Category: Georgia

New report reveals historic shift in real estate demand in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta's Five Points neighborhood
Atlanta’s Little Five Points Neighborhood. Photo via Flickr.

Walkable urban development is now the primary real estate market in one of the nation’s most unlikely regions: metropolitan Atlanta, GA.

That’s according to The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Atlanta, a new report released today and authored by Christopher Leinberger, President of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS coalition of real estate developers and investors.

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Partnership in the News: Atlanta BeltLine receives TIGER V funding

Atlanta BeltLine
The Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, one of the more complete sections of the project. Photo by Atlanta BeltLine via Flickr.

Atlanta, GA’s BeltLine project will complete a major section of its multi-use trail network three years ahead of schedule thanks to a Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $18 million grant awarded earlier this month will help develop a 2.5-mile stretch of the BeltLine’s southwest corridor. This portion of the BeltLine is a former freight line that has not been operational in over 30 years. Funding from this fifth-round TIGER grant will cover the cost of right-of-way, design, demolition and construction for a mix of shared use trails, trailheads, access points, and the preservation of the future streetcar transit corridor.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Sustainable development plan brings new life to Augusta, GA

15th St., August, GA.
Community meetings helped inform this rendering for proposed improvements along August, GA’s 15th Street corridor, including landscaped median, bike lanes, and tree-lined sidewalks. Image via the Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program.

Augusta, GA, is reinvesting in its downtown and a 4.5 mile corridor along 15th Street, thanks in part to a 2010 Community Challenge grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Downtown Augusta today is home to many empty storefronts and vacant houses, starting at an empty shopping mall in the Rocky Creek neighborhood and running along Deans Bridge Road up to 15th Street in Cherry Tree. The Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program is working to transform these struggling neighborhoods and spur economic development in Augusta’s downtown. The Program focuses on four areas along the corridor: Rocky Creek, Southgate, Oates Creek and Cherry Tree. Each community has unique needs, and concept plans have been developed for each neighborhood through input from community residents.

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Smart Growth News – August 5, 2013

How One Family Made Cleveland (Yes, Cleveland) Cool
The National Journal – August 1, 2013
It took years of collaboration between developers, businesses, local institutions, and government, but today downtown Cleveland is taking off—and giving the old Rust Belt city a future. There wasn’t a market for urban living in Cleveland until developers like the Marons built places where young professionals would want to be.

House Declines to Act On SAFE Bridges Act Before Recessing
Transportation Issues Daily – August 4, 2013
The Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges (SAFE Bridges) Act would distribute funds among States “by a needs-based formula based on each State’s share of deficient bridges.”

Why the House GOP’s Cuts to Housing and Transportation Were So Unpopular
Washington Post Wonkblog – August 1, 2013
The leadership couldn’t find enough votes for the bill, in part because the proposed spending cuts were too deep for virtually all Democrats and even some Republicans.

Congress Must Increase Transit Funding and Help America Get to Work
The Hill – August 2, 2013
A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced legislation to preserve tax credit parity for transit riders. We now need our Congressional leaders to act in the same spirit and forge a compromise on a long-term solution to adequately finance American’s public transportation systems.

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Smart Growth News – July 23, 2013

The Prosperity Agenda: Michigan Cities and Downtown Centers Experiencing Population Growth Despite Challenges
Economics of Place – July 22, 2013
On this month’s Prosperity Agenda we talk with experts about what is driving people to choose to live in Michigan’s largest cities’ and downtown centers despite the challenges facing many of these communities.

White House Threatens to Veto GOP Transportation, Housing Bill
The Hill – July 22, 2013
“The bill severely undermines critical investments in economic and community development programs that drive local innovation.”

Memo to the President: Transportation Choices Boost Economic Choices
NRDC Switchboard – July 22, 2013
President Obama now has the opportunity to reframe transportation more thoroughly as a tool for boosting economic prospects for this generation and the next.

Is Your City Age-Ready?
The Huffington Post – July 22, 2013
Despite the richness of discussion, decision-makers must ask if there are investments being made today. Changes to infrastructure, novel institutional arrangements and expanded services will take time to develop and implement to respond to an older population with unprecedented cultural and income diversity.

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Introducing LOCUS state chapters

LOCUS is proud to formally announce that we are expanding our efforts to six key regions across the country with LOCUS state chapters. LOCUS state chapters, working closely with LOCUS members in these states, will complement and enhance our ongoing national work to promote walkable development through education, advocacy, and technical assistance.

We have already begun work in the chapters states of Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington. Thank you to the LOCUS members and allies who have met with us in these states thus far.

LOCUS members are invited and encouraged to join the work of these state chapters. If you are not yet a LOCUS member and are interested in joining, submit a membership application today.

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A game plan to change development patterns in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Downtown Suwanee in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Photo by Smart Growth America.

Located just outside Atlanta’s Perimeter beltway, Gwinnett County stands at the crossroads of change. Long known as a low-density bedroom suburb, Gwinnett today is a diverse county of more than 800,000 people with and rapidly increasing jobs base.

But Gwinnett County is quickly bumping up against the limits of suburban development. Older retail and jobs centers are changing rapidly and some are in decline. As is the case everywhere in metropolitan Atlanta, traffic congestion is overwhelming. The County and its business leaders have sponsored several transit plans for the I-85 corridor in recent years, but the defeat of the recent transportation initiative has made it unlikely that rail transit will extend to Gwinnett County anytime soon. In a few cases – the City of Suwanee in particular – new development has taken on a different pattern. But most of the county is still stuck in the problems of suburbia.

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Georgia DOT adopts Complete Streets policy

The corner of Bull and Perry Streets in Savannah, Georgia, features several Complete Streets features. Photo by Ken Lund, via Flickr.

September 20, 2012 marked a significant day for the Complete Streets movement: the day the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) adopted a Complete Streets policy.

That policy is the product of years of work done by the state’s Complete Streets supporters, including Georgia Bikes, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the cities of Atlanta, Decatur, and Roswell; several transit agencies, and leaders within GDOT. Gerald Ross, GDOT’s Chief Engineer, coordinated a policy task force and collaborated with several stakeholder groups. The comprehensive final policy calls for the Department to “routinely incorporate bicycle, pedestrian, and transit (user and transit vehicle) accommodations into transportation infrastructure projects as a means for improving mobility, access, and safety for the traveling public.”

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