Monthly Archives: November 2015

Columbia, MO aims to get parking right

Downtown Columbus, MO Notley Hawkins PhotographyBroadway in downtown Columbia, MO , where parking is sometimes tough to come by. Photo courtesy of Notley Hawkins Photography

Columbia, MO has a state university in the heart of downtown, and its 35,000 students keep the small city bustling. So bustling, in fact, that neighborhood residents and people who drive downtown often find parking at a premium or tough to come by.


Join us for the launch of (Re)Building Downtown

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You’ve read the research about downtown development. More and more Americans want to live in walkable, downtown neighborhoods, and companies want to locate in these places too. These neighborhoods generate strong tax revenues and have lower municipal costs per capita. And they are the often the heart of a town or region’s economic activity.

But one big question remains in your mind. How could my town do it?

(Re)Building Downtown:A Guidebook for Revitalization is a new guide coming out from Smart Growth America on December 14, 2015, and it’s a resource designed to be used by any community, no matter their size, to bring people and businesses back to downtown.




Maryland leaders talk innovative transit solutions

MD workshopMembers of the Maryland Chapter of the Local Leaders Council gather in Baltimore to discuss local transit solutions.

Transit service makes walkable urban places work better for all users, but finding affordable, flexible, scalable transit is a major hurdle for communities pursuing smart growth. The Maryland Chapter of the Local Leaders Council convened a workshop in Baltimore on November 12 to dig in to what works, considering very different solutions from three very different places.

Ten elected leaders and staff brought varying concerns to the table. Mayor Gee Williams of Berlin, MD, population 4,562, is focused on accommodating visitors. “During the last ten years we’ve become a destination community – this is now our chief economic driver. The vision we are in the early stages of discussing is how we can accommodate up to 3,000 guests in a small downtown area. We also have a challenge for our residents to access downtown services every day.”


Complete Streets News — November 2015

Save the Date: Sixth Annual Complete Streets Dinner — Join the National Complete Streets Coalition and celebrate this year’s successes at our sixth annual fundraising dinner! The dinner is an intimate event that brings together advocates from across the country for food, fun, and conversation, and will be held this year on the evening of Tuesday, January 12, 2016, during the Transportation Research Board 2016 meeting. Stay tuned for more information about how to purchase tickets and this year’s featured speaker!

Pass that rule, FHWA! — Last month, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) put forward a great idea. The agency proposed a new rule that would dramatically ease federal design standards for many roadways. It’s a move that would make a Complete Streets approach significantly easier for communities across the country. In order for the rule to pass, though, the FHWA needs to hear that the measure has strong support. Sign a letter to FHWA today.



Tell FHWA to pass their proposed rule on street design



Last month, the Federal Highway Administration put forward a great idea.

The agency, which oversees the design of millions of miles of roads in the United States, proposed a new rule which would dramatically ease federal design standards for many of those roadways. It’s a move that would make a Complete Streets approach significantly easier for communities across the country.

You go, FHWA! Tell the agency to adopt its proposed rule.


The fight for Complete Streets goes to conference

The battle is on in Congress this week for the final version of the next federal transportation bill.

In one corner, the Senate and its version which includes strong language to make streets safer across the country. In the other corner, the House and its version which falls far short.

Which will win?


New research looks at how much New Jersey could save through smarter road investments


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Earlier this year, Smart Growth America released a new model for analyzing the fiscal implications of development patterns. Since then we’ve analyzed development in Madison, WI, West Des Moines, IA, and Macon, GA.

For the latest installment, Smart Growth America teamed up with New Jersey Future to find out how much state, county and municipal governments in New Jersey could save on road maintenance bills by building in more compact ways.

The Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns: Roads in New Jersey analyzes population and employment density to understand just how much money could be saved if the distribution of New Jersey’s population and jobs could be made even incrementally more dense and compact.

Researchers at Smart Growth America and New Jersey Future took two distinct but related approaches to these questions. Smart Growth America partitioned the whole state into grid cells of equal size and then compiled data for each cell. Using U.S. Census data regarding population and employment, and the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s database of road segments, Smart Growth America’s researchers calculated the relationship between density and the road area per capita.