Smart growth news – July 6, 2011

Grant promotes Somerville smart growth
Boston Globe, July 5, 2011
Community Corridor Planning, a coalition of Somerville community organizations, has received approximately $220,000 over two years from the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to promote strong neighborhoods around mass transit expansion. The alliance announced the award at a June 23 conference.

House GOP expected to ax transportation funds
The Washington Post, July 5, 2011
The next flash point in the debate over the nation’s will to live within its means may emerge this week as House Republicans present a long-term transportation bill expected to cut funding for highways and mass transit by almost one third.

Tide will guide Norfolk’s growth
The Virginian-Pilot (Va.), July 6, 2011
The trains have begun rolling through downtown Norfolk. The Tide, finally, is coming in. If all goes according to plan, light rail will begin transporting people next month on a route from Newtown Road to Norfolk’s medical complex.

Newburgh organizing land bank to take over empty buildings
Times Herald-Record (N.Y.), July 5, 2011
Newburgh is far from the only city trying to reclaim neighborhoods of empty buildings. Upstate legislators have pushed a bill to create land banks modeled after the planning tool used in famously empty cities, such as Flint, Mich. The bill cites the vacant neighborhoods of Buffalo as its justification but could just as easily list former industrial cities throughout the state. Newburgh has already begun to organize its own version of a land bank.

Bike-Friendly? Check the City’s Mass Transit System
The New York Times, July 5, 2011
Scanning the leader list of this country’s bike commuting meccas — Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and San Francisco — made me wonder if there was a corollary between the percentage of commuters who pedal to work and the degree to which the mass transit and commuter rail systems in those cities welcome bicycles.

Houston Seniors Struggle With Poor Access to Transit
Transportation Nation, July 5, 2011
Naomi Hirsh is a 76-year-old woman living in Houston, Texas — and, according to a report from Transportation for America, she is part of the sixty-eight percent of elderly city residents whom are underserved when it comes to public transit.


How the Great Reset Has Already Changed America
The Atlantic, July 5, 2011
As many of our cities and older inner-ring suburbs are being renovated and revitalized, the great challenge of our time — far bigger than urban renewal was in decades past — is to remake our many shoddily-built, far-off exurbs into denser, more- connected, more livable communities. Some of them — the ones that were built as much to keep the building boom going as because people needed to live in them — might be fated to shrink back into small towns or disappear altogether.

Transportation projects should help region improve air quality
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Ga.), July 5, 2011
As representatives of the health community in metro Atlanta, we are urging members of the Atlanta Transportation Roundtable to prioritize transportation investments that will contribute to better public health when selecting projects for the Transportation Investment Act list to be put before voters in 2012.

Transportation vital for economic development
Northwest Indiana Times (Ind.), July 5, 2011
The [Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission] plan aims to revitalize the region’s urban core — a valuable aim that dovetails nicely with efforts like that of the Gary and Region Investment Project. GRIP, a major effort sponsored by The Times Media Co. and the Metropolitan Planning Council, in conjunction with groups like the Urban Land Institute, is looking at specific projects that hold promise in improving the quality of life in the region and boosting economic development as well.