Smart growth news – December 9

As U.S. road deaths drop, more pedestrians getting struck
USA Today, December 8, 2011
The USA is getting riskier for people on foot, and experts aren’t sure why. New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that pedestrian fatalities rose 4.2% in 2010 over the previous year. The number of pedestrians injured in motor vehicle crashes soared 19%, to 70,000.

Smart Growth conference to focus on sustainability
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 9, 2011
Pittsburgh’s rise from the ashes of a decimated steel industry and collapsed job market has caused some planning experts to refer to its story as a road map for post-industrial recovery. But organizers of the upcoming Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference say sustainable business strategies designed to revitalize existing resources are the models that ultimately will determine the future of the region and nation.

Governor Cuomo Announces $785 Million in Economic Development Funding Through Regional Councils
NBC 34 (N.Y.), December 9, 2011
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $785 million has been awarded through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, continuing the Governor’s efforts to redesign the way state government works in order to drive economic growth and create jobs. … In its plan, “A Strategy for Prosperity in Western New York,” the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council focused on preparing the region’s workforce for employment in key industry sectors, driving innovation and commercialization, investing in smart growth infrastructure, and attracting more visitors.

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Smart growth news – August 30

As Detroit’s offices fill up, suburbs feel pain
The Detroit News, August 29, 2011
When MyInsuranceExpert.com announced last week it is moving its headquarters and 85 workers from Troy to one of the downtown Detroit office buildings bought by entrepreneur Dan Gilbert, the online life insurance brokerage firm joined a growing trend. And most of downtown Detroit’s gain is amounting to some pain for the suburban office market.

‘Land Bank’ Knocks Out Some Foreclosure Problems
NPR, August 30, 2011
Cities have been tearing down crumbling, vacant houses for decades. The money for municipal demolition bills usually comes out of city budgets, but in Cleveland the housing crisis has started to change that equation.

Regional planners to apply for $5 million Sustainable Communities grant
The Tennessean, August 29, 2011
The Metropolitan Planning Organization and other regional planning groups have given notice to the federal government that the coalition intends to apply for a $5 million Sustainable Communities grant.

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The Better Block Project shows how changing a street can change a neighborhood

What hidden potential do roads have to become lively, walkable neighborhoods? One group in Texas is helping reveal what streets in many places could be.

The Better Block Project temporarily transforms underused streets into vibrant neighborhood centers. The project acts as a living charrette so communities can see what “complete streets” look like, as well as the potential for revitalized economic activity in an area. By setting up retail stands, sidewalk cafes, places for children to play and making the area friendlier to pedestrians, the project creates a temporary town square that organizers hope will have a lasting impact.

Complete Streets

New report reveals bike and pedestrian projects create more jobs than those for cars only

Bike lanes and sidewalks don’t just make streets safer and more convenient – they’re a good investment of transportation funds, too. A new report from the Policy Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that public investments in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure – including sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails – create more jobs per dollar spent.

The report finds that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects create significantly more jobs than infrastructure projects for cars alone. According to the study, bicycle projects create 11.4 jobs for every $1 million invested — 46% more than car-only road projects. Job creation potential decreased as infrastructure dedicated to automobilies increased:

Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million, and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million.

Complete Streets

Smart growth news – June 28, 2011

The Atlantic Looks for New Audience with Cities Site
Ad Week, June 27, 2011
The Atlantic, whose online push was key to getting the brand into the black last year, is launching another major expansion online, but with a new tack. In a first for the magazine, TheAtlanticCities.com is launching as a single-topic, standalone site. Coming in September, the site also is a departure in that it will be centered around Richard Florida, an urban studies expert who comes from an academic rather than a journalism background. Florida is the author of The Rise of the Creative Class, among other titles, and has a longstanding relationship with the magazine and its offshoots.

Sinking G.O.P. Poll Numbers May Put Florida in Play
New York Times, June 27, 2011
Mr. Scott’s unpopularity is mostly rooted in his aggressive push for large cuts in the budget and the public-sector work force, his decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project, and the dismissive and even abrasive way he deals with those who disagree with him or ask a lot of questions.

Housing vouchers a golden ticket to pricey suburbs
Washington Post, June 25, 2011
“There goes the neighborhood,” one homeowner said when she heard that her potential new neighbor had a federal housing voucher known as a Section 8. But Jackson could well be Pinebrook’s salvation, a means by which landlords can rent an empty, crime-magnet of a house to a tenant with a steady, government-backed check.

Complete Streets

SGA News Clips, 5/25/11

T4America: Just Like Plane Crashes, Pedestrian Deaths Are a National Issue
DC Streetsblog, 5/24/11
Transportation for America’s new report, “Dangerous by Design,” includes rankings of states and metro areas, but you can zoom in even more precisely on your neighborhood or your kids’ school. Check out their interactive map to find pedestrian fatalities and identify trouble spots near you. And don’t stop there. T4America is encouraging everyone who supports safer streets to take action and tell Congress to preserve funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Milwaukee-area leaders call for more transit aid: In letter, 5 cite higher-than-expected calculations for state transportation funds
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/23/11
Revised calculations of state transportation funding would give lawmakers the financial leeway to block all of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts in aid to Wisconsin public transit systems, Milwaukee-area leaders said Monday.

Opinion: As Housing Goes, So Goes the Economy
New York Times, 5/24/11
April was the seventh straight decline in monthly filings — which include notices of default, auction and bank repossessions — according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data provider. But the decline appears to be largely the result of banks slowing the foreclosure process in order to keep properties off the market until prices recover. The catch is that prices are unlikely to recover as long as millions of foreclosures are imminent.”

Gas Poised to Decline as $4 Drives Down Demand: Energy Markets
Business Week, 5/25/11
U.S. gasoline prices of almost $4 a gallon, the highest level since 2008, are deterring motorists just as the country’s vacation season starts, likely bringing relief at the pump by July.

Demand for the motor fuel declined 2.2 percent to 8.91 million barrels a day from the same month last year as prices were up 6.6 percent from the prior month, the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said in a report May 20.

“Higher gasoline prices are damping demand,” said John Felmy, chief economist with the Washington-based API. “This is just a price reaction.”

Expressway, state reach deal to build Wekiva Parkway
Orlando Sentinel, 5/24/11
Metro Orlando’s major road-building authority and the state are joining forces to build the Wekiva Parkway, $1.8 billion missing link in the region’s beltway.

The two agencies aim to break ground on the 26-mile toll road as early as spring of next year, with completion within seven years. Yet, many details remain to be worked out, most importantly how to pay for the project. A plan could be developed by August.

Complete Streets

Answers: Is there a road in your neighborhood that’s pedestrian unfriendly? How would you change it?

Earlier this week Smart Growth America asked our readers to weigh in on pedestrian unfriendly roads in their neighborhoods, and we’re excited to share the responses. We’ll be asking a new question next week – be sure to follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to join the discussion!

So: is there a road in your neighborhood that’s pedestrian unfriendly? If so, how would you change it? Here are some responses:

If you’d like to learn more about making roads that work for everyone, visit Smart Growth America’s partner organization Complete Streets to learn more.

Complete Streets