Category: New York

Queensbury, NY hosts workshop for revitalizing town’s Main Street

queensburymainst

The Town of Queensbury has big plans for revitalizing its Main Street corridor. As part of making those plans reality, Queensbury officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 16 and 17, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The assistance came at a time when Queensbury leaders were discussing how best to capitalize on a $22 million investment in road, sidewalk, streetscape, water and sewer improvements completed in 2011 and related planning studies and zoning regulations. The workshop aimed to help the town realize the potential economic benefits of a compact, denser development pattern for the corridor.

“As the third of four planned workshops related to the future development of Main Street, the Town Board expects to gain some vital information from the Smart Growth America staff that will help guide us in any changes we may wish to make to this neighborhood’s zoning,” said Supervisor John Strough.

On the workshop’s first day, April 16, a group of Queensbury residents gathered for a presentation that featured a broad overview of the fiscal and economic implications of new development along Main Street. A wide range of state and elected officials, real estate executives, local residents, non-profit organizations, and representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were present for the workshop’s second day, April 17. In addition to a presentation on the economic and fiscal impacts of different development patterns, the workshop included a facilitated brainstorming session with participants.

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

How a single parking space represents change in Ithaca, NY

Smart growth strategies are helping improve economic mobility in Ithaca, NY.Smart growth strategies at work in downtown in Ithaca, NY.

If you walk by the mayor’s office building in Ithaca, NY, you might notice a curious sight. Outside in the parking lot, in what once was a parking space reserved for the mayor, now lies what appears to be a small park—complete with benches, plantings and nearby bicycle parking. It may seem odd that a standing mayor would forgo his or her own reserved parking space to make way for a park, but that’s exactly what Mayor Svante Myrick did. The unconventional move is just one indication of Myrick’s commitment to smart growth strategies and how they can benefit all residents of the city.

Myrick is the mayor of Ithaca and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. First elected to Ithaca’s city council at the age of 20 and then to the mayor’s office in 2011 at the age of 24, Myrick saw the parking space outside his office as an opportunity to show residents it’s possible to think differently about their community—especially the role of public space, mobility and active streets.

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EPA recognizes seven communities with National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

Atlanta BeltlineThe Atlanta Beltline, one of this year’s award winners. Photo by Christoper T. Martin, courtesy of Atlanta Beltline.

This morning in Washington, DC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize some of the best examples of smart growth projects in the country today.

The annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, established in 2002, recognizes exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

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Partnership in the news: Rochester, NY awarded TIGER grant for Amtrak station upgrades

Rochester Amtrak station
Amtrak station in Rochester, NY. Photo via New York Railroads.

Rochester, NY is building a transportation gateway to the city that will serve the region and become a landmark for generations—thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

In August, USDOT dedicated $15 million in TIGER grant funding to replace the city’s current Amtrak station, which first opened its doors in 1978, with a new intermodal transit center. The new 12,000 square foot, $26.5 million facility will include high passenger platforms, an underground concourse and two new passenger sidings.

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Town of Campbell, NY hosts workshop on smart growth zoning codes for small cities

campbell picture

Photo courtesy of Dougtone via Flickr

Officials and local residents in Campbell, NY met with representatives from Smart Growth America on April 24 and 25, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshops gave Campbell the tools it needs to preserve its character, while creating strategies that allow the town to move toward a more sustainable future.

“The Town of Campbell feels very fortunate to have been selected for this technical assistance workshop,” said Town Supervisor David Tennent. “We’re eager to learn what Smart Growth America has to teach us regarding strategies for improving our zoning code and planning for sustainable growth in our town.”

Nicolette Barber, AICP, with Hunt Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors, a consultant for the town and working closely with the technical assistance team said, “Campbell is a small town that would like to maintain and enhance its rural character. In planning for its future, the town is not looking to compete with the regional shopping centers or expand its population by leaps and bounds. Rather, what residents would like are more opportunities for local shopping, social events and recreation. To the extent that the Comprehensive Plan Committee could help promote that through smart growth strategies learned from Smart Growth America, they would like to do so.”

Posted in Blog, New York, Smart growth zoning codes for small cities, Technical assistance, Tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Partnership in the News: Blueprint Binghamton launches community planning efforts

A local Binghamton resident’s idea for community improvement. Photo courtesty Blueprint Binghamton

Over the past 60 years, the city of Binghamton, New York gradually lost residents due to a shrinking industrial economy, eventually falling to about half its population from 1950. Unemployment rates above the national average and education and income levels below national averages present Binghamton with many challenges. However, a comprehensive plan for the region, supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is an opportunity to build upon Binghamton’s valuable community assets and existing infrastructure.

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Complete Streets pay off


From New York City’s new report, Measuring the Street.

With its new report Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets, New York City illustrates how its Complete Streets approach meets new goals – and builds local economies.

Communities implementing Complete Streets policies must adopt new performance measures for transportation projects and the networks of streets as a whole. Such measures should provide clarity on how those projects are meeting community needs and goals for the transportation network. Success can be measured in a number of ways, including improved safety for all users; physical changes to the built environment; number of people walking, riding bikes, taking transit, or riding in cars; and improving travel conditions and access for all.

New York City has focused on three overarching goals: designing for safety, designing for all users of the street, and designing for great public spaces. To meet these goals, the City’s Department of Transporation uses five key strategies: designing safer streets, building great public spaces, improving bus service, reducing delay and speeding, and efficiency in parking and loading. New approaches to street design reflect a “blending [of] new technologies with time-tested tools to create 21st Century Streets for all users,” and have resulted in safer streets, more efficient travel, and big boosts for local businesses.

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Senator Schumer calls on Congress to extend tax credits for brownfield redevelopment


Senator Charles Schumer has called on Congress to extend the EPA’s Brownfields Tax Credit. Image via Flickr user ProPublica.

Just last week, the New York Times chronicled the difficulties of creating new development on former gas station sites. Now, New York Senator Charles Schumer is asking Congress to support property owners, municipalities and developers who want to clean up these difficult pieces of land and get them back into productive use.

“Scores of gas stations sit vacant and abandoned across upstate New York, acting as detriments to downtown development and potentially serious hazards to human environmental health,” Schumer was quoted by the Buffalo News. “Gas stations can look like small fixer-uppers above ground, but may have lots of problems beneath.”

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