Author Archives: Claire W.

SGA News Clips, 6/3/11

Repair Priorities Coverage

The Problem With Potholes: Neglected Road Repair Poses Huge Liabilities For Many States
The Huffington Post, 6/2/11
Geoff Anderson says, “According to a new report by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, states would collectively need to spend $43 billion every year for 20 years to bring the country’s roads currently in poor condition up to good condition and then keep them that way.”

Study: Delayed Road Repairs ‘Ticking Time Bomb’
KTVZ.com, 6/1/11
“Decades of spending on new road construction, instead of regular repair, have left many states’ roads in poor condition, and the cost of pushing back repairs is growing at an alarming rate each year, according to a new report from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense that examines road conditions and spending priorities in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.”

Report: Focus on road repair, not expansion
Finance & Commerce, 6/2/11
Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense say only about 21 percent of Minnesota’s highway spending from 2004 to 2008 went to repair and maintenance of roads.”

Report: States misusing road funds
Fleet Owner, 6/2/11
“According to a new report issued by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, most states are spending too much money on new road construction and road expansion and not enough on preserving the condition of the current infrastructure.”

The road building/repair/congestion money sink
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space, 6/2/11
Smart Growth America came out with a report, Repair Priorities: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads, which makes the point that the cost of maintaining roads is rising faster than the cost of building them.”

Daily News Clips

A Not So Suburban Suburbia: Possibilities for Our Urban Future
National Geographic NewsWatch, 6/3/11
“There are other ways that the classic image of suburban life is out of step with the reality. A panel featuring Dunham-Jones, Emil Frankel of the Bipartisan Policy Institute, Geoff Anderson of Smart Growth America, and Amy Fraenkel of the United Nations Environment Programme pointed out some surprising characteristics of the modern American suburb. While the suburbs are traditionally invoked as a place to raise your kids, about two-thirds of suburban households do not have children and that number is getting closer to three-quarters of households.”

Great places: smart density as part of economic flourishing
Grist, 5/31/11
“Here’s the basic idea: When smart, skilled people start to gather in a place, the process becomes self-perpetuating. More smart, skilled people show up to be near the others. And the more smart, skilled people you get close together, the more you reduce transaction costs and increase ‘knowledge spillover,’ which leads to commerce and innovation.”

Why aren’t we more rational about commuting?
The Washington Post, 6/2/11
Ezra Klein says, “As Chris Leinberger of Brookings once told me, some 30 to 50 percent of residents in U.S. metropolitan areas want to live in walkable urban environments — a trend fueled by the growing numbers of single and childless couples, who will constitute 88 percent of household growth through 2040. But there are only enough truly walkable neighborhoods in the country to satisfy about 5 to 10 percent of metro residents.”

Dream City: A Tale of Three Cities
Columbia Patch, 6/2/11
“Land use strategist Chris Leinberger, a Brookings Institution visiting fellow, recently told the Baltimore Sun that Columbia has managed to “skim growth from both Baltimore and Washington,” despite the city’s near fatal flaw of locating southwest of a major metropolitan area (Baltimore), rather than north of it, the more common model.”

Development of rural areas challenges advocates, planners
The Baltimore Sun, 6/2/11
“Such battles over rural land have been fought in every suburban county in the Baltimore area, and this year the spotlight is on Anne Arundel, which is considering proposals in its once-in-a-decade rezoning. In addition to the Crandall Cove project, developers are seeking permission to increase density of homes two-fold in a single-family home neighborhood.”

Planners advise bike lanes, resist sprawl in West Brattleboro
Brattleboro Reformer, 6/3/11
“Implementing such changes could allow Brattleboro to utilize the newly passed legislation called ‘Complete Streets,’ which designs a consideration policy to ensure all users of the Vermont transportation system are considered and accommodated in the planning, development and construction phases of any state or locally managed project.”

Infographic: Light Rail Transit for Dummies
The Atlantic, 6/2/11
“The data presented in this graphic are focused around Waterloo, a small city in Ontario, Canada, where Snapsort, the company responsible for the graphic’s construction, is based. While not all of the numbers can be applied to any region where light rail is being considered, they do provide a clear look at how trains can alter the transportation options in an urban environment.”

