Smart growth news – August 23

Creek Restoration Keys Cincinnati’s Battle Against Urban Blight, Stormwater
The New York Times, August 22, 2011
But because of the 3,700-foot-long, 19.5-foot-wide pipe underneath the area, the decaying neighborhood is now part of one of the largest public works projects in Cincinnati’s history and one of the nation’s biggest experiments in green infrastructure.

King County: Transfer of Development Rights Protects 700 Acres Around Sammamish
Sammamish Patch (Wash.), August 22, 2011
More than 700 acres of rural forests and pasturelands in the Patterson Creek watershed near the city of Sammamish will be permanently protected under an innovative Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) agreement signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our partnership with the city of Sammamish helps create a compact, vibrant urban landscape with walkable neighborhoods and abundant green space,” Constantine said.

As businesses come and go, views of downtown differ
Colorado Springs Gazette, August 20, 2011
Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area. Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Home with a white picket fence? Not so fast
Press Democrat (Calif.), August 20, 2011
The United States spends more than $100 billion annually to subsidize homeowners. Renters get no breaks; homeowners get tons of them. Their mortgage rates are subsidized through the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; they get a big deduction on federal income taxes for mortgage interest payments and for state and local property taxes; and they even get favored treatment on capital gains from the sales of primary residences.

Could downtown Kalamazoo support new housing?
MLive.com (Mich.), August 21, 2011
A recent housing study suggests several areas in or near downtown Kalamazoo could support more than 200 new units, many of them rentals but also for-sale properties, including 24 homes priced at more than $200,000 each at the former site of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety headquarters at Rose and Lovell streets.

Windsor Locks Aims To Bring Train Stop Back To Downtown
The Hartford Courant (Conn.), August 21, 2011
Bringing the train stop back downtown has long been a dream in Windsor Locks, but officials say that the relocation may finally become a reality with strong state and federal support for rail and transit-oriented development.

Consultants provide ideas for revitalizing Pomona’s main thoroughfares
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Calif.), August 21, 2011
Zoning changes, street improvements and taking advantage of the city’s assets along with other elements together will help revitalize the city’s main corridors, consultants told city leaders last week.

Bay Area public transit and freeways threatened by big proposed funding cuts
San Jose Mercury, August 21, 2011
Hundreds of Bay Area projects to ease road congestion and expand public transit — like extending BART to San Jose or creating a rapid bus transit system through Oakland and San Leandro — could be postponed or scrapped if Congress adopts House Republicans’ plan to slash federal transportation funding by a third, federal, state and regional officials say.

UNC to shape new Chapel Hill comprehensive plan
The Daily Tar Heel (N.C.), August 21, 2011
Chapel Hill needs a new plan for its future growth — and the University plans to play a major role in creating one, officials said. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and the Chapel Hill Town Council are working with residents to create a new comprehensive plan to guide the town’s development over the next 20 years, an effort Chancellor Holden Thorp said UNC will support.

Opinion

Let’s plan streets for complete community
Billings Gazette (Mont.), August 22, 2011
If you’ve ever walked down a Billings street with no sidewalks and noticed how close you were to elbowing vehicle traffic, consider what that would be like for children. Imagine walking along the edge of that street with a stroller or while using a wheelchair. If you can see a problem in those scenarios, you can appreciate why a diverse group of local individuals and organizations is supporting a city “complete streets” policy.

The heart of the city
Longview News-Journal (Texas), August 23, 2011
Major cities, by and large, are experiencing revivals of their downtown districts. In Texas, Fort Worth and Austin have great downtowns, and San Antonio is not far behind. I spent several days in downtown Portland, Oregon, this summer, and discovered its charm and vitality. I’ve become convinced the health of a downtown district says a great deal about the community, particularly about small towns. Nowadays, when I drive through a small town, I take the opportunity to check out the downtown district.

Infrastructure improvements crucial to growth
The Pearland Journal (Texas), August 22, 2011
Southeast Texas has been weathering the economic downturn better than most regions, but unless improvements to transportation infrastructure are made the area’s growth could come to a halt, Harris County Judge Edward M. Emmett warned Pearland Chamber of Commerce members Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Complete Streets