Smart growth news – June 24, 2011

Poor transit system, sprawl make trips to work difficult
Kansas City Star (Kan.), June 22, 2011
A Washington think tank ranks Kansas City’s transit system among the worst in the country at getting people to jobs. Part of the blame belongs to our spread-out growth pattern, which has pulled an ever-larger share of jobs to the suburbs — beyond the easy reach of buses. “We don’t just have a transit problem, we have a job-sprawl problem,” said Ron McLinden, a public transportation advocate with the Transit Action Network in Kansas City. The recent report by the Brookings Institution ranked the Kansas City area 90th among 100 metro areas based on how well its bus system serves the workforce.

Headquarters come and go – it’s jobs that count
Raleigh News & Observer (N.C.), June 23, 2011
The Triangle: A great place to live and work; not so great for a corporate headquarters. You’d never hear this region’s boosters utter such a line, but it’s hard not to at least think it after a week in which the Triangle received another economic pat on the back and downtown Raleigh lost another headquarters. The accolade came from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, which ranked the Triangle among the 20 strongest performing metro areas in the U.S. through the first quarter.

Transformation Detroit: Dan Gilbert’s grand plan for downtown tech hub, retail and residential
MLive.com (Mich.), June 23, 2011
These days, it seems like everybody has a plan to revitalize Detroit. But unlike many would-be visionaries, Dan Gilbert has what it takes to get it done: Money. Boatloads of it. The Quicken Loans founder and chairman is in the process of purchasing the 23-story Dime Building near Campus Martius, which would be his fourth major downtown real estate acquisition in the past 10 months, including the First National Building, Chase Tower and the Madison Theatre Building.

Walking expert prescribes ‘road diets,’ traffic circles for cities seeking street makeovers
Associated Press via Washington Post, June 20, 2011
Today, with the health, environmental and quality-of-life benefits of walk-able neighborhoods, they can’t get enough of Burden. Even in car-dependent Southern California, where he spent a few of his roughly 340 days a year on the road this spring, city planners are literally walking the talk alongside him.

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Fed up with your commute? Redirect your rage

The Transportation for America campaign, of which Smart Growth America is a co-chair, debuted a new site today to help frustrated commuters and travelers to share their awful commuting stories — and learn about the connection that transportation policy and Congress have to the state of our transportation system. Check out the site, share your story, and tell your friends.

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David Goldberg in Mother Jones Magazine

Smart Growth America / Transportation For America Communications Director David Goldberg was interviewed for the current issue of Mother Jones Magazine. In the wide-ranging interview, he discusses some of the history of SGA — but also discusses the prevalent economic and market forces that are reshaping consumer preference and affecting our growth patterns. Read the … Continued

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Measuring housing affordability: A test case

Last week, we mentioned the release of a new tool from the Center for Neighborhood Technology that measures the true cost of housing affordability, by also considering the transportation costs of each area. (Note: the Washington Post had a good story about the index here.) A few other outlets have done their own local test … Continued

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Measuring the true cost of housing: location, location, location

It’s not just gas prices that make transportation expensive… Yesterday, The Center for Neighborhood Technology, an SGA coalition member, along with the Brookings Institution, released a new web-based tool to measure housing affordability — by also measuring the transportation costs inherent in a home’s location. Traditionally, affordability is measured at 30% or less of a … Continued

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NYC's farsighted congestion pricing plan dead

As you may have read this morning in numerous other outlets, New York City’s plan to implement congestion pricing in Manhattan was defeated last night without reaching a vote on the floor. [NYT] The plan would have charged most cars $8 and trucks $21 to enter traffic-choked Midtown and Lower Manhattan during busy hours on … Continued

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