Tag: Michigan

Hear the recap: Repair Priorities 2014 online discussion

Yesterday we unveiled Repair Priorities 2014: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads. The release featured an online discussion with leaders from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, as well as state transportation department representatives from Vermont, Michigan and Tennessee. Panelists shared insights and strategies for how states are managing their road repair needs in a time of constrained budgets by using tools like asset management practices; focusing repair investments on the most heavily used roads; setting aggressive targets for pavement conditions; and using cost-benefit analysis to prioritize road investments.

If you were not able to join us for yesterday’s event, an archived recording is now available.

Watch the archived webinar
Download the presentation (PDF)

Joining yesterday’s event were Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America; Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense; Rich Tetreault, Director of Program Development, Vermont Agency on Transportation, Polly Kent, Administer, Intermodal Policy Division, Michigan Department of Transportation; and Steve Allen, Strategic Transportation Investments Director, Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Thank you to everyone who participated. The event provided valuable insights for how states can improve road conditions for drivers and the financial outlook of America’s DOTs at the same time.

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Partnership in the news: Re-imagining the Washtenaw Avenue corridor

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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.

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Smart Growth America, MDOT and MSHDA release findings of year-long projects in five Michigan communities

Downtown Grand Rapids, MI. Photo by Keith Caterino. Downtown Grand Rapids, MI, one of five communities included in Smart Growth America’s work. Photo by Keith Caterino.

Smart Growth America is pleased to unveil a new resource today with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The report, “Leading Livability: Pilot Transportation Demand Management and Mobility Management Programs of Five Michigan Communities”, is designed to help local leaders in Michigan learn how transportation and mobility improvements can strengthen their local economies and create more livable communities.

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Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney on saving municipal budgets through smarter growth in Kalamazoo, MI

Hannah McKinney believes that to create strong metropolitan areas in this country we have to focus on creating strong neighborhoods. As Vice Mayor of Kalamazoo, Michigan; she’s working to make that happen in her region.

“That sense of being tied to a physical location is something that, for many people doesn’t exist anymore,” says McKinney, “We need to create neighborhoods that are unique, that are livable.”

An Advisory Board member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, Hannah McKinney has served on the City Commission for 16 years. She has a long history of working to make Kalamazoo a great place to live, work, and visit. In 2003, McKinney co-chaired the Convening our Community project; a community-building initiative focused on creating a smart growth report to guide land use decisions. McKinney worked on the city’s Comprehensive Plan update, Downtown Plan, and the creation of a 2010 Master Plan to guide future growth and development, all while protecting Kalamazoo’s unique character – – and that’s only part of it.

Posted in Local Leaders Council, Michigan, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mayor Bryan Barnett on fostering a liveable Rochester Hills, MI

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Located 25 miles north of Detroit, the city of Rochester Hills, MI may seem like an unlikely place for smart growth to be taking hold. But local residents have taken to smart growth concepts on multiple fronts—from transportation, to preservation of open space to economic development. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is committed to advancing them even further.

“To me smart growth is a philosophy and it’s a lifestyle,” Barnett says. “It’s not all economic development, it’s not all transportation. It’s about stepping back and looking at how our decisions impact where we want Rochester Hills to be a few years down the road.”

Posted in Blog, Local Leaders Council, Michigan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Buena Vista Charter Township looks to address long-term fiscal and economic goals during smart growth strategy workshop


A rendering of streetscape plans for Buena Vista Township. Image via MLive.com.

Smart Growth America will meet with residents and leaders of Buena Vista, MI next week to help identify new strategies that could attract business investments and stabilize neighborhoods in the township.

Buena Vista Township residents are invited to join the workshop’s first day for a public presentation on March 5, 2013 from 6-8 PM at the Buena Vista Community Center, 1940 South Outer Drive, Saginaw, Michigan.

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Roundtable series in six cities this spring will discuss federal real estate issues and their solutions


LOCUS members at 2012’s Leadership Summit.

LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors is proud to announce a new series of industry roundtable discussions about improving the federal government’s role in today’s real estate market.

The discussion series will gather leading real estate developers and investors from across the country to address the federal government’s role in real estate, and create solutions to align federal involvement in real estate to better support walkable development across America.

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Michigan legislature proposes improvements to Brownfields TIF program


The former Michigan Bell and Western Electric Warehouse is being rennovated to become a home for the Neighborhood Service Organization and 155 housing units for homeless individuals. The project is made possible by federal and state historic tax credits, federal brownfields tax credits and a 10-year tax abatement from the City of Detroit. Photo copyright by Michael G. Smith. Used with permission.

New legislation moving through the Michigan State Senate could make it easier for developers to clean up and rebuild on brownfields in the state.

Michigan’s Senate Bill 1210, an amendment to the state’s Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act (Act 381), is likely to see significant changes this year. If enacted, the bill would promote urban development throughout the state, reduce regulatory requirements, streamline the approval process. Here’s an overview of how.

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Smart Growth Stories: Building relationships and planning connections in mid-Michigan


Looking down Michigan Avenue in Lansing, Michigan. Photo by the Graham Davis, via Flickr.

Three counties in mid-Michigan are working to improve their region, and they’re using a much-talked about — but seldom seen — strategy to make it happen: collaboration.

The Mid-Michigan Program for Greater Sustainability is a dynamic and interactive effort to bring smart growth and concerted planning to the mid-Michigan region. Organized by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and made possible by a Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Program is composed of hundreds of organizations from across Eaton, Clinton, and Ingham counties.

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Partnership in the News: The Buzz Around TIGER 2012 – Part II

The TIGER grant program provides a unique opportunity for DOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. Now in its 4th round, the TIGER 2012 grants are attracting media attention nation wide. Read Part I of this coverage.

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