Thanks to support from the Economic Development Administration, Smart Growth America and Recast City are pleased to provide a second round of small-scale manufacturing technical assistance. Homegrown maker economies are emerging in all corners of the nation and show no signs of slowing. Cities are supporting various businesses that fall under the umbrella of small-scale manufacturing—metalworking, woodworking, screen printing, and brewing to name a few—by crafting supportive policies, reworking their zoning, and initiating workforce training programs.
SGA technical assistance
Smart Growth America’s technical assistance team has delivered workshops and support to communities all over the country. Learn more about our past work here:
Today, Smart Growth America announced the selection of six communities that will receive technical assistance in using small-scale manufacturing as a strategy to create economic opportunity, boost the prospects of Main Street, and build great places. This assistance is made possible through funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The National Complete Streets Coalition is now accepting applications for the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, an opportunity for free technical assistance focused on creating safer streets using proven safety countermeasures, creative placemaking, and emerging technologies. We hosted a webinar to answer questions about the Academy and the application process. You can view the recording of the webinar above, access the PDF of the presentation, or read the FAQ.
Following the success of our inaugural Safe Streets Academy, the National Complete Streets Coalition is excited to announce a new opportunity for free technical assistance. The Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy will help three cities transform their commitment to traffic safety into practice. Applications are now open. Learn more about how to apply below or applicant FAQ.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the free, technical assistance Smart Growth America is offering in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Recast City. This FAQ addresses many of the common questions we’ve received.
Even after decades of safety improvements, more people are now dying on our roadways every year, especially people walking. This happens in part because we continue to design our streets to prioritize moving cars—not people—as quickly as possible, creating a dangerous, high-speed environment for all people who use the street. To test out creative approaches to safer street design, the National Complete Streets Coalition launched the Safe Streets Academy. We worked with three cities around the country to build skills in safer street design, creative placemaking, and community engagement, then helped the cities put these skills into practice. Through demonstration projects, the City of Orlando, FL, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, KY, and the City of South Bend, IN transformed their streets, intersections, and neighborhoods into slower, safer places for people. Communities around the country can learn from the stories of these demonstration projects to test out low-cost ways to create safer streets.
To address recurring, dangerous speeding problems on neighborhood streets, the City of South Bend launched a demonstration project to test out traffic-calming tools they had never used before including traffic circles, chicanes, and bump outs. They worked closely with the local community to decide where these traffic-calming strategies were most needed. They also added educational signs to help teach people how street design can improve safety by encouraging drivers to slow down while simultaneously creating more vibrant places for people. As a result of this demonstration project, drivers drove slower on these streets, and South Bend also built trust with the community. To replicate the success of this project elsewhere, South Bend will develop a toolkit based on this experience to launch additional traffic calming projects in other neighborhoods throughout the city to improve safety and convenience for people on foot or bike.
Two particular intersections along Bryan Avenue in Lexington, KY were dangerous and confusing places for everyone, including people walking, biking, and driving. Both intersections had unusual turning angles and missing crosswalks, and it was often unclear who had the right of way. To slow the speeds of cars traveling through these two intersections and transform them into safer, more predictable, and more comfortable places for people, a team from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government launched a temporary demonstration project. They worked closely with the local community and used inexpensive, flexible materials to redesign the intersections by redirecting cars and adding crosswalks and pedestrian refuges. Lexington also tested out more interactive strategies for letting the people in the community most affected by the project take the lead on envisioning safer streets.
The Orlando metropolitan region has long had notoriously dangerous roadways, especially for people walking. A team from the City of Orlando dedicated to improving safety launched a demonstration project on Curry Ford Road, a commercial arterial with a history of crashes involving people walking and biking that spans both the city’s and county’s jurisdictions. By collaborating with Orange County staff and with local elected officials, the team transformed this five-lane speedway into a three-lane Complete Street with protected cycle tracks and a mid-block crossing with a painted pedestrian refuge. Although local business owners and nearby residents supported the demonstration project, people who commute through the neighborhood were resistant to the changes, which raised important questions about the necessary trade-offs between safety and speed when designing safer streets for people.
Smart Growth America is once again soliciting applications for a new round of free technical assistance for communities interested in using small-scale manufacturing as a strategy to create economic opportunity, boost the prospects of Main Street, and build great places.