Smart growth news – July 18, 2011

Carmageddon: Public transit ridership up, officials say
Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2011
Ridership on at least a few Metrolink lines has increased today compared to a normal summer Saturday afternoon, spokeswoman Sherita Coffelt said. Coffelt said that last Saturday there were 127 riders on the first train from Oceanside to Union Station and that today there were 257 riders. In the opposite direction, there were 102 riders from Union Station to Oceanside last week and there were 154 today.

Planner: Foot traffic key to smarter, healthier towns
Burlington Free Press (Vt.), July 17, 2011
What’s been the most significant development in transportation for the 21st century? The Segway? How about electric-assisted bicycles? Levitating trains? Renowned British Columbian author and planner Todd Litman nixed those candidates before a stymied audience last week at Main Street Landing in Burlington.

The State of Metropolitan America: Suburbs and the 2010 Census
Brookings Institution, July 14, 2011
The research that my colleagues at the Brookings Metro Program have conducted with respect to the 2010 census results thus far has focused on three of these subject areas: population, race and ethnicity, and age. In each of these areas, amid dynamic national demographic shifts, we see continued or increasing similarities between cities and suburbs.

More Roads May Pave The Way To More Traffic
National Public Radio, July 9, 2011
For decades, urban areas across the country have been adding lanes and building roads to fight congestion, but a recent study by University of Toronto researchers finds that widening and building more roads actually creates more traffic.

Lower Manhattan poised to be vibrant community
Crain’s New York Business, July 17, 2011
Missing the city’s energy and the creative types who made up their social circle, the family is moving back to the neighborhood. Now a lively stretch filled with eclectic restaurants, Stone Street is transformed but no less appealing.


Car and Driver goes on the record for a comprehensive transportation strategy

You know it’s bad when Ashton Kutcher is Tweeting about road closures. Route 405 in Los Angeles is due to be closed for construction this weekend – an event predicted to be so paralyzing for L.A.’s traffic that it’s been dubbed “Carmageddon.”

While L.A. drivers prepare for catastrophe and stock up on canned goods, the 405 road closure illustrates one of the arguments presented in a recent article from Car and Driver magazine. “The State of the Union’s Roads: An Investigative Report” chronicles why so many of America’s roads are in poor condition – and what we should be doing about it.

“The interstates were designed to last 20 or 30 years,” the article explains, “but now some areas are pushing 50 years and handling far more traffic than their planners anticipated. But as we reach into our wallets, we run into our generation’s big dilemma: We’re nearly broke.” Highway revenues are down, repair costs are up and the federal government can’t afford the level of road investments it committed to in past years. While gas prices and time wasted in congestion are both soaring, more people are living in cities than ever before, which leads even Car and Driver to question the logic of doubling down on highways.