Category: States

A transportation engineer on what convinced him to use a Complete Streets approach

west-jefferson“Crazy ideas” in action: Complete Streets features in downtown West Jefferson, NC.

On Tuesday we hosted a panel discussion about Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, new research from the National Complete Streets Coalition on the outcomes of Complete Streets projects across the country. If you missed the event, read our full recap and watch the recorded webinar.

Dean Ledbetter, a Senior Engineer at the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), joined the panel to discuss the Complete Streets project in downtown West Jefferson, NC. There were so many questions about working with transportation engineers, and for Dean specifically, that we said down with him for a follow-up conversation.

Alex Dodds: You mentioned that you initially thought that Complete Streets was a “crazy idea,” but that eventually you changed your mind. What convinced you?
Dean Ledbetter: I don’t know if there was one specific thing. I think I had to go through the [Federal Highway Administration’s] training several times for the reality of something new to overpower the existing “knowledge” I had about what my job was supposed to be. And I have to admit that we only went to those classes to get the free Professional Development Hours not because we really expected to learn anything useful.

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Neighborhood revitalization workshop teaches Maryland leaders new strategies and ways to overcome challenges

Maryland revitalization workshopLocal leaders from Western Maryland and Maryland’s Eastern Shore discuss revitalization challenges and successes.

Nearly twenty members of the Maryland Chapter of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council gathered in Silver Spring, MD on Friday, March 13 for a Revitalizing Downtowns and Regional Centers for the Triple Bottom Line workshop sponsored by Smart Growth America and 1000 Friends of Maryland. Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, an Advisory Board member of the Maryland Chapter, sponsored the event at the Silver Spring Civic Building in the heart of Downtown Silver Spring.

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Department of Planning Executive Director Rick Bernhardt on community engagement for a better Nashville, TN

rbernhardtRick Bernhardt, right, discusses different development strategies with Nashville residents. Photo by NashvilleNext via Twitter.

Nashville, TN, is a creative city with a rich history in the arts that has recently seen new growth in both its population and economy. Rick Bernhardt, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is working to make sure the city’s development supports that growth.

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Registration now open for 2015 LOCUS Michigan Leadership Summit

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Real estate developers and investors in Michigan are invited to join LOCUS and the Michigan Municipal League for the inaugural Michigan Leadership Summit on June 23, 2015 in Detroit, MI. This day-long event will bring together local elected officials and real estate developers to network, make deals, and discuss policy strategies to build great, walkable places across Michigan.

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Franklin, TN hosts workshop to consider development strategies for economic growth

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Downtown Franklin, TN. Photo by Wayne Hsieh via Flickr.

Smart Growth America staff met with officials from the City of Franklin, TN, on March 3 and 4, 2015, to discuss a range of strategies to position Franklin for long-term economic growth in the context of new development pressures and rapid population growth. Franklin was awarded the two-day workshop as part of Smart Growth America’s annual free technical assistance competition.

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Councilmember Amber Waldref on improving corridors and quality of life for residents in Spokane, WA

City of Spokane, WA. Photo via City of Spokane on Facebook.

At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Spokane, WA, is using smart growth to manage growth and improve quality of life for residents.

Spokane is a scenic city centered on the Spokane River with a population of 210,000. According to Amber Waldref, District One Councilmember and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, the city is an “urban area with a small town feel.” Several smart growth projects—including updating design standards, a new form based code, improved transit, and building incentives downtown—will help Spokane be the vibrant, walkable city that residents desire.

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Mason, MI is growing from the inside out

Mason AerialDowntown Mason, MI. Photo courtesy of the City of Mason.

Mason, MI, established in the 19th century as a small town center, eventually became the seat of the surrounding county while vying to become the new state capital. Although Lansing, located just to the north, was ultimately selected as the capital, Mason has managed to remain a small but distinct community while experiencing population growth of roughly 20 percent in the last decade.

“Mason is a very friendly and welcoming place where people take a lot of pride in the community,” says Mayor Pro Tem Marlon Brown, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “Ultimately, what makes Mason so special are the people.”

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Building great places in the Los Angeles area? Join our LOCUS LinkUP on March 26

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Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade isn’t the only walkable neighborhood in the Southern California anymore. Photo by LandAinLA.

Southern California is going through an urban transformation that’s making the region more walkable, one city block at a time—and we are bringing together the people making it happen.

Developers and investors working on walkable real estate projects are invited to join us on Thursday, March 26, 2015 for the LOCUS LinkUp: Building the Next Walkable Places in Southern California.

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