Smart growth news – July 2, 2012

Congress passes two-year transportation bill
Washington Post 2chambers blog – June 29, 2012
On the eve of the Fourth of July travel rush, Congress agreed Friday to a two-year plan to fund the nation’s transportation projects, as part of a broader package that included resolution of other long-simmering issues.

Transit bill ‘kicks can down the road’
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) – July 2, 2012
“This is a step backwards,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, a broad-based coalition that favors major reforms in transportation spending, in a conference call with reporters last week.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Marks Three Years Helping Communities Build a Foundation for Prosperity
FastLave via the White House blog – June 29, 2012
Building strong, resilient communities starts with having a great team. In 2009, President Obama challenged us to improve how our agencies work together to help communities around the country better meet their housing, transportation, and environmental goals, laying the groundwork for an economy that provides good jobs now and creates a strong foundation for long-term prosperity.

California bullet train up for contentious vote
Associated Press via Businessweek – July 2, 2012
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to start building the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line is set for a pivotal vote by the Legislature this week with some state lawmakers still skeptical about spending billions in the Central Valley.

Investments in downtown Syracuse total $1.4 billion
WSYR (NY) – June 28, 2012
“It’s an enormous generational shift. People under 30 don’t want to live in the boring suburban life. They don’t mind living in a town home or duplex. They would much rather be where the action is,” said Bill Fulton with Smart Growth America. Fulton was the Keynote Speaker at Thursday’s Downtown Committee event.

Homeownership and Suburban Sprawl
Freakonomics blog – June 29, 2012
A new paper from economist (and city-lover) Ed Glaeser argues in favor of a reevaluation of government policies towards homeownership.

Coalition members in the news

New tack on I-73: It costs too much (SC) – June 30, 2012
“South Carolina can improve access to the Myrtle Beach area without spending $1 billion that could go to other infrastructure with greater economic benefits than the proposed I-73 interstate.” In fact, it can do the job for one-tenth the cost if the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and area leaders instead embrace the Grand Strand Expressway concept.

Local news

Southeast Florida’s seven counties join to draft 50-year plan for sustainable development
Miami Herald (FL) – June 27, 2012
About 500 urban planners, civic figures, public officials and activists gathered in a historic Delray Beach schoolhouse Wednesday to launch a dauntingly ambitious — and unprecedented — undertaking: Mapping out a 50-year-plan for the sustainable growth of the seven Southeast Florida counties that stretch along the Atlantic from the Keys to Indian River.

Complete streets: New policy encourages bike lanes, sidewalks
Anniston Star (AL) – July 1, 2012
There are houses on Lenlock Lane just hundreds of feet from a Walmart Supercenter — but with no sidewalk to the store, most people drive there.

Rush to rent, and build apartments
Columbus Dispatch (OH) – June 30, 2012
Job growth, coupled with a shortage of apartments and a continued reluctance to buy homes, has created a crunch for apartments in central Ohio.

Anti-sprawl program extended
Buffalo News (NY) – June 29, 2012
The Clarence Town Board is giving the Greenprint anti-sprawl program a 10-year extension.

Farmers markets create a sense of place in Silicon Valley
San Jose Mercury News (CA) – June 30, 2012
“We’ve got real neighborhoods that are pining for the kind of vibrancy farmers markets bring,” he said. The markets offer a place that encourage people to “linger and not simply pick out an item and race out to the parking lot.”

More people seek downtown living
Post-Bulletin (MN) – June 23, 2012
“I wanted to be in a place where I could walk to things. And there are a lot of things to walk to in downtown Rochester, besides the doctors and appointments. There’s also the library and the civic center, the art center. There’s the senior center … we also have (the University of Minnesota Rochester),” Skolnick said.

More improvement predicted for downtown Syracuse
WRVO (NY) – June 28, 2012
There are also several projects underway to better link the University Hill neighborhood with downtown, and that has Bill Fulton excited. Fulton is the vice president of Smart Growth America and was the keynote speaker at the Downtown Committee’s meeting…”The urban fabric of downtown Syracuse has always been very strong,” says Fulton, a central New York native. “It’s been sometimes difficult to fill in the gaps between downtown and University Hill. So when you begin to see the new Upstate residential tower, it helps to fill in the gaps in that urban fabric.”

Will an ‘Overlay District’ Draw Businesses to the Stow-Kent Plaza?
Stow Patch (OH) – June 29, 2012
The planning commission discussed turning the mostly empty Stow-Kent Shopping Plaza into an overlay district with flexible zoning to encourage development of the area with several empty stores.

Editorial and Opinion

At Last, a Transportation Bill
New York Times – July 1, 2012
Though the final bill is far from perfect, it more nearly resembles the solid Senate measure crafted by Ms. Boxer and Mr. Inhofe, the chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate public works committee, than the appalling House version.

Growth and sprawl on the march
Tampa Bay Times (FL) – July 2, 2012
Gov. Rick Scott’s vision of Florida’s economic future looks a lot like its past: heavily dependent on grand-scale development that creates sprawl and environmental damage but comes with no money to pay for the consequences.