Complete Streets leaders celebrate 500 policies and look forward to the movement's future

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On August 14, 2013, Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition celebrated the 500 communities across the United States that have made their streets safer and more accessible for everyone who uses them with Complete Streets policies, and looked ahead to the future of the Complete Streets movement.

The 500th Complete Streets Policy celebration honored Memphis, TN for passing the milestone policy, and featured a panel of experts including Rich Weaver of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); Kyle Wagenschutz, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Memphis,TN; Art Guzzetti, Vice President of Policy at APTA; Colleen Hawkinson, AICP, Manager, Strategic Planning Branch, DDOT; Darren Smith, Policy Representative, National Association of Realtors and Jeff Miller, President & CEO, Alliance for Biking and Walking. The panel discussion was moderated by Roger Millar, PE AICP, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Complete Streets

Washingtonians gather to talk food and great neighborhoods at Food in the City

Food in the City

On Thursday, June 20, Smart Growth America hosted Food in the City, a panel discussion and reception about the intersection of smart growth development and DC’s burgeoning food community. DC food luminaries spoke about how the city’s stature in the culinary world has grown, and how DC’s neighborhoods have contributed to this growth.

The panel was co-moderated by Beth Kanter, author, and Emily Pearl Goodstein, photographer, of Washington DC Chef’s Table. Joining the panel discussion were Gina Chersevani, Owner and Mixologist of Buffalo & Bergen; Stacey Price, Executive Director of Think Local First DC; Che Ruddell-Tabisola, Owner-Operator of BBQ BUS DC; and Richard Brandenburg, Director of Culinary Strategy at EDENS development.

If you weren’t able to make it to the event in person, check out the recap below.

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DC’s food entrepreneurs and the neighborhoods they call home

Food in the City
Some of the people and projects involved in tomorrow’s Food in the City event.

Tomorrow evening we’ll be hosting Food in the City, a conversation about DC’s burgeoning food scene and how it is shaping growth and development in the city. Here’s a closer look at the people and projects involved in the event.

The most vibrant neighborhoods support places for both work and play to make local economies stronger.

At our last “In the City” series event, Tech in the City, we examined how DC could foster technology startups through better urban development. The panelists identified several unique characteristics as to how DC promotes tech entrepreneurship, and how the city’s neighborhoods foster innovation.

Tomorrow, the next event in the series—Food in the City—will look at how DC’s neighborhoods can foster culinary entrepreneurs. The New York Times named Washington, DC a 2013 top destination for its great food scene, and there are exciting new businesses from brick-and-mortar restaurants to food trucks to pop-up restaurants to incubator kitchens to neighborhood markets growing across the city.

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Development-oriented transit: How value-capture launched DC’s newest neighborhood

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The 2013 LOCUS Leadership Summit was held on June 3-5, 2013 in Washington, D.C. A walking tour of NoMa was one of the many items in this year’s agenda.

At certain times of day, competition for an available bicycle can be fierce at the Capital Bikeshare station on the corner of 1st and M Street NE in Washington, D.C. That intersection serves as the unofficial crossroads for the city’s newest and fastest growing neighborhood, NoMa (short for “North of Massachusetts Avenue”), where a building boom is in full swing. On a typical weeknight, the sidewalks of NoMa brim with young professionals, who stop in at the new Harris Teeter grocery store or CVS pharmacy before heading to one of the nearby apartment buildings or the local Metro station. High above, the numerous construction cranes dotting the neighborhood serve as reminder that the frenetic pace of growth in the area shows no signs of slowing.

LOCUS

DC area's neighborhoods are becoming more walkable – even in the suburbs


Chris Leinberger at CNU DC’s Live.Work.Walk event.

Urban dwellers and apartment hunters everywhere are familiar with the term “walk up,” frequently used to describe an apartment building lacking an elevator. But at a recent event hosted by the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) in Washington, D.C., attendees learned about a different type of WalkUP – the “walkable urban place.”

Chris Leinberger, President of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS, was a keynote presenter at Live.Work.Walk. D.C.’s Future Growth, presented by the Washington, D.C. chapter of CNU on March 11. In his presentation, which opened the full-day educational event, Leinberger gave an overview of “The WalkUP Wake Up Call,” a report which emphasizes the economic potential of walkable, urban places in greater Washington, D.C. and how the region can serve as a model for the country for future real estate development.

LOCUS

Diverse development helps neighborhoods in greater DC and beyond


Washington, DC’s Yards Park in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood. Photo via Flickr.

Office renters, apartment seekers and shoppers are all vital parts of creating a great, economically resilient neighborhood. What development strategies attract these people? As Christopher B. Leinberger’s new research explains, walkable streets and transit choices are increasingly important in Washington DC and across the country.

Leinberger, President of LOCUS and Research Professor at The George Washington University School of Business, sat down with the Washington Post recently to discuss his most recent research, “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call,” and the future of development in the Washington DC region.

LOCUS

Partnership in the News: Anacostia Riverwalk Trail plan revealed

On Monday, October 15, federal and state officials from Maryland and the District of Columbia held an event to announce a four-mile portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will be known as the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment and will be funded largely by a 2012 DOT TIGER grant.

The trail is a broader effort to bring development and activity to the Anacostia waterfront, as it connects 60 miles of trails in Maryland and throughout the District. Mayor of D.C. Vincent Gray had this to say about the project:

“This latest segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is an important part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s efforts to create a healthy, green, equitable and prosperous city – goals that go hand-in-hand with my Sustainable DC plan. I’m excited today to unveil the trail’s unique design, which will give the public a window into the host of benefits this new regional trail link will provide to our neighbors in Maryland as well. We look forward to continued collaboration with our regional and federal partners as we move forward with construction and press ahead with our efforts to create a world-class Anacostia Riverfront in our city.”

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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

Walkable neighborhoods now the most coveted in real estate


Washington, DC’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood was one of those included in a new study from the Brookings Institution. Photo by Flickr user Dewita Soeharjono.

The most valuable real estate today is in walkable urban locations – and that’s a stark change from only a decade ago.

That is one of the principal findings of a new report from the Brookings Institution. Walk this Way:The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. is an economic analysis of the neighborhoods in and surrounding our nation’s capital.

“Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places,” the report explains, noting that consumer preferences have shifted and that demand for walkable housing is outpacing supply, thus contributing to higher property values.

LOCUS

Smart Growth Stories: City Councilmember Tommy Wells on creating great neighborhoods in Washington DC

Washington, DC’s neighborhoods have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and nowhere in the city is this more visible than DC’s Ward 6.

Stretching from just north of Union Station south across Capitol Hill and down to the Anacostia River, Ward 6 has seen incredible neighborhood growth over the past decade. Neighborhoods like H Street Northeast – with indie music venues, hipster bars and avant garde restaurants – on the north side of Capitol Hill, and Barracks Row – with art galleries and fine dining – on the south side have been steadily gathering new residents and new businesses. Both are in Ward 6.

DC City Councilmember Tommy Wells represents Ward 6, and he has made neighborhoods the focus of his work.

“Great neighborhoods are not necessarily what we thought they were,” Wells says. “We used to think we divided ourselves in sections…you put schools over here, housing over here, stores over here. And what we found was that in order to get anywhere and to do anything, you had to get in your car…And the more that we lived in our cars and in this sort of a sectional, stove-piped community, the more we didn’t see each other.”

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