Complete Streets Steering Committee spotlight: Voices for Healthy Kids

The National Complete Streets Coalition is just that—a coalition—and our success is made possible by our many partner organizations. Voices for Healthy Kids is the newest member of our Steering Committee and we’re proud to welcome them. We sat down with Stephanie Vaughn, Marketing Manager at Voices for Healthy Kids, to learn more about their work and what drives their commitment to Complete Streets.

Complete Streets

America's Bulging Waistlines and a National Need for Complete Streets

The newest release of F as in Fat notes the alarming pace of America’s obesity crisis and makes six overarching strategies to bring our waistlines into check, including the recommendation for Complete Streets laws at the state and federal level. Recent news on the impending federal transportation authorization bill, however, indicates that such a recommendation has not yet penetrated the walls of Congress.

Complete Streets

Smart growth news – June 21, 2011

Iowa Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum
Blog for Iowa, June 20, 2011
Tuesday, Roger Millar with Smart Growth America discusses the upcoming sustainable planning workshop sponsored by 1000 Friends of Iowa.

Smart Growth Awards honor LI’s ‘progress’
Newsday, June 20, 2011
Long Island developers, legislators, planners and land-use advocates gave themselves a pat on the back Friday for what they have accomplished so far in making Nassau and Suffolk counties “smart-growth” communities, but they also conceded they have a long way to go before the region becomes any type of model for the rest of the nation.

10 Most Convenient Cities in America, June 20, 2011
A convenient city is both walkable and easily accessible by public transportation, with jobs, schools, hospitals, groceries, entertainment and other amenities all within striking distance. That’s increasingly the case in American cities, where public transportation systems have grown from little more than 1,000 in 1980 to 7,700 when the American Public Transportation Association public transit advocacy group last took inventory in 2009…With help from the APTA, Walk Score and the folks at real estate site Zillow, TheStreet found 10 cities in the U.S. that keep all the schools, shops, open studios and offices close by while keeping the car in park.

Columbia Pike Braces For Revitalization
WAMU (DC), June 21, 2011
Changes are in store for Arlington, Va. where county leaders have been planning to revitalize Columbia Pike for decades — including new streetcar transit and mixed-use development. But opinions are divided about what that might mean for local residents and businesses.


Smart growth news – June 15, 2011

Did Smart Growth Fuel the Property-Price Boom?
Wall Street Journal Development Blog, June 14, 2011
In a recent paper, though, Wendell Cox, an Illinois-based consultant and an adjunct scholar with the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis, argues land-use restrictions and planning policies like smart growth fueled property prices and became the engine of the housing boom and bust. The price decline on the “drivable fringe” was generally twice as bad during the crash, said Christopher Leinberger, a developer of “walkable urban projects” and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. “And it was that part of the market that is the least regulated,” he said. Smart-growth areas or walkable neighborhoods within metro markets had price drops but they ultimately “held their value, thank you very much.” The problem, Mr. Leinberger added, was that “we built too much of the wrong stuff in the wrong location.”

A City Tries to Slim Down
New York Times, June 13, 2011
This city’s Broadway displays its own array of neon signs — two dozen fast-food restaurants, as diverse as McDonald’s and the local Indi’s — beckoning along a 2.8-mile corridor bookended by low-income neighborhoods on the front lines of a multimillion-dollar battle against obesity. The street symbolizes one of many hurdles facing officials here working to put a severely overweight population on a diet.

Poor public transit called threat to older Americans
Reuters, June 14, 2011
A new study says more than 15.5 million seniors, aged 65 to 79, will have poor or nonexistent access to public transportation by 2015. Many outlying suburbs and “exurbs” simply have few options for getting around for those who do not drive.

OC commuters urged to take public transit on Dump the Pump Day
KABC (Los Angeles), June 14, 2011
The Orange County Transportation Authority is encouraging commuters to give public transportation a try. They’ll even throw in breakfast. This Thursday is national Dump the Pump Day. It’s all about avoiding high gas prices by taking public transportation.


Oklahoma City attracts businesses, gets healthy with smart growth principles

Oklahoma City Mayor Mark Cornett (R) is making his city more attractive to businesses, tackling a public health crisis and he’s using smart growth strategies to get it done. Cornett gained notoriety for tackling Oklahoma City’s obesity epidemic by changing the landscape of the city. After setting a goal in 2008 for the city to lose a million pounds, he passed a massive $777 million “Metropolitan Area Project” in 2009 that made jogging and biking trails, sidewalks and neighborhood parks a priority in downtown development.

The project aimed to make Oklahoma City’s residents healthier, but slimmer figures weren’t Cornett’s sole goal. Mayor Cornett also understood that an obesity epidemic could deter businesses that might consider locating in Oklahoma City. He recently told Next American City, “if I’m a job creator, and I see Oklahoma City on the list of the most obese cities in the country, I’ve got to think: What are my health care costs going to be? What’s my absenteeism rate going to be? Why would I create jobs in a city that doesn’t value health?”