Smart growth news – December 19

New Study: Millennials Prefer Car “Access Over Ownership”
The City Fix, December 16, 2011
The “Millennial” generation is quickly adopting car sharing as a mainstream transportation solution, according to results from Zipcar’s second annual study of the personal transportation and car ownership behavior of 18- to 34-year-olds. The study found that 55 percent of this influential generation have made an effort to drive less, which is a 10 percent rise from 2010.

GAO report details local cost of vacant properties
American City & County, December 15, 2011
In 10 years, vacant properties in the U.S. have increased almost 50 percent, and local governments have spent millions of dollars maintaining them. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) looks at how much those properties are costing local governments, and how cities and counties are responding to the issue.

Report: Big roads projects, big cities, big impact
Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), December 17, 2011
Building new roads doesn’t always boost economic development, a new study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concludes, but large projects in larger communities have helped increase wages.

A Metro-focused housing developer weathers the downturn
Washington Post, December 16, 2011
The current trend of smart growth, or developing housing and other amenities near transit-friendly areas, has been the mantra for local planning agencies and developers in the last several years. One of the pioneers in the Washington area of this concept is the Bethesda firm EYA, which since 1992 has been developing townhouses and other higher density housing in neighborhoods within a short walk of Metro stations.


Business growth thriving in downtown GB
WLUK-TV (Wisc.), December 16, 2011
Just like Smet’s desire to relocate downtown, he is finding more and more of his clients feel the same way. Some might call it a downtown revival. “One company mentioned this district, they said their employees are younger and they wanted to be in a cool area of town, so I thought that was neat,” said Smet.

South side hopes mixed-use development at 47th and I-135 will spark more activity
Wichita Business Journal (Kan.), December 16, 2011
A new development project proposed for south Wichita has proponents of the plan hopeful their goal of revitalizing the area is about to take the next step.

Smart Growth opt-out focus of bill
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, December 17, 2011
Two central Wisconsin senators are among state legislators trying to give local governments the chance to opt out of comprehensive planning. The state Legislature approved comprehensive planning, commonly known as Smart Growth, in 1999. It requires all local governments that create zoning, subdivision or official mapping ordinances to develop comprehensive plans for land use. Senator Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, and Senator Terry Moulton, R-Park Falls, are two of the co-sponsors of the Assembly Bill that would allow communities to not participate in comprehensive planning.

Activists wary of Costco, other development in Yorktown
The Journal News (N.Y.), December 19, 2011
The town’s changed political landscape has spurred a new group of local activists wary of unchecked development to organize and, they say, give residents a voice in deciding what gets built.

Opinion and Editorial

Dave Bing: Rapid bus system is a win for metro Detroit
Detroit Free Press, December 18, 2011
As a city built on the automobile industry, Detroit has not traditionally made public transportation a priority. In recent years, Detroit, our neighboring counties and the state recognized that a true regional transit system is necessary to compete with cities across the country. We also agree that the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and SMART bus system have neither the resources, nor the technology, to effectively provide regional transit. This week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Gov. Rick Snyder and I announced our support for a regional Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT). That decision best serves Detroit and the region’s transportation needs for three reasons.