Smart growth news – July 5, 2011

Get Ready for $150 Oil
Barron’s, July 2, 2011
As oil producers’ spare capacity gradually declines to worrisome levels, the average monthly price could reach a record $150 per barrel by next spring, with spikes to $165 or $170. With this, $4.50-a-gallon gasoline will become the norm. That will put a huge dent in consumer wallets, while ramping up the desirability of fuel-efficient cars.

In Los Angeles, Cuts Will Make Long Bus Commute Longer
New York Times, July 3, 2011
“Changing lines means I will never know what time I get from one place to another,” said Guadalupe Lopez, who has used the same route for more than a decade to get to her housekeeping jobs. “It might get to the point where it is not worth it, it will just take me too long. But nobody where I live is going to pay me to clean houses.”

Safety in Diversity: Why Crime Is Down in America’s Cities
The Atlantic, July 2, 2011
But the key factor, as it turns out, lies in the growing racial, ethnic, and demographic diversity of our cities and metro areas. Our analysis found that the Hispanic share of the population is negatively associated with urban crime. Crime also fell as the percentage of the population that is non-white and the percentage that is gay increased. And of all the variables in our analysis, the one that is most consistently negatively associated with crime is a place’s percentage of foreign-born residents.

Bicycles fight for space on city streets
CNN, July 1, 2011
“As bicycling is being more seriously integrated into our transportation system, of course there is going to be more focus on making sure that bike riders are following the rules to make it safe for everyone,” said Caroline Samponaro. She’s the Director of Bicycle Advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, a New York based organization that advocates for bicycling, walking and other alternative transportation. The streetscape in New York is undergoing its greatest change in 50 years and the state’s Department of Transportation is trying out new types of infrastructure to support bicycling.

The Bicycle Dividend
New York Times’ Economix blog, July 4, 2011
More Americans are biking or walking to work these days, in part because public-sector investment is improving the infrastructure they need to get there safely. Further public investments in bike paths and bike lanes are likely to offer a big social payoff.

Rentals help draw added residents into downtown Elgin developments
Courier-News (Ill.), July 3, 2011
Lange also said she is selling downtown Elgin as much as the condos, pointing out that residents can walk to attractions including restaurants, the train, The Centre of Elgin recreation facility, the casino and city hall.

Doin’ it Downtown: Tax credits available for preservation of historic buildings
Leesville Daily Leader (La.), July 4, 2011
Louisiana has 34 designated local Main Street communities, of which Leesville is one. Main Streets apply a four-point approach to the revitalization of their historic commercial districts: organizational development, design and preservation, economic development and promotion. In order to facilitate preservation, federal and state tax credits exist for residential and commercial historic rehabilitation.

Amtrak eyes mixed-use development in Baltimore
Washington Business Journal, July 1, 2011
Amtrak is seeking developers to build a multimillion-dollar complex of shops, offices or even a hotel by Baltimore’s Penn Station in a project that could trigger a much larger revitalization nearby.

Detroit Pushes Back With Young Muscles
New York Times, July 1, 2011
Kerry Doman, 29, founder of an event planning business; Justin Jacobs, 28, head of a citywide recreational sports league, and Ara Howrani, 29, a photographer who runs a commercial studio, knocked back beers, while a group of office friends from a nearby dot-com chatted about the scratch-and-sniff wallpaper in their colorful new headquarters. In another circle, a group of real estate brokers excitedly discussed the renovation of a 1920s office tower called the Broderick into a 127-unit apartment building with a restaurant, lounge and retail stores.


Curbing urban sprawl helps the suburbs, too
Kansas City Star, July 4, 2011
In recent years, some suburban officials have vigorously opposed bids to curb sprawl in the Kansas City region. Johnson County’s political and economic development leaders in particular have criticized “smart growth strategies,” then moved forward with plans to annex more territory and woo additional residents to newer, far-flung subdivisions.