Smart Growth News – December 3, 2012

Today’s stories:

D.C. zoning revamp stokes residents’ fears about changing city
Washington Post – December 1, 2012
District planning officials are rewriting the city’s zoning rules for the first time in 54 years, a process that has hastened anxieties about growth and at times has erupted into a pitched debate about the future of the city.

Plan calls for $20 billion in Minnesota tax hikes for roads, transit
Star Tribune (MN) – November 30, 2012
Higher local sales taxes, gas taxes and vehicle fees are being pushed by Gov. Mark Dayton’s task force on transportation and could help shape the debate on highway and transit funding as DFLers take control of the Legislature next year. The draft recommendations call for raising taxes by $20 billion over 20 years and for shifting transit funding from the state to metro governments.

What can be done with Detroit’s thousands of empty properties?
MLive (MI) – November 29, 2012
It’s no secret that Detroit’s empty properties are directly correlated with higher crime rates and a lower quality of life. So what can be done?

New Orleans community meetings will consider future of Claiborne Avenue corridor, elevated expressway
The Times-Picayune (LA) – November 28, 2012
More than two years after New Orleans was awarded a federal grant to study ways to upgrade the Claiborne Avenue corridor, including possible demolition of the elevated Interstate 10, the public is being invited to a series of meetings to discuss that idea and others. Residents of Orleans, St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes are invited to a region-wide meeting on Dec. 8, or one of several neighborhood meetings in the following week.

After 40 years of region trying to get it done, Snyder may be key to mass transit
Detroit Free Press (MI) – December 2, 2012
The seamless system in Chicago became one of the reasons Snyder is so focused on getting a regional transit authority approved for southeast Michigan. And after local leaders and politicians have tried for more than 40 years — and 23 times in the Legislature — to get a coordinated mass-transit system, Snyder may finally be the governor to get it done.

U.S. may be next hot spot for infrastructure debt investments
Reuters – November 28, 2012
As asset management firms like BlackRock Inc and Allianz Global Investors introduce global infrastructure debt investments in Europe, they are eyeing other markets. And some say that the U.S. may be a logical next step.

Atlanta public art project draws hundreds of notes
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – December 2, 2012
Misao Cates is one of a number of artists who’ve contributed to the new Eastside Trail, a 2.25-mile-long paved walking and cycling trail that’s the newest segment of the BeltLine project, which seeks to transform an old railroad corridor into trails, parks and other public uses. Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and its partners have invested more than $1.3 million in public art, including 16 permanent pieces in three parks and along the BeltLine, according to the group’s 2011 annual report.

Plan for a Philadelphia city land bank is taking steps forward
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) – December 3, 2012
After eight years of discussion, legislation sponsored by State Rep. John Taylor (R., Phila.) giving cities permission to establish land banks finally passed the General Assembly. Gov. Corbett signed the bill in October. Since then, the Nutter administration has been moving to house a land bank within the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. (PHDC). The board there recently hired Michael Koonce, an expert in handling abandoned property, to be executive vice president.

Opinion and editorial:

It’s time we stopped living with roads that are killing us
Washington Post – November 30, 2012
Our engineers design roads and intersections based on the goals set out for them. For too long, vehicular “level of service” has been the sole consideration. Creating “complete streets” that serve all users must become the default for every project. The price of continuing on our current path is tragedies like Hwang’s and children without freedom, and that is a price too high.