Smart growth news – September 19

Crumbling infrastructure ranks U.S. behind Barbados
Evansville Courier & Press (Ind.), September 17, 2011
The World Economic Forum, which as recently as 1995 listed U.S. infrastructure as tops in the world, now maintains the country has slipped to 23rd place behind, among others, Barbados. The American Society of Civil Engineers, in its most recent infrastructure report card, gave the country a “D” and asserted it would require an investment of $2.2 trillion over five years to get it in shape.

New Carrollton to become home to Md. housing department
Washington Post, September 19, 2011
The department, which works on rental housing, neighborhood revitalization and foreclosure prevention, will move more than 330 employees from its Crownsville headquarters in Anne Arundel County to its new location in the late summer or early fall of 2013, officials said. The project is awaiting final approval from the state Board of Public Works, of which O’Malley (D) is a member. O’Malley said that moving from rural Anne Arundel to Prince George’s promotes smart growth and stimulates transit-oriented development, key priorities of his administration.

Pittsburgh seeking new ways to keep up with number of vacant properties
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 18, 2011
Flint, Mich., was in steep decline when Dan Kildee was elected Genesee County treasurer 14 years ago. His hometown’s days as a thriving, broad-shouldered factory town were gone. Most plants were shuttered or running well below capacity. Some 60,000 General Motors jobs alone were lost. And the city was well on its way toward shedding nearly half of its population. The fallout included an epidemic of vacant and abandoned properties. Tax delinquency was starving the city and school district of desperately needed revenue.

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“Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” webinar materials and answers to your questions now available

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar “Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots” earlier this week. This webinar was hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Conference.

Listen in: Click here to view the archived webinar

Speaking on the webinar were Dena Belzer, President of Strategic Economics and partner in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development; Crista M. Gardner, Senior Planner at Portland Metro; and David Johnson AICP, Director of Planning, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The webinar was moderated by Elizabeth Wampler, Program Associate at Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.

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Smart growth news – August 23

Creek Restoration Keys Cincinnati’s Battle Against Urban Blight, Stormwater
The New York Times, August 22, 2011
But because of the 3,700-foot-long, 19.5-foot-wide pipe underneath the area, the decaying neighborhood is now part of one of the largest public works projects in Cincinnati’s history and one of the nation’s biggest experiments in green infrastructure.

King County: Transfer of Development Rights Protects 700 Acres Around Sammamish
Sammamish Patch (Wash.), August 22, 2011
More than 700 acres of rural forests and pasturelands in the Patterson Creek watershed near the city of Sammamish will be permanently protected under an innovative Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) agreement signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our partnership with the city of Sammamish helps create a compact, vibrant urban landscape with walkable neighborhoods and abundant green space,” Constantine said.

As businesses come and go, views of downtown differ
Colorado Springs Gazette, August 20, 2011
Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area. Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Complete Streets

Smart growth news – August 19

More homebuyers want walkable, transit-served communities
Greater Greater Washington, August 18, 2011
New research shows that a growing number of homebuyers are interested in walkable, transit-served communities, and are willing to sacrifice a bigger house for a better neighborhood.

Car, bus or rail: for some Americans none of above
Reuters, August 19, 2011
More than half a million households in the 100 largest U.S. cities do not have cars or any access to public transportation, according to a study released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution.

Seattle, After Decade of Debate, Approves Tunnel
The New York Times, August 18, 2011
On Tuesday, voters here gave what amounts to a final blessing to a $2 billion, 1.7-mile, 56-foot-wide, deep-bore highway tunnel that will run below downtown skyscrapers and behind a sea wall that holds back Puget Sound.

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West Virginia capital will finally have a town square thanks to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

In the heart of Charleston, West Virginia’s downtown is Slack Plaza. Located near the city’s main transit hub and Charleston’s central business district, the concrete-heavy plaza with more parking spots than park benches has attracted more crime than consumers.

But thanks to a Greening America’s Capitals grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Slack Plaza will one day become a walkable green space that connects important business districts and downtown to transit.

The EPA recently released design plans for Charleston’s Slack Plaza that would make the plaza more inviting to pedestrians. EPA’s project team and landscape architects Origin 4 Design also came up with a design for the plaza that include more green space and permeable pavement; a projection screen for art, movies, or public gathering events; plenty of comfortable seating with ample shade; and LED lighting.

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Smart growth news – August 8

America is Broken: Five Ways to Fix the Nation
International Business Times, August 6, 2011
1) Create a federal iBank — a public-private partnership to fund infrastructure investment in the nation. The infrastructure bank, or iBank, can get projects done including repair and building of subways, highways, bridges, dams and waterways without busting the budget.

Developing Dover: Measured growth, mixed use in Garrison City’s future
Fosters Daily Democrat (N.H.), August 7, 2011
[T]he Dover of five to 10 years from now will look like a more urbanized version of what can be seen today. Yes, mixed use development is coming, but what appears to be in the books for the city works hard to preserve the Hometown, USA attributes that make it such a desirable place to live.

No-charge Main trolley service fuels local ridership boom
The Durango Herald (Colo.), August 6, 2011
Public transportation in Durango isn’t your usual bus service. For starters, the most popular of its “buses” actually are trolley cars on wheels. And residents and visitors alike are exceptionally fond of the service.

Several new developments in progress despite national economy
Hudson Reporter (N.J.), August 7, 2011
While the nation still suffers from a slow economy, a number of luxury residential developments are rising from North Bergen to Jersey City, likely fueled by the proximity to Manhattan and to several forms of public transportation.

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"Promoting Affordable and Fair Housing near Transit, Jobs, and Town Centers" webinar materials now available online

Thank you to everyone who attended Smart Growth America’s Sustainable Communities Network webinar “Promoting Affordable and Fair Housing near Transit, Jobs, and Town Centers” last week. This webinar was hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America, and the National Housing Conference.

Included on this webinar are practitioners taking steps to ensure that housing for families at all income levels is available in location-efficient and opportunity-rich areas. Following an overview of tools available to create and preserve affordable homes in areas where transportation costs are likely to be low, learn how some of these tools have been implemented in Denver, Colorado as Denver expands its public transportation system. Included is a discussion of policies and legal decisions that help to ensure communities create their fair share of homes for low- and moderate-income families in New Jersey, as well as strategies to build public support for well-located affordable homes.

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Arlington, Virginia's story of smart growth: The movie

If you’ve been around the conversation on growth and development for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone bring up Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is the bit of Virginia just across the Potomac River from the monumental core of Washington, DC that leveraged the arrival of two Metro rail lines in the 60’s and 70’s to renew and revitalize their county into a prosperous, enjoyable and livable community that is a sought-after destination for employers, businesses, residents and visitors.

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