Smart Growth News – December 28, 2012

Today’s stories:

State’s electric-car owners face $100 fee in lieu of gas tax
The Columbian (WA) – December 25, 2012
Owners of electric cars in Washington state don’t pay for gasoline or gas taxes, but they’re soon going to be hit with a $100 fee to own the battery-operated cars.

Memphis-to-Little Rock high-speed rail to be studied
Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) – December 22, 2012
The State of Arkansas will study the possibility of high-speed trains traveling up to 200 mph between Memphis and Little Rock and Texarkana, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Pittsburgh properties reassessed higher than those in suburbs
Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PA) – December 22, 2012
Reassessment of Pittsburgh properties far outpaced those in Allegheny County as a whole, according to the latest certified numbers released Friday by the county.

Urban planners to unveil long-term framework for Detroit
Michigan Live – December 21, 2012
Urban planners have been crafting maps and strategies for months, and the framework they’ve come up with in long-term component of the Detroit Works Project is set to be revealed on Jan. 9.


Leveraging transit-oriented development for economic growth, better living in Hawaii

[caption id="attachment_23906" align="alignleft" width="640"] An artist’s rendering of a potential transit-oriented development in Waipahu, Hawaii. According to a new report from Smart Growth America and the state’s planning office, such developments could boost economic development and quality of life on the island.[/caption]Hawaii state agencies can leverage transit-oriented development to help deliver on many of Governor Abercrombie’s economic development, quality of life and environmental protection goals, according to a new analysis from the state’s Office of Planning and Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute.

The report’s recommendations come after a series of meetings between state government officials, private sector leaders and non-profit representatives. The group of more than 40 participants, convened by Governor Abercrombie, identified the importance of transit-oriented development to Hawaii.

“The people of Hawaii now have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage transit-oriented development throughout the islands, including but not limited to The Bus and rail transit on Oahu, but also the Hele-On Bus on the Big Island and the Maui Bus and Kauai Bus,” said Governor Abercrombie. “By planning ahead, we can use TOD as a positive tool to proactively direct growth away from agricultural and conservation lands and lay the groundwork necessary to encourage development where it is most needed and welcome for the next generation.”

Technical assistance

Statement on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's Resignation

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson released the following statement after the announcement of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson’s resignation yesterday: “Under Administrator Jackson’s leadership, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has embraced a more inclusive and comprehensive set of measures to address the interconnected environmental, social and economic issues affecting our nation’s … Continued


Smart Growth News – December 27, 2012

Today’s stories:

Bike-share company plans to start in downtown L.A. this April
Los Angeles Times – December 20, 2012
Bike Nation, the Southern California-based company that has pledged $16 million toward Los Angeles’ first bike-share network, will announce Thursday that it plans to begin rolling out its program in downtown this spring.

$500,000 federal grant for improving 2 Camden neighborhoods
Philadelphia Inquirer – December 25, 2012
Two Camden neighborhoods that surround Cooper University Hospital and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University could see significant transformation in the next decade.

A Suburban Wasteland in Virginia Gets a Modern Urban Feel
New York Times – December 18, 2012
To see Merrifield, Va., today, with its sleek white Target, its narrow 1920s-style streetscape of specialty food shops along Glass Alley and the rest of the $542 million mixed-use Mosaic District is to nearly forget this unincorporated area’s former life as an uninviting industrial suburban crossroads.

The Future of City Driving: Per-Mile Car Insurance
Atlantic Cities – December 21, 2012
Drivers who are similar in age, gender, and residence pay about the same premium even if some drive 5,000 miles a year and others 50,000 miles. The problem is not only that low-mileage drivers end up subsidizing high-mileage ones — it’s that everyone has an incentive to drive as much as they can.

The Learning Curve of Smart Parking
New York Times – December 22, 2012
In its current state, however, “smart parking” is in some ways little different from regular parking. The term refers to a beguiling technology, now being tested in several cities, that uses sensors to determine whether a particular spot on the street or in a parking garage is occupied or vacant.


Smart Growth News – December 21, 2012

Today’s stories:

Light rail plan for Los Angeles International Airport advances
Los Angeles Times (CA) – December 18, 2012
Plans to build a light rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport advanced Monday with the unveiling of four potential station sites that would link to a people mover serving passenger terminals.

An opportunity for downtown revival – December 19, 2012
A confluence of events is opening a window of opportunity for the town to revive its dormant downtown area.

