Smart growth news – November 2

Senate passes $182B spending bill for agriculture, transportation and housing programs
Washington Post, November 1, 2011
The Senate has approved must-do legislation to fund the day-to-day budgets of five Cabinet agencies, kick-starting long overdue work to add the details to budget limits agreed to by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans this summer.

Senate votes to spare money for bike paths
Associated Press, November 1, 2011
Republican senators failed Tuesday in their third effort in less than two months to eliminate federal money for bike paths, walking trails and other transportation enhancement projects.

City’s 20-year bike plan obsolete after 4 years?
Seattle Times, November 1, 2011
Just four years after Seattle published its $300,000 Bicycle Master Plan, city officials are considering spending an additional $400,000 to revise it. The 2007 bike plan, a 174-page document produced for then-Mayor Greg Nickels, was supposed to be a 20-year blueprint to help Seattle build a $240 million cycling network as good or better than Portland’s.

How New Deal Mortgage Policy Undermined Our Cities
Forbes, November 2, 2011
To someone who wasn’t paying close attention, it would have appeared that people were freely choosing to move to the suburbs. But hidden subsidies (not to mention other policies like eminent domain abuse and urban freeway construction) were subtly tilting the playing field in favor of suburbia. Our cities (and black Americans in particular) are still recovering from the severe damage the government did to them during this period.

Developer Jay Maxwell plans mixed-use project in south Wichita
Wichita Business Journal (Kan.), November 1, 2011
According to documents presented to the Wichita City Council, Southfork Investment LLC is planning more than 1 million square feet of retail, hotel, restaurant and office space in a 50-acre area the developers recently purchased. Developers have an option on 22 additional acres and intend to use the space for a medical complex, city documents show.

Change in downtown Oklahoma City continues fast, furious
The Oklahoman, November 1, 2011
It wasn’t that long ago that people craved for change downtown. They saw a dark and forlorn Skirvin Hotel and prayed for change. They saw large empty blocks that were cleared by Urban Renewal in the 1970s and never developed. They drove over a dry river bed south of downtown for decades and cringed at the sight every time. As the decade of the 1990s got under way, change, it seemed, would never hit downtown. We finally started to get what we wished for when the original Metropolitan Area Projects initiative was passed in 1993.

River project viewed as extension of downtown Roanoke
Roanoke Times (Va.), November 2, 2011
Morrill said it is important in reviewing the project that an effort is made to connect the new development to downtown Roanoke. “I think we really should look at downtown beginning there and coming to here,” he said. “We don’t want to create two separate downtowns.”

San Jose City Council endorses city’s new general plan
San Jose Mercury, November 1, 2011
In a 9-0 vote, the council accepted the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan — a report that will guide the city’s future land use by emphasizing jobs before housing and retrofitting much of the city’s 180 square miles to reduce the public’s reliance on cars.

Coalition members in the news

Environmental Agency Endorses State Economic Growth Plan
NJ Spotlight, November 1, 2011
To others, however, the quick move by the DEP to align its policies with the strategic plan was welcomed as a sign that the Governor intends his agencies to follow the plan, closely something that rarely, if ever, happened in the past. “He’s got a pretty disciplined approach to his management of state agencies,’’ said Chris Sturm, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Future, a smart growth group. “I would expect state agencies to take it pretty seriously.’’

Deschutes ready to OK land study
The Bulletin (Ore.), November 1, 2011
The study could lead to the designation of large parcels in Central Oregon for industrial development. State agencies and local economic development staff have supported the study, but the nonprofit 1000 Friends of Oregon has argued — among other things — that the county did not adequately research the industries likely to be drawn to Central Oregon.

Trending: Political candidates embrace smart growth

Three Vie for Rexburg Mayor Seat
KPVI (Idaho), November 1, 2011
This year three candidates are running for mayor and one thing they’ve all touched on, is the economy. “I think growth is a challenge, but it is not a difficult challenge, we just need to be proactive, we need to be ahead of the growth and the most important thing is smart growth” said Donna Benfield.

Richard Codey, Democratic incumbent
The Asbury Park Press (N.J.), November 1, 2011
I have long been a supporter of smart growth policies such as transit villages and the recent urban transit hub tax credit initiative. These programs provide incentives to developers to build in a smart fashion around transportation infrastructure.

Democratic duo take on GOP for commissioner seats in Chester County
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2, 2011
Should they get their way, residents can expect more of the same, they said: the same economic leadership, the same cooperative style, the same consistent smart-growth policies.

Opinion

Norm Mineta: Better Infrastructure is Essential to American Economic Prosperity
CNBC, November 1, 2011
One important objective that requires immediate action is the improvement of America’s transportation infrastructure. And while this would be a priority in any economy, the fact that the U.S. is in dire need of job creation and real growth only further highlights the immense need for investment in infrastructure.

Better roads, bridges will boost the state’s economy
The Detroit News, November 1, 2011
Deteriorating roads, bridges and transit systems cost U.S. households and businesses annually about $130 billion, the report said. In that total, $97 billion was spent on vehicle operation, $32 billion in travel delays, $1.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in environmental costs.

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