SGA News Clips, 5/16/11

CDBG Helps Revitalize St. Louis Neighborhood
National League of Cities, 5/16/11
“Thomas said that the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program helped stimulate the neighborhood’s revival and stabilize its growth during a difficult economy. ‘The community had bottomed out. There were vacant buildings and homes throughout the area. It took a lot of work, but we slowly began to build new housing and rehab buildings. Now, people are moving to areas where no one was living 10 years ago. We built it and they came, literally,’ he recalled. ‘We have greatly appreciated access to the federal block grant, which we’ve matched with a number of other resources.'”

Mixing it Up
Memphis Daily News, 5/15/11
“Scarce new development is providing the retail sector the opportunity to rethink how it delivers its goods and services, moving away from car-dependent models and toward walkable urban centers. This mixed-use, walkable neighborhood concept is something Memphis will see more and more of, especially in the urban core, said Jason Polley, project leasing director for Stonecrest Investments LLC. ‘The people that left and moved out to the suburbs years ago are trying to get back into town because commute times continue to lengthen as people move farther and farther out,’ Polley said. ‘People want a quality of life that allows them to live and to work and have entertainment within a relatively close proximity to each other, which is definitely a different philosophy than what has historically been suburban development in the Memphis area.'”

Bringing the High Line Back to Earth
The New York Times, 5/14/11
“The second phase will undoubtedly receive as much news media hoopla and public enthusiasm as the first, which opened in 2009. But its designers want it to be even more, a model for a new sort of town planning, dubbed “landscape urbanism.” Indeed, High Line-type projects are being discussed for Chicago (the Bloomingdale Trail), Philadelphia (the Reading Viaduct), Jersey City (the Sixth Street Embankment) and St. Louis (the Iron Horse Trestle). Advocates would like to see the High Line model take off nationwide in the same way Central Park was copied in the 19th century. But that’s a tougher proposition than they think, and it probably won’t be worth the effort.”

Does Destroying Highways Solve Urban Traffic Congestion?
Freakonomics blog, 5/13/11
“Studies over the last decade… have pretty much dismantled the theory that more roads equal less traffic congestion. It turns out that the opposite is often true: building more and wider highways can increase traffic congestion.”

Commuters Feel Pinch as Christie Tightens
The New York Times, 5/15/11
“His approach to financing for transportation has led to big increases in transit fares and higher tolls on highways. And according to analysts and some elected officials, it could soon cause tolls on the bridges and tunnels leading to New York City to reach or exceed $10.”

Editorial: Look who’s blazing public transit path
Detroit Free Press, 5/15/11
“Regional cooperation on transit and other issues is one reason Grand Rapids continues to leave southeast Michigan behind. All in all, Michigan’s second largest city is faring better than other urban areas, with far lower rates of poverty and population loss and a thriving downtown.”

Downtown revitalization project wrapping up, 5/13/11
“The City of Marianna’s downtown revitalization project is in its final phase, and the results are showing. Seat walls around the courthouse and brick paver crosswalks on Madison Street are the newest additions. The project placed the overhead utilities near the courthouse underground. The lighting, water, sewer and other infrastructure in the area near the courthouse have been updated. In addition, Madison and Jackson streets near the courthouse were resurfaced.”

Driving Is Why You’re Fat
Fast Company, 5/12/11
“If every licensed driver in the country cut down on travel by just one mile each day, in six years the obesity rate would drop 2.16%–cutting down on the number of obese adults by almost 5 million people, according to PhysOrg… Initiatives like Bike to Work Day make a difference, as do increased public transportation routes and better telecommuting work policies.”