Tag: Light-rail

Building region-wide support for new development along Arizona’s Valley Metro light rail line

tempe-az
New development along the Valley Metro light rail line in Tempe, AZ. Photo of the Hub on Campus building via Facebook.

The City of Phoenix, AZ, is working to encourage development along the Valley Metro light rail line, and it’s getting some help from a region-wide effort that’s working to link Phoenix’s investments to others throughout the region.

The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) is a unique non-profit partnership working to catalyze development along the Valley Metro light rail in Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Started in 2011 with a $20 million private investment from Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Raza Development Fund, SCC aims to create “vibrant urban environments and transit-oriented communities that have it all”: a mix of housing starts, new community health care centers, entrepreneurial start-ups, pedestrian and bicycle friendly neighborhoods, eclectic retail and restaurants, and artistic centered community development connected to the 20-mile light rail line.

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Private sector leads the way on new light rail in Detroit

Architect’s rendering of the M-1 light rail. Image via M-1 RAIL Summer 2012 Project Update.

A group of private sector leaders in Detroit are looking toward a new light rail project to help revive the fortunes of the former car capital.

The group is so confident in the potential of a line, known as the M-1 light rail, they’ve put up nearly $90 million in private funding to make the project a reality. If successful, the group would set a new precedent for the “rail as economic development” paradigm, and provide a new model for cities across the country looking to catalyze smart growth.

The proposed line would run 3.4 miles along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue from the New Center neighborhood to downtown and the riverfront, connecting some of the city’s biggest attractions and job centers. The line would run curbside along Woodward Avenue and provide connections to Detroit’s People Mover and Amtrak station, as well as a planned regional bus rapid transit system.

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Business leaders tout new rail line as boost to Twin Cities’ economic competitiveness at ULI, LOCUS MN event


The Hiawatha light rail line in downtown Minneapolis, MN is already popular. Photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.

Leaders in the Twin Cities know that rail transit will be a key component of the cities’ future economic competitiveness, and they’re eager to catch-up with their regional peers in creating a comprehensive transit network.

Since opening in 2004, the Twin Cities’ only light rail line, the Hiawatha Line, has far ridership exceeded expectations. Construction has already begun on the region’s second line, the Central Corridor Line, which will connect downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and is expected to be completed in 2014. Now, attention is shifting to the Twin Cities’ southwest corridor, home to large corporate office parks and wide highways, where the planned Southwest Corridor Light Rail Transit line has the potential to not only change how people get around, but also the shape of the region’s future development.

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Creating jobs and economic growth: Detroit’s Woodward light rail line moves forward

The Woodward light rail project, now under way in Detroit, will give residents better ways to get around and support the city’s business districts at the same time. First discussed by the Detroit Department of Transportation in 2006, the light …

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Smart growth news – August 9

IBM Partners With Portland To Play SimCity For Real
Fast Company, August 8, 2011
Systems Dynamics for Smarter Cities, as the app is called, tries to quantify the cause-and-effect relationships between seemingly uncorrelated urban phenomena. What’s the connection, for example, between public transit fares and high school graduation rates? Or obesity rates and carbon emissions? To find out, simply round up experts to hash out the linkages, translate them into algorithms, and upload enough historical data to populate the model.

Study examines extending Woodward light rail from Detroit to suburbs like Ferndale, Birmingham
Detroit Free Press, August 8, 2011
Detroit’s momentum in bringing light rail to Woodward Avenue may finally do what years of talks, political promises and symbolic gestures have failed to do: lead to real regional cooperation.

Senator Warns NJ Transportation Projects, Jobs Could Be At Risk If Congress Fails To Approve Funding
NJ Today, August 8, 2011
Today, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined labor and transportation advocates to warn of the potential results if Congress fails to re-authorize the Surface Transportation Program next month. The federal program, which provides funding for road, bridge, and transportation projects, will expire on Sept. 30.

4 recommendations for smarter American infrastructure
SmartPlanet, August 8, 2011
As Congress gets ready to pick a “supercommittee” that must find at least $1.5 trillion to cut from the U.S. deficit, a bipartisan coalition backed by several political heavyweights has released a new report urging Congressional leaders to reconsider American investments in roads, ports, broadband and other elements of a high-tech transportation network.

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Smart growth news – July 6, 2011

Grant promotes Somerville smart growth
Boston Globe, July 5, 2011
Community Corridor Planning, a coalition of Somerville community organizations, has received approximately $220,000 over two years from the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to promote strong neighborhoods around mass transit expansion. The alliance announced the award at a June 23 conference.

House GOP expected to ax transportation funds
The Washington Post, July 5, 2011
The next flash point in the debate over the nation’s will to live within its means may emerge this week as House Republicans present a long-term transportation bill expected to cut funding for highways and mass transit by almost one third.

Tide will guide Norfolk’s growth
The Virginian-Pilot (Va.), July 6, 2011
The trains have begun rolling through downtown Norfolk. The Tide, finally, is coming in. If all goes according to plan, light rail will begin transporting people next month on a route from Newtown Road to Norfolk’s medical complex.

Newburgh organizing land bank to take over empty buildings
Times Herald-Record (N.Y.), July 5, 2011
Newburgh is far from the only city trying to reclaim neighborhoods of empty buildings. Upstate legislators have pushed a bill to create land banks modeled after the planning tool used in famously empty cities, such as Flint, Mich. The bill cites the vacant neighborhoods of Buffalo as its justification but could just as easily list former industrial cities throughout the state. Newburgh has already begun to organize its own version of a land bank.

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Transportation for innovation in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN, have formed an innovative partnership aimed at taking the Twin Cities region to a new level of prosperity. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Business Plan, created as a part of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, is a long-term strategy for sustainable economic growth in which the cities will pool their assets rather than competing against each other. Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to a number of universities and colleges, Fortune 500 companies and medical research facilities, and the region’s business plan will help reduce transaction costs between businesses, inventors, suppliers, workers and consumers through better infrastructure and networking programs.

Economic activity thrives where transaction costs are lowest, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul plan aims to reduce these costs whenever possible. One of the ways the plan will do this is by constructing a light-rail line linking universities, medical and research institutions, central business districts and population centers throughout the region. Doing so will increase interaction between businesses and connect the area’s patent-holders with the economic actors that have capital to invest, hopefully increasing the percentage of inventions from the region that make it into the global marketplace. In addition to connecting existing assets like universities and medical centers, the cities will also encourage new development along the light-rail line to maximize the return on their investment.

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