Smart growth news – June 23, 2011

The City and Bikes: Rubber Meets Road
Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2011
Spring was a little shrill and embarrassing. There were crazed media furies about bike lanes, non-stop reports of police crackdowns, hyperbolic worries that the city was transforming into an effete Euro village. If we didn’t defend our streets, the cyclists would overtake Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan would open a leg-shaving station in Union Square…But then a funny thing occurred. It got warmer, more people started riding, and the mania was eclipsed by reality.

Five Smart Growth Projects Receive $1.5 Million in Aid
Boston Globe, June 23, 2011
Five development projects seen as promoting dense urban development oriented around mass transit have been chosen by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to receive $1.5 million in aid.

Carroll officials take stand on growth, transit, immigration
Baltimore Sun, June 22, 2011
Public prayer is just one of the issues that is defining this five-member, all-Republican board, all but one a newcomer to governance. They were swept into office on the tea party wave last year after a campaign that emphasized property rights and an opposition to many environmental initiatives, affordable housing and public transportation in a county where more than half the workforce commutes to jobs outside its borders. “We don’t want subways or metro buses,” said Richard Rothschild, one of the new commissioners. “They are conduits for crime. That’s not politically correct, but it is factually substantiated.”

Is a housing construction boom coming?
The Atlantic, June 22, 2011
You might think the question posed in the headline above sounds crazy. Aren’t foreclosures very high and thousands of distressed properties hitting the market each day? Didn’t residential construction go bonkers during the housing bubble in an epic overbuilding binge? The answers to these questions are: sort of, but it’s complicated. After the bubble popped, home construction fell to historic lows and stayed there. As a result, we may be on the verge a housing shortage in the U.S., which would actually be very good news for the economic recovery.

R.I. sees trouble down the road
Providence Journal (R.I.), June 22, 2011
Their problem, agency officials say, is their major revenue source, the state gas tax: it isn’t producing enough money to keep up with expenses. While expenses go up, the gas tax is producing less money despite two increases since 2002. Alternatives, however, are often complicated, have flaws, and, experts say, would be controversial to implement.

Dem: Amtrak privatization is unconstitutional
The Hill (blog), June 22, 2011
Stepping up from criticizing the Republican plan to privatize Amtrak rail service as being risky, a key House Democrat said Wednesday that the plan was unconstitutional.

New York on the Road to Having More Pedestrian, Bike-Friendly Streets
WNYC (N.Y.), June 21, 2011
New York State is poised to have more “complete” streets.
Governor Andrew Cuomo will now be presented with the bill that requires transportation planners to consider pedestrian and bike-friendly features when building and redesigning roads following its passage in the State Assembly Monday. The Democrat has expressed support for signing it into law.

Teeny Tenney says ta-ta; residents vote 2-1 to dissolve town
Star Tribune (Minn.), June 22, 2011
The tiny town of Tenney is no more. A majority of the town’s voters — there are only three of them — have decided to dissolve Tenney, which has shared the title of Minnesota’s smallest city with Funkley.

Opinion: Public transit funding needs to grow, also
The Tennessean, June 21, 2011
We are all going to be senior citizens someday, and we hope that there will be adequate transportation services to meet our needs. The recent study released by Transportation for America, “Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation,” predicts that 85 percent of Nashville-area seniors will have poor access to transit in 2015. It is also predicted that this number will grow well beyond 2030, when the last of the baby boomers turn 65. So how do we plan to address the ever-growing need for public transit for seniors?

Opinion: Ticked off over traffic calming, June 22, 2011
I have attended enough “smart growth” meetings over the last 20 years to know that the aim of “traffic calming” is to obstruct and then deconstruct American highways to make driving so laborious that you will give up your automobile and hop on mass transit.