Smart growth news – August 16

Regional transportation list approved
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 15, 2011
Five mayors and county commissioners from across the Atlanta region made history on Monday, agreeing unanimously on a $6.14 billion list of transportation projects to be built across 10 counties, and paid for by the region as a whole if approved in a 2012 referendum.

EPA to help Lincoln spruce up
Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), August 12, 2011
With assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency, Lincoln city planners hope to transform the aging neighborhoods south of the State Capitol into a green and pedestrian-friendly place to live, work and shop.

Appealing remakes: Towns seem energized by revitalization
The Patriot-News (Pa.), August 16, 2011
Planners strengthened town-and-gown connections by reducing travel lanes to slow down drivers and encouraging the redevelopment of storefronts near the college. In addition, new businesses as well as a garden area appeared along the corridor. Now students and alumni alike know a walk is a journey into a resurgent downtown.

10 great places to explore urban neighborhoods
USA Today, August 11, 2011
Not long ago Americans were abandoning their cities. Now many of the nation’s urban areas are booming with new restaurants, parks and condos. Richard Florida , who studies urban trends, says much has changed in the last decade. “It was almost as if someone stepped on the accelerator,” says the senior editor for The Atlantic magazine and a professor at the University of Toronto. All these areas are great to visit, he says, offering a slice of local urban life. He shares up-and-coming neighborhoods with Larry Bleiberg  for USA TODAY.


“Fix It First” Makes Transportation Sense
The Star Tribune (Minn.), August 15, 2011
Our national interstate highway system has hit its midlife crisis and is in need of repairs and maintenance. According to the “Repair Priorities” report released by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense in June, more than half of state roads in the U.S. are rated as “fair” or “poor.” And we Minnesotans shouldn’t need too much reminding about the possible costs of bridges are “structurally deficient.”

Implementing sustainable practices on key urban issues
NRDC’s Switchboard, August 15, 2011
NRDC’s work for sustainable communities at the neighborhood scale and on regional planning is designed to address multiple environmental issues simultaneously.  But, at the same time, moving toward sustainability requires work on selected individual issues in a focused way, bringing significant resources to bear on a limited number of key challenges faced by American cities.  At NRDC, we approach the task by taking advantage of the opportunities and experience our staff enjoys in America’s largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, where we have offices, and Philadelphia.

The Truth About Obama’s ‘Infrastructure Bank’
Fox News, August 15, 2011
So what exactly is this National Infrastructure Bank?  Various iterations of it have been tossed around for the past several years.  The basic idea is that a government bureaucracy would be set up to lend (or give) money out to fund infrastructure projects. Obama had a version in his 2011 budget announcement. Remember that “invest” is a code word for deficit spending.

Take ranking seriously
The Wichita Eagle (Kan.), August 16, 2011
City leaders may be tempted to ignore a recent study that ranked Wichita last in the nation in environmental livability. After all, rankings are a dime a dozen these days, and some of the study’s measurement criteria seem impractical. But besides doing the right thing, here is one reason why our leaders should care: The young professionals this city needs to recruit and retain care about the environment. And given the choice, they are less likely to want to live in a city that is considered environmentally backward.