Smart Growth News – December 30, 2013

Exit Interview: Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan
WNYC (NY) – December 27, 2013
From the pedestrian plazas in Herald Square and Times Square, to the city’s Select Bus Service, the expansion of bike lanes, and the rollout of thousands of new Citi Bikes, Sadik-Khan’s initiatives have been both excoriated and praised.

Mortgage Welfare is the Worst Tax Loophole There Is
MLive (MI) – December 28, 2013
Despite the benefits skewing heavily to the well-off who would buy homes anyway, the MID continues to exist based on a mistaken assumption it encourages higher homeownership among the less wealthy.

A Year of Urban Thinking in San Diego
Voice of San Diego – December 26, 2013
The trend is marked most noticeably by the arrival of Bill Fulton, the city’s new planning director, a nationally celebrated thinker on the importance of sustainable urban development and author of the pre-eminent textbook on California planning.

The South at a Glance
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – December 27, 2013
The project will transform a former brownfield site into mixed-use development that includes residential and commercial uses.


Smart Growth News – December 27, 2013

Group Appeals 460 Plan
The Suffolk Herald (VA) – December 23, 2013
Taxpayers will have to pay to maintain both new and existing roads, they say, and the project “would cause significant environmental harm, yet it would do little to address the critical transportation needs of the Hampton Roads region.”

Planner Tells Halfmoon Officials to Prepare for Aging Demographics
The Saratogian (NY) – December 23, 2013
One approach communities like Halfmoon can tap to deal with population increases, Ferraro said, is to take a closer look at a concept called “smart growth.”

South Jersey Turning Tainted Sites into Attractions
The Press of Atlantic City – December 25, 2013
Egg Harbor Township cut the ribbon on its new Nature Reserve this fall, marking the rebirth of the former sandpit once described by a judge as “a scar on the landscape.”

Metro Eyes New Transit Ballot Measure
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal (CA) – December 26, 2013
“Our goal is to ensure that transportation funding supports a comprehensive regional plan that includes rail connections to our airports, upgrades to Metrolink and projects benefiting communities neglected by Measure J.”


Smart Growth News – December 26, 2013

Chris Zimmerman and Smart Growth, Joined at the Hip
The Washington Post – December 23, 2013
His time as an elected local official has coincided with Arlington’s transformation into a national model of “smart growth.”


Amp is the First Step of a Broader Transit Plan
The Tennesseean – December 22, 2013
This bold plan for transit is a major piece of a larger strategy to improve roadways and help create safe and walkable communities across our region.

Transit-Oriented Housing Proposed
U-T San Diego – December 23, 2013
A second mixed-use housing project — this one featuring 416 apartments, retail space and a park — is being proposed along the Sprinter line in San Marcos, bolstering the city’s efforts to concentrate new housing near existing transportation corridors.

Streets Plan Faces Further Delays in St. Louis County
CBS St. Louis – December 24, 2013
A streets plan that many expected to sail through the legislative process in St. Louis County has been delayed for more than a month and it could be that much longer before it comes to a vote.


Smart Growth News – December 23, 2013

Decycling: Can L.A. Be A Bike City?
The Huffington Post – December 19, 2013
The recent USC report proving that the new Expo Rail has significantly reduced driving for residents within a half-mile of stations also suggested that bike infrastructure can grow from this success.


‘Complete Streets’ is an Affordable Evolution
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch – December 22, 2013
Streets teeming with life again are great to see. It brings all of us together in a common purpose to enjoy the outdoor world that is our home as well.

Mayor Bloomberg’s Aggressive Traffic Policies Have Caused Massive Drop in Traffic Deaths
The New York Daily News – December 19, 2013
Under the mayor and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, drivers and cars no longer were granted top-priority status. Pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders became equally — if not more — important, White said.

Houston Bike-Share Program Expands To East End Housing Project
KUHF (TX) – December 20, 2013
A year and a half after its launch, the bike-sharing program Houston B-Cycle has opened its 29th station. The program is expanding to more low-income areas.


Smart Growth News – December 20, 2013

American Innovation Springs from the Technology and Transportation Nexus
1776 (DC) – December 19, 2013
This legislative endeavor is a great opportunity for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to do things differently. As we write this bill, getting input from the startup community is vital if we are truly going to embrace changes within our transportation system.

How A Giant Mall Parking Lot Turned Into A Park And A Walkable Community
Fast Company – December 19, 2013
Instead of paving paradise for a parking lot, this Seattle shopping center is showing how America’s suburbs are changing.

Tax Policy Shouldn’t Favor Cars over Transit
The Chicago Tribune – December 20, 2013
On what planet does it make sense for the government to offer incentives for people to drive more?

Move Silicon Valley to Cleveland
Slate – December 17, 2013
The influx of money, young people, and business investment into Silicon Valley hasn’t led to a construction boom and the urbanization of the area. Instead, the local towns continue to insist on strict, suburban-style zoning that essentially rules out new housing supply.


