With all of the attention showered on “Crystal City” (Arlington, VA adjacent to DC) and Long Island City (Queens, New York City) after being selected as Amazon’s second/third headquarters, what are the lessons to learn for the 236 other disappointed communities, and what strategies could improve their future prospects?
Last month we hosted “Making the Most of Main Street: Complete Streets & Walkable Communities”, the fourth installment in our monthly webinar series, Implementation & Equity 201: The Path Forward to Complete Streets. A recording of the webinar is now available above. You can also download the PDF of the presentation, or read the brief recap below.
Last month, Complete Streets director Emiko Atherton traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee to speak in the Walkability Speaker Series, a series that highlights the benefits of walkability and explores strategies to cultivate more walkable environments. The series is a collaborative effort led by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization with the support of East Tennessee Quality Growth, the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors, the Knoxville Chamber, and the Knoxville Chapter of the American Planning Association. Emiko and I were excited by the opportunity to scope out Knoxville and get to know some of the local champions of smart growth and walkability, since we’ll be back before too long as part of our Complete Streets Consortium Series.
Of all the places I traveled to this year, Huntsville, AL might have impressed me the most.
Guadalupe Street in Austin, TX. Austin had one of the highest-scoring policies of 2014. Which communities will be on the 2015 list? Photo courtesy of the City of Austin.
More than 60 communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2015, and these policies are some of the strongest and most effective ever passed. Which policies stood out as the best? Find out on next month when Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition unveils our annual ranking of the best Complete Streets policies in the nation.
Notably this year, one community has scored a perfect 100 on their Complete Streets policy. In the near decade that we have been tracking policies, this is the first time a community has achieved a perfect score. Which community passed the perfect policy? Join us for the launch of this year’s rankings to find out.
Livermore, CA passed one of the best Complete Streets policies of 2013. Which communities will be on the 2014 list?
Over 70 communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2014 and on February 10, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will unveil which ones were the best.
This week, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program of Smart Growth America, announced a three-part national strategy to address housing and social equity calling upon developers to join them in the cause. The proposed initiative would be centered around new conscious place-based social equity metrics.
The announcement came Tuesday during the third annual Walkable Urban Places Conference, co-hosted by Urban Land Institute Washington and the George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. LOCUS sponsored the event along with Venable LLP.
The City of Salisbury, MD envisions its downtown as one that is both walkable and sustainable. To complement the city’s downtown revitalization efforts, Salisbury officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 11 and 12, 2014, as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. Promoting pedestrian and cyclist activity downtown is a priority for the city in order to encourage residents to visit the area and patronize local businesses. Through a partnership with Smart Growth America, the City of Salisbury and its residents worked to identify solutions to challenges facing pedestrians and cyclists navigating the area.
“We want more people knowing how to discover our Downtown businesses,” said James Ireton, Jr., Mayor of the City of Salisbury. “Smart Growth America will provide us with the resources to focus our efforts on making it easier for more people to live, work, and play Downtown.”
On the first day of the workshop, residents attended an introductory presentation that discussed the current state of Salisbury’s pedestrian and cyclist network and the importance of walkability in achieving the city’s vision of a revitalized Downtown. Residents returned the following day for a bicycle tour and then walking tour to provide insight on challenges cyclists and pedestrians encounter.
In January 2014, Salisbury was one of 18 communities selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from New Hampshire to Idaho, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.
“We are excited to be in an elite class of cities receiving this support from Smart Growth America,” said Salisbury City Council President Jacob Day. “Salisbury’s economy can thrive with greater investments in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and with a greater density of economic activity in the core. This grant will help us plan our evolution.”
Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Dan Burden, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to learn about what makes for a “walkable” neighborhood and what communities can do to become more walkable.
“A walkable neighborhood is a right-scale neighborhood where you can walk, you have good street connectivity…streets that are reasonably quiet and peaceful, that relate to the people living there, shopping there, and enjoying their neighborhood,” says Burden.
Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail line, one of Salt Lake City’s many innovative transportation projects. Photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.
Mayor Ralph Becker, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is turning Salt Lake City, UT into one of this nation’s most prosperous urban centers. And he’s doing it by building accessibility, sustainability and livability into many city policies.
Becker’s efforts are evident across Salt Lake City. He has spearheaded one of the most ambitious rail systems in the country, building new light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar AND commuter rail systems. He’s also made the city accessible for all users by more than doubling the number of bike lanes, launching a bike share program and focusing on walkability and pedestrian safety.