An App That Organizes Your City by Travel Time
GOOD Magazine, 6/2/11
“Mapnificent is a Google Maps application that provides a brilliant new way of looking at your local geography. Rather than letting you specify a start point and end point and then giving you directions and travel time, as most map applications normally do, Mapnificent allows you to specify a starting location and then see all the places you can reach by public transportation within a certain amount of time.”

Letter: Take it from sixth-grader; Vero Beach needs more bike lanes
TCPalm, 6/2/11
“As a sixth-grader at Gifford Middle School, I would like to address one thing that Vero Beach should address: the lack of bike lanes. When I look out the car window, I rarely see bike lanes. There are a few, but overall there aren’t many lanes for people to cruise with bikes. Some bike lanes are hazardous… I think new bike lanes would be a spectacular investment for the city, especially given the high gas prices.”

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SGA News Clips, 6/2/11

Repair Priorities Coverage

Report: States should spend more on repairing existing roads

The Hill, 6/1/11
“However, the report, which was sponsored by Washington, D.C.-based Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, also notes that new construction only accounts for 1 percent of state transportation projects. ‘Federal taxpayers have an enormous stake in seeing that our roads are kept in good condition,’ Taxpayers for Common Sense policy analyst Erich Zimmermann said in a statement… Smart Growth America’s director of land use and transportation, Roger Millar, agreed.”

Existing Roads Slide Into Decrepitude as States Splurge on Highway Expansion
DC Streetsblog, 6/1/11
“A new report from Smart Growth America finds that states spent 57 percent of their highway funds building new roads between 2004 and 2008. As a result, 23,300 new lane miles were constructed — a 1.3 percent expansion. Meanwhile, the existing 1.9 million lane miles deteriorated under a regime that prioritizes expansion of the system over its maintenance.”

If We Can’t Afford to Fix Roads, Can We Afford to Build Roads?
Transportation Nation, 6/1/11
“Expanding the system while deferring maintenance is not just a Wisconsin thing. According to another report, released today by Taxpayers for Common Sense and Smart Growth America, this is a nationwide habit. The two groups found that between 2004 and 2008, while bridges crumbled and roads deteriorated, states spent 57 percent of their highway budgets on road widening and new road construction.”

Daily News Clips

Farm boom missing Main Street
USA Today, 5/31/11
“Most farmers no longer buy cars, clothes and farm equipment in towns near them, local bankers and rural economists say. Most young people who leave for college don’t move back. Like most small towns across the Midwest, Guthrie Center’s population — 1,569 according to Census figures — is shrinking and getting older. ‘The rural economy is very good right now, and that’s certainly helpful, but it is still extremely difficult up and down Main Street,’ said Barry Monaghan, president of Guthrie County State Bank and father of two college-educated children who live elsewhere.”

What The Debt Ceiling Vote Means For Transportation
DC Streetsblog, 6/1/11
“House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s proposed 2012 budget calls for cutting the transportation budget by about a third. That budget is the GOP’s starting point for the delicate negotiations ongoing between the two parties in an attempt to come to some kind of compromise on spending cuts that will convince Republicans (and those 82 holdout Democrats) to vote to raise the debt ceiling. In other words, transportation policies could become bargaining chips in the larger battle over the debt ceiling.”

Housing secretary praising Utah growth vision
The Salt Lake Tribune, 6/1/11
“He didn’t focus on the grime or smell as he stood in front of an abandoned warehouse at 200 South and 600 West in Salt Lake City. Shaun Donovan, U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, was too busy envisioning the future there with local leaders. They talked about how the area could soon have shops, offices and apartments attracted by the easy transit connections next door at the intermodal transportation hub. They pointed at the shiny Gateway development a few blocks away, and figured the run-down area might look pristine like that soon.”

What makes a city lovable?
MinnPost.com, 6/1/11
“That kind of devotion can be created by simply building attractive places, some city planners believe. Install a farmers market, plant some flowers, erect a row of decorative streetlights, et voilà: True love!”

Plan for Hokoken’s public housing complex wins ‘smart growth’ award
NJ.com, 5/31/11
“The Hoboken Housing Authority and Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects and Planners have won a New Jersey Future 2011 Smart Growth Award. The authority won for its Vision 20/20 plan that would transform the area around Hoboken’s public housing complex.”

Making St. Louis more livable
St. Louis Beacon, 6/1/11
“Making the St. Louis area more livable includes improving the quality of life and job creation among other things, says Trailnet spokesman Phil Valko. An example of making a community more livable would be helping more senior citizens to live independently, especially as the baby boomers age, Valko adds. ‘Places that are livable are places that have healthy foods, kids have access to parks (and) kids can walk to school,’ he says.”

