Smart growth news – November 3

Trending: Infrastructure and the economy

Obama Says Crumbling Infrastructure Is Costly to Economy, Threatens Growth
Bloomberg, November 2, 2011
President Barack Obama said the deterioration of the nation’s highways, bridges, airports and ports is costly to U.S. business and threatens future economic growth.

US House speaker promotes transportation projects
Businessweek, November 1, 2011
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner spoke in favor Monday of pumping federal money into transportation construction and speeding regulatory review of those projects — comments that seemed to resonate in a region longing for new bridges to ease traffic snarls.

Transportation secretary ‘optimistic’ about infrastructure’s chances in Congress
The Hill, November 2, 2011
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday he’s optimistic legislation funding infrastructure projects could pass the Senate.  “I’m optimistic, I think that if senators — both Republicans and Democrats — really are listening to people in their states they know that people are hurting,” he said Wednesday on MSNBC.

National smart growth news

That New Renter? Probably a Single Mom
Wall Street Journal’s Developments blog, November 2, 2011
[L]andlords are eager to outfit apartments  to suit tech-savvy millennials, or “echo boomers,” young people who are showing a propensity to rent and skepticism about home ownership. Other homeowners who lost their home in the housing bust seem poised to scoop up single-family homes newly on the market as rentals after foreclosures or short sales.

County land bank heralds successes
Toledo Blade (Ohio), November 2, 2011
Leaders of the Lucas County Land Bank remain optimistic that the nonprofit agency will have acquired at least 250 blighted or vacant properties by March 1, a process they say will provide new business opportunities and help stabilize home prices across the county. To date, the land bank has acquired and sold 16 parcels and now holds 30 others.

Parking industry working to defeat congestion tax
Chicago Tribune, November 2, 2011
Chicago parking companies on Tuesday appealed for motorists’ help to defeat Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed $2 congestion tax that would be charged to vehicles parking in public garages and lots in the downtown area.

City Hall Hustle: Downtown CUREs
Austin Chronicle (Texas), November 4, 2011
A push for the plan was visible late last week, at the annual meeting of the Downtown Austin Alliance. While the DAA’s red-eye breakfast was devoted to the topic of urbanism generally, the city’s adoption of the Downtown Austin Plan was on everyone’s tongue. Mayor Lee Leffingwell, introducing the morning’s keynote speaker, referenced former Mayor Will Wynn’s goal of 25,000 Austinites living Downtown, saying the urban core was at a “critical juncture.”

Cities’ debt varies across county
Iowa City Press Citizen, November 2, 2011
“We’re not growing as fast as some of our neighboring cities,” O’Malley said. “While expanding cities might be issuing bonds for all new construction, we’re financing more maintenance-type projects.” By contrast, cities where more significant growth has occurred have increased their outstanding debt.

Regional transportation plan could mean more buses & bikes; southern California might want that
Southern California Public Radio, November 2, 2011
The Southern California Association of Governments is the planning agency for Imperial, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and tomorrow it’s going to vote on what’s called its “Regional Transportation Plan.”  Law requires them to make that document every four years, setting goals and priorities for transport. This time around, it’s combined with a “Sustainable Communities Strategy.” SB 375, the state’s smart-growth-strategies law, requires the same planning agency to think about how to make the region’s growth circulate better.

Hap for history–and focus on economy
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star (Va.), November 2, 2011
I am privileged to support  a true public servant, a man who has been a champion for our history and our heritage–a politician who understands that, in Spotsylvania County, preservation and progress go hand in hand. That man is Hap Connors. Hap has promoted smart-growth policies that balance development with the preservation of the many acres in Spotsylvania.

Coalition members in the news

Council Work Session: “The Value of Downtown”
Sheridan Media (Wyo.), November 2, 2011
A little over two months ago John Heyneman of the Sonoran Institute hosted a presentation featuring Joe Minnicozzi from Asheville, N.C. that focused on downtown revitalization.

Environmental groups push for reconsideration of bypass
Charlottesville Tomorrow (Va.), November 3, 2011
Two environmental organizations that oppose the U.S. 29 Western Bypass are asking that the project be reconsidered, even as the Virginia Department of Transportation continues the process of soliciting bids for its design and construction.  The Piedmont Environmental Council has sent a four-page newsletter to 15,000 homes in Albemarle County asking for citizens to contact local and officials to ask for the bypass to be canceled.

Opinion and Editorial

Ohland and Zane: Smart growth in San Gabriel Valley
Pasadena Star News (Calif.), November 2, 2011
It’s what people want – not everybody, of course, but the increasing number of people who would rather be spending time at home with their families and friends than devoting an hour or two a day to a grueling, expensive commute. A new poll of Southern California voters sponsored by Move LA, the American Lung Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council shows voters want investments in transit and bike and pedestrian projects, not roads – with four of five supporting investments in transit.