Category: Colorado

Inside Foot Traffic Ahead: sub-urban places and the future of walkability  

Belmar-festivalFestival Italiano in walkable sub-urban Belmar, Denver, CO. Photo via Flickr.

Walkable real estate is in high demand in America’s large metros, and tomorrow’s most successful cities will be the ones that capture that market—but the walkable places they build may not look like today’s downtowns.

In Foot Traffic Ahead, our June report co-released by our LOCUS coalition and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, we ranked America’s largest metropolitan areas based on their projected future growth in development of walkable places. That list of nascent future walkable real estate hot spots included surprise contenders like Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles—far from the usual suspects for such rankings. Meanwhile, some famously walkable cities like Portland, Pittsburg, and Baltimore were projected to fall behind.

The difference owes to walkable sub-urban places, an unconventional category that includes both historic town-center type suburbs and modern transit-oriented developments. In our highest-projected metro areas—from Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA—a large percent of new growth is expected to take the walkable sub-urban form.

Posted in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, LOCUS, Reports | 1 Comment

Applications close Friday for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops

coolplanningboulder
The City of Boulder, CO created this poster following their February workshop on cool planning.

The application window for Smart Growth America’s 2014 free technical assistance workshops is closing soon! If your community is considering applying for one or more of these workshops, applications are due by this Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST.

In 2013, 22 communities were awarded these free workshops, including small towns like Blue Springs, MO and Campbell, NY and major cities like Houston, TX. These communities have used what they learned at our workshops to inform new projects, new plans—and even posters!

Posted in Colorado, Technical assistance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northwest Colorado hosts workshop to discuss strengthening economy

Eagle CO

Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on August 8 and 9, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The two-day workshop provided tools and training to assist NWCCOG leaders as they develop strategies for the organization’s new role as a U.S. Economic Development Administration Economic Development District. These strategies will help NWCCOG communities to strengthen their economies while also maintaining the natural environment for which the region is known.

“NWCCOG is very excited about our upcoming Smart Growth America workshop,” said Rachel Lunney, Economic Development and Communications Manager for NWCCOG. “We are a newly-designated Economic Development District, and as such we have asked for assistance with planning for the economic and fiscal health of our member communities. Smart Growth America’s experts will help us advance toward our vision of a robust, diverse regional economy, made up of strong local businesses and jobs that pay well in communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools.”

Posted in Blog, Colorado, Planning for Economic and Fiscal Health, Technical assistance, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight on Sustainability: Denver’s Sun Valley plans for brighter tomorrow

Sun Valley
Sun Valley neighborhood listening sessions. Photo via the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan.

Denver, CO’s Sun Valley has a new chance to overcome many hurdles towards economic vibrancy thanks to a new light rail line and a Community Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Sun Valley near downtown Denver is a remarkably diverse neighborhood home to a large immigrant and refugee population. The area is also one of Denver’s poorest, with an average annual income of $8,000 per household. More than 9 out of 10 of the area’s residents live in public housing. In addition to these demographic challenges Sun Valley is alo isolated geographically, cut off from Denver’s urban core by the South Platte River to the east, Sports Authority Field at Mile High to the north, and major roads to the west and south.

A new initiative will help Sun Valley overcome these chalenges and become a better place to live for current residents and future ones. At the heart of this work is the Decatur-Federal Station Area Plan, a transit-oriented development strategy for the larger Sun Valley region. Created by the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development and the Denver Housing Authority, the plan centers around a newly-completed RTD FasTracks light rail line. The line extends west from the heart of downtown Denver to Golden, CO, and connects Sun Valley to Denver’s economic opportunities and employment centers.

Posted in Colorado, Partnership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Boulder, CO targets carbon reduction through transportation at smart growth strategy workshop


The Boulder Civic Area is a visionary “community driven” project to rethink and evolve the downtown’s most expansive public space. Image via Bouldercolorado.gov on Flickr.

Boulder, CO officials and local residents will meet with representatives from Smart Growth America on March 4 and 5, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops aim to find innovative travel and mobility strategies that will give Boulder the tools to achieve the next level of the city’s ambitious carbon-reduction goals.

Boulder residents are invited to join the workshops first day for an open house on the city’s 2013 Transportation Master Plan Update (from 4:30 to 6 p.m.) and a presentation by Smart Growth America (from 6 to 8 p.m.). The event will be held Monday, March 4, 2013 at the Hotel Boulderado Conference Center, 2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO.

