Our take on Infrastructure Week in the Washington Post


A new opinion piece in the Washington Post from Transportation for America takes a contrarian view of all the talk about money during Infrastructure Week. In short, let’s skip a special infrastructure plan and focus on policy; without good policy more spending could actually do more harm than good.

Advocacy Transportation

Trump administration undercuts multimodal funding

Under President Trump, the USDOT has effectively turned the formerly innovative BUILD program—created to advance complex, hard-to-fund, multimodal projects—into little more than a rural roads program, dramatically undercutting both its intent and utility. A new analysis illuminates how the program has changed and what Congress can do about it.

Transportation

A look back on 2018


As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of the most popular content from Smart Growth America and our various programs over the past year. If you’ve appreciated some of this work or our writing about it, make a tax-deductible end of year gift to help support our work in 2019!

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Policy #4: Complete Streets policies can have exceptions, as long as they’re clear and accountable

Effective Complete Streets policy implementation requires a process for exceptions to providing for all modes in each project. Exceptions should follow the Federal Highway Administration’s guidance on accommodating bicycle and pedestrian travel and identified best practices frequently used in existing Complete Streets policies. The Coalition believes these exceptions are appropriate with limited potential to weaken the policy. 

Complete Streets

A new partnership between T4America and Sidewalk Labs

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Our Transportation for America program works with cities across the country to create transportation networks that support economic prosperity.

New technologies play an increasingly important role in this field and today we’re excited to announce a new partnership between Transportation for America and Sidewalk Labs to support cities in this important work.

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Feds get out of the way of communities that want to design safer, more complete streets

The Federal Highway Administration made two big moves this last week to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets.

Both of these updates are great news for anyone advocating for streets that better meet the needs of everyone that uses them, as well as better serving the goals of the surrounding community. FHWA deserves a big round of applause for making these changes.

If you are working on a local transportation project and your DOT or some other agency cites vague federal rules when refusing to build a safe and complete street, show them the FHWA memo below. Their guidance makes it extremely clear: there’s wide latitude to design streets to best suit local needs, and old regulations that treat all roads like highways have been rolled back.

Complete Streets

Tell USDOT that #WeAllCount

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If someone takes the bus to work, and no one is around to count them, do they still matter?

We say yes, but the U.S. Department of Transportation seems to disagree.

Last week, USDOT issued a draft rule that will govern how states and metro areas will have to measure and address congestion, along with freight movement and emissions. These new requirements will help measure what America’s transportation dollars are actually buying us—which is great. 

However, the rule as it is currently written would measure success in outdated ways. Using old measures will lead to the continued use of outdated strategies, such as prioritizing fast driving speeds above all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

Complete Streets

Smart Growth America and Transportation for America welcome a new director of arts & culture

Smart Growth America — along with our signature transportation program Transportation for America — is pleased to announce today the hiring of Ben Stone as director of arts and culture, a new position designed to lead the organization’s broad efforts to help communities across the country better integrate arts, culture, and creative placemaking into neighborhood revitalization, equitable development, and transportation planning efforts.

stoneFor the past four-and-a-half years, Ben has served as the executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, a dynamic cultural district in Baltimore, MD. In that role, he helped make Station North a place that supports artists and attracts visitors and residents alike to the lively, creative community surrounding Baltimore’s Penn Station. (Station North was profiled briefly in Transportation for America’s recent online guidebook to creative placemaking, The Scenic Route.)

“Including the arts in neighborhood development can create well-rounded places that are powerful catalysts for smart, new, inclusive growth,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Ben has an incredible wealth of experience in this field, and we look forward to helping him share it with the local elected leaders, real estate developers, and advocates making neighborhoods great across the country.”

“We’re thrilled to bring someone of Ben’s caliber on board to help lead this emerging area of integrating local arts and culture to produce better projects and places through a better process,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “He’s a respected expert and leader who has on-the-ground experience with creative placemaking, an emerging approach to planning and building transportation projects that taps local culture to produce better projects through a better process.”

Transportation

Buses Mean Business: New Evidence Supporting Economic Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit in the U.S.

For those of you in the DC area next week (including those of you planning to attend the Transportation Research Board conference), join us on Tuesday for the national release of a new academic study on the economic benefits resulting from smart investments in bus rapid transit. Join us next week on Tuesday, January 12th … Continued

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