Smart Growth News- February 27, 2012


Transportation Bill Faces a Wall of Opposition From Both Parties
The New York Times- February 24, 2012

In contrast to the hundreds of pieces of legislation that cleave Congressional Republicans and Democrats, the one that pays for transportation projects has traditionally drawn a warm embrace from both parties, largely because of the giant piles of cash it bestows on states and communities to repair and maintain their roads, bridges and transit systems. So it was noteworthy that three House members — two Republicans and a Democrat, all from Illinois — gathered here for a news conference this week to denounce the latest House transportation bill, one championed by the House speaker, John A. Boehner.

House unlikely to vote on reworked highway bill upon return from recess
The Hill- February 24, 2012

The House is unlikely to consider a new version of a Republican highway bill when lawmakers return next week, as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) revamps the legislation to attract more support.

Street economists back action on housing
Market Watch- Feb 24, 2012

The weak housing market is holding back the economic recovery, and the federal government should consider a variety of policies to get the sector back on its feet, according to a new paper by a team of leading Wall Street and academic economists released Friday.

New Home Sales Data Point to Stabilizing Market
Bloomberg- Feb 24, 2012

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. exceeded forecasts in January after climbing a month earlier to a one-year high, more evidence the housing market is stabilizing.

APTA: Public transportation users save $9,914 annually
Metro Magazine- February 22, 2012

Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, $826 this month and $9,914, annually, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) February Transit Savings Report.

Suburban sprawl and your health: A Q&A February 26, 2012

New Jersey invented suburban sprawl, says Richard Jackson, a Jersey-born physician who studies the connection between our homes and our health. His conclusion: Sprawl is killing us.

Do Bike Paths Promote Bike Riding?
The Atlantic Cities- Feb 24, 2012

The “fundamental law of road congestion” tells us that building roads creates traffic. There’s such a latent demand for space on the highway that no sooner does it appear than it’s filled. But whether or not a similar law applies to bike paths and bike lanes remains a mystery.

State & Local

UT San Diego- February 26, 2012

from signature megaprojects to landscaped medians, libraries and housing for the homeless. But as of Feb. 1, redevelopment agencies created under state law dating to 1945 are no more. The state needed the money for more pressing things and dissolved the 399 agencies, including 17 in San Diego County.

Michigan business leaders target 14 areas for economic growth
The Detroit News- February 24, 2012

When it comes to Michigan’s future, forget the “new economy” and the “old economy.” Instead, focus on the “next economy.” That was the message as Business Leaders for Michigan presented its blueprint for an urban strategy that aims to boost the state’s economy by focusing on 14 metropolitan areas. The efforts would build on Michigan’s manufacturing base, expanding the green business sector and established export market.

SF focusing on hidden public spaces
SF Gate- February 26, 2012

The public spaces that accompany new downtown buildings can be easy to miss, but they’ve caught the eye of San Francisco supervisors who say more must be done to let the public know they are there.

Mixed-Use Development Coming to Washington D.C.’s Deanwood Community N.E.
Afro- February 24, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray joined government officials and a development team Feb. 22 to break ground for The Nannie Helen at 4800, a mixed-use project which will provide affordable housing, retail and other amenities in Deanwood in northeast Washington, D.C.

TriMet general manager tells Portland crowd that union contract is ‘slowly strangling’ public transit February 24, 2012

In a speech that pulled few punches, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane said Friday that the employee union contract is “slowly strangling” the agency and needs to be reset before it cripples the region’s public transit system.

People before cars: Legendary bike and pedestrian advocate urges Houston to change
Houston Culturemap- February 25, 2012

When it comes to bike paths and pedestrian walkways, Dan Burden is an urban planning legend. As creator of the “walking audit” — a multi-day public assessment program aimed to develop neighborhood walkability solutions — he has led a quiet revolution to push local governments across the United States to adopt planning efforts that put people ahead of cars.

Suburban renewal at the Museum of Modern Art February 19, 2012

In a difficult but arresting new exhibit, “Foreclosure: Rehousing the American Dream,” MoMA is suggesting that architecture and design can help reconfigure how/where we live, and how we own homes (or don’t).

It’s not Wheaton vs. Bethesda, but smart growth vs. bad
Greater Greater Washington- February 24, 2012

Montgomery officials say there isn’t enough money in the capital budget to pay for both a new Bethesda Metro entrance and redeveloping Wheaton. But there is plenty of money, if only the county deferred some of the new and wasteful highways that will only worsen sprawl and shift the county’s growth away from the places that can best accommodate it.

Cities compete for economic growth
Green Bay Press Gazette- Feb. 26, 2012

When the leaders of this small Iowa city became desperate to land a new department store, they didn’t have to look far: They lured one from the city next door, along with up to 100 jobs.

Developers envision an “airport city” around DIA
Denver Post- Feb. 26, 2012

Development around Denver International Airport could include a golf course, a wildlife viewing area, an aerospace campus, hotels and a business park, according to an early version of a land-use map prepared for the property.

Many downtown property owners oppose streetcar tax
The Kansas City Star- Feb. 26, 2012

Kansas City officials are moving full speed ahead to bring streetcars downtown.But some downtown property owners are waving a big, yellow caution flag, complaining that they’re expected to pay a big chunk of the new system’s cost — without a say in the matter.