Monthly Archives: October 2012

Partnership in the News: Sustain Southern Maine wins over more residents

On Monday, October 15, Sustain Southern Maine, a recipient of a HUD Regional Planning grant, held an informational meeting in Eliot, Maine to  inform residents of their planning efforts and invite the community to participate. Sustain Southern Maine is a coalition of municipalities, non-profit organizations, and businesses working to generate positive regional development.

In light of the challenges being faced by Southern Maine communities, including lack of quality educational and employment opportunities, limited housing options, dependence on oil for heating homes and motor vehicle transportation, insufficient infrastructure for sewer, water, telecommunications and other services, and lack of services for the elderly, Sustain Southern Maine aims to promote public transportation, affordable housing, economic competitiveness, preservation of local character, and the coordination of land-use policies and investment.



Smart Growth News – October 31, 2012

Top stories:

Cities Are the Best Places to Ride Out a Hurricane
Bloomberg – October 30, 2012
For a lot of modern history, cities were dangerous places, prone to acts of God. “In the olden days, you would have had lots of fatalities,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (founder and principal owner of Bloomberg LP) said on Monday. Now, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a safer place on earth than in the heart of a wealthy metropolis.

Hundreds bid on vacant properties in sign of progress for N.O. blight
WWLTV (LA) – October 27, 2012
“This is huge, being able to put these properties back on the market, especially the ones that people have indicated interest in, I think it’s big for rebuilding the neighborhoods,” said Jeff Hebert, executive director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, or NORA.

High-speed rail agency pushes back deadline for construction bids in Valley
The Fresno Bee (CA) – October 30, 2012
Authority CEO Jeffrey Morales said Tuesday that questions from five consortiums of building firms have prompted the authority to set Jan. 18 as the new date by which bids must be submitted for a 28-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line from Avenue 17, northeast of Madera, to American Avenue at the south end of Fresno.

Law schools discovering the charms of city life
The National Law Journal – October 30, 2012
A number of law schools are preparing to ditch their university campuses for downtown digs that will place them within steps of state and federal courthouses, law firm offices, government agencies and major corporations. That proximity will make it easier for law schools to integrate into the local legal landscape—and more convenient for law students to network or extern, according to administrators.


New report highlights laws, policies and program ideas for state transportation officials

The National Conference of State Legislatures has released a new report, On the Move: State Strategies for 21st Century Transportation Solutions. The report is intended to serve as a guide for state legislators, and is filled with policies that promote fiscal and environmental sustainability; facilitate affordable, safe and accessible transportation choices; and achieve shared benefits such as improved public health and economic development.

The new report is broken into four sections, each taking a look at a different aspect of effective policy:

  • Taking the Long View examines policies that exemplify a forward-thinking, sustainable approach to providing surface transportation infrastructure and services over the long term. This includes provision of sustainable transportation funding and consideration of life-cycle costs in transportation decision-making.
  • Using What You Have explores effective and cost-efficient approaches that help make the most of existing infrastructure, such as fix-it-first and asset management, operations and management, and commute trip reduction.



Smart Growth News – October 26, 2012

Top stories:

Downtown Miami On Track For Expanded Commuter Rail Service By 2014
Huffington Post – October 25, 2012
A half-century after the last passenger trains pulled into Downtown Miami, plans to return rail transport to South Florida’s urban corridors are moving at breakneck pace. At least 24,000 riders would use a proposed new commuter rail line between Jupiter and Downtown Miami, reports Miami Today.

Transit Initiatives Are Giving a Boost to Businesses, a Report Says
New York Times – October 24, 2012
In a report unveiled on Wednesday, the city’s Transportation Department says it has identified another benefit to pedestrian plazas, bike lanes and a rapid-transit bus system: Businesses that operate nearby have seen a pronounced bump.

Mass transit needed to compete, Mayor Dean says
Tennessean – October 26, 2012
Nashville will put itself at an economic disadvantage in the years ahead if it doesn’t invest in mass transit, Mayor Karl Dean told a group of elected officials from across Middle Tennessee on Thursday. “We have a decision to make: Do we come together now and find real mass transit solutions or do we do nothing?” Dean said.

University of Chicago Works on Its Neighborhood
New York Times – October 23, 2012
The University of Chicago is midway through what it characterizes as a “once in a generation” community redevelopment effort aimed at revitalizing 53rd Street, a blighted retail district several blocks north of its historic Hyde Park campus here.

New Land Bank law could help Pennsylvania municipalities fight blight
Pittsburgh Business Times (PA) – October 26, 2012
Pennsylvania on Thursday passed a Land Bank law, creating a legal mechanism that advocates say should serve as an important tool in recovering for new economic use blighted and tax delinquent property that’s plagued municipalities statewide for years.


