Smart growth news, June 6, 2011

Could Focusing on Repairs Please Everyone?
National Journal, June 6, 2011
Smart Growth America may have provided one clue that could inch the committee down the yellow brick road. A report released last week found that between 2004 and 2008, states spent 43 percent of total road construction and preservation funds on the repair of existing roads, while the remaining 57 percent of funds went to new construction.

Report Lists How Much $ Each State Would Need To Maintain Roads
SRTC (Spokane Washington MPO) Transportation Blog, June 3, 2011
We’ve been talking for years about how decades of underinvestment in regular maintenance have left the nation’s roads in poor condition, and the cost of repairing them is rising faster than we can address it. But just how bad is the situation? A report released this week by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense examines road conditions and spending priorities in all 50 states.

Study: State Spends Too Much On New Roads, Not Enough on Maintenance
PubliCola, June 1, 2011
According to a new study from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, US states, including Washington, spend far more on new road construction than they do on maintaining the roads they have—a situation Transportation Choices Coalition calls a “financial time bomb” as states build hundreds of miles of roads and highways they can’t afford to keep in safe working condition.

The Virtues of Investing in Transportation
New York Times Economix blog, June 3, 2011
In a time of budget austerity, the allocation of scarce federal dollars for infrastructure must be guided by cost-benefit analysis — rather than by earmarks and formula-based grants, as is currently the case. That’s why the Obama administration is calling for the use of performance criteria and “race to the top” competition among state and local governments to allocate federal spending among competing projects.

Jersey City Establishes ‘Complete Streets’ Policy
The Jersey City Independent, June 3, 2011
Jersey City paved the way for a more egalitarian use of the city’s transportation infrastructure by establishing a Complete Streets policy at the last City Council meeting, by a unanimous 9 to 0 vote. The policy, which calls for “roadways that enable safe and convenient access for all users,” represents the planning community’s rethinking of what — and whom — a road should be designed for.

According to Jay Corbalis, a policy analyst at New Jersey Future, a nonprofit organization that promotes smart growth, a Complete Streets policy is the “philosophy that when you build a road, you build it for all users.” He says Jersey City is a huge addition to the handful of municipalities that have embraced the policy.

A time-based transit map
The Economist blog, June 5, 2011
Stefan Wehrmeyer, a 23-year-old German programmer, has developed a Google Maps application called Mapnificent (harhar). It’s pretty cool: it shows you the places in your city that you can reach in a given amount of time using public transit. This, for example, is a map of the places you can get to from the White House within 15 minutes using public transit.

Next stop, the food desert: Fresh produce gets on the bus
Grist, June 2, 2011
[T]he group got a bus donated by the Chicago Transit Authority, remodeled the inside with the help of a group called Architecture for Humanity, and are now serving the Lawndale neighborhood with twice-weekly scheduled stops.

Busing cuts the latest worry for Philly’s parents
Philadelphia Inquirer, June 6, 2011
Thousands of parents of continue to wrestle with how they will deal with the district’s decision to cut funding for yellow-bus services from next year’s $2.7 billion budget.
Without busing, these students will have to either take the subway, walk, or both, putting them in potential danger, parents say.

Oklahoma’s 50-year water plan draws criticism from lawmakers
The Oklahoman’s NewsOK blog, June 6, 2011
Oklahoma’s 50-year water plan is not yet in final form, but already it is drawing stinging criticism from several eastern Oklahoma lawmakers.

City officials discuss maximizing opportunities
The Rockport Pilot (Texas), June 5, 2011
The City of Rockport was one of 23 areas selected for participation in the Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program.