Category: Smart growth stories

Virginia Beach, VA aims to attract new businesses and residents with more walkable neighborhoods

virginia-beach
Virginia Beach, VA’s Town Center. Photo by Barb Watson via Flickr.

Virginia Beach, VA is already a popular summertime destination. Now, city leaders are working to attract more year-round businesses and residents, and they’re using smart growth strategies to make it happen.

Virginia Beach is beginning to implement its comprehensive plan, beginning with the city’s Central Business District Core. The neighborhood is one of the city’s eight strategic growth areas, and Virginia Beach residents have said they want it to have “a mix of urban uses, great streets, mobility and transit alternatives.”

Posted in Complete Streets, Smart growth stories, Virginia | 1 Comment

More than a year from operation, Kansas City’s Streetcar is already driving investment downtown

Kansas City Streetcar
A rendering of Kansas City’s future streetcar. Image via PlanningKC.

In a sign of things to come for downtown Kansas City, MO, a site along the city’s forthcoming streetcar line is being transformed from a parking lot into a mixed-use development. The developer of Crossroads Apartments, who has never built in Kansas City before, told the Kansas City Star that ”the streetcar is the big thing that drew us, absolutely.”

The Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Project is comprised of a streetcar loop that will mostly run along Main Street in downtown Kansas City, and will link the city’s main entertainment venues with transit centers and arts districts.

Posted in DOT, Missouri, Partnership and Main, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Southeastern San Diego to replace brownfields area with community’s smart growth vision

Community members help plan the Village at Market Creek development. Image courtesy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.
Community members plan the Village at Market Creek development. Image courtesy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

After extensive planning and dozens of community meetings, the Village at Market Creek in San Diego, CA, is ready to break ground on the next phase of a visionary smart growth project.

For two decades, San Diego has been working to remediate and redevelop the former home of aerospace manufacturer Langley Corp. The company left San Diego in the 1990s, but leaking underground storage tanks and other potentially hazardous materials on the numerous factory sites remained. That meant the 60 acres were not only blighted, but potentially dangerous to redevelop.

Posted in Blog, Brownfields, California, EPA, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Madison, IN and Milton, KY are repairing a landmark and boosting biking and walking

Milton Madison bridge
The Milton-Madison bridge undergoing construction. Photo via the Milton Madison Bridge Project.

The reconstruction of a bridge spanning the Ohio River between Madison, IN and Milton, KY is more than just a long overdue repair. It is a restoration of a landmark, a way to better connect two interdependent communities and a means of bringing smart growth improvements to both sides of the river.

The existing Milton-Madison bridge had become functionally obsolete, deteriorating badly despite multiple rehabilitations. Its 20-foot wide road deck was too narrow to handle modern traffic and in August 2008, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation launched the Milton-Madison Bridge Project in an effort to replace the bridge.

Posted in Blog, DOT, Indiana, Kentucky, Partnership and Main, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building region-wide support for new development along Arizona’s Valley Metro light rail line

tempe-az
New development along the Valley Metro light rail line in Tempe, AZ. Photo of the Hub on Campus building via Facebook.

The City of Phoenix, AZ, is working to encourage development along the Valley Metro light rail line, and it’s getting some help from a region-wide effort that’s working to link Phoenix’s investments to others throughout the region.

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) is a unique non-profit partnership working to catalyze development along the Valley Metro light rail in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Started in 2011 with a $20 million private investment from Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Raza Development Fund, SCC aims to create “vibrant urban environments and transit-oriented communities that have it all”: a mix of housing starts, new community health care centers, entrepreneurial start-ups, pedestrian and bicycle friendly neighborhoods, eclectic retail and restaurants, and artistic centered community development connected to the 20-mile light rail line.

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Local Leaders Council, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cambridge Main Street wanted to support local businesses—and new zoning is helping to make it happen

Downtown Cambridge
Main Street in downtown Cambridge, MD. Photo by Eli Pousson, via Flickr.

It took a golf course to make the city of Cambridge, MD, reconsider how it was planning development.

The 1,000-acre project would have added 3,200 homes to Cambridge, a city of just over 12,000 people on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore. After several rounds of city approval followed by fierce public opposition, the Maryland Board of Public Works purchased 70% of the land back from the developer and committed it to preservation.

“That experience was a major impetus to rewrite the City’s comprehensive plan,” said City of Cambridge Planner Anne Roane. In 2008 the City began the process of updating its plan for growth. And city planners weren’t the only ones excited about the new initiative.

Posted in Maryland, Partnership and Main, Smart growth stories | 2 Comments

How Phoenix, AZ is using transit-oriented development to reinvent downtown

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix residents can soon look forward to more housing and lifestyle choices, thanks toReinvent PHX, a collaboration between the City of Phoenix, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Arizona State University, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives and local organizations aiming to develop “sustainability action plans” for the areas along Phoenix’s existing light rail line.

This process, carried out in consultation with the public and with funding from HUD, is intended to create an attractive investment environment for transit-oriented development (TOD) projects along Phoenix’s light rail line, Valley METRO, which opened in 2008. By 2014, Phoenix will have developed sustainability action plans for each of the light-rail adjacent areas, and implementation will begin. Soon a “car-free” or “car-lite” lifestyle will be available to more and more Phoenix residents through TOD.

Posted in Arizona, Blog, Smart growth stories | 3 Comments

Officials aim to unleash economic potential of Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley

Fulton Mail in Downtown Fresno. Photograph courtesy chris.jackson on Flickr. Fulton Mail in Downtown Fresno. Photograph courtesy chris.jackson on Flickr.

Local leaders across in California’s San Joaquin Valley are working together to bring economic growth to the entire region.

Officials from fourteen different municipalities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, along with California State University – Fresno, the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council have partnered to create Smart Valley Places, a coalition working to transform the Valley from one of the most economically challenged and underserved areas of the country into a thriving place to live, work and play.

“It’s almost as if they’ve found the balance,” said John Lehn, President and CEO of the Kings County Economic Development Corporation, part of the Smart Valley Places group. “Let’s focus on the things we do have in common. That has resulted in both state and federal officials really opening their eyes to the cooperation that’s happened in the Central Valley.”

The centerpiece of Smart Valley Places’ work is a single integrated plan for regional growth that will guide the San Joaquin Valley for the next 20 years and even beyond. The plan will span eight counties and over a dozen cities to preserve agricultural land, focus development near economic centers and address local and regional mass transit, energy and housing issues. Smart Valley Places projects vary across the region, from transit-oriented development in Tulare, to downtown revitalization in Hanford, all fitting into a “single integrated plan for regional growth.”

Posted in Blog, California, HUD, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment