Smart Growth News – November 8, 2012

Top stories:

Brownfields offer a path to new development
Portland Tribune (OR) – November 8, 2012
The Regional Brownfield Scoping Project estimates there may be as many as 2,300 properties in the region that are potentially contaminated and either vacant or underutilized. This represents about 7 percent of all commercial, mixed use and industrial zoned lands within the urban growth boundary administered by Metro.

More gridlock for transportation?
Politico – November 8, 2012
President Barack Obama has championed high price tag spending for infrastructure in his budgets, and on the campaign trail, he repeatedly sounded off on the idea that building roads and bridges creates jobs, bolsters the economy and is a worthwhile investment for the country.

Honolulu elects mayor who supports big rail project
Los Angeles Times – November 7, 2012
Former House Majority Speaker Kirk Caldwell won an easy victory Tuesday to become Honolulu’s mayor in an election that was widely seen as a referendum on the city’s controversial $5.2-billion rail project.

The Power of Bicycles in Disaster Recovery
The Atlantic Cities – November 7, 2012
New Yorkers are learning things from this storm, and from the relief efforts that are ongoing even as another weather front sweeps through this afternoon, forcing another round of evacuations. They are learning how to get around when the transportation system fails, and the importance of redundancy and resiliency in all kinds of infrastructure.

Local news:

Exurbs built infrastructure, but nobody came to pay for it
Star Tribune (MN) – November 5, 2012
The city of New Prague just threw a party to celebrate completion of a state-of-the-art sewer plant. The plant is one of many built amid a turn-of-the-century explosion in the populations of rural towns on the fringe of the metro area. But the exurban boom has gone bust, leaving cities such as New Prague, Avon and North Branch struggling to pay for the facilities.

Alameda County transportation sales tax decision is too close to call
Mercury News (CA) – November 7, 2012
A measure to boost Alameda County’s transportation sales tax to the highest in Northern California — to a full one cent — is trailing so narrowly that its fate may not be decided for days. The measure garnered 65.5 percent of Tuesday’s vote — just below the 66.67 percent needed to pass — in initial results from all precincts.

Locals asked for urban planning input
NBC Affiliate (MI) – November 7, 2012
A Grand Rapids group is asking for local residents to give their input to help shape the future of the southtown neighborhood. Organizers call it holistic urban planning. The idea is to get not only developers involved, but also to also get the input of the people who actually live in neighborhoods in need of revitalization.

Higher city densities get public’s praise
The Virginia Gazette – November 7, 2012
If there is going to be a huge controversy over increased downtown density in this year’s Comprehensive Plan – as there was in 2006 – you couldn’t tell it from Wednesday’s public hearing before the Planning Commission.

Transit Roller Coaster: Can Prop 1 Mount a Comeback in Pierce County?
Seattle Weekly (WA) – November 7, 2012
Results released at 4:40 p.m. provided the glimmer of hope transit proponents had been waiting for. Though Prop 1 still trailed, the deficit was down to 735 votes. Young told me Pierce Transit officials estimated 110,000 Pierce Transit district ballots were yet to be counted at that point.

County discusses futuristic transport
Eagle Valley Enterprise (CO) – November 7, 2012
The Colorado Department of Transportation is eying the future by developing the plan to build an advanced guideway system (AGS) — basically high speed trains — along the Interstate 70 corridor to connect to other systems planned for the Front Range.