Smart growth news – September 9

Infrastructure Spending Builds American Jobs
Center for American Progress, September 8, 2011
Academic, private-sector, and nonpartisan government studies alike confirm the positive effects of infrastructure and transportation investments on private-sector employment. Data collected and published by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives show that every $1 billion in additional funds committed to highway projects between 2009 and 2010 produced 2.4 million job-hours, according to an analysis by Smart Growth America.[3] The return on investment on transit projects was even higher, with 4.2 million job-hours produced by every $1 billion in investment. With $21.5 billion in highway funding alone, the Recovery Act put Americans to work on our nation’s roadways for 51 million hours—time they may have otherwise spent idle and unpaid.

Former governor reflects on role as chief executive on Sept. 11
Maryland Community News, September 9, 2011
Cellular communications, which effectively froze in the hours after the terrorist attack, still present problems during emergencies, as evidenced by last month’s earthquake in which cell phone lines jammed as people reached out to loved ones, said Glendening, who now leads Washington, D.C.-based Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, an organization that advocates for anti-sprawl planning policies

Walkable Urbanism creates wealth, real estate expert says
Press-Register (Ala.), September 9, 2011
When it comes to the production of walkable environments and downtown redevelopment, other cities in the Southeast have far outpaced Mobile, Christopher Leinberger, a real estate expert and developer, told a packed auditorium Tuesday.

Obama Includes Infra Bank in His Jobs Push; Mica Rejects It Out of Hand
Streetsblog, September 9, 2011
Last night, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to present his new jobs plan, a bill he’s calling the American Jobs Act. He relied on the well-worn appeal to people’s patriotic competitiveness by pointing out that China is improving its infrastructure while the U.S. is sitting idly by. Without mentioning the dollar figure (psst… it’s $50 billion) he said he’d get construction workers back on the job rebuilding transportation infrastructure and schools.

Turning Power Plants Into Green Neighborhood Development
The Atlantic, September 9, 2011
Industry analysts predict that environmental and economic factors will lead to the retirement of dozens of aging coal-fired power plants in the coming decade. Many of these occupy important locations in cities, often with valuable access to waterfronts. According to a new report, these sites present tremendous opportunities for new civic and private uses such as riverfront housing, shops, and offices — as well as museums, parks, and other community amenities. I agree.

An Outer Beltway in Prince William and Loudoun?
The Washington Post, September 8, 2011
The Coalition for Smarter Growth calls this “the Zombie Road,” the road that won’t die, the road we don’t need. They believe an inner version could be used to hook up with the new Intercounty Connector in Maryland to create a new Outer Beltway, or the new corridor could connect to form a second Outer Beltway. [Some folks remember when the current Beltway was considered “outer.” HA.] The coalition is now launching a petition drive to stop the Zombie Road before it ever starts.

Downtown’s Big Shift
The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2011
Even before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Lower Manhattan—salted with shabby government offices, storefront delis and foreboding bank buildings—was rarely counted among the city’s more charming residential neighborhoods. And for a while after the attacks, its streets grew seemingly more inhospitable.

Downtown Wichita is on a roll
The Wichita Eagle (Kan.), September 8, 2011
It has been a year since a consultant first rolled out Project Downtown, the master plan to revitalize Wichita’s downtown. It has been a year of successes: the Cargill Innovation Center, a flurry of new and renovated hotel rooms, a retooled piece of the river front, a handful of new condominiums. But it also has been a year when city leaders began contemplating a downtown without its largest property owner, the financially strapped Minnesota Guys, who operate as Real Development.

Fed officials to advise on Fresno city projects
Fresno Bee (Calif.), September 8, 2011
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin will join federal officials, activists and community leaders on Saturday to discuss the issues that a new, innovative team of federal officials will address in the city.

Opinion: Hub will be more than a bus station
Idaho Statesman, September 9, 2011
We appreciated the Aug. 23 Statesman editorial about the selection of a preferred location for the $12 million Multimodal Center in Downtown Boise. This is an important step forward for our community. The Multimodal Center will create a central hub in the heart of Downtown for all of our community’s ever-growing public transportation services under one roof.