Category: District of Columbia

All aboard for more accessible bus stops in greater Washington, DC

DC WMATA bus credit Elvert Barnes flickr
Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

The Washington, DC region prides itself on robust bus service, and a recent change to bus stop accessibility standards is opening the system to even more people.

Thousands of people in the Washington, DC region take the bus each day, including people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides three basic criteria when defining an “accessible” bus stop. It should 1) have a firm landing surface; 2) be at least five feet wide and eight feet long; and 3) connect to the curb. Because when bus stops are narrow or located in a patch of grass, getting to and waiting at the bus stop isn’t just unpleasant for people with disabilities — it’s a barrier to travel.

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Leaders discuss walkable design and economic development at Policy Forum 2015

Tommy WellsFormer Washington, DC Councilmember Tommy Wells speaking at the second annual Local Leaders Council Policy Forum on June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC.

How can walkable design help build a vibrant local economy? And what can local leaders do to make this happen? Two dozen leaders from diverse communities discussed these questions during a session at the Local Leaders Council Policy Forum, held on June 1 in Washington, D.C.

Moderating the session was former Washington, DC Councilmember Tommy Wells, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. Wells’ district made several advances in sustainable design and planning during his tenure, and his practical knowledge of governance, politics, and policy set the framework for the conversation.

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Smarter parking codes to promote smart growth


Unless you’re walking to your destination in a busy downtown neighborhood, chances are good that you need parking at the end of the trip. Nowadays, several cities are changing their thinking on parking regulations in response to the growing demand for car-light living.

Typically, parking rules are used to establish the minimum number of off-street private car parking spaces that must be provided in new residential and commercial developments. This helps manage traffic and congestion as new projects and more people come to the area, and it helps keep parking demand from overtaking supply over time. However, the following cities are modernizing their approach and tackling the parking issue in new ways.

Posted in Blog, California, District of Columbia, Local Leaders Council, Pennsylvania | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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

New York tours offer look at urban manufacturing’s revival

Urban small-scale manufacturers at work. Photo by Nicolas Lemery Nantel for OHNY.

In today’s American economy, where so much is imported from other countries, American cities are rediscovering their manufacturing roots. Industry shakeups and the economic downturn demonstrate the vulnerability of cities that rely on single-industry manufacturing sectors like steel and automobiles. But while large-scale industries suffer from lack of resilience, small-scale manufacturing is creeping back into our cities and strengthening our local economies.

Today, though the manufacturing sector makes up just 12% of US GDP, the sector has grown at roughly twice the pace of the country’s overall economic growth since the end of the recession. Manufacturing provides high-wage, low-barrier to entry jobs with the average manufacturing salary roughly $10,000 more than the average U.S. job. Between 2010 and 2012, manufacturing jobs grew by over 400,000—many of them in small businesses. The opportunity for local job growth is great.

Posted in Blog, District of Columbia, New York, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

20 local vendors will be at Production in the City. Will you?

At the Bluejacket brewery, located in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood of Washington, DC. Photo by Bluejacket via Facebook.

What do a brewmaster, a shirtmaker and a sign manufacturer all have in common? They’re all manufacturing their products right here in the greater DC area.

Join us on on Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 5:30-8:30 PM at Production in the City to shop, celebrate and discuss DC’s home-grown manufacturing economy and the role the city’s neighborhoods play in the industry’s growth.

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Celebrate DC’s locally made products this holiday season

The Yards Boilermaker Shops will play host to Production in the City and a popup market of Made-in-DC products on December 5.

It’s never been easier to buy something that bears the label “Made in DC.”

From beer to jewelry to clothing to ice cream pops, independent manufacturers are making a wide array of products right here in the District of Columbia—and they’re relying on the city’s neighborhoods to help their businesses thrive.

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LOCUS developers to meet in Washington, DC next week and call for overhaul of federal real estate programs

LOCUS Winter Meeting
LOCUS members gathered earlier this year at the coalition’s winter meeting.

Federal real estate programs could be doing more for families, taxpayers and communities, and a national coalition of real estate developers and investors will convene in Washington, DC next week to advocate for changes to these enormous programs.

LOCUS, Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, will gather in Washington and meet with members of Congress on October 8 and 9, 2013 to advocate for reforms to federal real estate programs that could broaden housing opportunities, revitalize cities and towns nationwide while saving taxpayers upwards of $33 billion a year.

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