Category: Uncategorized

Five ways to wish your smart growth sweetie a Happy Valentine’s Day

Looking for the perfect way to say Happy Valentine’s Day to that special smart growth advocate in your life? Whether your Valentine’s a Complete Streets Treat, a Public Transit Treasure, a Beloved Bicyclist, or a Policy Wonk/Wooer, Smart Growth America’s got you covered: Spread …

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National Complete Streets Coalition celebrates 10th anniversary and over 845 policies nationwide at 6th annual dinner


On Tuesday, the National Complete Streets Coalition hosted our Sixth Annual Complete Streets Dinner at La Tasca, in downtown Washington, DC. The evening assembled over 50 advocates, supporters, partners, and friends to celebrate 10 years as a Coalition and over 845 Complete Streets policies passed at the state, regional, and local level.

Coalition Director Emiko Atherton, Steering Committee Chair Rich Weaver, of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson kicked off the evening with welcomes and an introduction of the dinner’s distinguished speaker, Gregory Ballard, former mayor of Indianapolis.

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How exactly would FHWA’s proposal impact Complete Streets?

Check out this infographic to learn how FHWA could make a Complete Streets approach significantly easier for communities across the country.

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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.”

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Since the workshop: Complete Streets improvements kick off Kaua’i County, HI’s downtown renaissance

hardy-street3New sidewalks near the intersection of Rice Street and Hardy Street, and at the entrance to Wilcox Elementary School. Photo via the County of Kaua’i.

County leaders in Kaua’i, HI are working to revitalize the Līhu’e Town Core as a vibrant, walkable heart of the island, with Rice Street as its main street. In 2008, the county crafted its Holo Holo 2020 plan to guide that work, and in 2014 they asked Smart Growth America to inform that work with a parking audit workshop. What has Kaua’i been up to in the time since?

Over the last year, Kaua’i has gotten started on its revitalization work with Complete Streets improvements to Hardy Street. New sidewalks, turn lanes, bike lanes, on-street parking, and street plantings will eventually run the entire length of Hardy Street, which is parallel to Rice and curves around to intersect with it in the heart of Līhuʻe’s town core.

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You told FHWA: Great street design should be standard

When the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) proposed revisions to its rule governing design standards for the National Highway System (NHS), it offered minimal instruction for the development and integration of appropriate walking, bicycling, and transit facilities.

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Tell Congress to support transit oriented development

Communities across the country are eager to build more homes and offices near transit stations. These projects can create walkable neighborhoods, and great returns on public investment, but are often complicated and difficult to finance. 

A new bill in Congress could make financing these projects easier. The Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act would add new provision to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to include financing for transit oriented development projects. 

TIFIA already provides loans, not subsidies, to eligible transportation projects. The new provision would go a step further to make loans available for transit oriented development infrastructure projects as well. 

The Senate needs to hear your support for this program. In the coming weeks, Congress will consider whether or not this provision should be included in the next federal transportation bill.

Send a letter to your Senators now >>

Transit oriented development is a fiscally sound way to leverage private sector dollars and create new homes and office space near transit. These projects can revitalize neighborhoods and support broader economic growth, but we need innovative programs like this to make it happen.

As Congress prepares to consider the next federal transportation bill, now is the time to voice your support for development near transit. Send a letter to your Senators today.

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Smart Growth News — January 2, 2015

The Rust Belt Theory of Low-Cost High Culture
Slate — January 1, 2015
I’ve come to expect affordable cultural opportunities in the year since my family and I returned to Baltimore after five years of living in the suburbs of Washington. In fact, Baltimore’s strikingly affordable arts scene is one of the many reasons why we decided to move back, even if it was going to mean a longer commute to our jobs in D.C.

17 U.S. Cities on Track for Hottest Year in 2014
The Weather Channel — December 31, 2014
The globe is on track for its warmest year on record. But global average temperature watchers won’t be the only ones feting record heat when the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday. A number of U.S. urban areas will also join in the record-setting festivities, while not a single major urban area will be raising a glass to record cold. In fact, it’s been nearly 30 years since a major U.S. city had a record cold year.

Here Are the Equity Storylines You Need to Follow in 2015
NextCity — December 31, 2014
While indicators like unemployment and gas prices have shown promising signs in recent months, stark inequality remains as a key feature of the American economy. In the coming year, here are the stories to follow if you want to know whether things are getting better or worse for low-income, urban communities.

Transit-Oriented Development Adds Value And Affordability For Residents
CleanTechnica — January 2, 2014
Transit-oriented development has been promoted by urban planners for ages. It was a hot and fun topic when I was in graduate school for city planning. It’s completely logical and beneficial to humans… those who live in transit-oriented communities and those who don’t.

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