Partnership in the News: Portland, Maine and EPA Launch Bikeshare Effort

Portland, Maine has begun to develop a regional bikeshare program thanks to initial technical assistance provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Portland’s Planning and Urban Development Department applied for EPA’s 2013 grants under the leadership of Jeff Levine. Portland residents, Mr. Levine noticed, already had a strong interest in alternative transportation.

“There’s a big commitment in Portland toward the environment and sustainability,” said Levine. “The challenge is providing an infrastructure that can help people to meet that goal.”

Residents were interested in a bikeshare program, but Portland needed a catalytic event to kick-start the project.

EPA’s workshops and forums, conducted earlier this month, jumpstarted the city’s efforts to implement a bikeshare program. Mr. Levine believes EPA’s time in Maine brought a necessary and “strong focus on the issue”. Residents and local officials  participated in the sessions strategizing how Portland can make a bikeshare program a reality. With the project underway, Portland and the project’s supporters now must develop a business plan for a bikeshare program.

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Smart growth news – December 5

Ventura mayor plans to move to D.C. after leaving office
Ventura County Star (Calif.), December 2, 2011
Bill Fulton, whose term as mayor of Ventura ends Monday, will leave town in the spring for a job with an urban planning think tank in Washington, D.C.

A new challenge for this politician
Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2011
Fulton announced in July he wouldn’t seek reelection when his term was up this year. In a few months he will move to Washington, D.C., where he’ll work for Smart Growth America, a think tank that advises cities and counties on development issues.

‘Smart growth’ advocates study Williamson’s efforts
The Tennessean, November 30, 2011
Quality-growth experts from throughout the country visited Williamson County as part of a three-day visit to Nashville to learn about successful quality-growth models and best practices in Middle Tennessee…A model region is selected every year by the Smart Growth America network as part of its convention. Smart Growth America is a national organization that works with communities to implement smart growth planning and development.

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Video: the phenomenal success of Capital Bikeshare

Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare has soared in popularity since it started in 2008. The easy-to-use service has gathered 14,000 annual users and over 40,000 day users during that time. The video above from Streetfilms and the National Association of City Transportation Officials discusses how DC-area residents and visitors alike have taken to the service.

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Smart growth news – July 5, 2011

Get Ready for $150 Oil
Barron’s, July 2, 2011
As oil producers’ spare capacity gradually declines to worrisome levels, the average monthly price could reach a record $150 per barrel by next spring, with spikes to $165 or $170. With this, $4.50-a-gallon gasoline will become the norm. That will put a huge dent in consumer wallets, while ramping up the desirability of fuel-efficient cars.

In Los Angeles, Cuts Will Make Long Bus Commute Longer
New York Times, July 3, 2011
“Changing lines means I will never know what time I get from one place to another,” said Guadalupe Lopez, who has used the same route for more than a decade to get to her housekeeping jobs. “It might get to the point where it is not worth it, it will just take me too long. But nobody where I live is going to pay me to clean houses.”

Safety in Diversity: Why Crime Is Down in America’s Cities
The Atlantic, July 2, 2011
But the key factor, as it turns out, lies in the growing racial, ethnic, and demographic diversity of our cities and metro areas. Our analysis found that the Hispanic share of the population is negatively associated with urban crime. Crime also fell as the percentage of the population that is non-white and the percentage that is gay increased. And of all the variables in our analysis, the one that is most consistently negatively associated with crime is a place’s percentage of foreign-born residents.

Bicycles fight for space on city streets
CNN, July 1, 2011
“As bicycling is being more seriously integrated into our transportation system, of course there is going to be more focus on making sure that bike riders are following the rules to make it safe for everyone,” said Caroline Samponaro. She’s the Director of Bicycle Advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, a New York based organization that advocates for bicycling, walking and other alternative transportation. The streetscape in New York is undergoing its greatest change in 50 years and the state’s Department of Transportation is trying out new types of infrastructure to support bicycling.

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New report reveals bike and pedestrian projects create more jobs than those for cars only

Bike lanes and sidewalks don’t just make streets safer and more convenient – they’re a good investment of transportation funds, too. A new report from the Policy Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that public investments in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure – including sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails – create more jobs per dollar spent.

The report finds that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects create significantly more jobs than infrastructure projects for cars alone. According to the study, bicycle projects create 11.4 jobs for every $1 million invested — 46% more than car-only road projects. Job creation potential decreased as infrastructure dedicated to automobilies increased:

Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million, and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million.

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