Smart growth news – December 12

Forget Stadiums, Cities Should Fight For Apple Stores
Forbes, December 9, 2011
The computer stores have become ‘anchors’ for affluent downtown areas, says Robert Gibbs, an urban economic and planning consultant and author of of “Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development.” “Sports stadiums do not generate much cross shopping: they’re nice to have but greatly overrated,” Gibbs says. “If you have an Apple store on your Main Street, though, that gives you a kind of ‘good housekeeping seal of approval,’ that’s going to attract others.”

$3.7 million in HUD money to help five Central Texas communities with city planning, design
American-Statesman (Texas), December 10, 2011
A $3.7 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded to the Capital Area Council of Governments will provide five Central Texas cities with planning and design consulting services through February 2014. The money, through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants program, will go to Austin, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hutto and Lockhart.

Debunking public transportation myths
Detroit Free Press, December 11, 2011
The American Public Transportation Association says the long-term trend is clear: Ridership on the nation’s buses, subways, commuter rail lines and other transit systems grew 34% in 1995-2009, outpacing 23% growth in the number of vehicle miles driven on highways in that period. The number of workers who rely on transit regularly grew by a million, to nearly 7 million nationwide, in 2005-09.

Zipcar’s Second Annual Millennials Study Finds 18-34-Year-Olds Increasingly Embrace Collaborative Consumption and Access Over Ownership
PR Newswire, December 12, 2011
Today, Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car-sharing network, released its second annual independent study of Millennials (18-34-year-olds), which examines this generation’s attitudes toward personal transportation and car ownership.  The Zipcar membership base ranges in age from 18 to 80s; however, Millennials are an important segment for Zipcar, comprising more than half of all members.  Millennials account for about 23 percent of the general population, according to the 2010 US Census.

Sara Lee relocating headquarters to Chicago
Associated Press via BusinessWeek, December 8, 2011
“This move will put our new company’s headquarters in the heart of one of the world’s business capitals and will be one of the key elements of building our more nimble, creative and innovative culture,” Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink said in a statement.

Local news

City residents’ taxes subsidize townships, study finds
Dayton Daily News (Ohio), December 10, 2011
People who live in Montgomery County’s townships benefit from $14.9 million in government subsidies for roads, police protection and other services that city residents don’t receive even though both groups pay taxes for them, according to a new study conducted to examine the region’s tax inequities between cities and townships.

Study finds need for transit coordination in York region
York Dispatch (Pa.), December 10, 2011
A study released by Commuter Services of Pennsylvania charts a course for coordinated regional transit services in the southcentral part of the state.

For downtown businesses … It’s a start
Palladium-Item (Ind.), December 10, 2011
Center City makes its home at the downtown Innovation Center. Businesses and individuals can walk in and set up shop and have office space and equipment and Internet service. That worked for Troy and Suzanne Derengowski, who started Derco Internet Broadcasting, an Internet radio site. “It gave us a place to be,” Suzanne Derengowski said. “We wouldn’t be this far along without the support of Center City. They provided a startup space we could afford, technical capabilities and front desk coverage. It’s allowed us to make it to another level.”

Planners lay out sketch of future Allentown waterfront
The Morning Call (Pa.), December 9, 2011
After amassing ideas that ran the gamut from practical to improbable, a team of consultants for Allentown’s waterfront project laid out a rough sketch for a waterfront with retail stores, paddle boats and plenty of walking trails.

Majority supports city’s plan to replace part of Inner Loop
Rochester Business Journal (N.Y.), December 9, 2011
Nearly two-thirds of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support the city’s plan to replace the Inner Loop between Monroe Avenue and Charlotte Street with a street-level boulevard. The Inner Loop has ringed Rochester’s central business district since the mid-1960s. City government leaders think this “inefficient, sunken expressway” is both underused and an impediment to downtown redevelopment. They have proposed reconstructing a 2/3-mile section of the Inner Loop on the east side into a multilane, street-level boulevard.

Can Urban Transit Hubs Help Revitalize New Jersey’s Cities?
NJ Spotlight, December 12, 2011
New Jersey’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program has become popular with corporations and residential developers recently, with more than half of the program’s $1.5 billion committed to 13 projects over the past two years.

First building in Harrison Station mixed-use development opens
The Jersey Journal (N.J.), December 10, 2011
The first building in the $750 million Harrison Station mixed-use development opened yesterday afternoon with ceremonies attended by Sen. Robert Menendez and local officials. The new development includes a beach volleyball court, landscaped courtyard with a pool, and a state-of-the-art fitness center just steps from the Harrison PATH station. “This project serves as a model for New Jersey,” said Menendez. “Projects like this use existing infrastructure we already have to concentrate and create opportunities for others.”

After economy stalls it, development again revs up at the Domain
American-Statesman (Texas), December 11, 2011
After being stalled during the economy’s downturn, Endeavor Real Estate Group’s ambitious mixed-use Domain project in North Austin is again moving forward. Construction is under way on a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market and on 315 apartments — the first phase of 543 planned rental units at the project off North MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and Burnet Road. The apartments are being developed in a joint venture composed of Dallas-based Columbus Residential, Austin-based Endeavor and RREEF, Endeavor’s capital partner in the Domain. In January, construction will begin on the other 228 apartments, along with a 9-acre park.


Fulton: Keeping our young families in Ventura
Ventura County Star (Calif.), December 10, 2011
Like Ventura, mature communities all over the country are struggling because they can’t keep the people they need to fill important jobs and to give the community a family-oriented vitality…In the long run, we will have to be aggressive in making sure that there is enough housing — and the right kind of housing — for our young families to buy. That probably means building more townhomes and large, high-quality condominiums because the families won’t be able to afford single-family homes as we did.

Great promise in new Pascagoula riverfront development plan
The Mississippi Press, December 11, 2011
The city of Pascagoula has made great strides since it created a redevelopment authority this past spring. The authority immediately tackled what it called its No. 1 priority, which is the development of the city’s riverfront property. Now, only a few months later, officials are looking at a promising master plan for how a mixed-use development could transform the area.

Column: No Wonder There’s So Much Traffic
Hopatcong Patch (N.J), December 12, 2011
Using public transportation, be it a bus or a train, is certainly better for the environment because it makes the air a little cleaner. But it’s also good for the mind (reading, listening to podcasts), body (sleeping) and soul (daydreaming, texting a friend, planning your spouse’s birthday celebration). Or, if you really have to, you can always do more work via your laptop, iPad or Blackberry. Despite all it’s got going for it, there are still relatively few workers from the Morris County region using mass transit.