Smart growth news – October 19

Study ranks Louisville area high for use of ‘deficient’ bridges
The Courier-Journal (Ky.), October 18, 2011
Among metropolitan areas with populations between 1 million and 2 million people, the Louisville area ranked third in average daily traffic on deficient bridges, according to the Metropolitan Bridge Rankings from the Washington, D.C.-based Transportation for America.

Zappos putting its stamp on downtown Las Vegas
Las Vegas Sun, October 18, 2011
Hundreds of his employees are donating time to brainstorm ideas for new music venues and restaurants. They’re looking at ways to improve schools — a key to convincing families to live downtown — and attract tech companies, with the unspoken goal of developing a mini-Silicon Valley near City Hall.

More Than 300 Public Transit Projects Receive Federal Funds
Governing, October 17, 2011
In all, $928.5 million was awarded for fiscal year 2011 transit improvements. Projects include new buses, equipment, garages and bike programs for various municipalities and transportation authorities.

Schweitzer drives home point of preservation
Buffalo New, October 19, 2011
Schweitzer is moving. She is leaving her Middlesex Road mansion for a forlorn double on the city’s lower West Side. Her plan is to rehabilitate the structure, move in by spring and join the growing number of urban homesteaders who refuse to give up on the city.

Rockville developer wins governor’s smart growth award
Washington Post, October 18, 2011
JBG Companies of Chevy Chase has received the Maryland governor’s 2011 “Smart, Green and Growing” award for a mixed use development that the company is building at the Twinbrook Metrorail station in Rockville.

Poll: Most area commuters would prefer public transpo.
WTOP (D.C.), October 19, 2011
The poll surveyed about 500 drivers who do not use public transportation. Of those drivers, half said if public transportation was available in their area, and the commuting time on public transportation was about the same as driving, they would make the switch to public transportation.

Grand Avenue Rail Project seeks to reinvigorate neighborhood
Downtown Devil (Ariz.), October 19, 2011
“It’s not really a transportation project,” he said. “It’s an economic tool. This is supposed to be an attraction to enhance Grand Avenue.” The Grand Avenue Rail Project recently won an $80,000 Greening of Americas grant that will be used for services. The grant came from the Environmental Protection Agency for their plan to make the Grand Avenue more pedestrian friendly.

Seattle wins $900K federal grant for streetcar planning
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 18, 2011
A streetcar through downtown would link the South Lake Union Streetcar with the voter-approved First Hill line, which is planned to be finished in 2013. Mayor Greg Nickels had proposed a streetcar along First Avenue, although the city’s Transit Master Plan explores making use of Fourth and Fifth avenues for a circulator route.

Coalition members in the news

Rural lawmakers push back against Bay cleanup, sprawl curbs
Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2011
Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, argues that rural Maryland is already under assault by sprawling development, and it will only get worse if Pipkin and the other GOP lawmakers succeed in thwarting the O’Malley moves. “You say there’s a war on rural Maryland, but you want to build a third bridge across the bay so more people can build over rural Maryland, which is not real rural anymore?” Schmidt-Perkins asks.

Skowhegan gets grant for municipal parking area
The Morning Sentinel (Maine), October 19, 2011
The town of Skowhegan has been awarded a $400,000 grant to improve the municipal parking area with pedestrian walkways, lighting, trees and directional signs … GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Downtown Coalition worked with Maine Legislature in 2009 to provide $3.5 million in bond funding for downtown revitalization grants. Voters approved the Communities for Maine’s Future Bond in the statewide referendum in June 2010.

Opinion and Editorial

Cities slowly learning to act regionally
Iowa City Press Citizen, October 18, 2011
Last week — after nearly five years worth of arguments — Coralville and North Liberty approved a 10-year annexation plan that divides the unincorporated land between the two cities into four zones. The Coralville City Council approved the plan unanimously. The North Liberty City Council approved it by a 3-2 vote.

Say no to land-use plan exceptions
The Daily Reflector (N.C.), October 19, 2011
In a recent letter to the editor (October 14), Greenville resident Eric Brestel used an example near the Brook Valley neighborhood to illustrate the frustration many of us feel over the unwillingness of the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) and some City Council members to protect our neighborhoods from commercial encroachment by permitting piecemeal amendments to the city’s comprehensive land-use plan.