Building Resilient States: Profiles in Action

In October 2015, the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a program run in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Smart Growth America, released Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies, a report intended to introduce and integrate land use and transportation issues into states’ conversations about resilience. The Framework was designed to help … Continued

Case Studies in Smart Growth Implementation: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

These case studies present Smart Growth America’s key findings and the lessons we’ve learned about smart growth implementation from a four-year technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The cases are meant to help communities that are committed to (or are exploring) smart growth but struggle with implementation. The cases highlight successful … Continued

Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe connects and revitalizes corridors in suburban Louisiana

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Renderings from the Paul Maillard Road Corridor Revitalization Plan. Photo courtesy of St. Charles Parish, LA.

In St. Charles Parish, LA, local officials are betting that two ambitious new projects will spur economic development and noticeably improve connectivity—to a level seldom found in the suburbs.

St. Charles Parish, located 20 miles west of New Orleans, LA on the Mississippi River, boasts a population of 54,000 spread out among several communities. The parish has no concentrated population center, which allows for funding to be spread evenly but creates a unique landscape for smart growth. Buddy Boe, Chief Administrative Officer for the Parish and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working with residents to revitalize existing roads and create central corridors designed to bring the community together and diversify the local economy—currently reliant on industrial and maritime sectors—ensuring a prosperous future for the area.

Like many main thoroughfares in St. Charles Parish, Paul Maillard Road was once a thriving commercial corridor. Despite being home to a local hospital and connecting to one ferry landing and two state highways, the corridor has suffered from several decades of sustained disinvestment and population loss. The street was identified in St. Charles Parish’s Comprehensive Plan as an area ripe for investment and growth. Now, thanks to a 2011 Sustainable Cities Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that vision for revitalization is coming to fruition. Just this week, the Paul Maillard Corridor Revitalization Plan was released to the public.

Dangerous by Design 2014: Louisiana

The National Complete Streets Coalition reports on the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, offering county-, metro-, and state-level data on traffic fatalities and an interactive map of each loss in the decade 2003 through 2012. This resource specific profiles the state of Maine.

LOCUS Applauds Inclusion of TOD Financing in Draft Senate Transportation Bill

Yesterday, Senate EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (CA) and Ranking Member David Vitter (LA) released a draft bipartisan six-year, transportation reauthorization.

For the first time, the bill includes a transit-oriented development (TOD) financing provision that LOCUS has strongly supported. As proposed, the TOD financing provisions provide local communities the tools needed to leverage greater private sector investment and economic development around public transportation through the highly successful TIFIA program.

After the ordinance: Implementing Complete Streets strategies in New Orleans

Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, LA
Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans after Complete Streets improvements. Photo by Jennifer Ruley.

With one of the best Complete Streets policies in the nation and champions for multimodal transportation on the City Council and public agencies, New Orleans, LA is taking concrete steps to build a post-Katrina transportation network that’s safer, more equitable and more fully connected than before.

The city’s most recent addition to its list of accomplishments is it’s new Complete Streets Advisory Committee. This month the City finalized the membership of the new Committee, which will make sure public agencies and processes work together to create a transportation system that works for all residents, no matter how they get around. The Committee’s first tasks include reviewing local subdivision regulations and deciding how to measure the success of Complete Streets implementation.

City Councilmember Kristin Palmer on smart growth and resilience in New Orleans, LA

Kristin Palmer had long been interested in smart growth strategies, but smart growth really became a focal point of her first term on City Council in 2010, as New Orleans still struggled to rebuild five years after Hurricane Katrina.

“When you’re trying to rebuild from nothing, from ground zero, what are the things that make sense when you come back and rebuild? Access to public transportation and economic corridors was really part of that success,” says Palmer. “If you had access to grocery stores and you had a walkable community, and you could get to the resources you needed, those are the communities that rebuilt faster and better.”

Mayor Murphy McMillin on preserving small town USA

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From left: Oak Street in downtown Jena; participants in one of the city’s visioning sessions; an excerpt from Jena’s Vision, the town plan.

When a proposed highway project threatened Jena, LA’s historic downtown, Mayor Murphy McMillin worked with residents and fellow city officials to come up with alternatives to the construction. What ensued was a long-term vision incorporating smart growth strategies that not only found a solution to the highway project, but will also help guide development and protect Jena’s natural assets for years to come.

Jena has a simple tag line—“A nice place to call home.” Mayor McMillin, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, describes the town as a close-knit community of 3,000 residents located between the larger metropolitan areas of Alexandria and Monroe, and residents are fond and protective of their town’s rural character and identity.