How is the FAST Act being implemented? Complete Streets are among its successes.

At the end of 2015, Congress passed a five-year $305 billion federal transportation bill — The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. It was the first transportation bill to ever include Complete Streets language, and the first law enacted in more than 10 years to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation.

The Complete Streets provisions in the FAST Act represent a great step forward in the effort to make streets across the country safer for everyone who uses them. Notably, the bill requires National Highway System roadway designs to take into account access for all modes of transportation. It also makes NACTO’s Urban Design Guide one of the standards for when the U.S. Department of Transportation designs roads, and it permits local governments to use their own adopted design guide if they are the lead project sponsor, even if it differs from state guidelines.

Complete Streets

Video: What new Complete Streets projects can bring to Atlanta

Atlanta voters recently passed several ballot measures that will fund Complete Streets projects in the city. What can residents expect to get out of these new projects?

A new video from the Fulton County Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) in collaboration with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the City of Atlanta details what a Complete Streets approach is all about, and the ways it can make streets safer, healthier, and more convenient for people of all ages and abilities, no matter how they travel in Atlanta.

Complete Streets

LOCUS invites developers and investors to make transit-oriented development deals in Atlanta

Pre-register now and join LOCUS on February 10, 2015 in downtown Atlanta, GA for a private luncheon at our LOCUS LinkUp: The Next Big Deals around Transit-Oriented Development in Atlanta. Municipalities across the country are eager to draw investment and bring jobs to their communities through mixed-use transit-oriented development. To help facilitate these efforts, LOCUS launched the LinkUp program to connect local elected officials with LOCUS real estate developers and investors to create more models of walkable, sustainable developments on the ground.

LOCUS

New report reveals historic shift in real estate demand in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta's Five Points neighborhood
Atlanta’s Little Five Points Neighborhood. Photo via Flickr.

Walkable urban development is now the primary real estate market in one of the nation’s most unlikely regions: metropolitan Atlanta, GA.

That’s according to The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Atlanta, a new report released today and authored by Christopher Leinberger, President of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS coalition of real estate developers and investors.

LOCUS

Partnership in the News: Atlanta BeltLine receives TIGER V funding

Atlanta BeltLine
The Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, one of the more complete sections of the project. Photo by Atlanta BeltLine via Flickr.

Atlanta, GA’s BeltLine project will complete a major section of its multi-use trail network three years ahead of schedule thanks to a Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $18 million grant awarded earlier this month will help develop a 2.5-mile stretch of the BeltLine’s southwest corridor. This portion of the BeltLine is a former freight line that has not been operational in over 30 years. Funding from this fifth-round TIGER grant will cover the cost of right-of-way, design, demolition and construction for a mix of shared use trails, trailheads, access points, and the preservation of the future streetcar transit corridor.

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Smart growth strategies a key to economic opportunity

Income mobility map
A map of income mobility. Mixed-income neighborhoods turn out to be a key indicator of a family’s ability to rise out of poverty. Via New York Times.

A new study from Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley underscores why smart growth strategies are a key part of economically strong regions.

The Equality of Opportunity Project examined economic mobility—the likelihood a family will rise from the bottom of the income ladder toward the top. Schools, civic engagement and two-parent households are all correlated with economic mobility, but the study also considered factors that previous studies of economic mobility could not, including a region’s geography. The study found that where a family lives also impacts their potential to rise up the income ladder.

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Join Smart Growth America for two events during the National Brownfields Conference

Brownfields conference banner

The National Brownfields Conference is the largest event in the country that focuses on environmental revitalization and economic redevelopment of contaminated land. This year’s conference will be held May 15-17, 2013 in Atlanta, GA, and Smart Growth America is hosting two events for conference participants.

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Smart Growth News – October 15, 2012

Top stories

Beltline a walk in the park
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) – October 13, 2012
On Monday, Mayor Kasim Reed will dedicate what city officials are calling “the most significant step forward yet” in the long-awaited Beltline, a projected 22-mile loop in central Atlanta built upon abandoned railway corridor.

As gas prices soar, city cycling more attractive
Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – October 13, 2012
Statewide, Californians are increasingly pumping air into the flat tires on their dusty old bikes instead of gas into their tanks. Recent historic spikes in gas prices are expected to stay high, forcing many to look at their gas guzzling minivans and SUVs in a new light.

Trulia Throws Cold Water on ‘Death of Suburbia’ Argument
Wall Street Journal – October 12, 2012
On Page One of Wednesday’s Journal, we wrote about a museum in Kansas that caters to America’s undying fascination with suburbia. Merits of the museum aside, the article highlights a persistent theme in American culture that has fascinated demographers, urbanists and especially home buyers for several generations: the question of whether or not the suburbs are alive and well or hollowed-out and dying.

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Value capture, the Dulles Rail Extension, and the future of transit funding

Reposted from DC Streetsblog.

The failure of Atlanta’s transportation ballot measure late last month led to speculation among many analysts about what the vote meant for other regions across the country looking for ways to fund infrastructure projects. But though the Atlanta vote captured the lion’s share of media attention, another vote cast in July could hold as much – if not more – importance in coming years.

In an increasingly contentious political environment, it can be difficult to get important transportation projects off the ground. Finding funding sources for these projects, no matter how valuable they might be, can prove politically impossible, with many people skeptical over both increased spending and revenue creation sources. Gas taxes are almost entirely a non-starter, and despite the fact that 79 percent of transportation ballot measures overall passed in 2011, according to the Center for Transit Excellence, they can still fall victim to the kinds of pressures seen in the metro Atlanta area.

LOCUS

Smart growth news – July 31, 2012

Top stories

Google Move Buoys Chicago Tech Hub
Wall Street Journal – July 26, 2012
Christopher Leinberger, professor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, said Chicago is also getting a boost from a trend in which offices and corporations are relocating from the suburbs to walkable urban areas. “The companies moved out to the suburbs because that’s where the boomers wanted to be and now they’re moving back [downtown] because that’s where their kids want to be,” he said.

Mayor, governor team up for final T-SPLOST push
Creative Loafing Atlanta (GA) – July 30, 2012
Less than 24 hours before metro Atlanta voters decide whether to tax themselves to pay for more than $8 billion in new roads and transit projects, Mayor Kasim Reed and Gov. Nathan Deal stood alongside dozens of local, state, and federal elected officials to once again urge voters to pass the T-SPLOST.

What cities are best for seniors? Try Provo, Sioux Falls
USA Today – July 31, 2012
While recreation and community engagement are a plus, the best cities for aging offer quality health care, educational and employment opportunities, and transportation and an economy that work for seniors, according to a national index released today by the Milken Institute, a non-profit think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif. The institute found the best large cities for successful aging helped keep seniors over 65 working, learning and healthy.

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