Newly awarded technical assistance will help nine communities make the most of their transit projects

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Oklahoma City, OK – and its project restoring the historic Santa Fe depot, above — is one of nine communities selected to receive technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America.

Nine communities working to support development around planned or existing transit projects will get a big boost this year thanks to newly awarded technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in partnership with Smart Growth America.

The National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative, which officially launched in December, is a four-year project of FTA in partnership with Smart Growth America to help communities across the country build compact, mixed-use, equitable development around transit stations, with a focus on development in disadvantaged areas.

Technical assistance

New and expanded urban development programs included in President Obama's 2017 budget proposal

promise-zone-camdenPresident Obama in Camden, NJ in May. Camden is one of 13 Promise Zones, a program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would be expanded under the 2017 proposed budget. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via HUD.

President Obama released his proposal for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 federal budget yesterday, and it outlines the President’s lofty political ambitions for the coming year. The proposal focuses on five main goals: continuing the country’s economic and fiscal progress, supporting innovation, creating opportunity for all Americans, national security and global leadership, and improving how government works. Smart growth strategies play an important role in achieving several of those goals — here are some specifics of what the budget would mean for programs related to housing, urban development, and transportation.

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Buses Mean Business: New Evidence Supporting Economic Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit in the U.S.

For those of you in the DC area next week (including those of you planning to attend the Transportation Research Board conference), join us on Tuesday for the national release of a new academic study on the economic benefits resulting from smart investments in bus rapid transit. Join us next week on Tuesday, January 12th … Continued

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Recorded webinar: Learn more about the new Ladders of Opportunity technical assistance workshops

Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. The National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, a project of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in partnership with Smart Growth America, will provide state and local leaders with new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development.

Requests for technical assistance workshops are now open and on December 10, FTA and Smart Growth America hosted an informational webinar to discuss in detail the technical assistance workshops and the application process. A recording of the webinar is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Click here to view the archived webinar
Click here to download the presentation (PDF)

Speaking on the webinar were Kimberly Gayle, Director of the Office of Policy Review and Development at the Federal Transit Administration; Chris Zimmerman, Vice President of Economic Development at Smart Growth America; and Beth Osborne, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America.

Community leaders who have received FTA-funded transit projects grants and are considering TOD, or need ideas and assistance with TOD, are invited to request assistance. Requests are due by 5:00 p.m. EST Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Visit TODresources.org to learn more and apply.

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Introducing a new transit-oriented development initiative from the Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America

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Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. Today, we’re excited to announce a new project that will help people connect to public transportation easily, efficiently, and affordably.

The Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative, a project of the Federal Transit Administration in partnership with Smart Growth America, will provide state and local leaders with new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development, or “TOD”. Well-done TOD takes advantage of nearby transit to create desirable places to live, work, and visit that feature amenities like entertainment venues, parks, retail, restaurants, an improved pedestrian environment and diverse housing choices.

Technical assistance

Tell FHWA to pass their proposed rule on street design



Last month, the Federal Highway Administration put forward a great idea.

The agency, which oversees the design of millions of miles of roads in the United States, proposed a new rule which would dramatically ease federal design standards for many of those roadways. It’s a move that would make a Complete Streets approach significantly easier for communities across the country.

You go, FHWA! Tell the agency to adopt its proposed rule.

Complete Streets

USDOT proposes to remove restrictive design guidelines that make safer streets more difficult to build

incomplete-street

Crossposted from Transportation for America.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took an encouraging and surprising step this week to make it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build complete streets that are safer for everyone by easing federally-mandated design standards on many roads.

Currently, FHWA has a long list of design criteria that local communities and states must adhere to when building or reconstructing certain roads, unless they choose to go through an arduous process of requesting an exception to do things like line a downtown street with street trees, reduce the width of lanes to add a bike lane, or curve a street slightly to slow traffic and make it safer for people in cars and on foot.

In this new proposed rule, FHWA decided after a thorough review to scrap 11 of 13 current design criteria for certain roads because they decided these criteria have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets” and has a stronger connection for rural roads, freeways and higher speed urban arterials.

Complete Streets

FTA announces the 21 winners of inaugural Transit-Oriented Development Planning Grants

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Sound Transit’s LINK light rail on the Seattle-SeaTac line. Six stations will eventually be added to Tacoma’s separate LINK line, doubling their number of stations.

Crossposted from Transportation for America.

It’s important that communities make the best use of land around transit lines and stops, efficiently locate jobs and housing near new transit stations, and boost ridership — which can also increase the amount of money gained back at the farebox. Twenty-one communities today received a total of $19.5 million in federal grants from a new pilot program intended to do exactly that.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program was one of the bright spots in MAP-21, and a priority we worked hard to see included in the final bill during those negotiations back in the summer of 2012, along with our colleagues at LOCUS, the coalition of responsible real estate investors within Smart Growth America.

LOCUS

Tell the Federal Highway Administration to make good street design the standard

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THIS DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A HIGHWAY. US-62 in downtown Hamburg, NY is part of the National Highway System, and an example of why the system’s design standards should be flexible. Photo by Dan Burden.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is poised to issue new guidance about street design across the country. Will the new guidance include walking, bicycling, and transit facilities?

Last month, FHWA proposed revisions to its rule governing design standards for the National Highway System (NHS). That system includes interstates and other high-speed, high-volume roads, but it also includes a whole lot of routes you’d more likely call “Main Street.” Thousands of miles of the NHS are streets that serve commercial centers, homes, shops, parks, schools, and hospitals—places where people often walk, bike, or take public transportation, in addition to driving.

Complete Streets