Secretary Foxx challenges mayors to a Complete Streets approach

Secretary Foxx and Charlotte
Left: Secretary Foxx, photo by USDOT. Right: people walking and bicycling in Charlotte, NC. Photo by James Willamor

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets—inviting mayors and other local elected officials to take significant action to improve the safety of their constituents who walk or bicycle in the next year.

Their first action: attending the Mayors’ Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets this March.

Their second: Taking a Complete Streets approach locally.

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Smart Growth News — January 23, 2015

DOT head challenges mayors on bicycle, walking safety
USA Today — January 22, 2015
As more people opt to walk instead of drive and as bicycling continues to grow in popularity, traffic deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists have been trending upward for several years, at a rate higher than motor vehicle fatalities.

Urban Headwinds, Suburban Tailwinds
Forbes — January 22, 2015
Although home prices are rising faster in urban neighborhoods, population is growing faster in suburban neighborhoods. Consumer preferences and the aging of the population are tailwinds for suburban growth; so are falling oil prices if they stay low long-term.

Maybe Millennials Don’t Want to Live in Cities After All
TIME — January 22, 2015
The accepted wisdom about millennials is that they shun the suburbs for the cities. They want to be in urban cores next to easily accessible public transportation options that allow them to seamlessly hit up bars, restaurants and any space with wi-fi.

Earthquakes, floods and volcanoes: The most disaster-prone places in America
The Washington Post — January 21, 2015
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared more than 3,000 disasters since 1953, covering the gamut of large-scale calamities ranging from tornadoes to terrorism, and everything in between. Since 1964, they’ve been tracking these disaster declarations at the county level, which I’ve mapped below.

Will low gas prices hurt mass transit?
The Week — January 23, 2015
As it happens, this year will see the confluence of several important transportation trends, each with implications for mass-transit ridership. The most discussed of these trends, of course, is the ongoing decline in the price of gasoline.

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Are you a real estate professional under 35?

The future of walkable, sustainable development rests in the hands of the next generation of real estate developers and investors. For a limited time, LOCUS will offer discounted registration for young professionals to attend the LOCUS New England Leadership Summit on March 11, 2015.

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Complete Streets News — January 2015

The Innovative MPO — A new resource from Transportation for America showcases more than 100 real-world examples and 20 detailed case studies from MPOs leading innovative initiatives. Created as a companion to The Innovative DOT, the report relates how MPOs of all sizes have stretched public resources, leveraged data for smart investments, and advanced regional and economic development priorities. Read more >>

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Smart Growth News — January 22, 2015

New hope for deal on infrastructure funds
The Hill — January 21, 2015
Republicans are indicating after President Obama’s State of the Union address that they are open to compromising with the president on increasing U.S. transportation funding, although neither side has offered specifics on how they would pay for new construction projects.

Should Urban Universities Help Their Neighbors?
The Atlantic — January 20, 2015
If there’s something most people picture when they think of a “college town”— rows of bars and ethnic restaurants, posters advertising indie-movie screenings and dance performances, beautiful homes where professors can walk to campus —urban universities have more trouble achieving that vision than colleges with a whole town to themselves.

3 ways we can fight congestion in our city cores
Metro Jacksonville — January 22, 2015
Since the automobile became king of the road in modern civilization, traffic congestion has been a problem in cities around the globe. 103 years after Ford’s first Tin Lizzie found a parking spot, we still struggle with the increasing demands of the automobile.

Struggle City: Most U.S. cities haven’t recovered yet
CNN Money — January 22, 2015
President Obama faces a new problem this year: America as a whole is improving, but most cities are getting left behind. Sixty percent of U.S. cities have not recovered to their pre-recession levels, according to the Brookings Institution’s new MetroMonitor report, which ranks the economic health of 300 cities in the world.

Transit Oriented Development Critical to Metropolitan Growth
National Law Review — January 21, 2015
Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth, a report released in October 2014 by Cushman & Wakefield, provided insight into Transit Oriented Development as it explored “the consequences of rapid population growth in 10 major North American cities”—with Miami being one.

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LOCUS statement on President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address

In reaction to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors Director Christopher Coes issued the following statement:

“We applaud the President for recognizing the need to address comprehensive tax reform and invest America’s transportation and infrastructure now. Today, Americans are voting with their feet by seeking out neighborhoods that are walkable, economically accessible and culturally vibrant. Many, however, are feeling the squeeze in their search for affordable housing and transportation options in great, walkable neighborhoods.

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Smart Growth News — January 21, 2015

Obama leaves out gas tax in call for ‘bipartisan infrastructure plan’
The Hill — January 20, 2015
President Obama called for Congress to pass a “bipartisan infrastructure plan” in his State of the Union address but stopped short of calling for an increase in the federal gas tax to help pay for it.
Minorities and the ‘Slumburbs’
Citylab — January 21, 2015
The history goes something like this: White families left inner cities in droves during the white-flight era of the 1950s and 60s. Now they are returning to—have returned to—the metro centers that their grandparents once called home. Families of color called these inner cities home during decades of depopulation.
The City Might Not Be To Blame For High Asthma Rates
NPR — January 20, 2015
Asthma affects children regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. But scientists have long thought that living in poor urban neighborhoods adds an extra risk for this troublesome lung inflammation. A new study suggests that’s not necessarily the case.
States look at hiking gas tax as fuel prices plunge
NBC Charlotte — January 17, 2015
With gas prices dipping to their lowest level in years, lawmakers in state capitals throughout the USA are increasingly open to the idea of raising fuel taxes to help rebuild crumbling roadways and bridges.

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National Complete Streets Coalition to unveil top Complete Streets policies of 2014

Livermore, CA passed one of the best Complete Streets policies of 2013. Which communities will be on the 2014 list?

Over 70 communities passed Complete Streets policies in 2014 and on February 10, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will unveil which ones were the best.

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Commissioner Ron Beitler on Lower Macungie, PA: A Community at a Crossroads

macungie Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie, PA, overlaid with an artist’s rendering of proposed changed. Image by Kairos Design Group for Lower Macungie Township.

Creating a better, stronger Lower Macungie Township is about more than just a job for Commissioner Ron Beitler. It’s about his roots and hometown pride, it’s about his future and the future of his family. For Beitler, a vibrant Lower Macungie is deeply personal.

Beitler, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is a lifelong resident of Lower Macungie, PA, a third-ring suburb of Allentown located on the western end of the Lehigh Valley. Beitler and his wife live in a house less than three blocks away from the house he grew up in, where his parents still live. In fact, most of Beitler’s family members live in Lower Macungie.

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Smart Growth News — January 20, 2015

U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas
Scientific American — January 15, 2015
In December, residents in Marin, a county in the northern part of the San Francisco Bay Area nestled across from the Golden Gate Bridge, woke up to find that some of their roadways, docks and parking lots were underwater.
America’s Best Performing Cities Are Invested In Technology And Energy
Fast Co.Exist — January 15, 2015
While the economic downturn was terrible for America as a whole, the level of terribleness wasn’t equal across the country. Some cities were more resilient because they were invested in industries that allowed them to keep creating jobs and paying decent wages.
Moving Downtown? Here Are 6 Things To Figure Out First
Forbes — January 15, 2015
If your 2015 resolutions include moving into the city, you’re not alone — living downtown is fast becoming the in thing. The trend has given cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Miami a lift, and the list of reviving downtowns keeps getting longer.
As Cities Push For Their Own Broadband, Cable Firms Say Not So Fast
NPR — January 17, 2015
Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury. And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can’t wait.

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