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SGA News Clips, 6/1/11

Plan for Muskegon County’s economic development growth being designed Friday
MLive.com
, 5/31/11
Smart Growth America, a Washington, D.C.-based firm, was hired by the EPA to provide the technical assistance. According to its website, Smart Growth America works with communities to fight sprawl and save money. Geoff Anderson, Smart Growth America’s president and CEO, and two of the firm’s partners are expected to lead the Muskegon meeting.”

Smart growth: Bemidji seeks ways to enhance quality of city life
The Bemidji Pioneer, 5/28/11
“The two consultants in town with him were Will Schroeer, director of policy and research for Smart Growth America and former EPA economist, and Sarah Graham, an associate with Strategic Economics specializes in assessing the economic and fiscal impacts of land use policies. Bemidji is already embracing some of the tenets of smart growth, including the walkability and open space ideas.”

Group wants Congress to use ‘life-cycle budgeting’ for transportation bill
The Hill, 5/31/11
“As Congress pivots from the Federal Aviation Administration to trying to pass a new transportation bill this year, another group is out with an ad trying to influence lawmakers. This time however, it is a group that wants to convince elected officials to spend money on roads and bridges more wisely, not just spend more on them.”

A Vision of Oasis Beneath the Sprawl
The New York Times, 5/31/11
“At rush hour, two architects and a biologist stand on a footbridge over the highway that runs east and west through the center of this concrete cityscape. They are eager and young (the oldest, Elías Cattan, is 32) but could just as well be blind old prophets, because all they seem to see in the grime and traffic is a magnificent past and future.”

Mass transit preserves lifestyle of both the city and the suburbs
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/31/11
“The Atlanta metro area faces an important crossroads in its history. Public transportation and urban growth policies will make-or-break the region and turn Atlanta into a world class city, or a blighted bust.”

N.Y.U. Lands Top Economist for Cities Project
The New York Times Economix blog, 5/27/11
“New York University has landed a star economist: Paul Romer, a leading expert on economic growth, who has been at Stanford for the last 15 years. Mr. Romer has been a visiting professor at N.Y.U. this year. Perhaps most interesting, Mr. Romer will run a new project — the Urban System Project, based at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business.”

Study: Building Roads to Cure Congestion Is an Exercise in Futility
DC Streetsblog, 5/31/11
“We hear it all the time: The road lobby insists that the only way to reduce mind-numbing traffic congestion on the roads they built is to build new roads. Federal funding gives huge blank checks to state DOTs, which tend to prioritize road building over transit, bridge maintenance or anything else. But mounting evidence suggests that building new roads won’t do anything to alleviate congestion. In a paper to be published soon in the American Economic Review, two University of Toronto professors have added to the body of evidence showing that highway and road expansion increases traffic by increasing demand. On the flip side, they show that transit expansion doesn’t help cure congestion either.”

Good, Clean (American) Jobs
The National Journal, 5/31/11
“It’s a familiar refrain to anyone involved in transportation: Infrastructure investment means jobs. But the transportation sector hasn’t cornered the market on the “jobs” talking point. For environmentalists, investment in clean technology means jobs. For unions and manufacturers, products built in the United States mean jobs.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/31/11

People depend on their cars too much amid a lack of transportation choices, AAA says
Winston-Salem Journal, 5/28/11
“AAA also analyzed six studies on North Carolina’s transportation system, finding that local and state residents depend too much on their vehicles because the region and the state have limited public transportation options. The trend will continue, AAA officials said, as the state’s population continues to grow, causing even more urban sprawl.”

Awesome little video on the case for smart growth
NRDC Switchboard, 5/27/11
Kaid Benfield writes, “This is a terrific production.”

Guest opinion: City-school district planning will benefit entire community
Billings Gazette, 5/28/11
“In the recent infill policy workshop hosted by the city, attendees learned that the key to successful cities of the future will be in their ability to achieve “place making.” The younger generations tend to select the places they want to live, then move there and find a job. The places they find desirable will have great public transportation options, affordable housing, good schools, neighborhoods where kids and families can walk and bike, and vibrant, healthy downtown centers that offer options for the young, old, and everyone in between. If we all work together, Billings can be such a place.”

