Smart Growth News- March 15, 2012

National

Senate Passes 2-Year Transportation Bill
New York Times- March 14, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Senate easily approved a two-year, $109 billion transportation and infrastructure bill on Wednesday, putting pressure on House Republicans to set aside their stalled version and pass the Senate’s before the federal highway trust fund expires at the end of the month.

Record Public Transit Ridership Reduces U.S. Oil Dependency
Clean Tech Blog- March 14, 2012
The United States is reducing its dependency on oil as we now consuming 18.3 million barrels a day, down from our peak of 21 million barrels a few years ago. Record use of public transit is a major factor – less solo driving in gridlock and we use less oil. Other major factors, of course, include high gasoline prices and more fuel-efficient cars. Since 96 percent of our transportation is from oil refined into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, we will take all the help we can get.

Where Are America’s Most Optimistic Cities?
TIME- March 14, 2012
The future is nothing but blue skies and rose-colored glasses for a handful of hopeful hometowns in the U.S. But which metropolis is the most optimistic? According to data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released on Tuesday, Provo-Orem, Utah topped the charts, followed closely by Lafayette, La.; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; and Huntsville, Ala.

Senate highway bill would send $1.5 billion to N.J.
Daily Record- March 15, 2012
WASHINGTON — New Jersey would get its highest amount of public transportation funding ever — $519 million per year — under the federal highway bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday.

Local

Report: A Healthy T for a Healthy Region
Metropolitan Area Planning Council- March 13, 2012
MAPC conducted a health impacts assessment of the effects of the proposed far increases and service cuts to the MBTA.

Low public transit costs may not last long
KSL.com- March 14, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY – Drivers are trying to catch a break from rising gas prices by using public transportation, but they may not be so lucky for long.

Lacombe trying to encourage smart growth
NOLA.com- March 14, 2012
At just under 9,000 residents — situated between bustling Mandeville to the west and busy Slidell to the east — Lacombe is easy to overlook. That’s a situation Parish Councilman Jacob Groby and Heritage Center coordinator Tom Aicklen are hoping to change. They are initiating a program to promote businesses in the small unincorporated area and lure some new businesses and tourists as well.

Guest commentary: Lack of planning long ago doomed Detroit to its current problems
Detroit Free Press- March 15, 2012
My hometown of Detroit has been studied for years by researchers of all types to gain insight into the city’s decline. Indeed, it seems to have become a favorite pastime for urbanists of all stripes, all asking: How could such an economic powerhouse fall so hard?

A San Francisco District Begins to Reduce Blight
New York Times- March 13, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO — The names of the city’s storied neighborhoods roll off the tongue: Pacific Heights, North Beach, the Mission, Haight-Ashbury, the Castro.

Aging Houstonians want safer streets
Houston Chronicle- March 13, 2012
Just last month, a 73-year-old woman walking on the sidewalk near a grocery was struck and killed by a tow truck in the middle of the afternoon, just as the kids across the street were getting out of school. It was an unnecessary tragedy, and it underscores the fact that anyone stepping out of a home or car and onto the street in Houston could be in danger.

Signs of Resurgence in Central/Near West Cleveland: A Demographic Analysis
Rust Wire- March 14, 2012
Mark Twain once said the “report of my death was an exaggeration.” Perhaps the same thing can be said about the City of Cleveland. While Cleveland’s struggles are real, there are signs of a revival, particularly in Cleveland’s downtown district. Moreover, select neighborhoods on the periphery of downtown are also showing signs of vitality. And while time will tell if the city is filling in its donut hole so to speak, the fact remains: there is a pulse.

Six Ideas for Saving Bay Area Transit
SF Streets Blog- March 14, 2012
Every day, Bay Area residents and visitors take more than 1.4 million trips on one of 27 different public transit operators. But for more than a decade, the costs to operate these transit systems have been increasing far faster than any improvements in the service. Unless we make changes now, the system will not be sustainable in the future.

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