Smart Growth News – December 19, 2013

Raleigh Mayor Meets with Transportation Secretary in Washington
The Raleigh News & Observer (NC) – December 18, 2013
The trip was hosted by the advocacy group Transportation for America, which brings together leaders and businesses from across the country to advocate for increased transit options.

In Final Speech, Bloomberg Lauds Rise of Cities, Warns of Fiscal Crisis Looming
The Wall Street Journal – December 18, 2013
In his final major address as mayor, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg heralded what he called the ascendance of American cities, but also warned that a looming crisis in healthcare and pension costs could pose a threat to their survival.

Cincinnati Considers Building Partially-Built Streetcar
USA Today – December 18, 2013
City officials will decide Thursday whether to scrap a streetcar already under construction, bucking the Obama administration’s push for the urban mass-transit systems. Meanwhile Wednesday, an independent consultant released a report on what it would cost to cancel or finish the project.

THUD Approps Chair Latham Retires
Politico – December 18, 2013
Rep. Tom Latham, the Iowan who led the House panel in charge of the THUD appropriations bill, is retiring.


Smart Growth News – December 18, 2013

Officials, Advocates See Community Planning as Key in Obesity Fight
Cronkite News Service – December 18, 2013
“We have to create those communities that make that healthy choice the easy choice,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of redesigning the way that we grow and the way that we redevelop.”


Report Says Silver Line Metro Extension will Spark Population Increase
Virginia Business – December 16, 2013
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Dulles Metrorail extension (Silver Line) will cause a dramatic population increase and create a 24/7 live-work-play environment in Tysons over the coming decades, according to a research report published Monday.

Residents Living Near Expo Line Stations Reduce Car Use, Study Shows
The Los Angeles Times – December 16, 2013
Angelenos who lived within a half-mile of a station tripled their rail ridership and reduced their daily driving by 40%, the study found.

Threat to Mass. Forests Shows Need to Reform Zoning Laws
The Boston Globe – December 15, 2013
As in many other parts of the Commonwealth, residents worry about what will happen if housing construction accelerates, and residential sprawl eats away at the farms and woods that residents have cherished for generations.


Smart Growth News – December 17, 2013

Dem Looks to Keep Expiring Mass Transit Tax Break
The Hill – December 16, 2013
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has proposed legislation to maintain an expiring tax break given to people who use mass transit, which she said would keep commuting costs low for thousands of federal workers in Washington, D.C., and millions of people around the country.


Survey: Road Congestion, Unreliable Rail System Big Problem for Connecticut Businesses
The New Haven Register (CT) – December 16, 2013
An estimated 74 percent support legislation that would prohibit the use of special transportation funds to cover general fund shortfalls, 72 percent said increases in the state’s gas and diesel taxes impacted their businesses, and 42 percent companies surveyed say road congestion limits their market.

When Detroit Paved over Paradise: The Story of I-375
The Detroit Free Press – December 15, 2013
The benefits of removing freeways from the hearts of cities is a theme of growing popularity in urban planning.

Why Philly’s Land Bank Creates a Fantastic Opportunity for the City
Philly (dot) com – December 16, 2013
The bill has measures geared at ensuring equity, accountability, and transparency in the process that should help Philadelphia finally make real headway dealing with the costly scourge of citywide blight.


Smart Growth News – December 16, 2013

With Staff Changes, EPA Sharpens Climate Focus
Government Executive – December 13, 2013
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is shuffling the agency’s staff to put greater focus on President Obama’s climate agenda.

What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning
The New York Times – December 13, 2013
The tech sector’s embrace of urbanist lingua franca and its enthusiasm to engage with urban problems is awesome, and much welcomed. But these folks need to become better urbanists.

Obama Tells Mayors Cities are Engines are Keys to Economic Growth
The Boston Globe – December 13, 2013
Obama said Senate passage next week of a House-approved budget will help metropolitan areas by removing the uncertainty that past fiscal brinkmanship has created in the economy.

Brookings Researcher Advises Local Leaders to Think Past Washington as Government Town
The Washington Post – December 12, 2013
Katz told members of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Wednesday at the group’s annual meeting that the federal government’s inaction on the economy, infrastructure needs, transportation and immigration reform required local leaders to step up and address those issues on their own.


Smart Growth News – December 13, 2013

The Most Walkable Cities and How Some Are Making Strides
Governing – December 13, 2013
“It may not be reflected in the commuting data until we see more people living in work centers.”

Shifting Gears to Make Bike Sharing More Accessible
NPR – December 12, 2013
“It’s a young, evolving industry, and coming down the road, maybe there’s a way to pay by cellphone and link it to a cellphone account rather than a credit card account.”

Central Planning in America
Slate – December 12, 2013
Striking a balance between the demand for some service (parking) and the cost (including opportunity costs) of providing it is exactly what market forces are good at.


Harvard University Study Cites Need for Conservation Investments and “Smart Growth” to Preserve the State’s Forestry
The Republican (MA) – December 12, 2013
Under one scenario — allowing recent trends to continue, unchecked — the state’s gains in land conservation would be undermined, jeopardizing water quality and reducing the landscape’s ability to naturally protect against climate change.