Council Member Candace Mumm on making Spokane pedestrian-friendly

spokane A view of downtown Spokane. Photo by Mike Hoy, via Flickr.

In Spokane, WA safer streets and neighborhood vibrancy are going hand in hand. City Council Member Candace Mumm has a new crosswalk ordinance aimed at serving the community for both purposes. The ordinance – which passed with a 5 to 1 vote on September 8 – will require marked crosswalks to be installed at intersections adjacent to schools, parks, hospitals, trail crossings, and other high pedestrian traffic-generating locations.

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Join us at Rail~volution 2014

st-paul-green-lineA METRO Green Line train in downtown St. Paul, MN. Photo by Metro Transit via Flickr.

Smart Growth America staff are headed to Rail~volution 2014, next week and we want to see you there! Join us on September 21-24 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, at one of the many sessions we will be speaking on or facilitating.

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Smart Growth News — September 15, 2014

Trading Parking Lots for Affordable Housing
The New York Times — September 14, 2014
Here are two other numbers: 9 x 18. In square feet, that’s 162, smaller than the most micro micro-apartment. It is the size of a typical parking space. That lowly slice of asphalt has prompted three young architects — Miriam Peterson, Sagi Golan and Nathan Rich, fellows at the Institute for Public Architecture — to come up with what could be an innovative way to ease the housing crisis.
 
Planet earth vs. roads: The epic conflict that will define the future of the world
Salon — September 14, 2014
For wildlife, the freeway might as well be a vertical barrier; an interruption of the animal ecosystem on land as absolute as a dam in a river. The story of the Los Angeles mountain lions is a small example of how roads impact ecosystems long after they are built.
 
What Can Small Cities Do to Fight Climate Change?
Mother Jones — September 15, 2014
Some more progressive communities are stepping into the breach left by Washington. But whereas the most efficient government policies would simply require less energy usage and let the market figure out how to achieve it, that’s economically unfeasible for small cities and counties.
 
Road, transit projects get a boost with federal grants
USA Today — September 12, 2014
In a year of great uncertainty for federal transportation funding, road and transit projects around the USA are getting a boost as federal TIGER grants are awarded to 72 projects in 46 states and D.C.

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How two major cities are fighting climate change

Chicago Nightscape Chicago’s skyline at night. Photo by Jon Herbert, via Flickr.

Climate action plans—sets of strategies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts—play a critical role in realizing a community’s sustainability vision. While dozens of cities have such plans, few have the supplemental programs to set them in motion. However, there are leader communities that are making notable efforts on implementation.  Chicago, IL and Boulder, CO are two of those cities, and they are using benchmarking and pricing to reduce carbon emissions.

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Smart Growth News — September 12, 2014

What can small cities do to fight climate change?
Grist — September 12, 2014
Everyone should know by now that the U.S. needs to adopt policies to restrain its profligate energy use. Per capita, we use the most of any country except Iceland. And no, it’s not just because we’re richer: Adjusted for GDP, we still use more than everyone except for Australia, Canada, and a few frigid countries in northern Europe.
 
Why Nature Needs Cities
The Huffington Post — September 11, 2014
Cities need nature, as I wrote in an earlier essay.  But what is not so well understood is that nature also needs cities. There is simply no way we can protect and maintain a beautiful, thriving, natural and rural landscape outside of cities if we continue to spread highways and suburban sprawl across the countryside.
 
Affordable Senior Housing Is the Next Big Growth Opportunity
Senior Housing News — September 11, 2014
Senior housing operators will be forced to address the growing need of low- to moderate-income seniors in the coming years, as an estimated 3.5 million seniors today don’t have enough money to pay for higher acuity services. The high-end senior living facilities that have emerged within the past few years just won’t cut it when facing a demographic that has more health care needs.
 
Poll: 79 percent supports tolling to pay for highways
The Hill — September 11, 2014
Seventy-nine percent of U.S. residents would support increasing the use of tolls on the nation’s roads to help for new transportation projects, according to a poll Thursday by an infrastructure group. The survey, which was conducted by HNTB Corp., found 79 percent of U.S. residents “would support the addition of a toll on a non-tolled surface transportation facility if it resulted in a safer, congestion-free and more reliable trip.”

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Smart Growth News — September 11, 2014

Here’s What’s Becoming Of America’s Dead Shopping Malls
NPR — September 10, 2014
Online shopping, the recession and demographic shifts are some of the factors killing shopping malls. And as these changes leave behind huge concrete carcasses, they’re being “reimagined” into everything from medical centers to hockey rinks.
 
Driverless cars: Good for the planet?
The Christian Science Monitor — September 10, 2014
Driverless cars are almost certainly a part of our transportation future as companies like Google experiment with autonomous driving. Depending on how you look at it, impact of driverless cars on our energy use could either be incredibly good or incredibly bad, or somewhere in between.
 
Could Land Banks Solve Cities’ Poor Collection Rates on Blighted Properties?
Bloomberg BNA — September 10, 2014
Detroit missed the mark on its projected property tax collections for the fourth quarter of FY 2014, ending in June 2014, by nearly 90 percent. To close the huge gap between projections and actual collections, Detroit might consider establishing a land bank.
 
Lawmakers Tout TIGER Grants for Infrastructure Projects
Transport Topics — September 10, 2014
Several members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are boasting about grants that the Department of Transportation has awarded to projects in their districts ahead of an official announcement by the department.

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Discover the next walkable places in New England at the LOCUS LinkUp

framingham-maResidents, private stakeholders and town officials are working together to revitalize Downtown Framingham, MA. Photo via Choose Framingham.

This fall, one event will offer participants the chance to find out where and how New England’s next walkable places will be built. Will you be in the room?

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USDOT announces new initiative to improve safety for people bicycling and walking

pedestrian-safetyThunderbird Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. Photo via Ped/Bike Images.

Americans today are walking and bicycling for fun, for their health, and as a way to get where they need to go. But in too many communities, roads are unsafe for people traveling by foot or bike. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced plans to help end this deadly problem.

At the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference this morning in Pittsburgh, USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new federal initiative to make roads safer for people bicycling and walking. According to a USDOT release, the 18-month campaign will begin with road safety assessments conducted by USDOT field offices in every state, and will produce multiple resources to help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.

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Smart Growth News — September 10, 2014

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces New Initiative to Enhance Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
USDOT Press Release — September 10, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a new initiative to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities through a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety and data collection.

Obama administration’s highway fix could mean more tolls
USA Today — September 9, 2014
The Treasury and Transportation departments convened an “infrastructure summit” in Washington Tuesday to bring together investors, philanthropists, construction firms and state and government agencies.

Players to watch: Transportation
The Hill — September 9, 2014
The lawmakers, administration officials and power brokers listed here will play enormous roles in the policies and politics that take place over the next several months.


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Join Smart Growth America at ULI Washington’s Walkable Urban Places Conference

Photo via the George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. Smart Growth America will join ULI Washington’s third annual Walkable Urban Places Conference on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in Washington, DC, and we want to see you …

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