't just about reducing traffic; it's a crucial step towards a more sustainable and equitable urban environment, benefiting the vast majority who rely on public transit over the few who drive.

In the day following the announcement, there has been a massive uproar from transit activists, MTA leadership, and organizations that typically try to stay behind the scenes. The pushback has been so visceral, that some are even suggesting that Hochul may actually rescind her decision. If you’re the praying type, I’d suggest you start praying for a miracle or some kind of divine intervention to bring the Governor to her senses.

In the meantime, go send her a strongly worded message on her website.

PASSENGER RAIL

Virginia is on the cusp of a rail revolution as the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) enters negotiations with Norfolk Southern (NS) to purchase the Manassas Line and extend passenger service to the New River Valley. This partnership could transform the state's rail landscape, enabling VPRA to enhance service beyond the traditional commute and cater to broader passenger needs. With a focus on cost-effectiveness and public preference, the N-Line extension promises faster, more comprehensive rail connectivity for Virginia.

PROJECTS

Oklahoma City Council has officially greenlit the "unlimited" height for Legends Tower, set to become the tallest skyscraper in the U.S. at 1,907 feet. This rezoning approval allows the Boardwalk at Bricktown development, designed by AO and developed by Matteson Capital, to transform Oklahoma City into a global destination. As absurd as this project is, I really hope it gets off the ground. America deserves a new super-tall.

RE-URBANIZATION

Michigan Central Station, a Detroit icon, is celebrating its grand reopening after a six-year, $1 billion restoration by Ford Motor Company. Once a symbol of Detroit's decline, the station is now the centerpiece of a 30-acre innovation district, Michigan Central, aimed at pioneering the future of mobility and economic development.

The meticulous restoration involved over 3,100 skilled workers dedicating 1.7 million hours to revitalize the landmark. Ford's acquisition and multi-year restoration of this architectural gem are more than a mere renovation; they represent a bold statement of Detroit's leadership in innovation and historical preservation. As new tenants, restaurants, and events breathe life into the station, it stands as a beacon of civic pride and a testament to the city's enduring spirit. Detroit continues to live up to it’s title of Comeback City.

BUILDERS REMEDY

In an evermore rare display of bipartisan agreement, a recent Pew survey reveals that Republicans, Democrats, and independents all favor policies aimed at increasing housing supply. With an estimated shortage of 4 to 7 million homes driving up costs, Americans across the political spectrum show broad support for measures like allowing more apartments near transit and job centers, converting commercial buildings to housing, and expediting permitting processes. This consensus underscores a widespread acknowledgment of the housing crisis across the political spectrum and should serve as a mandate to all politicians to pass real supply-side legislation that will help fix the housing crisis.

BUILDERS REMEDY

In a striking application of California's "Builder's Remedy", real-estate developer Oisin Heneghan and his company, N17, are planning three high-rise towers under California's "Builder's Remedy." This ambitious project includes 665 residential units, a 162-room hotel, 300,000 square feet of office space, and 15,000 square feet of retail. The development aims to address the area's housing shortage, with 20% of units designated as affordable housing. While this project promises significant urban growth, in typical bay area fasion, it has sparked NIMBY opposition on grounds of “increased traffic” and the “neighborhood's character”.

INTERESTING CONTENT

WATCH

YouTube In My Backyard

CityNerd: NIMBY-est Cities in America

THAT’S A WRAP

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