Smart growth news – September 28

Increased demand driving new development in Las Vegas’ core
Las Vegas Sun, September 27, 2011
“I have a stack of buyers who want to buy downtown,” he says, listing them by occupation — a federal public defender, electrical engineer, museum curator, federal prosecutor, schoolteacher and artist, exotic dancer, freelance writer, Las Vegas city employee, a Zappos employee. “This is the creative class, that’s who’s contacting me,” he said. “These are Baby Boomers whose kids are grown so they want to move downtown; these are people who don’t want to live in the ’burbs anymore.”

For Strapped Cities, a ‘New Normal’
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
City finance managers project that general-fund revenues will decline 2.3% this year, the fifth straight decline, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National League of Cities. Spending will decline 1.9% this year, a second straight drop.

MTA Puts More on the Block
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
As part of a months-long review of its real estate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to put nine more properties on the block, including the mostly empty building in Downtown Brooklyn that has long angered the borough’s politicians, the agency said Monday.

County agrees to administer grant for regional economic development plan
The Mount Airy News (N.C.), September 26, 2011
The strategy for the 12-county region overseen by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council has to reflect the six livability principles established by the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The principles are to provide more transportation choices; promote equitable, affordable housing; enhance economic competitiveness; support existing communities; coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment; and value communities and neighborhoods.

Easton may crack down on vacant properties
The Morning Call (Pa.), September 23, 2011
City Councilman Roger Ruggles is the architect of legislation — admittedly a work in progress, he said — intended to push property owns to fix or sell their homes and businesses. It’s culled from similar ordinances in place across the country.

City Council considers levying fee on vacant storefronts
The Daily Californian, September 23, 2011
In a move to promote economic growth and curb the number of graffitied empty storefronts, the Berkeley City Council is considering a plan to levy fees against property owners whose ground-level properties remain vacant for six months or more.

Colorado cities among the worst nationwide for rush-hour jams
Denver Post, September 27, 2011
The Denver-Aurora area is ranked eighth for rush hour traffic congestion among 101 urban areas nationwide, according to a transportation study released today.

3 hours v. 30 minutes: Suburb-to-suburb transit time-consuming
The Daily Herald (Ill.), September 26, 2011
The suburb-to-suburb commute is not your average bus trip. Marni Pyke’s one-day commitment to use public transit on her daily commute from Downers Grove to Arlington Heights meant a three-hour odyssey through Lombard, Villa Park, Elmhurst, Bensenville, O’Hare International Airport, Schiller Park, Rosemont and Des Plaines.

Providence maps out a plan for streetcars
The Providence Journal (R.I.), September 26, 2011
Planners for the city and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority have laid out the route for a $126-million streetcar system through the city’s core and proposed an unusual method to help pay for it.

Bill would allow state say in local land-use decisions
Lodi News-Sentiel (Calif.), September 28, 2011
A bill sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk could allow the government to weigh in on local land development projects, but cities such as Galt are not in support of such oversight.

Mayo: more public transit to region’s plants
Associated Press, September 25, 2011
Monroe Mayor Jimmy Mayo is looking at expanding public transit routes along the Interstate 20 corridor, to take advantage of commerce from big new plants in surrounding rural parishes.

CdA corridor garners award
The Spokesman-Review (Idaho), September 27, 2011
The Coeur d’Alene education corridor project recently received the 2011 Idaho Grow Smart Award for redevelopment. The project is transforming a former lumber mill site into an expanded college campus that will be shared by several Idaho institutions. The first phase is easing the flow of transportation with new roundabouts and adding parking and a new entrance to the campus and the neighborhood that abuts it.

Opinion

Small transport projects can be best and build a better region
Greater Greater Washington, September 26, 2011
To hear some people talk, the only way to “solve” traffic issues in the Washington region is to go big or go home. But smaller local projects could have a much bigger impact on making the region a better place to live, and an easier place to navigate.

A Call for Urban Doctors
Huffington Post, September 28, 2011
Much like the human body, cities are complex, dynamic systems. Continually treating the symptoms without addressing the systems and thinking that the same prescription will work for everyone, will never result in a healthy solution.

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