Panasonic reaps benefits of mass transit tax credit
Marketplace Morning Report, 5/27/11
“By relocating closer to mass transit, the company will be able to stand by its green values, as well as enjoy $100 million worth of tax credit.”

Columbia dodged development bullet with proximity to D.C., expert says
The Baltimore Sun, 5/26/11
“If Washington had been located 20 miles farther south of Columbia, the master-planned community would have failed, as land-use strategist Chris Leinberger tells it. ‘America’s City,’ as it was called in its earliest years, violates nearly every successful planning model across the country by being located southwest of its nearest metropolitan area — the city of Baltimore — instead of north of it, where the upper middle class prefers to live, he says. Having a second metro area nearby — and that city being our nation’s capital, no less — is what saved Columbia from what Leinberger considers a certain collapse, as it managed to skim growth from both Baltimore and Washington.”

In Gwinnett, light rail a ‘polarizing project’
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/30/11
“As elected officials try to assemble a regional list of transportation projects to entice voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax next year, pleasing a majority of metro residents will be difficult. With major light rail projects in the mix, pleasing all of Gwinnett’s 386,419 registered voters — 17 percent of the 10-county region’s 2.27 million voters — will be impossible.”

Housing Index Is Expected To Show a New Low in Prices
The New York Times, 5/30/11
“The desire to own your own home, long a bedrock of the American Dream, is fast becoming a casualty of the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression. Even as the economy began to fitfully recover in the last year, the percentage of homeowners dropped sharply, to 66.4 percent, from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. The ownership rate is now back to the level of 1998, and some housing experts say it could decline to the level of the 1980s or even earlier.”

Your Commute Is Killing You
Slate, 5/26/11
“This week, researchers at Umea University in Sweden released a startling finding: Couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce.”

Why Detroit’s revitalization is important to Ann Arbor (and how Ann Arbor can help)
AnnArbor.com, 5/29/11
“But perhaps the most important element to sparking a turnaround in Detroit is regional collaboration. And a key catalyst in that turnaround is Ann Arbor — its business community, its nonprofit leaders and, yes, the University of Michigan.”

30-year transportation plan approved for Wasatch Front
The Salt Lake Tribune, 5/27/11
“Two new freeways, several new streetcars and TRAX lines, and hundreds of miles of new “bus rapid transit” — where express buses have their own highway lanes — are included in the official transportation plan for the next 30 years adopted Thursday by the Wasatch Front Regional Council.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/27/11

With Help From a Republican Governor, Michigan Moves Toward Livability
DC Streetsblog, 5/26/11
“Earlier this spring, Snyder issued a directive to state agencies on the importance of ‘placemaking’ in economic development. The document — one in a series of statements that lays out his administration’s priorities — puts forward a plan for state agencies to cooperate to build a more livable, less car-dependent state, with strong urban centers.”

Texas Gutting Education But Spending $4 Billion to Widen 28-Mile Highway
GOOD Magazine, 5/25/11
“There’s no denying that I 35E could use some structural improvements. Denton is on track to have more than one million residents by 2030, and many of them will certainly commute to Dallas for work. But given the immediate needs of schools across the entire state of Texas it seems shortsighted to gut public education while building a road.”

Obama’s transportation plan to shrink in the Senate
Reuters, 5/25/11
“President Barack Obama’s sweeping spending plan for roads, rail and bridges is shrinking as it travels through Congress. In the next two weeks, the Senate will begin considering legislation to authorize about $339 billion over six years for transportation, Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer told reporters on Wednesday.”

Dems, unions speak up for Amtrak in the fight over national rail plan
The Hill, 5/27/11
“House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Rail subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said Thursday that they would introduce legislation to separate the Northeast Corridor used in the federal grant process from the national rail service.”

$100 million development coming to downtown Greenville
GoUpstate.com, 5/26/11
“Greenville-based Hughes Development Corp. unveiled plans Wednesday for the first phase of a $100 million, 375,000-square-foot mixed-use development at the corner of Main and Washington streets in downtown Greenville.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/26/11

Mass transit: A tale of two cities
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/24/11
Chris Leinberger and Jim Durrett
 write, “Metro Atlanta and Washington have much in common. The population is the same (about 5.7 million); each is a capital; each experienced most of its growth in the late 20th century; and each has southern roots, but has experienced population influx from the North. The two metro areas also share a crucial 1970s transportation investment: a federally funded heavy rail system.”

