There’s a secret weapon available to communities that want to modernize their zoning codes and help make smarter growth the norm. FBCI’s Codes for Communities is a wide-ranging technical assistance program at Smart Growth America that covers all kinds of zoning reform and guidance on form-based codes. In just two years, the program has had tremendous impact in communities of all sizes across America.
As announced earlier this week, Marcus Young, a behavioral artist, will be embedded within the Minnesota Department of Transportation for a year serving as an artist-in-residence in a program created by Smart Growth America. Marcus will be taking a fresh look at the agency’s goals to promote economic vitality, improve safety, support multimodal transportation systems, and create healthier communities.
Pittsburgh’s demonstration project made it safer and easier to cross the streets surrounding an elementary school by reconfiguring a dangerous intersection and introducing protected pedestrian refuges at crosswalks.
Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Pittsburgh historically relied on 311 requests to help decide which streets need safety improvements, but when a team from the city looked more closely at the data, they realized they were not reaching the whole community through this process. In particular, they were not addressing key locations with high crash rates in low-income communities of color because this traditional channel of collecting complaints. In partnership with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Allegheny County Health Department, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and PennDOT, they launched a demonstration project at one such site to implement safety projects and to establish new partnerships with the community. Working closely with a local school, they added crosswalks with protected refuges to help children reach school more safely, and they also redesigned the intersection of Lincoln and Frankstown Avenues to make it less stressful for all people—including drivers—in the process.
Huntsville’s demonstration project added more intensive improvements to an existing crosswalk on a high-speed road where very few drivers yield to people crossing and filled in a missing bike connection to a nearby greenway.
Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country, including Huntsville, to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Huntsville partnered with the South Huntsville Business Association, AARP, and the Rotary Club to implement a demonstration project on 4 Mile Post. The project makes it easier and safer for people to walk or bike along and across the street, and it also restores missing connections between nearby destinations, including homes, parks, trails, and employment centers. Along the way, the team faced resistance from elected leaders outside the project area who opposed any project—even a temporary one—that would take space away from cars, but thanks to their persistence and close engagement with the community, they won the support they needed to install temporary safer streets improvements on 4 Mile Post and to work toward making these changes permanent.
The popular narrative about younger generations aging and leaving urban centers is presented as inevitable. But most news stories fail to examine why many younger people are taking up residence in suburbia—or whether or not the suburbs they’re choosing have more in common with cities or the exurbs their parents preferred. Perhaps their move to the suburbs is more a product of constrained housing supply that leaves them with little choice but to decamp as they grow.
Durham’s demonstration project on West Club Boulevard introduced a new, much-needed mid-block crossing between a major bus stop and a shopping mall. The project also closed a lane of traffic to create a space for buses to pull over and to encourage drivers to slow down and yield to people crossing.
Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, Smart Growth America worked with three cities around the country, including Durham, to implement temporary safety demonstration projects. The City of Durham recognized their demonstration project as an opportunity to try out more intensive, inclusive methods of community engagement to reach segments of their community they have not connected with in the past. They identified a dangerous site along West Club Boulevard, where a frequently used bus stop across from a shopping mall offered no safe, convenient way for bus riders to cross. The team conducted intercept surveys at the bus stop to learn more about the safety challenges people experienced and to guide the design of their demonstration project. Based on these insights, the team reduced the number of lanes on West Club Boulevard and installed a new mid-block crossing, resulting in safer, slower driving speeds and better yielding to people crossing. The project also spurred important conversations and partnerships with bus riders and with a local bike advocacy group.
A handful of leaders in the House and Senate just introduced a bill that would finally require states and metro areas to design and build safer streets for everyone. Plus, our new report shows which U.S. House representatives have the highest rate of people struck and killed while walking in their districts.
LOCUS and the City of Brockton, Massachusetts hosted a LinkUP event in June to bring together development professionals and learn more about key parcels in the city’s Opportunity Zones.
LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s LOCUS Leadership Awards for Project of the Year, Company of the Year, and the Richard Baron Affordable Housing Award. Winners were announced at the LOCUS President’s Reception and Awards Dinner during the 2019 LOCUS Leadership Summit: Opportunity Rising on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in Arlington, VA.
Opportunity Rising, last week’s LOCUS National Leadership Summit in Arlington, VA, was a vital gathering, uniting responsible real estate developers and investors with local elected officials and transportation and land-use planners. During the wide range of workshops, panels and sessions, Smart Growth America staff absorbed a few important themes and ideas. Here are seven.