New and expanded urban development programs included in President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal

promise-zone-camdenPresident 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.

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Join Smart Growth America at the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

npsg-baltimore

The annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference brings together public officials, development professionals, advocates, and civic organizations to connect with experts from across the country and catch up on the evolving best practices in smart growth. Hundreds of speakers cross disciplines to share insights, tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in communities across the country.

This year’s conference will take place January 29-31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD, and Smart Growth America is excited to be one of the many organizations participating. If you plan to attend the conference, be sure to catch the following sessions featuring Smart Growth America’s members and staff.

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FDOT’s new Complete Streets implementation plan will take policy into practice

fdot-cs-plan-coverIn September 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) adopted a Complete Streets policy to help make streets safer for everyone in the state. Now, a new plan created in partnership with Smart Growth America will help turn that policy into on-the-ground changes.

On December 7, 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released its Complete Streets Implementation Plan, an ambitious and comprehensive commitment to change the way roads are designed and built in Florida to make them safer for all types of travelers, while also promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life. FDOT developed the plan in partnership with Smart Growth America and our program the National Complete Streets Coalition over a period of nine months through our Multimodal Development and Delivery technical assistance process.

For many years, Florida ranked among the most dangerous states in the nation for pedestrians, with disproportionately high rates of pedestrian fatalities according to our 2011 report, Dangerous by Design. The department’s 2014 Complete Streets policy laid the foundations for making streets safer. Early last year FDOT took the next step and asked Smart Growth America to help fully integrate a Complete Streets approach into the department’s practices, decisions, and investments.

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Ohio expected to join the growing ranks of state DOTs choosing to #RepairPriorities

lancaster-ohA 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.

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Now hiring: LOCUS Communications Intern

Position Description Smart Growth America seeks a Communications Intern to support LOCUS, a national network of smart growth real estate developers and investors. The intern will be a core member of the LOCUS team and provide direct support to the LOCUS network …

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Companies want walkable downtowns, so Governor Andrew Cuomo is making revitalization a key part of his economic development plan

ithacaDowntown Ithaca, NY, is one potential model for walkable development upstate. Photo by Photo by Shannon Williamson, Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

In his State of the State address last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined ambitious plans to spur economic growth in upstate New York, and called for a push to revitalize the region’s struggling downtowns. One of his reasons for focusing on downtown revitalization specifically? Companies across the country want to be located in walkable neighborhoods—as Smart Growth America outlined last year in our report Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown.

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Complete Streets News — January 2016

Get fast facts on the FAST Act — The FAST Act is the first federal transportation bill to ever include language on Complete Streets, but how exactly do these provisions help ensure the safety of all users? A new resource from the National Complete Streets Coalition provides an overview of Complete Streets in the FAST Act as well as useful resources for navigating federal funding sources. Download the FAST Act Fact Sheet to learn how federal Complete Streets legislation can offer better transportation options, improve public health, support retired Americans, advance economic development, reinvest in underserved communities, help kids get to school, and keep people safe while biking and walking.

Celebration at the Sixth Annual Complete Streets Dinner — The National Complete Streets Coalition hosted our Sixth Annual Complete Streets Dinner last week at La Tasca, in downtown Washington, DC. More than 50 supporters, partners, and friends joined us to celebrate 10 years as a Coalition and over 845 Complete Streets policies passed at the state, regional, and local levels. The Coalition’s former leaders, Barbara McCann, Roger Millar, and Stefanie Seskin, were honored for their commitment to the Complete Streets movement. Thank you to everyone who joined us at the dinner! If you didn’t attend, check out our event recap.

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National Complete Streets Coalition celebrates 10th anniversary and over 845 policies nationwide at 6th annual dinner

dinner-header

On Tuesday, the National Complete Streets Coalition hosted our Sixth Annual Complete Streets Dinner at La Tasca, in downtown Washington, DC. The evening assembled over 50 advocates, supporters, partners, and friends to celebrate 10 years as a Coalition and over 845 Complete Streets policies passed at the state, regional, and local level.

Coalition Director Emiko Atherton, Steering Committee Chair Rich Weaver, of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson kicked off the evening with welcomes and an introduction of the dinner’s distinguished speaker, Gregory Ballard, former mayor of Indianapolis.

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Buses Mean Business: New Evidence Supporting Economic Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit in the U.S.

For those of you in the DC area next week (including those of you planning to attend the Transportation Research Board conference), join us on Tuesday for the national release of a new academic study on the economic benefits resulting …

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2016 federal appropriations bill increases funding for transportation, housing, and urban development

On December 18, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the federal government until September 30, 2016. This funding will support many federal programs that build more equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities nationwide. …

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