Smart growth news – June 20, 2011

S.D. gets high marks for spending priorities on roads
The Argus Leader (S.D.), June 20, 2011
South Dakota received a thumbs up from a national study for having its priorities straight on road funding, but officials are concerned about how much Congress is going to spend in the future.
From 2004 to 2008, South Dakota spent 78 percent of its highway capital funds on road repair and maintenance – the highest such rate in the nation, according to a joint study by Transportation for America and Smart Growth America.

Senate Introduces Fix-It-First Bill to Save Crumbling U.S. Roads, June 17, 2011
Broadly speaking, the plan pushes for statewide implementation of the fix-it-first road spending strategy favored by the Obama administration. Brookings recently extolled the virtues of fix-it-first, and Smart Growth America found that road maintenance work produces more jobs than road building projects do.

Trending: Businesses Moving Downtown

The Rebirth of Downtown Las Vegas
News 8 Now (Las Vegas), June 16, 2011
Downtown Las Vegas is seeing a new crop of residents and businesses moving into its refurbished buildings. No move will be more important than Zappos in 2014. The online retail giant is proving to be a catalyst for new development and new residents. Downtown’s are the heart of most cities but downtown Las Vegas hasn’t had the best luck. As the Las Vegas Strip grew, many older casinos failed, businesses vacated and the homeless invaded. In 1994, that luck started to change when construction on the Fremont Street Experience began.

CFA to take over old Martha Jefferson building
The Daily Progress, June 16, 2011
There is a new tenant in line for the soon-to-be-vacant Martha Jefferson Hospital. CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals based in Albemarle County, plans to spend $24.5 million to move its operations into the completely renovated Locust Avenue building in Spring 2013, company officials said Thursday.

Jones Soda relocating its headquarters
Associated Press via BusinessWeek, June 17, 2011
Jones Soda Co. is relocating its headquarters from Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood to a bigger office space in city’s Pioneer Square historical district…The headquarters will be housed on the entire first floor of the Palmer Court building, taking up 9,500 square feet. Jones Soda said Friday that the building is adjacent to Qwest Field and the Event Center, giving it the opportunity to take advantage of pedestrian traffic for sample taste tests.

Downtown Milwaukee has much to offer Kohl’s
BizTimes (Wisc.), June 17, 2011
For the baby boom generation, success often meant a McMansion and a minivan in the suburbs. Many prefer to work in isolated, comfortable suburban office parks. However, that definition is not likely to be shared by the next generation of Kohl’s leaders, employees, clients or vendors. Generation Y, born between 1980 and the early 2000s, prefers the city to the country or the suburbs. About 88 percent of these millennials would rather live in an urban setting, according to RCLCO, an Orlando, Fla.-based real estate adviser. A similar survey by Johnson Controls Inc. in 2010 found that 70 percent of the Gen Y employees prefer working in an urban setting to a “slightly urban” location.

High-tech company moving to Winooski, Vt., mill
Associated Press via Forbes, June 17, 2011
“We look forward to ideally making this a tech hub,” CEO Rich Tarrant said. “MyOwnGrocer’s going to be here. We’re going to invite other technology companies to move into space that we don’t need and really help be part of a vibrant revitalization of downtown.”

Smet Construction Services to move to downtown Green Bay
Green Bay Press Gazette (Wisc.), June 16, 2011
Scott Smet, company president, said the move will provide additional room for his 32 employees as well as be more convenient. “I’m probably downtown three or four days a week. Our bank’s downtown and legal’s downtown,” he said. “We are going to have more amenities there than here, too. There’s a lot of good restaurants down there.”

Other News

Heart of the city: Demand for urban living space outpaces supply in Waterloo
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa), June 19, 2011
Miranda Vesey moved into her downtown Waterloo apartment in April before the final coats of paint were applied. “I really wanted to get down here,” she said. Vesey, who lives in the Repass Building, 326-330 E. Fourth St., above BankIowa, wasn’t the only one eager to move in. All seven apartments completed in April had tenants before construction was completed. In the last year 19 new downtown apartments have come on the market, and all are occupied.

Hingham looks at sustainable growth
The Hingham Journal (Mass.), June 17, 2011
Hingham recently joined the Metro Boston Consortium for Sustainable Communities, which gives the town access to potential grants and technical assistance. About 50 other cities and towns have already signed on, including Cohasset, Hull, and Marshfield. The Consortium falls under Greater Boston’s Regional Planning Agency, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which promotes Smart Growth and regional collaboration. It was created as part of the application process that led to the recent awarding of a $4 million grant to MAPC.

Utahns who want to age in suburbs need car-free living, report says
Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), June 18, 2011
As boomers age, they want to stay where they are, which in Utah most likely means in the suburbs or beyond. But what happens when seniors can no longer drive? A study compiled by a coalition of public transit advocates says that unless elders — including more than 65,000 Wasatch Front residents — have affordable travel options, they face isolation, a reduced quality of life and possible economic hardship. The report, “Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options,” says the downside of suburban living may leave millions of older Americans in de facto retirement communities poorly served by mass transit.

El Paso City Rep. Beto O’Rourke unsure of political future
El Paso Times, June 19, 2011
Now that he’s leaving the City Council, people are speculating whether Beto O’Rourke will run for Congress….During his tenure, he hasn’t been shy about using the literal and symbolic power of government to attempt sweeping change. He’s led the fight to use principles of “smart growth” to reshape the city.

Kirk to unveil plan to ease transit privatization
Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2011
Republican Mark Kirk today will unveil a plan designed to make it easier for governments to lease public transportation assets or enter into partnerships with private companies to build them…The legislation, called the Lincoln Legacy Infrastructure Development Act, would remove federal restrictions on public-private partnerships while requiring that the proceeds of leases or sales be reinvested in infrastructure, Kirk said.

EDITORIAL: Public transit needs stable funding source
Northwest Indiana Times (Ind.), June 20, 2011
The Regional Bus Authority has scheduled a public hearing to discuss potential service reductions. This comes at a time when the service is growing in popularity. What’s needed isn’t shrinkage but solid footing. …
Funding public transportation is a matter of social justice, environmental improvement and efficient traffic management.

Opinion: Underscoring need for more transit, not less
The Weekly Herald (Wash.), June 18, 2011
With gas prices nearing $4 per gallon and family budgets tight, Snohomish County residents need reliable transit service more than ever. Many families in our community face the impossible choice of putting food on the table or filling up their gas tanks. Whether it’s getting to work, visiting the doctor or going to school, good bus service is critical to giving people an alternative to our congested roads and easing the pain at the pump.