Road Builders: 80 million jobs at stake in transportation bill
The Hill, 5/25/11
“The American Road and Transportation Builders Association is out with a new ad suggesting as many as 80 million jobs could hinge on Congress passing a new transportation bill this year.”

Needed: More, Better, AND Accessible Jobs
The New Republic, 5/25/11
“This recent Per Square Mile post caught my eye (hat tip to my colleague Ben Orr) because it hits on three key issues that affect access to opportunity in our major metro areas: where the poor live, where jobs are, and how transit fits into the picture.”

Antonio Villaraigosa: America Fast Forward on the Fast Track
The Huffington Post, 5/25/11
“Today, thanks to the hard work of Senator Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and our leading champion of America Fast Forward, along with Senators Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter we got a first look at the draft legislation to reauthorize our federal transportation programs. And it’s great news for our transportation infrastructure nationwide.”

Revelations from a Humdrum Transit-Fare Statistic
The New York Times, 5/25/11
“A somewhat elusive statistic is not likely to get much attention when the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority convenes Wednesday morning for its monthly session. Nonetheless, it is an intriguing number. It even has a name, if an unwieldy one: farebox operating ratio. In recognizable English, this metric calculates the cost of running a mass transit system and the portion of it that riders pay with their coins and MetroCard swipes.”

Clifton fears that closing town’s only school means end of community’s identity

The Washington Post, 5/25/11
“But even those who think the decision was for the best also acknowledge that closing Clifton has eroded the social bedrock of one of the few rural areas left in Northern Virginia’s most populous suburb. While much of Fairfax has filled up with townhouses and malls, and Tysons Corner is becoming more urbanized, Clifton has kept a touch of country because of conservation laws that protected its open space but now threaten its ability to support a school. The town’s Main Street seems timeless, with a general store, a popular ice cream stand, antiques shops and plenty of charm. But, without a modern community center or public pool, Clifton’s social life has centered around the elementary school.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/24/11

Move It! How the U.S. gets transportation policy wrong – and how to get it right
The Wall Street Journal, 5/23/11
Robert Puentes writes, “The public sector spends north of $170 billion each year on transportation, and we’ll need to spend even more to modernize our battered infrastructure. But before we start writing more checks, we need to stop and think long and hard about transportation. Not only are we spending too little right now, but we’re also not spending it wisely.”

Cities as software, and hacking the urban landscape
Grist, 5/23/11
“What if saving a rundown city wasn’t about building expensive new infrastructure — hardware, so to speak — but instead reprogramming the existing infrastructure? Changing the software of the place? That’s the analogy used by Marcus Westbury, founder of Renew Newcastle, an innovative initiative that has breathed life into the vacant downtown of that Australian city. Newcastle, which grew up around the coal and steel industries, suffers from a lot of the same problems as Rust Belt cities in the United States. Its major employers shut down in the latter half of the 20th century, its transportation systems were dismantled, and retail decamped for the sprawling suburbs. The core of the city was vacant and neglected.”

Tolling necessary: States stuck with poor roads, few funds
PennLive.com, 5/23/11
“The critical transportation funding issues in Pennsylvania are well known. The state needs an additional $2.5 billion a year just to keep up with our current transportation needs, let alone find money for building new bridges and roads.”

N.O. public transportation funding lower than average for area’s size
New Orleans CityBusiness, 5/23/11
“The New Orleans area has access to more than $17.95 million for public transportation projects for fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. The New Orleans figure is the fifth lowest among the 38 areas nationwide with a population of more than 1 million that have access to funding from the federal government.”

To help towns combat sprawl, rewrite of state zoning law is overdue
Boston Globe, 5/24/11
“‘Nearly every state that has seen significant economic growth over the past 30 years has overhauled its planning and zoning legislation… We are losing the race for economic development for many reasons, but among the foremost is our antiquated, arcane and incomprehensible body of land use law,’ he said in his prepared testimony.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/23/11

Opinion: How to fix American transportation
Politico, 5/23/11
“Congress must act now to craft legislation that can help create long-term jobs, reduce the massive federal bureaucracy, streamline project delivery and provide flexibility to states so they can address their infrastructure needs.”

Smart growth hinges on smart decisions
PhillyBurbs.com, 5/23/11
“If Northampton is to remain a desirable community in which to work, shop and buy a home, we are going to have to pay more attention to the planning decisions made by our local government.”

