Later this month planners in Washtenaw County, Michigan will unveil a plan for a re-imagined Washtenaw Avenue, a 4.5-mile corridor connecting Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, MI. The corridor will undergo a makeover to better support all modes of travel and mixed-use development, thanks in part to a $3 million grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
Washtenaw Avenue is the busiest corridor in in the county, averaging between 28,000 to 40,000 vehicle trips per day. However, the auto-centric pattern of parking lots and strip malls lacks mixed-use development and is not safe for pedestrians and bicyclists using the roadway. Planners evaluated different strategies for improvements to the corridor and will reveal their detailed plan to the public on December 11, 2013.
County planners took a careful look at redeveloping the corridor through a mixed-use, transit-oriented development lens in order to capitalize on the avenue’s potential for economic development. Their strategy is to promote infill development at key locations, foster new mixed-use neighborhoods, revitalize existing neighborhoods, improve alternative transit choices, and promote an active urban setting. They will also make significant roadway improvements including dedicated bus lanes, buffered bike lanes, wider sidewalks and landscaped green spaces that will make for a more attractive and safer roadway for all users.
How much does housing and transportation cost your family each month? These two items are typically a family’s largest expenses. Together they take up almost half of the average household’s budget, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). How does your family’s housing and transportation costs compare to the rest of the region? And how would living in a different neighborhood or commuting in different ways affect your monthly budget? A new tool is designed to help you find out.
Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.
A Conversation with Barbara McCann
December 4, 2013 — 1:15 PM EST
Join the Security and Sustainability Forum to discuss smart urban transportation practices with Barbara McCann, the founding Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. More than 500 jurisdictions, including more than half the states, have now adopted Complete Streets policies to make streets safe for all users. Register >>
Are ‘Green’ Cities Sustainable?
December 4, 2013
Countries in which many of the “green” cities are located include those with the world’s heaviest ecological footprints. This webinar will explore some reasons for this apparent disconnect between “green” cities and the “bigfoot countries” in which they are located. It will critique the utility of ecological footprint calculation to assess a nation’s “sustainability.” And it will conclude with some contrasting views on how nations and the global community can secure a future in which we earthlings are living within the earth’s capacity to support us. Learn more >>
Tips for Successful Brownfields Grant Proposals
December 4, 2013 — 2:00 PM EST
Join NALGEP, the Center for Creative Land Recycling, and the KSU Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program for a webinar to get the latest advice on preparing a successful application. This webinar will walk listeners through basic (but surprisingly often overlooked) advice for applicants, as well as new changes in grant guidelines, and funding trends. Speakers will provide special tips for small and rural communities and lend their insight into common mistakes and special advantages for these applicants. Register >>
With assistance from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the city of Dallas, TX will make significant improvements to its downtown transit system over the next few years with the construction of the Modern Streetcar and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line extension. Both projects received funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.
With a $23 million TIGER I grant and additional funding from the City of Dallas, North Central Texas Council of Governments and DART, Dallas will soon have a streetcar network that connects residents and visitors to core areas of the city. Dallas’ modern streetcar network will be a 1.6 mile route connecting various downtown districts and destinations including Union Station, with connections to the DART Red and Blue lines and the Dallas Convention Center. The streetcar will connect walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods in the urban core, act as a catalyst for economic development and serve as a quick, efficient and cost-effective means of transportation. The street car is currently in the environmental review phase but is on track for beginning operation in 2017.
DART Orange Line Extension
DART, the region’s rapid transit agency, will soon extended its light rail service to over 90 miles of track in 2014 with the completion of the 14.5 mile Orange Line extension to the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. DART operates both rail and bus services for downtown Dallas and 12 surrounding cities. Ridership on the DART light rail is among the busiest in the country with over 27.7 million passenger trips in 2012 and the extension of the Orange line will provide a much needed alternative transit option for residents and visitors. Part of the $5 million TIGER grant will go towards the construction of a rail terminal at the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW), which will include a train platform, passenger walkways, and a bus transfer station. This terminal will also be a connection to the TEX commuter rail system, expected to be completed in 2016. DFW is a major employer for the region and these projects will ensure that residents can get to and from work with a reliable, safe and affordable transit system.
Residents of Flint, MI, at one of the many community meetings that informed the city’s new comprehensive plan. Image via Imagine Flint.
The last time Flint, Michigan approved a master plan for the city’s development, Dwight Eisenhower was president and the city’s population was nearly double what it is today. Now, for the first time in over 50 years, Flint has a comprehensive plan to guide future growth that accurately reflects the opportunities and challenges facing the city today.
The city of Flint was a 20th century boomtown, but decades of job losses, disinvestment and population decline took a hard toll on the community. Flint mayor Dayne Walling, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, knew the city needed a new comprehensive plan that would update city policies and guide future public investments in a way that acknowledged these changes.
A rendering of Kansas City’s future streetcar. Image via PlanningKC.
In a sign of things to come for downtown Kansas City, MO, a site along the city’s forthcoming streetcar line is being transformed from a parking lot into a mixed-use development. The developer of Crossroads Apartments, who has never built in Kansas City before, told the Kansas City Star that ”the streetcar is the big thing that drew us, absolutely.”
The Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Project is comprised of a streetcar loop that will mostly run along Main Street in downtown Kansas City, and will link the city’s main entertainment venues with transit centers and arts districts.
Partnership in the News: TIGER grant will spur transit oriented development at University of Delaware
In 2009, the University of Delaware purchased the former Chrysler Assembly Plant site in Newark, DE and will soon convert the 270-acre property into the university’s new Science, Technology, and Research (STAR) Campus. Now, a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant awarded to the Wilmington Area Planning Council will fund the design and construction of a new regional transportation center.
The STAR property is located adjacent to Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor rail lines. The TIGER grant will fund the construction of a new passenger rail station adjacent to the STAR campus, a new pedestrian overpass, high-level platforms and structured parking. Current passenger rail service between Newark and Wilmington is limited because of a two-track choke point between Wilmington and Newport, DE. The Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) is working to fix this by adding a third track between Wilmington and Newport, rehabilitating rail bridges and upgrading signals and communication.
Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration.
Applying for Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance workshops
November 6, 2013 — 2:00 PM EST
Smart Growth America is now accepting applications for our 2014 series of free technical assistance workshops. Join us on Wednesday to hear all about the 12 types of workshops offered, who is eligible to apply and details of the selection process. Learn more and register >>
Downtown Burlington, VT.
Burlington, VT’s new comprehensive plan, PlanBTV, looks more like a magazine than a technical planning document. Based on extensive community input, the plan establishes a clear and comprehensive vision for how Burlington’s downtown and core neighborhoods should continue to evolve.
Burlington is located at the heart of the largest urbanized area in Vermont, and is the region’s principal economic and cultural engine. It is home to the University of Vermont and major employers including Burton Snowboards and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. When City leaders began considering how and where the city should grow in coming years, they knew they would need a plan to make sure that growth benefitted the community as much as possible.
In 2010 the East Bay Regional Park District received a $10.2 million TIGER II grant to fill the gaps in bike and pedestrian trails in Northern California and connect more than 200 miles of existing trial.
Greater San Francisco has some of the most congested roads and highways in the country and the population is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades – only adding to the problem. Providing residents safe, alternative modes of transportation will be critical to reduce future traffic congestion.
Existing trails in the district often parallel major roads and are used extensively by commuters seeking alternatives to congested freeways. One section of the new trails will run adjacent to the region’s metro system, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and will connect some economically distressed neighborhoods. Often times these neighborhoods lack access to safe and affordable transportation. Protected bike lanes and sidewalks will provide residents in these areas with safe routes to get around town.