How to Make Privately Owned Public Spaces Truly Open to the Public
The Atlantic Cities – December 17, 2012
Some of the best privately owned public open spaces in downtown San Francisco are, by nature, a little hard to find.

Derided by critics, Cordova Hills still seeks ‘smart growth’
Sacramento Business Journal (CA) – December 21, 2012
While proponents and opponents of Cordova Hills disagree over whether the project is in the right place, within its boundaries the development includes a number of smart-growth features.


Partnership in the News: Sustainable Berkshires presents first results

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), a Massachusetts recipient of a Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has completed the first phase of its “Sustainable Berkshires” plan. On Tuesday, December 11th, the BRPC presented to the public the plan for economic development, conservation, and historic preservation. Next spring, the next phase of the plan will address housing and neighborhoods, regional energy, transportation and infrastructure.


Private sector leads the way on new light rail in Detroit

Architect’s rendering of the M-1 light rail. Image via M-1 RAIL Summer 2012 Project Update.

A group of private sector leaders in Detroit are looking toward a new light rail project to help revive the fortunes of the former car capital.

The group is so confident in the potential of a line, known as the M-1 light rail, they’ve put up nearly $90 million in private funding to make the project a reality. If successful, the group would set a new precedent for the “rail as economic development” paradigm, and provide a new model for cities across the country looking to catalyze smart growth.

The proposed line would run 3.4 miles along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue from the New Center neighborhood to downtown and the riverfront, connecting some of the city’s biggest attractions and job centers. The line would run curbside along Woodward Avenue and provide connections to Detroit’s People Mover and Amtrak station, as well as a planned regional bus rapid transit system.


Smart Growth America's Top 12 of 2012: Building a movement

We’re doing a special blog series this month highlighting some of Smart Growth America’s favorite accomplishments from 2012. This is the last in our series of twelve. Check out the full list.

Perhaps our most important achievement from 2012 has been working with you! Our advocates, supporters, donors, fans and followers are what make our work possible. We are grateful for your support and excited to work alongside you. Thank you!


Smart Growth News – December 20, 2012

Today’s stories:

Is the state giving money to ‘well-off’ suburbs at expense of urban areas?
Bangor Daily News (ME) – December 19, 2012
Nearly all of Maine’s population growth in the last decade, as well as nearly 70 percent of the state’s economic activity, has taken place in metropolitan areas. Yet state policies governing funding for education and transportation, state aid to local communities and economic development programs have not caught up to this new reality, according to economists and planners who have studied Maine’s communities and the state’s economy.

Nashville values, development rise with form-based code
Better! Cities & Towns – December 7, 2012
An improved and more workable zoning code was approved by Nashville’s Planning Commission and combined city/county council after more than two years of staff work and public input, in tandem with a new community plan for the downtown area.

Decision clears way for Ill. high-speed rail line
The Pantagraph (IL) – December 18, 2012
The Federal Railroad Administration has taken action that will allow the full build-out of a high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis.

Is 2013 the Year of New Transportation Funding?
Governing – December 19, 2012
The 2013 legislative session hasn’t even started, but state lawmakers across the country are already touting the need to find new sources of transportation revenue in the upcoming year.


You are invited: National Complete Streets Coalition's Third Annual Complete Streets Dinner

Chicago Transportation Commisisoner Gabe Klein is this year’s featured guest.

You are invited to join the National Complete Streets Coalition for our Third Annual Complete Streets Dinner on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at Petits Plats in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. We’ll nosh on some of the District’s best French cuisine while networking with top minds in the field.

We are excited to have Commissioner Gabe Klein of the Chicago Department of Transportation as our featured guest this year. Klein views his position as an opportunity to continue public service in the fifth-largest urban economy in the world for a reform-minded and results-oriented leader; to make Chicago an example nationally for innovation in transportation and public space; and most importantly, to positively impact quality of life for the 2.6 million residents of Chicago. Klein was previously the Director of the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation and has held a number of leadership roles in transportation, technology, consumer services, and consulting.

Your dining companions will be some of the biggest names in Complete Streets, including several of our Complete Streets Steering Committee members, workshop instructors, and staff from our Complete Streets Partner consulting firms.

Seats are available at $150 or, for $200, you will be seated at the head table. Click here to reserve your tickets online. Current Complete Streets Partners receive a significant discount, and Partners at the Silver level and up receive complimentary tickets.

Complete Streets