Atlanta at heart of area’s transit issues
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/22/11
“Every day, Atlanta’s population more than doubles to more than 1.2 million people as workers, shoppers and entertainment seekers pour into the city in cars or via mass transit, according to city officials. In many ways, Atlanta — where three major interstates and two major railroad networks converge — lies at the heart of the region’s traffic grid. It has always struggled to maintain and expand interstate and transit systems that link the metro counties and move their residents.”

Truckers highlight need for increase in infrastructure spending
The Hill, 5/20/11
“The American Trucking Association’s U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast to 2022 predicts the amount of freight transported will increase by 24 percent by 2022. The freight transportation industry’s revenue is projected to rise by 66 percent.

We need better alternatives to driving out cars
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/21/11
“Many families in the metro area spend more than 25% of their income on transportation. Most families in the area spend more than 45% of their income on housing and transportation combined. Rising gas costs only make the situation worse.”

Partnerships aims to help Fairfax County transform Tysons Corner
The Washington Post, 5/22/11
“‘We’re going to focus on people, place, economy and business,’ said Keith Turner, the group’s chairman and a senior vice president of Cityline Partners.”

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SGA News Clips, 5/19/11

Imagining Detroit
The New York Times, 5/17/11
“But after spending some time here, I saw an alternative view of Detroit: a model for self-reliance and growth. Because while the lifeblood of Venice comes from outsiders, Detroit residents are looking within. They’d welcome help, but they’re not counting on it. Rather, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, they’re turning from seeing things as they are and asking, ‘Why?’ to dreaming how they might be and wondering, ‘Why not?'”

U.S. obesity correlates to vehicle usage
UPI.com, 5/16/11
“‘If you look over the last 60-plus years, the automobile has become our primary mode of transportation — so much so, in fact, we have literally designed our way of life around it. It is that energy imbalance that ultimately may lead to obesity,’ Jacobson says in a statement.”

Safety Reminders for Bike to Work Day
Washington Post, 5/18/11
“The League of American Bicyclists launched Bike to Work Day 54 years ago without much fanfare and to far less enthusiasm than it receives today. That was an era in which scant few adults rode bicyclists other than on vacations. Now, with cycling an established part of the transportation agenda and bike lanes proliferating across the urban landscape, bicycles have been embraced for commuting and exercise.”

Los Angeles County is poised to accelerate its rail projects
LA Times, 5/15/11
“While many agencies are cutting back, Los Angeles’ aggressive rail expansion is picking up steam. The county’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled this month a record $4.15-billion budget that includes money for about a dozen rail lines that are either under construction or being planned.”

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Round Two: Your Stories About the High Cost of Gas and Your Jobs

Rising gas prices and high levels of unemployment continue to weigh on the American economy. Smart Growth America asked for stories about how high gas prices are affecting your life, and we heard many stories about how expensive gas is making your professional life more challenging. With gas costing $4 gallon or more, workers are feeling the pain when it comes to commuting, meeting with clients around town, going to conferences, or even looking for a job.

  • A gallon of gas costs $4.11 for Carisa in Illinois, so in addition to carpooling more, she has to be very selective about which meetings and marketing events she absolutely must attend for work, and she said she’s still not getting to all of them. She’s reconsidering her attendance at some out of town conferences. She cannot reach her clients downtown without a car, so driving is a must for her.
  • An anonymous contributor from Northern California, where gas is $4.17 per gallon, is looking for a job and said the high gas prices are limiting the search.
  • Faced with $4.50 for a gallon of gas, Umi in Hawaii recently started carpooling the three-hour round-trip commute with a coworker. Even though the coworker’s shift ends an hour later, she “sacrifice[s] a little sleep and the personal convenience of leaving on my time table” to save money. Public buses are unreliable and intermittent in her hometown, and filling up just 3/4 of her tank costs more than $60.

A consistent theme throughout these stories is that transportation choices can help people and communities cope with rising gas prices. We’ve heard from people who are using public transportation or biking to work - or to look for work, for those who are unemployed - as driving becomes more expensive.

Part of Smart Growth America’s work is helping great communities have more low cost options for getting around when gas prices get too high, but we need to hear from you to do it. How much does gas cost in your area? What are you doing to cope with the high prices of gas? If you don’t drive often, or at all, how do you get around? Smart Growth America is helping more people have the option of shorter drives and more ways to get around when they want it. Click here to tell us your story.

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