Tag: Action

USDOT proposes to remove restrictive design guidelines that make safer streets more difficult to build


Crossposted from Transportation for America.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took an encouraging and surprising step this week to make it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build complete streets that are safer for everyone by easing federally-mandated design standards on many roads.

Currently, FHWA has a long list of design criteria that local communities and states must adhere to when building or reconstructing certain roads, unless they choose to go through an arduous process of requesting an exception to do things like line a downtown street with street trees, reduce the width of lanes to add a bike lane, or curve a street slightly to slow traffic and make it safer for people in cars and on foot.

In this new proposed rule, FHWA decided after a thorough review to scrap 11 of 13 current design criteria for certain roads because they decided these criteria have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets” and has a stronger connection for rural roads, freeways and higher speed urban arterials.

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Congress is about to have a key opportunity to make communities more walkable. Will they?


Yesterday, the U.S. Surgeon General launched a new nationwide Call to Action to help Americans be healthier by making walking and physical activity a bigger part of their daily lives.

The event recognized physical activity as one of the nation’s highest health priorities. And as Dr. Murthy explained yesterday, building communities where it is safe and convenient to walk, bike, or wheelchair roll is part of the solution.

Congress is about to have a critical opportunity to take action on this issue. Legislators are currently working on a multiyear federal transportation bill which will shape communities and transportation programs for years to come. As representatives negotiate the bill in the coming weeks, will they prioritize walkable communities?

Tell your Representative to listen to the Surgeon General: Make walkable communities a priority in the next federal transportation bill.

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Speaking out for smart growth issues leads to a better transportation bill in the Senate

Yesterday, the Senate finally passed its version of a six-year federal transportation bill. As you likely know by now, this bill will have a huge impact on how communities across America grow in the coming years.

We asked you to speak out about a number of issues related to this bill over the last few weeks. And right now, I want to say thank you for stepping up.

Many of the crucial provisions we championed—the Safe Streets Act, TIFIA financing for transit-oriented development, and protection of the TIGER grants program at the U.S. Department of Transportation—were included in the final version of the bill.

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House subcommittee to hold hearing this week on reauthorizing EPA Brownfields program

BEFORE AND AFTER: Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta was previously the site of an Atlantic Steel facility. The EPA’s Brownfields program helped make the redevelopment project possible.

Did you know that every federal dollar spent on brownfields cleanup leverages $17.79 in value for communities? And that redeveloping one acre of contaminated land creates an average of 10 jobs? These benefits don’t stop where the brownfield ends: the value of residential property near brownfield sites can increase anywhere from 5.1 to 12.8 percent when cleanup is complete.

These are just some of the many reasons why brownfields cleanup and redevelopment is a great investment of federal dollars, yet the Brownfields program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not formally authorized in the federal budget. Congress has the power to change that, and this week members of the House of Representatives will examine whether to do make brownfields cleanup an official part of the federal budget.

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Bipartisan coalition introduces the Safe Streets Act of 2015


A new bill in the House of Representatives would help communities across the country make streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.

Late yesterday, Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2015 (HR 2071), a bill which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects to use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing, and building roads.

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Top spring break destination this year is your Congressional representatives’ district offices

Springtime on Capitol Hill. Photo by Kate Harbath via Flickr.

As the adage goes, April showers bring…Congress home for spring break!

Spring break is a great time to meet with your Senators or Representative in your community and ask them to support the Safe Streets Act (S. 2004/H.R. 2468), which encourages communities to consider safety improvements for all users in transportation project planning.

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Land that’s haunted by its past

When factories close and their buildings are shuttered, they often leave behind a sinister secret.

Toxic chemicals and pollutants left behind from their industrial past can haunt these places. Until the contaminants can be safely cleaned up or disposed of, no one can use these buildings or the land they sit on.

Help land that’s haunted by its past: Send a letter to your Senators today.

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Six members of Congress are taking a stand for better development. Ask your members to join them.

In the next few days, Congress will set priorities for millions of dollars of funding for federal programs—including programs that support better neighborhood development.

This funding could helps towns across the country revitalize Main Streets, redevelop historic buildings, rebuild on abandoned land and more. But only if Congress hears from supporters like you.

Congress needs to hear your support for this work. Send a letter to your members today.

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Why today is the day to speak out for the BUILD Act

Every day is a good day to clean up a brownfield.

Cleaning up brownfields benefits everyone – parents, professionals, business owners, local leaders and more.

Land that was once contaminated and abandoned can be transformed into parks, community centers, concert venues or any number of other ideas. There’s never a bad day to start these projects.

Today in particular is special, though.

Smart Growth America is on Capitol Hill today, along with our national coalition of allied non-profits. We’re there in person to ask Congress to support the BUILD Act.

Add your voice to our call for action: tell your senators to support the BUILD Act.

In our meetings today, we’ll be talking about places like Harrison, NJ, which is turning an abandoned industrial area into a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood served by transit.

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Have you asked Congress to rethink real estate?

Most Americans don’t know that the government spends $450 billion each year on real estate. And few – if any – know the full impact of these expenditures.

Join the call to examine this spending. Sign our petition calling on Congress to take action.

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What type of development does $450 billion a year support? Ask Congress to investigate.
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