Smart growth news – August 9

IBM Partners With Portland To Play SimCity For Real
Fast Company, August 8, 2011
Systems Dynamics for Smarter Cities, as the app is called, tries to quantify the cause-and-effect relationships between seemingly uncorrelated urban phenomena. What’s the connection, for example, between public transit fares and high school graduation rates? Or obesity rates and carbon emissions? To find out, simply round up experts to hash out the linkages, translate them into algorithms, and upload enough historical data to populate the model.

Study examines extending Woodward light rail from Detroit to suburbs like Ferndale, Birmingham
Detroit Free Press, August 8, 2011
Detroit’s momentum in bringing light rail to Woodward Avenue may finally do what years of talks, political promises and symbolic gestures have failed to do: lead to real regional cooperation.

Senator Warns NJ Transportation Projects, Jobs Could Be At Risk If Congress Fails To Approve Funding
NJ Today, August 8, 2011
Today, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined labor and transportation advocates to warn of the potential results if Congress fails to re-authorize the Surface Transportation Program next month. The federal program, which provides funding for road, bridge, and transportation projects, will expire on Sept. 30.

4 recommendations for smarter American infrastructure
SmartPlanet, August 8, 2011
As Congress gets ready to pick a “supercommittee” that must find at least $1.5 trillion to cut from the U.S. deficit, a bipartisan coalition backed by several political heavyweights has released a new report urging Congressional leaders to reconsider American investments in roads, ports, broadband and other elements of a high-tech transportation network.

Big redevelopment project in Kent ready to roll
Crain’s Cleveland Business, August 8, 2011
The largest private component in downtown Kent’s massive rejuvenation plan kicks off construction with fanfare tomorrow, Aug. 9. That is when Fairmount Properties of Cleveland and its partners join with city of Kent and Kent State University officials to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $27 million, mixed-use portion of a $100 million update of downtown Kent. The mixed-use project has been in the planning stages for more than three years.

Downtown Covina gets new neighbors with Citrus Walk townhomes
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (Calif.), August 8, 2011
A row of new townhomes near Citrus Avenue is setting the stage to create a vibrant community in the heart of Downtown Covina. The Olson Company, a Seal Beach-based developer, is building its fifth community in Covina, a mixed-use development of 49 townhomes called Citrus Walk. … “It fits in line with us building in-town urban developments that are walkable, affordable and close to jobs and transit,” Olson Communities president Bill Holford said.

Opinion: More freeways won’t end L.A.’s traffic woes
Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2011
[W]e can stop spending time and scarce transportation funding on planning, designing and permitting obsolete highway projects that will only perpetuate our paralysis. Traffic studies have long established that we can’t just pave our way out of congestion.

Opinion: Really Sharing The Road Means Vibrant Urban Spaces
Hartford Courant (Conn.), August 7, 2011
The technique of creating “shared streets,” where people, bicycles and cars all coexist in one shared space without signals and signage, found its roots in the late 1960s when Dutch traffic planner Hans Monderman worked with a largely grass-roots group to attack mounting safety concerns on roads. It was Monderman who first determined that common-sense instincts could trump all the separation and control devices that dominate roadway design.