Posted in Blog, Colorado, Cool planning, Technical assistance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The seven most innovative development projects – and policies – in the country


The BLVD in Lancaster, California is one of seven communities being honored this year by the EPA. Photo by Charlie Essers via Flickr.

What do a boulevard in California, a Denver neighborhood, new zoning ordinances in Virginia and an organic food co-op in Vermont all have in common?

They are all being honored with the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Sustainable Communities. The seven winning communities – including four winners and three honorable mentions – were announced this morning.

Posted in California, Colorado, EPA, Featured Content, Vermont, Virginia | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Repair Priorities: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads

Decades of underinvestment in regular repair have left many states’ roads in poor condition, and the cost of repairing these roads is rising faster than many states can address them. These liabilities are outlined in a new report by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, released today, which examines road conditions and spending priorities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report recommends changes at both the state and federal level that can reduce future liabilities, benefit taxpayers and create a better transportation system.

Repair Priorities: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads found that between 2004 and 2008 states spent 43 percent of total road construction and preservation funds on repair of existing roads, while the remaining 57 percent of funds went to new construction. That means 57 percent of these funds was spent on only 1 percent of the nation’s roads, while only 43 percent was dedicated to preserving the 99 percent of the system that already existed. As a result of these spending decisions, road conditions in many states are getting worse and costs for taxpayers are going up.

“Federal taxpayers have an enormous stake in seeing that our roads are kept in good condition,” said Erich W. Zimmermann of Taxpayers for Common Sense at a briefing earlier today. “Billions of precious tax dollars were spent to build our highway system, and neglecting repair squanders that investment. Keeping our roads in good condition reduces taxpayers’ future liabilities.”

“Spending too little on repair and allowing roads to fall apart exposes states and the federal government to huge financial liabilities,” said Roger Millar of Smart Growth America. “Our findings show that in order to bring their roads into good condition and maintain them that way, states would collectively have to spend $43 billion every year for the next 20 years – more than they currently spend on all repair, preservation and new capacity combined. As this figure illustrates, state have drifted too far from regular preservation and repair and in so doing have created a deficit that is going to take decades to reverse.”

The high cost of poor conditions
According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, every $1 spent to keep a road in good condition avoids $6-14 needed later to rebuild the same road once it has deteriorated significantly. Investing too little on road repair increases these future liabilities, and with every dollar spent on new construction many states add to a system they are already failing to keep in good condition.

State and federal leaders can do more to see that highway funds are spent in ways that benefits driver and taxpayers. More information about the high cost of delaying road repair, how states invest their transportation dollars and what leaders can do to address these concerns is available in the full report.

Click here to read the full report, state-specific data and view the interactive map.

Posted in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Featured Content, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Members and Main, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Reports, Resources, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, States, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New report reveals smart transportation spending creates jobs, grows the economy

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Americans to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world” to win the future. To rebuild America, he said, we will aim to put “more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges.”

A new report from Smart Growth America analyzes states’ investments in infrastructure to determine whether they made the best use of their spending based on job creation numbers. Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation evaluates how successful states have been in creating jobs with their flexible $26.6 billion of transportation funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Those results should guide governors and other leaders in revitalizing America’s transportation system, maximizing job creation from transportation dollars and rebuilding the economy.

According to data sent by the states to Congress, the states that created the most jobs were the ones that invested in public transportation projects and projects that maintained and repaired existing roads and bridges. The states that spent their funds predominantly building new roads and bridges created fewer jobs.

As Newsweek’s David A. Graham explains, investments in transportation create jobs in the short term and longer term economic prosperity too:

Injecting money into transportation projects, the thinking goes, is an especially potent jobs-creation tool because it not only puts construction workers and contractors to work quickly, it also lays the groundwork for future economic growth and development. Obama predicted the transportation money alone would put hundreds of thousands of workers on the job.

As “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus” explains, not all transportation projects reap these benefits equally:

[S]tates spent more than a third of the money on building new roads—rather than working on public transportation and fixing up existing roads and bridges. The result of the indiscriminate spending? States missed out on potentially thousands of new jobs—and bridges, roads, and overpasses around the country are still crumbling. Meanwhile, the states that did put dollars toward public transportation were richly rewarded: Each dollar used on transit was 75 percent more effective at putting people to work than a dollar used for highway work.


Posted in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Featured Content, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Reports, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, States, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments