Smart growth news – June 28, 2012

Cities grow more than suburbs, first time in 100 years
MSNBC – June 28, 2012
For the first time in a century, most of America’s largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs as young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers.

Cities Outpace Suburbs in Growth
Wall Street Journal – June 28, 2012
Home builders are betting that there is a longer-term shift under way. Many builders that previously worked entirely on single-family homes in the suburbs have refocused to keep up with what they say is a change in demand. Three of the largest publicly traded U.S. home-building companies—Toll Brothers Inc., TOL Lennar Corp. and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc.—have in recent years built mid-rise and high-rise condominium towers in urban areas such as New York City, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Irvine, Calif., looking to capitalize on consumers’ rising distaste for long commute times and interest in housing that is closer to cities’ cultural and job centers.

Highway bill conference report released
The Hill – June 28, 2012
The bicameral agreement on a new surface transportation bill has been released early Thursday morning by the House Rules Committee.

Congress reaches deal on transportation bill, the first since 2005
Washington Post – June 27, 2012
Republicans dropped their demands to piggyback onto the bill approval for the Keystone oil pipeline, as well as relaxation of proposed restrictions on coal ash produced by power plants. In return, Democrats gave up on $1.4 billion for conservation and agreed to allow states more leeway in how they use money that was once mandated for landscaping, bike improvements and pedestrian walkways.

Boxer calls highway bill compromise a ‘victory’
The Hill – June 27, 2012
“For the first time, we send half of the funds for bike paths and pedestrian walkways directly to local entities, and we protect those funds while giving states more flexibility on their share,” she said of a provision in the agreement to allow states to opt out of bike and pedestrian programs.

Sprawl costs regional households and economy, sustainability report shows
Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH) – June 26, 2012
Northeast Ohioans are carrying heavier local tax burdens and feeling the pinch of greater costs per household as development sprawls farther and farther away from older cities into suburban and exurban hinterlands.

Coalition members in the news

Hopelink and Futurewise receive $20,000 grant for East Link education
Redmond Reporter (WA) – June 27, 2012
Redmond-based human services organization Hopelink and Futurewise have received a $20,000 federal grant to help ensure that underserved communities are engaged in the planning and development process for Sound Transit’s East Link corridor project.

D.C. Council is trying to fix residential parking permit system
WJLA (DC) – June 27, 2012
The D.C. Council is attempting to fix problems with the District’s residential parking permit system…“I mean there’s an issue of intra ward commuting and it kind of defeats the purpose of a residential parking permit program,” says Cheryl Cort of the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Local news

Amid changes in Syracuse, Downtown Committee to highlight growth
The Post-Standard (NY) – June 27, 2012
Developments that were on the drawing boards for years are heading to fruition in Syracuse and the results will change the character of the city, said the head of the Downtown Committee.

American Wire Mill Development gets a green light
Valley Breeze (RI) – June 26, 2012
A major project to convert the old American Insulated Wire property at 413 Central Ave. into a mixed-use development of homes and businesses got a key approval from the Pawtucket City Council last week.

Hartford Wins $10 Million for Smart Growth
The Connecticut Mirror (CT) – June 27, 2012
A federal grant of $10 million is set to help Hartford become a city of bikers, walkers, and public transportation users instead of drivers.

Orange Line busway is Metro’s quiet success story
Los Angeles Times – June 27, 2012
As Los Angeles County pumps billions of dollars into its expanding commuter rail network, a different kind of mass transit has become an unlikely hero of the San Fernando Valley. The 7-year-old Orange Line, a 14-mile east-west busway connecting North Hollywood to Warner Center, has been a less-flashy workhorse of success for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

N.Y. gives regional group $1M for ‘smart growth’ plan
Press Connects (NY) – June 25, 2012
A coalition representing eight area counties has received $1 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to create the Cleaner Greener Southern Tier Plan — a comprehensive smart growth plan for regional sustainability.

Opinion and Editorial

Planning a new gateway
Buffalo News (NY) – June 26, 2012
With all of the activity under way or planned for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it is reassuring to see plans taking shape for a gateway that promises to be both visually pleasing and functional.