SGA News Clips, 4/5/11

Suburban growth in Twin Cities loses steam. It could be gone for good. (Pioneer Press), 4/4/11
Maybe sprawl wasn’t such a great idea after all.
In what is believed to be a turning point in American history, new figures from the U.S. Census indicate that suburban sprawl might be coming to an end.
For the first time in more than 60 years, the growth rate of Minnesota’s suburbs has plummeted, with some actually losing population.

Senate approves transit cuts
Twin Cities Star-Tribune, 4/4/11
Moving to cut Metro Transit costs, the Minnesota Senate on Monday passed a transportation spending bill that opponents warned will lead to service cuts or fare increases.
The measure, approved 38-25, reduces spending on Twin Cities bus and rail operations by $32 million over two years

Texas House approves 2-year budget
Business Week, 4/4/11
The budget underfunds schools by almost $8 billion less than state law requires be spent. Medicaid is underfunded by more than $4 billion.
It makes cuts to highways, prisons, state parks and dozens of other programs.

NAR Study Finds Americans Prefer Smart Growth Communities, 4/4/11
Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, with 56 percent of respondents preferring smart growth neighborhoods over neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation. That’s according to a recent study, the Community Preference Survey, by the National Association of REALTORS®.

In the Budget Debate, Scarcely a Mention of the Word “Transportation”
DCStreetsBlog, 4/4/11
But when voters list their top concerns, transportation is not what they think of. “I think jobs, spending and the economy are at the forefront of people concern’s today,” says Alex Goldschmidt of Smart Growth America, “and transportation just hasn’t been linked closely enough with those issues in the past. That’s too bad because creating transportation options addresses all those concerns.”

Tuesday Profile: Mr. Smart Growth
The Hill, 4/5/11
Glendening, a Democrat, is president of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, a Washington-based group that encourages elected leaders to create “walkable communities” organized around public transportation and environmental preservation.
It’s fitting that Glendening is at the helm of the group, as he is widely credited with coining the term that now defines its mission.


World Car Free Day celebrates transportation alternatives

Some streets will be closed to traffic in Montreal today in celebration of World Car Free Day. Photo from Montreal’s Metropolitan Transport Agency, via CBC News. In cities around the world today, people are observing Car Free Day, an event celebrated every September 22nd which encourages people “to get around without cars and instead ride … Continued


Now more than ever, smart growth makes dollars and sense

Fountain streetscape silver spring, originally uploaded by faceless b and credited to EPA Smart Growth. Young professionals seek bustling career centers. Parents want their kids to have more options for biking and walking. Empty-nesters crave more nightlife options and more manageable homes. And seniors seek a level of independence that car-dependent communities cannot provide. For … Continued


Inward momentum: Residential growth in American center cities

You’ve probably seen some of the anecdotal evidence in newspaper stories or other outlets recently about how many center cities have experienced a resurgence of residential growth within their borders over the last 10 to 20 years. Many of us had wondered if there had been any systematic examination of building permit trends to document … Continued


What do houses in distant suburbs and low-mileage cars have in common?

Unfortunately for the owners of either, they’re both losing value. That’s the connection — echoed by SGA — in a Wall Street Journal piece this morning on today’s front page by Ana Campoy on gasoline consumption and miles driven trending downwards, and how it’s beginning to drastically affect Americans’ housing and transportation choices: Meanwhile, people … Continued


Well-planned walkable neighborhoods: Insulation from the housing slump

Another tale of two cities: One is up, one is down. We’ve noted with regularity for the last few months how rising gas prices were complicit in the housing crisis. (here and here, for example). With every escalation in the cost of fuel, new subdivisions and neighborhoods already in a struggling market face another hit … Continued