Ohio expected to join the growing ranks of state DOTs choosing to #RepairPriorities

lancaster-ohA road crew repaving Main Street in Lancaster, OH. Photo by Robert Batina via Flickr.

In 2008, just 6 percent of roads in Ohio were listed as being in “poor” condition. By 2011, though, that number had ballooned to 20 percent — the state was failing to keep up with needed repairs. Yet during that same time Ohio spent millions of dollars building new roads, taking funds away from repair work and adding to the state’s future repair burden.

Many states across the country are in similar predicaments. As Smart Growth America detailed in our 2014 report Repair Priorities, between 2009 and 2011 states collectively spent $20.4 billion annually to build new roads and add new lanes — projects that accounted for just 1 percent of their total road system. During that same time, states spent just $16.5 billion annually repairing and preserving the other 99 percent of their roads. This despite the fact that roads conditions were deteriorating faster than many states could fix them.

Newark, NJ; Hamilton, OH; Jackson, TN win 2015 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement from U.S. EPA

The City of Newark, NJ remediated the site of a former smelting plant to build a new—and now award-winning—park along the Passaic River. Photo via Archpaper.

Three cities have transformed the site of a former smelting plant, a neighborhood destroyed by tornado, and a near-empty historic downtown into vibrant, walkable places. Now, these projects have been recognized with the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Riverfront Park is the culmination of decades-long work to transform five miles of formerly industrial Passaic riverfront in Newark, NJ. The park’s land was once home to a smelting plant, and sat abandoned and unusable for years. Environmental remediation and an intensive public engagement process have created what will ultimately be 19 acres of parkland and Newark’s first—and so far only—public access to the Passaic River. In this community of color and predominantly low-income area, with few green spaces and a history of industrial pollution, the new park is game-changing. “When I was growing up, we had very few places to play, very few parks,” said Ana Baptista, a Newark resident, in EPA’s video about the project. “My daughters are going to grow up having a relationship to the water and the river that I didn’t have.”

Dangerous by Design 2014: Ohio

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 Ohio.

Mayor Nan Whaley on economic transformation in Dayton, OH

The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.

Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, sees smart growth strategies playing an important role in positioning the city for a new generation of economic vibrancy.

A former city commissioner, Whaley was elected mayor of Dayton in November, 2013. In her inaugural speech she was upfront about the challenges the community faces, including economic stagnation brought on by a decline in the city’s manufacturing base and reduced federal spending affecting a major nearby Air Force base.

Smart Growth America holds workshop in Cincinnati, OH on implementing transit-oriented development

Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati, OH. Photo via Flickr.

Smart Growth America visited Cincinnati, OH, last week to meet with residents and City officials about the many benefits of transit, and development surrounding transit, and why these strategies are important to future development in Cincinnati and the surrounding region.

In June the City of Cincinnati adopted a new comprehensive plan, has updated the Green Cincinnati plan and is currently revising its land development code. All three emphasize strategies that will help support smart growth in Cincinnati.

Partnership in the News: Cincinnati makes strides toward transit oriented development


Cincinnati, OH is a regional leader in pursuing ways to make the city more livable and attractive to residents and business. To help advance the city’s smart growth goals even further, Cincinnati will receive technical assistance from Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute to inform residents and community leaders about the benefits of transit oriented development (TOD).

Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America, says, “This workshop will provide the community with an opportunity to learn more about transit options and transit oriented development in the context of Cincinnati. Now is a great time to assess how Cincinnati can most effectively align its development with transit investments.”

A new bill in Congress would make streets safer and more accessible nationwide

Phoo courtesy Michigan Municipal League (MML) via FlickrPhoto courtesy Michigan Municipal League (MML) via Flickr.

Complete Streets are designed with all users in mind. Complete Streets strategies help everyone, no matter of age, ability or how they chose to travel, get where they need to go quickly, easily and safely. Nationwide, nearly 500 states and localities have adopted a Complete Streets Policy directing their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.

Cuyahoga County, OH hosts public workshop on Complete Streets

[caption id="attachment_29143" align="alignnone" width="700"]Photograph Courtesy OzinOH (via Flickr) Cuyahoga County Courthouse Photograph courtesy OzinOH (via Flickr)[/caption]
Cuyahoga County officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 1 and 2, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aimed to give Cuyahoga County strategies to create a built environment that focuses on better and more accessible transportation options for all residents.

“Providing a multi-modal transportation network is a key component to Cuyahoga County’s guiding principles of designing a place-based development strategy. Under the leadership of County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, the County also recognizes the momentum of the City of Cleveland’s efforts to implement a Complete and Green Streets policy and embraces this opportunity to explore the concept of Complete Streets on the regional level,” said Glenn Coyne, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.

Greater Ohio, ULI and LOCUS host speaking series on walkable urbanism in Ohio

Cleveland developer Ari Maron discusses his projects. Source: Smart Growth America.

The following post has been republished from our partners at the Greater Ohio Policy Center.

In Ohio and around the country, real estate developers and investors are recognizing pent-up demand for and a market shift toward sustainable, walkable urban places. Despite this paradigm shift and change in market momentum, many local, state and federal policies currently in place distort development incentives and hamper efforts to create the development consumers want and that support strong local economies. Urban developers and real estate and land use experts can align to provide state and national policy makers with expert advice on current consumer demand and the many benefits of urban and metropolitan growth strategies.

Over the past few days—January 16th and 17th—Greater Ohio traveled to Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland to co-host events with the Urban Land Institute district councils of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, as well as LOCUS to host “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda: Walkable Communities for Globally Competitive Cities,” an exclusive series featuring Christopher Leinberger, President of LOCUS—a national network of real estate developers and investors that advocates for sustainable, walkable urban development in America’s metropolitan areas.

Partnership in the News: Cincinnati approves comprehensive plan for city

Last month, the Cincinnati City Planning Commission approved Plan Cincinnati, a comprehensive, community-based approach to future development. Part of this plan was funded by a multi-million dollar HUD Community Challenge grant intended to help the city to streamline its land use codes, facilitating future development.

The Plan is an opportunity to strengthen what people love about the city, what works and what needs more attention, says Katherine Keough-Jurs, senior city planner and project manager.