If someone takes the bus to work, and no one is around to count them, do they still matter?
We say yes, but the U.S. Department of Transportation seems to disagree.
Last week, USDOT issued a draft rule that will govern how states and metro areas will have to measure and address congestion, along with freight movement and emissions. These new requirements will help measure what America’s transportation dollars are actually buying us—which is great.
However, the rule as it is currently written would measure success in outdated ways. Using old measures will lead to the continued use of outdated strategies, such as prioritizing fast driving speeds above all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.
On Tuesday we released our annual analysis of Complete Streets policies from across the country in 2015. As part of the kickoff, we hosted an online webinar all about the new report. The speakers talked about the state of the Complete Streets movement, provided an overview of last year’s policies, detailed Complete Streets components of the FAST Act, and discussed how the top-policy communities of Reading, Little Rock, and Park Forest are taking their Complete Streets work to the next level.
At the end of the event we took questions and answers from listeners. Unfortunately, we were only able to answer a fraction of the questions that were asked. We’ve taken a few minutes here to answer the rest.
Where can I download the new report? Are scores available for all policies adopted in 2015? And are scores available for previous years’ policies?
You can see the full list of all 2015 scores and as well as scores of previous policies in the full report.
Will the webinar slides be available after the presentation?
Yes! You can download the slides, watch a recorded version of the webinar, and see reactions to the event from social media in our recap blog post.
President Obama in Camden, NJ in May. Camden is one of 13 Promise Zones, a program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would be expanded under the 2017 proposed budget. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via HUD.
President Obama released his proposal for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 federal budget yesterday, and it outlines the President’s lofty political ambitions for the coming year. The proposal focuses on five main goals: continuing the country’s economic and fiscal progress, supporting innovation, creating opportunity for all Americans, national security and global leadership, and improving how government works. Smart growth strategies play an important role in achieving several of those goals — here are some specifics of what the budget would mean for programs related to housing, urban development, and transportation.
Posted in DOT, EPA, Federal, HUD, White House
Tagged Choice Neighborhoods, Clean Communities, congress, federal budget, FY 2017, FY 2017 budget, HUD Choice Neighborhoods, New Markets Tax Credit, Partnership for Sustainable Communities, President Obama, President's budget, Promise Zones, Resilience, TIGER
A road crew repaving Main Street in Lancaster, OH. Photo by Robert Batina via Flickr.
In 2008, just 6 percent of roads in Ohio were listed as being in “poor” condition. By 2011, though, that number had ballooned to 20 percent — the state was failing to keep up with needed repairs. Yet during that same time Ohio spent millions of dollars building new roads, taking funds away from repair work and adding to the state’s future repair burden.
Many states across the country are in similar predicaments. As Smart Growth America detailed in our 2014 report Repair Priorities, between 2009 and 2011 states collectively spent $20.4 billion annually to build new roads and add new lanes — projects that accounted for just 1 percent of their total road system. During that same time, states spent just $16.5 billion annually repairing and preserving the other 99 percent of their roads. This despite the fact that roads conditions were deteriorating faster than many states could fix them.
We sent the following email to our subscribers earlier today, and we’re sorry for any confusion it caused! It was meant to be a parody: we do not sell Christmas Village sets, and no order of any kind was processed. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us. — Alex Dodds, Communications Director
Thank you so much for your recent order of a “Subdivision Christmas Village.” Unfortunately, this item is no longer in stock.
We simply were not getting enough orders of this model to continue producing them. Most of our customers seem to prefer the “Walkable Downtown Christmas Village” collection.
Last week the House of Representatives passed its initial version of a multiyear transportation bill. This bill has the potential to make streets safer across the country, help communities build more homes and offices near transit, and give more control of transportation investments to local communities. In order for this to happen, though, the House’s version of the bill needs to improve considerably.
Representatives agree: they’ve filed more than 200 amendments to the current version of the bill. Today the Rules Committee will decide which ones to allow to the floor. And then later this week, the full House will vote on all the amendments and create their final version of the bill.
Make the next transportation bill a forward-looking one: Send a letter to your representative this morning >>
Several amendments under consideration would improve how the bill supports walkable communities served by transit, including:
- Amendment #18 from Representative Lipinski of Illinois, which would make transit-oriented development (TOD) eligible for RRIF funding.
- Amendment #21 from Representative DeSaulnier of California, which would improve planning and project selection performance measures and transparency.
- Amendment #37, also from Representative Lipinski, which expresses the Sense of Congress that TOD is an eligible activity under the RRIF program.
- Amendment #47 from Representative Schakowsky of Illinois that would require a study and rule on safety standards or performance measures to improve pedestrian safety.
We might not have trash-powered flying cars in 2015, but we CAN invest in a transportation system of tomorrow. Congress is considering the next federal transportation bill this week — tell them to make it a forward-looking one.
The U.S. House of Representatives introduced their proposal for a new federal transportation bill last week, and Representatives will mark up and vote on the bill in committee tomorrow.
This gives us a small window of time to improve the bill as it stands, and we need your help. Tell your Representative to make the next transportation bill a forward-looking one.
The City of Newark, NJ remediated the site of a former smelting plant to build a new—and now award-winning—park along the Passaic River. Photo via Archpaper.
Three cities have transformed the site of a former smelting plant, a neighborhood destroyed by tornado, and a near-empty historic downtown into vibrant, walkable places. Now, these projects have been recognized with the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Riverfront Park is the culmination of decades-long work to transform five miles of formerly industrial Passaic riverfront in Newark, NJ. The park’s land was once home to a smelting plant, and sat abandoned and unusable for years. Environmental remediation and an intensive public engagement process have created what will ultimately be 19 acres of parkland and Newark’s first—and so far only—public access to the Passaic River. In this community of color and predominantly low-income area, with few green spaces and a history of industrial pollution, the new park is game-changing. “When I was growing up, we had very few places to play, very few parks,” said Ana Baptista, a Newark resident, in EPA’s video about the project. “My daughters are going to grow up having a relationship to the water and the river that I didn’t have.”
Yesterday, the U.S. Surgeon General launched a new nationwide Call to Action to help Americans be healthier by making walking and physical activity a bigger part of their daily lives.
The event recognized physical activity as one of the nation’s highest health priorities. And as Dr. Murthy explained yesterday, building communities where it is safe and convenient to walk, bike, or wheelchair roll is part of the solution.
Congress is about to have a critical opportunity to take action on this issue. Legislators are currently working on a multiyear federal transportation bill which will shape communities and transportation programs for years to come. As representatives negotiate the bill in the coming weeks, will they prioritize walkable communities?
Tell your Representative to listen to the Surgeon General: Make walkable communities a priority in the next federal transportation bill.
The Surgeon General of the United States will kick off a new nationwide Call to Action later this morning, aiming to help Americans lead healthier lives—by making walking and physical activity built-in features of more of our neighborhoods.
Over the past decade, scores of research has shown the correlation between physical inactivity and sprawl development. Today, 10 percent of the preventable deaths in America are related to physical inactivity and its related diseases, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes—and communities without safe places to walk are part of the problem. Smart Growth America’s 2003 report Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl was one of the first to examine this issue. Today, the Surgeon General is making it a national health priority.