Category: Featured Content

“Foot Traffic Ahead 2016” comes out on June 14. Which metros will be on top?

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Across the country, demand is growing for walkable neighborhoods. Which cities are well-positioned to meet that demand, and which will miss the boat?

We asked these questions two years ago in Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros. That report, released in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, outlined which of the country’s metro areas are the most walkable today and which have the most potential to be walkable in the future.

Next month we’re going to revisit these questions and provide updated analysis in Foot Traffic Ahead 2016. Coming out on June 14, this brand new research will provide unparalleled insights into current and future smart growth development, including the latest rankings of the top 30 walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in the nation’s largest metro areas based on their current and future commercial real estate metrics. Sign up to get your copy when the report comes out next month:

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Tell USDOT that #WeAllCount

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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However, the rule as it is currently written would measure success in outdated ways. Using old measures will lead to the continued use of outdated strategies, such as prioritizing fast driving speeds above all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

Posted in Action, Complete Streets, DOT, Featured Content, Federal, Transportation for America | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Newly awarded technical assistance will help nine communities make the most of their transit projects

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Oklahoma City, OK – and its project restoring the historic Santa Fe depot, above — is one of nine communities selected to receive technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America.

Nine communities working to support development around planned or existing transit projects will get a big boost this year thanks to newly awarded technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in partnership with Smart Growth America.

The National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative, which officially launched in December, is a four-year project of FTA in partnership with Smart Growth America to help communities across the country build compact, mixed-use, equitable development around transit stations, with a focus on development in disadvantaged areas.

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Why are federal programs restricting mixed-use development?

uchf-bannerStreet-level stores with apartments above them, like these along Main Street in Ossining, NY, are one example of the type of development current federal regulations restrict.

A growing number of Americans wanting to live in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods—but arcane federal rules make it unnecessarily difficult to build this type of development. A recent study by the Regional Plan Association, released in partnership with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, highlights how—and what lawmakers can do to change it.

Posted in Featured Content, Housing policy, LOCUS, Research | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Introducing a new transit-oriented development initiative from the Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America

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Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. Today, we’re excited to announce a new project that will help people connect to public transportation easily, efficiently, and affordably.

The Transit-Oriented Development technical assistance initiative, a project of the Federal Transit Administration in partnership with Smart Growth America, will provide state and local leaders with new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development, or “TOD”. Well-done TOD takes advantage of nearby transit to create desirable places to live, work, and visit that feature amenities like entertainment venues, parks, retail, restaurants, an improved pedestrian environment and diverse housing choices.

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Announcing the recipients of Smart Growth America’s 2016 free technical assistance

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Kansas City, MO is one of the communities that will receive a 2016 free technical assistance workshop.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce seven communities that have been selected to receive our free technical assistance workshops in 2016.

Each year, Smart Growth America makes a limited number of technical assistance workshops available to interested communities at zero cost. This competitive award gives communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development and build a strategy to achieve their goals through a one- or two-day workshop on a subject of their choosing.

Posted in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Featured Content, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Technical assistance, Washington | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Recorded webinar: Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies

building-resilient-states-webinar-coverHow could better land use and transportation strategies help your state recover and remain resilient in the face of disaster?

On October 22, Smart Growth America released Building Resilient States: A Framework for Agencies, a resource designed to help state agency staff integrate land use and transportation issues into their conversations about resilience. Disaster preparedness professionals can also use it to make strategic decisions and build communities that are more resilient from the ground up.

As part of the kickoff, we hosted an online conversation about resilience efforts at the state level. We talked all about the new resource—as well as national best practices, and how the states of Colorado, New York, and Vermont are using these strategies.

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California governor signs bill to ease parking requirements and create more affordable housing

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On Friday California Governor Jerry Brown signed into a law a bill that will help create more affordable housing by easing parking requirements for developers.

The legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 744, Planning and Zoning: Density Bonus, will allow developers to request reduced minimum parking requirements within affordable housing projects. It also amends the parking ratio for affordable housing and senior housing to require no more the 0.5 parking spaces per unit, and amends the ratio for special needs housing to require no more than 0.3 parking spaces per unit.

Developers seeking to use these ratios must meet established guidelines regarding percentage of affordable units in the project, distance and access to a transit stop, availability of paratransit services, and access to fixed bus route services. The emphasis on transit access will bolster other efforts to make public transportation and active transportation options safer, more convenient, and more accessible for low-income families.

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