Smart growth news- June 4, 2012

Top Stories

Use of public transit is soaring in 2012
USA Today- June 3, 2012
Use of public transit is soaring. Transit agencies had record or near-record ridership in the first three months of the year, thanks to high gas prices, a mild winter and, in one city, the Super Bowl.

Hubway bike-sharing program is on a roll, via The Boston Globe- June 3, 2012
If you’ve been seeing a lot of sturdy silver bikes rolling past lately, you’re not imagining it. The Hubway bicycle-sharing system in Boston had its busiest day yet last Sunday, recording 2,531 station-to-station trips. On Tuesday, it eclipsed the 250,000 mark for total rides.

Stay or go? Some towns are eyeing retreat from sea
The Associated Press- June 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Years of ferocious storms have threatened to gnaw away the western tip of a popular beachfront park two hours drive north of Los Angeles. Instead of building a 500-foot-long wooden defense next to the pier to tame the tide, the latest thinking is to flee.

Construction-Jobs Loss Reignites Debate on Highway Bill
Businessweek- June 2, 2012
The loss of 28,000 construction jobs in May, the sector’s worst drop in two years, reignited a debate in Congress about stalled legislation to extend federal highway construction and transportation programs set to expire June 30.

Detroit, other Michigan cities must rush to spend $224M in housing aid or give it back
Detroit Free Press- June 3, 2012
WASHINGTON — Detroit, Highland Park, Pontiac and other Michigan cities face losing millions of dollars in federal aid to reclaim and rebuild neighborhoods riddled with abandoned and foreclosed properties unless they can spend it all in the next nine months.

Millions slated for S.J. transit projects
The Record (CA)- June 2, 2012
STOCKTON – Millions of dollars in state grant funding are headed toward some high-profile local transit projects taking shape in San Joaquin County.

Bike lanes 2.0: now or soon in a city near you
NRDC Blog- June 4, 2012
Cities in the US, including Washington, DC where I live, are making significant investments in bicycling infrastructure. Two categories that have appeared just in the last decade, for example, are bicycle sharing and urban bike stations where cyclists can store bikes and get repairs. Bike lanes, or painted stripes marking bicycle travel space on roadways, have been around longer, but some of the new ones are much more sophisticated than what we had ten or twenty years ago.

Seattle prepares plan to make city bike-friendly and attract wary cyclists
Associated Press via Fox News – June 3, 2012
[A]s the city prepares to overhaul its five-year-old bike plan, some want to make the city safer and friendlier to those not so accustomed to navigating the streets on two wheels.

Infrastructure Socialism and the New York Subway
Forbes – June 3, 2012
The subways were crucially important to the growth and geographic expansion of New York City. The ends of the subway lines were initially run through bucolic farmland in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. A few years later the land around these stations had been transformed into dense urban neighborhoods. Today the population of New York could be smaller by millions of people if not for the ambitious subway building projects undertaken a century ago.

Coalition members in the news

Sonoran Institute director ready to move on after 22 years on job
Arizona Daily Star (AZ) – June 3, 2012
Donald Diamond sí, Rosemont Copper no. That’s essentially the mantra of conservationist Luther Propst as he prepares to leave his director’s job with the Tucson-based Sonoran Institute, 22 years after founding it.

Local news

Major mixed-use development set for former Downey aerospace site
Los Angeles Times- June 3, 2012
A historic Downey manufacturing site that was a cradle of the space program and now serves as a movie studio is close to being reborn as a massive mixed-use development intended to economically reinvigorate southeast Los Angeles County.

A flurry of flipping
Press Democrat (CA)- June 3, 2012
In an unprecedented effort to buy and flip distressed properties in Sonoma County, a Vacaville company has purchased more than $15 million worth of foreclosed homes across the county in the past six months.

Aurora’s downtown art scene under construction
The Beacon-News (IL) – June 2, 2012
“The artists are getting exposure, and the property owners are getting exposure for their buildings,” said Mercado. The idea is to promote a downtown that is both art- and investor-friendly.

Missoula eyes gas tax to help pay for sidewalks
Associated Press via Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT) – June 3, 2012
The Missoula City Council is considering asking Missoula County commissioners to give voters the option of adding 2 cents to the price of a gallon of gas to get money for local road and sidewalk projects.