Partnership in the News: Anacostia Riverwalk Trail plan revealed

On Monday, October 15, federal and state officials from Maryland and the District of Columbia held an event to announce a four-mile portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will be known as the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment and will be funded largely by a 2012 DOT TIGER grant.

The trail is a broader effort to bring development and activity to the Anacostia waterfront, as it connects 60 miles of trails in Maryland and throughout the District. Mayor of D.C. Vincent Gray had this to say about the project:

“This latest segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is an important part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative’s efforts to create a healthy, green, equitable and prosperous city – goals that go hand-in-hand with my Sustainable DC plan. I’m excited today to unveil the trail’s unique design, which will give the public a window into the host of benefits this new regional trail link will provide to our neighbors in Maryland as well. We look forward to continued collaboration with our regional and federal partners as we move forward with construction and press ahead with our efforts to create a world-class Anacostia Riverfront in our city.”



Introducing Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council

Smart Growth America is proud to announce the launch of our new Local Leaders Council, a nonpartisan group of local elected officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities.

Representing diverse communities of all sizes from across the United States, members of the Local Leaders Council are using smart growth strategies to help their hometowns compete and grow in today’s economy, generate better return on taxpayer investment, provide transportation and housing choices for their residents, and create vibrant places where people want to live, work, and play.


Smart Growth News – October 25, 2012

Top stories:

High-speed rail efforts gain momentum across the country
NBC News – October 24, 2012
The fields of north-central Illinois may seem like an unlikely backdrop to showcase the future of the nation’s transportation system, but for fans of high-speed rail, they may have done just that.

Gen-Y homebuyers expected to transform Maine communities
Bangor Daily News (ME) – October 24, 2012
The next wave of Maine homebuyers will value cellphones more than cars and prefer to live in communities where they can walk to work, shop and socialize, according to Evan Richert, former director of the state planning office.

Transit growth reflects Metro’s future
Tennesseean – October 24, 2012
After years of urban areas bleeding jobs and population, American metros like greater Nashville have made a remarkable comeback that few could’ve envisioned in the early 90s.

City sees big future for Lloyd District
Portland Tribune (OR) – October 25, 2012
The city is about to embark on a makeover of the Lloyd District, trying to foster a downtown-style ambiance that’s inviting to pedestrians and bicyclists and lures thousands of new residents and jobs.


Smart Growth Stories: Building a solid foundation for the future of Detroit

Detroit is changing. The popular story of the last half-decade has largely revolved around the economic fallout of the troubled automobile industry, interspersed with tales of population drain and abandonment. Based on this narrative, it might be easy to dismiss Detroit, to write the city off as a once-great but now-fallen metropolis of yesterday.

Easy, that is, unless you’ve been following the news. A New York Times article from a year ago picked up on the massive influx of young, educated people even in the face of massive out-migration, while a Forbes article from July of this year highlighted the development in downtown Detroit, largely centered around Woodward Avenue, the spine of the downtown area.

These news stories are beginning to touch upon what people familiar with the new movement in Detroit already know: Detroit is rebuilding. But this time, developers and investors are taking a different tack, focusing on downtown, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development strategies, shifting the city away from the large manufacturing development that has characterized Detroit for so long.

Bedrock Real Estate is at the forefront of this new strategy. “We’re going to continue to fill up Detroit, downtown Detroit. There’s no longer this need for manufacturing plants. You don’t need these big, huge buildings anymore,” says Jim Ketai, Managing Partner of Bedrock and member of the Steering Committee for LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors. “So we are recreating Detroit. It’ll be a new Detroit, something different than what Detroit once was.”


Smart Growth News – October 24, 2012

Top stories:

Amtrak’s chief engineer joins High-Speed Rail Authority
Central Valley Business Times (CA) – October 23, 2012
Frank Vacca, the chief engineer of Amtrak, has been hired as chief program manager of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Presence Health to establish headquarters in downtown Chicago
Chicago Tribune (IL) – October 23, 2012
Presence Health, formed last year by the merger of Mokena-based Provena Health and Chicago-based Resurrection Health Care, will establish a corporate headquarters at 200 S. Wacker Drive in fall 2013.

Innovation economy drives downtown’s growth
The Post-Standard (NY) – October 23, 2012
After decades of suburbanization, the recipe for economic growth has changed in two profound ways.

Las Vegas land prices show steady increases through third quarter
Las Vegas Review Journal (NV) – October 23, 2012
The average price for an acre of medium-density residential land in Las Vegas surged to $170,450 in the third quarter, up from $117,949 in the previous quarter, according to a preliminary land sales report from Sunbelt Development and Realty Partners.