Smart growth news- May 23, 2012

Top stories

Senators Find Fellowship and Relief From Politics on the Bike Trail
Roll Call – May 23, 2012
Beltway chatterers say Sen. Rob Portman is too boring to help presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney win the White House, but there’s one kind of trail on which the Ohio Republican defies conventional wisdom. “Well, he’s not boring on a bike,” quipped Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), one of the Senate’s most avid bicyclists.

Petoskey event’s speakers say placemaking can help communities thrive
Petoskey News-Review (MI) – May 22, 2012
When it comes to economic development, speakers at a placemaking summit Monday in Petoskey noted that Northern Michigan communities can use a distinctive sense of place to their advantage.

Downtown L.A. Rises Up
Wall Street Journal – May 22, 2012
Office investors are beginning to trickle back into downtown Los Angeles as a rising number of residents, restaurants and glitzy entertainment options bring new zest to the city’s once-overlooked core.

Better Block OKC a “coming out party” for Millennial Generation in Oklahoma City
The Oklahoman (OK) – May 22, 2012
If one were to assign generations to the wave of changes hitting downtown Oklahoma City the past two decades, one might say that the original Metropolitan Area Projects plan was a last-ditch effort by younger Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) to set things right after their older peers struggled with stagnation throughout the 1980s.

New survey says D.C. among the best in the country for access to parks
Washington Post – May 23, 2012
Ninety-six percent of D.C. residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to a national survey of the 40 largest cities in the United States released Wednesday by the Trust for Public Land.

Preserve historic structures, city development plan urges
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) – May 23, 2012
Pittsburgh should provide incentives for rehabilitation of historic structures, make preservation an important component of neighborhood planning, nominate additional properties to the National Register of Historic Places and nurture renewed appreciation for the city’s cultural heritage, according to a preliminary plan aimed at keeping vestiges of the city’s history from slipping away.

Going Nowhere: 10 Worst U.S. Cities for Traffic
TIME- May 22, 2012
Maybe Hawaii’s notorious ‘island time’ has more to do with traffic than anything else. Despite a new report indicating a 30 percent drop in traffic congestion across the U.S., drivers in Honolulu still waste 58 hours each year sitting in their cars.

US Chamber to Congress on transportation bill: You’re doing it wrong
Christian Science Monitor- May 21, 2012
“What we lack is anybody of any party willing to address the fundamental problem called money,” said Bruce Josten, the chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, during a breakfast for reporters sponsored by the Monitor Monday.

New study shows federal investment in bike infrastructure paying off
Public Radio International- May 22, 2012
May is National Bike Month, a month promoting cycling as a transportation alternative. New data show dramatic increases in bicycle use over the past decade in cities across the country. The data also revealed economic savings from bike commuting.

Coalition members in the news

Bay Area open space: 75 percent is being protected, but 300,000 acres are still at risk
Mercury News (CA) – May 23, 2012
“What we need to build now are the choices for people who want something else — townhomes, condos, rental property in town to meet the demands of empty nesters, young people in their 20s and families with kids who want to live an urban lifestyle,” [said Jeremy Madsen, executive director of the Greenbelt Alliance].

Is the City of Houston shrinking?
The Houston Chronicle- May 22, 2012
During its fiscal year 2011, the City of Houston apparently lost more population than it had gained in the previous 10 years. That’s according to a couple of numbers on page 227 of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for that year. The City begins the year with 2,257,926 people and ends it with 2,107,208.

Local news

Thanas: Community effort needed to revitalize downtown Joliet
Herald News (IL) – May 22, 2012
Business and community leaders need to become “cheerleaders” for downtown Joliet to help spur redevelopment, City Manager Thomas Thanas told a chamber of commerce crowd Monday.

Land-use rules to be discussed tonight
Modesto Bee (CA) – May 22, 2012
Potential rules for preserving farmland will resurface tonight before a growth-regulating agency.

City’s urban center has good bones, consultant says
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
If you’re worried about downtown Milwaukee’s future, with a financially troubled shopping center, a stagnant office market and continued delays in developing the Park East strip, first consider its strengths, says Brad Segal.

Editorial and Opinion

Replacing Portland’s Central City Plan
Daily Journal of Commerce (OR) – May 21, 2012
No other area of the country can match our region’s depth of experience with building livable cities.

The Value of Value Capture
Strong Towns Blog- May 21, 2012
Today we spend money on infrastructure in the hopes of creating growth. That’s backwards. Infrastructure should not be a catalyst for growth but something that emerges in support of productive patterns of development. There has to be a relationship between the infrastructure we build and the value that is created.