Smart growth news – November 2

Senate passes $182B spending bill for agriculture, transportation and housing programs
Washington Post, November 1, 2011
The Senate has approved must-do legislation to fund the day-to-day budgets of five Cabinet agencies, kick-starting long overdue work to add the details to budget limits agreed to by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans this summer.

Senate votes to spare money for bike paths
Associated Press, November 1, 2011
Republican senators failed Tuesday in their third effort in less than two months to eliminate federal money for bike paths, walking trails and other transportation enhancement projects.

City’s 20-year bike plan obsolete after 4 years?
Seattle Times, November 1, 2011
Just four years after Seattle published its $300,000 Bicycle Master Plan, city officials are considering spending an additional $400,000 to revise it. The 2007 bike plan, a 174-page document produced for then-Mayor Greg Nickels, was supposed to be a 20-year blueprint to help Seattle build a $240 million cycling network as good or better than Portland’s.

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Smart growth new – September 30

Downtown Phoenix move has saved couple lots of money, time
The Arizona Republic, September 29, 2011
This year, Jessica and Cody Helgeson have turned that southeast Valley home into a rental and are celebrating their recent move to a high-rise in downtown Phoenix, 44 Monroe. Moving downtown has saved them hundreds of dollars a month in gas, reduced their headaches, eliminated their long commutes and improved their social lives, they said.

Route 1 planning effort goes on without state
WCSH (Maine), September 29, 2011
The project involved 21 towns on the 100-mile stretch of highway from Brunswick to Stockton Springs. But the effort expanded beyond simple road planning to involve planning the future growth of all the midcoast towns and cities.

The Rise of Urban Biking
The Nation, September 27, 2011
The urban biking surge can be linked to a number of other factors, from high gas prices to an increased awareness of climate change. New bicyclists have discovered how unsafe many roads are for riding—and in response they have helped reinvigorate a movement that was once the sole province of urban planners and environmentalists: to reshape America’s streets.

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Smart growth strategies for a public health problem in Louisville, KY

Over half of the residents of metropolitan Louisville, Kentucky, are considered seriously overweight, and obesity rates in the state have risen in recent years while reported outdoor physical activity has declined – despite public relations campaigns to promote biking and walking.

Now the city is trying a new approach to encourage its residents to get outside and get active. With help from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, Louisville is changing its streets and its infrastructure to make walking and biking more viable, attractive transportation options. Among the initiatives, Louisville recently built “the city’s first bicycle lane and ensured that the redevelopment of a low-income housing project included small ‘pocket’ parks, improved traffic patterns and wider and safer sidewalks.”

As an article in the New York Times explains, obesity is a serious health concern for the city but also poses a threat to Louisville’s economic viability:

[T]he foundation made its first grant when Jerry Abramson, then the mayor, had begun to worry that obesity was lowering Louisville’s attractiveness.

“For businesses, a healthy work force is more productive and less costly, so it became a competitiveness issue,” Mr. Abramson said. “Every city was offering tax incentives, every city was offering real estate deals but not every city had the weight problem we do.”

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Biking and walking advocates thank Sec. of Transportation for making biking walking safer, more important

Some of us here at SGA, through our other work at Transportation for America and the National Complete Streets Coalition, joined with other advocates for biking and walking to ride to the US DOT last Friday to thank Sec. LaHood for recent policy changes to include the needs of bikers and walkers in transportation planning. Check out the video from the T4America youtube channel.

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