Smart growth news – January 31, 2012

Train in Vain
Slate – January 27, 2012

The idiotic Department of Transportation rule that’s hobbled America’s mass transit—and the wonderful regulation that may soon replace it.

What Pictures Can Teach Us About Walkability
The Atlantic Cities – January 30, 2012

I’m not sure there is any one word that describes my concept of a sustainable community place more than walkability. At least when it comes to describing the physical aspects of a place. Is it safe, comfortable, and enjoyable to walk in? Does it have an abundance of places to walk to and from? Is it human-scaled? If the answer is yes, chances are that it also has many of the characteristics that smart growth and urbanist planners strive to achieve: density, mixed uses, connectivity, appropriate traffic management, street frontages, opportunity for physical activity, and so on.

House Republicans to unveil transportation bill
Washington Post – January 30, 2012

Spreading about $260 billion over a five-year span, the House proposal would continue to fund transportation programs at close to current levels.

Obama’s housing plan draws fire, impact seen small
Reuters – January 30, 2012

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would introduce a bill to ban the use of federal funds to pay for principal reduction, saying he did not want responsible homeowners in states such as his to pay for the irresponsible behavior of buyers in places like California and Florida — two of the states hardest hit by home price declines.

Agencies Fading, but Bonds Live On
Wall Street Journal – January 31, 2012

California has gone cold on agencies set up to fight urban blight, but their municipal bonds have become hot properties.

Cuomo Aims to Speed Tappan Zee Construction With ‘Design-Build’
Bloomberg – January 31, 2012

The Infrastructure Investment Act, passed by the Legislature in a special session with little fanfare, allows the departments of Transportation and Environmental Conservation as well as the Thruway Authority to contract with a single entity to design and build bridges, roads and dams. Previously, with limited exceptions, New York could use only a process whereby state engineers would design a project and then put it out for bids by construction companies.

Why Does Our Infrastructure Resemble a Third World Country’s?
Governing Magazine – February 2012

A German graduate student once told me he was amazed at the poor roads, sidewalks and other features in Cambridge, Mass., where we were both living and studying at the time. “It looks like a third-world country here,” he said. “Apparently, no one cares.”

Suits could force L.A. to spend huge sums on sidewalk repair
Los Angeles Times – January 31, 2012

Los Angeles may be the land of the freeway, but it is notorious for its bad sidewalks — buckled, cracked and sometimes impassable. By the city’s own estimate, 42% of its 10,750 miles of pedestrian paths are in disrepair.


More nonsense from Sacramento
North County Times – January 31, 2012

In an unfortunate bit of political grandstanding, the state attorney general has joined a lawsuit seeking to overrule the transportation plan prepared by San Diego’s regional planning agency.

Davidson’s Smart Growth Trap
Carolina Journal – January 27, 2012

For the most part, smart growth policies are championed by officials who serve the wealthy elite to the determent of middle- and low-income citizens, especially minorities and newcomers. Census data show that over the last 20 years, Davidson has become a place where only high-income people can afford to live.