Smart Growth News- March 26, 2012

National

House votes today on 90-day extension – But Senate eyeing shorter stopgap – Obama jumps into transport fray
The Hill- March 26, 2012
HOUSE VOTES ON EXTENSION TODAY: Members will take up a 90-day transportation stopgap under suspension of the rules — two-thirds of the chamber must approve it. Republicans seem to acknowledge the vote might fail: They would need dozens of Democratic votes despite vocal opposition, and the Monday vote leaves time for leaders to bring it up later in the week under a rule that would only require a simple majority.

Gas price debate complicates Dems’ case against short-term highway bill
The Hill- March 24, 2012
The political debate over gas prices appears to be complicating Democratic efforts to compare the standoff over federal transportation spending to last year’s shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

In U.S. Cities, Unemployment Rate Easing
Fox Business- March 23, 2012
The unemployment rates in almost all metropolitan areas dropped in January from a year earlier, and a majority were lower than the national rate, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Both Coasts Watch Closely as San Francisco Faces Erosion
The New York Times- March 24, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO — The explosive waves of Ocean Beach, a 3.5-mile stretch separating the city from the gray edge of the Pacific Ocean, have long been a draw for tourists, local families and an international tribe of surfers.

Foreclosures Still Haunt the Housing Market
Businessweek- March 23, 2012
Despite glimmers of hope in the unemployment statistics and other economic indicators, housing remains in a slump. New Commerce Department data show that new homes sales fell 1.6 percent in February, which follows a decline in January. The number of foreclosed homes on the market—and the threat of more to come—continues to drag down sales. “It is unlikely that home prices can recover on a sustained basis until the number of distressed properties is significantly reduced,” Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics, told Bloomberg News.

Few U.S. cities are ready for aging Baby Boomer population
USA Today- March 25, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Few communities have started to think long term about how to plan and redesign services for aging Baby Boomers as they move out of the workforce and into retirement.

Zipcar Hits College Campuses To Attract Young Drivers
Forbes- March 25, 2012
Zipcar’s expansion in 2011 focused mainly on building its presence around universities and college campuses as the company acknowledges that 18-34 year olds are its most important market and hold the key to Zipcar’s success. From tying up with Ford to launching the Facebook app and investing in the college P2P car-sharing Wheelz, Zipcar is pulling out all the stops to become the favorite among young drivers.

Why Don’t Young Americans Buy Cars?
The Atlantic- March 25, 2012
Kids these days. They don’t get married. They don’t buy homes. And, much to the dismay of the world’s auto makers, they apparently don’t feel a deep and abiding urge to own a car.

Millennials Love Bikes, Says The Gen Y Guy
Bikeleague- March 21, 2012
Will Generation Y be known as the Bicycle Boomers? If you ride the streets of Washington, D.C., where young professionals socialize at stoplights on their Capital Bikeshare commute home, you might think so. If you read the studies that suggest the upcoming generation is driving less than their parents — as a proactive lifestyle choice — you’d certainly think so. And, if you study demographics, like Jason Dorsey, The Gen Y Guy, you’d have some very promising news for a ballroom full of bicycle advocates.

A Bike Company Offers a Prescription for America’s Health Care Cost Crisis
StreetsBlog- March 23, 2012
One of the most talked-about presentations at this week’s National Bike Summit came from Jason Gaikowski, director of sales for the Bloomington, Minnesota-based wholesale distributor Quality Bicycle Products. Over the last several years, QBP has ramped up its employee health and wellness program, which includes incentives to bike to work. At a time when most employers are grappling with rising insurance premiums, a study by the company’s health insurance provider, HealthPartners [PDF], suggests the program has helped reduce QBP’s health care costs and increase employee productivity.

Local

Parking around Seattle may get worse as city planners favor transit
The Seattle Times- March 25, 2012
Seattle city planners are recommending that the city eliminate parking requirements for new developments within a quarter-mile of frequent transit, under the theory that more people will take buses and light rail and fewer will own cars, particularly in dense urban neighborhoods like Queen Anne’s West Galer neighborhood.

The Secret to Seattle’s Booming Downtown
The Atlantic Cities- March 23, 2012
The recession certainly didn’t bypass downtown Seattle. The city’s urban core lost a whopping 12 percent of jobs between 2000 and 2010 (the rest of the country only saw a 4 percent decline), thanks in part to Washington Mutual’s collapse. Between 2008 and 2011, 20,000 jobs disappeared.

Northwest Pasadena loses voice in redevelopment agency’s axing
Pasadena Sun- March 22, 2012
The loss of the Pasadena’s redevelopment agency has not only jeopardized a long-sought mixed-use development in Northwest Pasadena, but has also silenced the neighborhood’s voice, according to community advocates.

Home Sweet Home is increasingly in downtown Syracuse
Empire State Future- March 21, 2012
One only needs to take a look at Downtown Development Showcase to see that Syracuse’s downtown is far from dead, and far from dormant. Sure, the city has much work to do to re-establish a downtown of its heyday, but a wave of new interest is manifesting in some remarkable developments in Downtown Salt City.

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