Councilman Jon Snyder on how Complete Streets are helping to improve Spokane, WA

Bike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via FlickrBike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via Flickr.

During his first term on the Spokane, WA City Council, Councilman Jon Snyder, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, experienced a lesson that he has carried with him since. “As a leader, you need to understand the difference between a policy that may take several years to develop, and those that represent a flaw in the system that should be called out and remedied quickly.”

Councilman Snyder worked for two years to pass a Complete Streets ordinance (PDF) in Spokane, a process that took time, perseverance and creativity. Snyder credits a broad coalition of support to the ordinance’s eventual passage in 2011: During the meeting where the City Council approved the ordinance, a diverse group of community members, including representatives from schools, older adults, persons with disabilities, the local farmers’ market, and businesses all spoke in favor of policy adoption.

Complete Streets Local Leaders Council

SeaTac, WA Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson on placemaking through transit-oriented development

Tukwila Station
SeaTac’s Tukwila International Boulevard Station, located at the center of SeaTac’s South 154th Street station area. Image by Sean Marshall via Flickr.

SeaTac, WA, is a new, exceptionally diverse city adjacent to both Seattle and Tacoma (as its name suggests) and home to the region’s international airport. So what’s it lacking? Transit-oriented development and neighborhoods that will lure new residents to take advantage of what SeaTac has to offer. Deputy Mayor and City Councilmember Mia Gregerson supports using smart growth strategies to achieve both.

Gregerson is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, a nonpartisan group of municipal officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities. Gregerson, who has served as a member of SeaTac’s City Council since 2008 and is also the city’s Deputy Mayor, says that that a main challenge for SeaTac is that its convenient location and new road infrastructure have not been enough to create a compelling sense of place in the young city.

Local Leaders Council

New legislation makes it easier to clean up brownfield sites in Washington state

Esplanade Park in Tacoma, WA
Esplanade Park in Tacoma, WA, is a former brownfield site that was cleaned up and redeveloped. Newly passed legislation will help more sites achieve this success. Photo by the Washington State Department of Ecology via Flickr.

In June 2013, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that will make it easier for communities to clean up brownfield sites across the state.

SB 5296 modifies Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act and creates new tools for brownfields cleanup. “There are a large number of toxic waste sites that have been identified in the department of ecology’s priority list,” the bill explained. “Addressing the cleanup of these toxic waste sites will provide needed jobs to citizens of Washington state.”

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Celebrate DC's locally made products this holiday season

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The Yards Boilermaker Shops will play host to Production in the City and a popup market of Made-in-DC products on December 5.

It’s never been easier to buy something that bears the label “Made in DC.”

From beer to jewelry to clothing to ice cream pops, independent manufacturers are making a wide array of products right here in the District of Columbia—and they’re relying on the city’s neighborhoods to help their businesses thrive.

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Ben Bakkenta on regional transportation planning in Washington

Ben Bakkenta is a Program Manager for the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) in the Seattle Metropolitan Region. PSRC is spearheading the innovative Growing Transit Communities project to bridge the gap between the broad transit visions for the region and the implementation of projects at the local level. The project focuses on existing and future … Continued

Local Leaders Council

Local Leaders convene to discuss supporting America’s cities and counties

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Members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council in Washington last week.

Elected officials representing diverse communities around the nation gathered in Washington, DC on October 8th for a briefing on the progress and future plans of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, a nationwide, nonpartisan network of local decision makers with a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities using smart growth strategies.

During the meeting the Council’s Advisory Board reviewed the first-year accomplishments of the program: Over 80 elected and high-level appointed local officials have formally joined the network in the past year, numerous events have been coordinated through the speaker’s bureau, and a new Maryland State Chapter is under development.

Local Leaders Council

LOCUS developers to meet in Washington, DC next week and call for overhaul of federal real estate programs

LOCUS Winter Meeting
LOCUS members gathered earlier this year at the coalition’s winter meeting.

Federal real estate programs could be doing more for families, taxpayers and communities, and a national coalition of real estate developers and investors will convene in Washington, DC next week to advocate for changes to these enormous programs.

LOCUS, Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, will gather in Washington and meet with members of Congress on October 8 and 9, 2013 to advocate for reforms to federal real estate programs that could broaden housing opportunities, revitalize cities and towns nationwide while saving taxpayers upwards of $33 billion a year.

LOCUS

Jeff Aken on combining transfer of development rights with infrastructure financing in Washington

Jeff Aken, former Communities Program Manager with Forterra – Seattle, WA, talks about an innovative program that combines Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) with infrastructure financing to help cities grow in a responsible manner. See more interviews with issue experts here >>

Local Leaders Council

Spotlight on Sustainability: Puget Sound building communities around transit

A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional planning grant is helping the Central Puget Sound region plan for future growth and leverage a significant transportation investment.

Sound Transit Light Rail; credit: LeeLeFever

Investing in Puget Sound

The Central Puget Sound region approved the Sound Transit 2 Plan (ST2) in 2008 to develop and construct more robust regional rapid transit. At an estimated $17.8 billion cost, the majority of which is devoted to 36 additional miles of light rail track, the project will more than double the current system, expanding service to three counties and connecting the larger Seattle metropolitan area. Upon completion, slated for 2023, the project’s planners expect half of all trips to Downtown Seattle will be on transit. ST2 will help support the projected growth of the Puget Sound region in the coming years, with an anticipated 1.5 million new residents by 2040.

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), an organization focused on planning for regional transportation, growth management and economic development, realized the need to prepare the Puget Sound area for a projected population of 5 million. Working with residents and county, city, and local officials, PSRC developed VISION 2040, a regional strategy for accommodating the area’s projected growth. Complimenting ST2’s efforts, VISION 2040 is a set of regional policies that local jurisdictions must consider when planning their decisions addressing land use, economic, and environmental issues. While an effective framework for regional growth, the plan does not focus on the individual community level and local benefits, opportunities, and potential impacts of ST2. Says Ben Bakkenta of PSRC, “There wasn’t that bridge from the regional vision to the local jurisdiction.”

Growing Transit Communities

To address this gap, PSRC applied for a HUD Regional Planning Grant in 2010. The $5 million grant they received has helped develop strategies for communities receiving new light rail stations, as well as those with other high capacity transit, such as bus rapid transit. Growing Transit Communities seeks to ensure that ST2’s investments help to concentrate housing, jobs, and services near transit, promoting faster and safer travel. Led by a diverse consortium of 39 partners including local governments and regional transit agencies, business organizations and non-profits in the central Puget Sound region’s 3 counties, the project has a particular focus on housing affordability and equal access to opportunity and transit.

Local Leaders Council Uncategorized

Partnership in the News: EPA Smart Growth Assistance recipients announced

Three areas across the country will receive assistance to implement smart growth strategies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The State of Rhode Island; Mississippi County, Arkansas and Kelso, Washington hope to strengthen their local economies while protecting public health and the environment through intentional planning efforts.

Technical assistance