Smart growth news – February 17, 2012

National News:

Walk in the Park: Encouraging Physical Activity in Communities
New York Times – February 8, 2012

In this lesson, students read about ways to make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. They learn about the health benefits associated with pedestrian-friendly communities, assess their own community’s level of pedestrian and cyclist access and make recommendations for improving these neighborhood attributes.

In UN Conspiracy Theorists, the Right Has a Long Con
Esquire – February 16, 2012

Almost every issue of the angry modern American right was engaged. A project to save the region’s endangered oyster beds was attacked as adding to the national debt. But Agenda 21 provides a coherent narrative for inchoate anger and fear. People want someone to blame. Agenda 21 gives them a simple answer. It gives them a They, and life is always simpler with a They. It is a unified field of resistance to what seems to be the irresistible.

HUD launches Sustainable Communities Resource Center
NRDC Blog – February 16, 2012

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has created an important online resource for professionals and citizens interested in improving America’s metro regions, cities, and neighborhoods. It looks very promising to me, especially as a sort of living compendium of best practices.

Should Building Taller Be Much, Much Easier?
The Altantic Cities – February 13, 2012

In early December, the city council of Austin, Texas, adopted an exhaustive downtown plan that will guide every element of the neighborhood’s transformation over the next 25 years, from its historic preservation policies to investments in workforce housing to parking and transit infrastructure. Amid all of those potentially touchy topics, though, the loudest row grew out of one program sketched on just five pages of the full 183-page document.

A Blueprint for a 21st Century Workforce
The Atlantic Cities – February 17, 2012

The good news is that the United States is on track to add nearly four million new blue-collar jobs between 2010 and 2020, according to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the vast majority of these jobs, 2.7 million, will be in construction and transportation.

Local News:

Walker, bike-friendly streets goal of W.Va. bill
Herald Dispatch (Hungtington, WV) – February 15, 2012

West Virginia would encourage more walkable downtowns and neighborhoods through a proposal under review in the House of Delegates.

Bay Area Climate Change Plans Lack Regional Cooperation
New York Times – February 17, 2012

Iowa Poll: Don’t raise gas tax, 68% of Iowans say
Des Moines Register – February 16, 2012

Iowans are overwhelmingly opposed to a plan that would boost the state’s fuel tax by 8 to 10 cents a gallon to help pay for road and bridge repairs, according to The Des Moines Register’s latest Iowa Poll.

Opinion and Editorial:

Commentary: A ‘leftist agenda’ on every street corner
Fort Worth Star Telegram – February 17, 2012

Who’d have thought Fort Worth’s efforts to spruce up inner-city neighborhoods were part of a U.N. plot to rob us hard-working Americans of all we hold dear? That head-scratching conclusion is where the dots might lead if you connect them in the way U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz wants you to.

A conservative for the Red Line
Lake Norman Citizen – February 17, 2012

Here’s a real grabber: in Lake County, the mean earnings of rail commuters were more than double those of people who drove to work alone. Those demographics say a lot of people on Metra’s trains are political conservatives.