Category: Technical assistance

Vermont Agency of Transportation sets new standards for excellence

vermont-state-standardsThe Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is working to create a safe, efficient, multimodal transportation system that supports the state’s growing economy. A new report released today will help VTrans do this even better in coming years.

VTrans, in partnership with Smart Growth America, has unveiled a work program for revising the Vermont State Standards, which provide VTrans staff and other partners with direction in designing roadway transportation projects.

The new report, Revising the Vermont State Standards; M2D2: Multimodal Development and Delivery, identifies specific modifications to the Vermont State Standards, recommends changes to other related VTrans guidelines and policies, and presents an implementation plan and schedule for conducting the revisions. The new revisions will help VTrans keep pace with the state of the practice in highway engineering and better meet and balance the diverse needs of Vermont residents and communities.

“An enormous amount of our work is influenced by the Vermont State Standards,” said Vermont Transportation Secretary Sue Minter. “Updating these standards will help the work of the entire Agency be more efficient and more effective. The recommended revisions were informed by some of the most innovative transportation agencies in the country. This work program will help guide our design decisions as we face new challenges in the coming decades.”

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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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Town Supervisor David Tennent on connecting communities in rural Campbell, NY


Town of Campbell, NY. Photo via Town of Campbell website.

Residents of Campbell, NY, want a vibrant main street while maintaining their rural atmosphere. David Tennent, Town Supervisor and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is using smart growth strategies to improve walkability, foster local business, and enhance natural resources to provide the Campbell that the residents desire.

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Since the workshop: Boulder, CO continues to develop new transportation strategies for sustainable development

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Bike lanes at the intersection of Broadway and University. Photo by City of Boulder via Flickr

Boulder, CO has ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions and improve transportation in the city. A newly adopted transportation plan—informed by Smart Growth America’s work with the city—is the most recent step toward achieving these goals.

In August 2014, the Boulder City Council accepted an update to the city’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP). The updated TMP addresses bikeways, pedestrian infrastructure, and regional transit, acknowledging that each has an important role in supporting the sustainability and quality of life goals set by the local community.

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New program will help Vermont communities coordinate land use decisions and transportation investments

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A street sign in Vergennes, VT, one of the first participants in VTrans and ACCD’s Strong Communities, Better Connections program. Photo by The Selby.

In a new collaboration to support vibrant community centers and increase in town and regional transportation options, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development are pleased to announce the Strong Communities, Better Connections Pilot Grant Program has funded three projects that help align land use planning and community revitalization efforts with transportation investments.

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Since the workshop: Charlotte moves forward planning $120 million neighborhood investment

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Charlotte, NC skyline via Flickr.

The last time we checked in with Charlotte, we learned that the City Council had approved a Capital Investment Plan for $120 million for catalytic economic development and community reinvestment projects.

Now, the public has given their go-ahead. This November, voters approved the first two-year, $20 million investment in the program.

These funds will go to high-impact projects in five targeted areas of the city, namely Whitehall/Ayrsley, Prosperity Village, West Trade/Rozelles Ferry, Sunset/Beattie’s Ford and Central/Abermarle/Shamrock. The goal? To strengthen these neighborhood by making them more desirable for commercial and retail development and mixed-income housing.

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Person County, NC plans for residential and economic growth

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Uptown Roxboro, NC. Picture via Roxboro Development Group.

Person County, NC’s community’s workshop goal: “To help local leaders and community members identify how Person County can manage growth and economic development in such a way that our strategies for these two issues complement one another and both contribute to the vision set forth for Person County in the Person Futures Strategic Plan.”

On December 2 and 3, representatives from Smart Growth America (SGA) met with county and municipal leaders and residents to provide assistance under the Planning for Fiscal and Economic Health tool, supported by a grant from the U.S. EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

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North Central TX tweaks development codes for transit readiness

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A station on the DART orange line. Photo via Wikipedia Commons.

The Dallas, TX light rail network (DART) is expected to add more suburban stations over the next decade, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) wants these communities to be transit-ready.

Transit works best when the stations are within easy walking distance of a mix of homes, jobs and shops—but when a station is planned for a suburban community, this compact, walkable development is rarely present. In fact, the zoning code often prohibits it.

To identify priority zoning code fixes that can encourage more mixed-use, transit-oriented development in proposed light rail station areas, NCTCOG brought in Smart Growth America to provide our Smart Growth Zoning Codes for Small Cities technical assistance tool.

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