Tag: public transportation

Spotlight on Sustainability: Madison, WI

Unsustainable growth, lack of economic opportunities, community health concerns, and loss of natural resources—these are issues facing cities and towns across the country, and Madison, Wisconsin is no exception. But, regional planning organizations in the Greater Madison area are now attempting to confront these endemic issues in a strategic and sustainable way that utilizes Madison’s strengths rather than allowing its weaknesses to be barriers to an effective response.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce on federal investments in public transportation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Janet Kavinoky responds to an editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal which criticized federal investments in public transportation. In a post on the Chamber’s Free Enterprise blog, Kavinoky comes out in defense of diverse transportation investments, and calls on Congress to pass a robust transportation bill “for the sake of near- and long-term job creation, stronger economic growth, and enhanced U.S. competitiveness.”

Poking Holes in the WSJ’s Transportation Editorial [Free Enterprise, April 26, 2012]

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Smart growth news – December 13

Imagining a City Without Its Public Transportation
The Atlantic Cities, December 12, 2011
Officials from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are out in the city all the time talking about the costs of the capital region’s transit system – the money it takes to run the thing, the investments required to expand service and build new lines, and the fares needed to pay for it all. But no one talks much about the benefits, the real benefits, not just for faster commuting times, but for the region on the whole.

Study: As Gas Prices Rise, Americans Drive Less And Seek Public Transit
Gas 2.0, December 12, 2011
A new study by Bradley Lane of the University of Texas at El Paso has found a strong link between gas prices and shifts in American transit ridership. Bradley Lane’s study concluded that for every 10% increase in the cost of fuel there was a 4% increase in bus ridership and an 8% increase in rail travel.

Transit’s Not Sucking the Taxpayer Dry — Roads Are
Streetsblog, December 12, 2011
“Taxpayers cover costs that should be borne by road users,” asserts the State Smart Transportation Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Road subsidies push up tax rates, squeeze government services, and skew the market for transportation.” SSTI, along with the smart growth group 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, published a study in October showing that “between 41 and 55 percent of [Wisconsin’s] road money comes from non-users.”

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Smart growth news – December 12

Forget Stadiums, Cities Should Fight For Apple Stores
Forbes, December 9, 2011
The computer stores have become ‘anchors’ for affluent downtown areas, says Robert Gibbs, an urban economic and planning consultant and author of of “Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development.” “Sports stadiums do not generate much cross shopping: they’re nice to have but greatly overrated,” Gibbs says. “If you have an Apple store on your Main Street, though, that gives you a kind of ‘good housekeeping seal of approval,’ that’s going to attract others.”

$3.7 million in HUD money to help five Central Texas communities with city planning, design
American-Statesman (Texas), December 10, 2011
A $3.7 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded to the Capital Area Council of Governments will provide five Central Texas cities with planning and design consulting services through February 2014. The money, through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants program, will go to Austin, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hutto and Lockhart.

Debunking public transportation myths
Detroit Free Press, December 11, 2011
The American Public Transportation Association says the long-term trend is clear: Ridership on the nation’s buses, subways, commuter rail lines and other transit systems grew 34% in 1995-2009, outpacing 23% growth in the number of vehicle miles driven on highways in that period. The number of workers who rely on transit regularly grew by a million, to nearly 7 million nationwide, in 2005-09.

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Smart growth news – October 14

Suburban Welfare Surge
Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2011
“It’s another example of how this is not your mother and father’s suburbs,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean at Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies…The causes are a stubborn unemployment rate, the high cost of living in the suburbs and a rash of home foreclosures that sent many working families into poverty, experts said.

Interest in downtown
Desert News (Utah), October 13, 2011
The most common story line from a recent Downtown Alliance survey on the level of interest in downtown Salt Lake City is that young people, particularly those in the 18-24 age group, are the most interested in what the city has to offer.

Federal grants fund 11 public transportation projects in Michigan
Michigan Radio, October 13, 2011
Nine public transportation systems in Michigan have won competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grants announced Thursday total nearly $44 million.

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Smart growth news – October 5

EPA Programs Offer Communities Smart-Growth Solutions
Builder Magazine, October 4, 2011
The agency has put together a toolkit of proven techniques to help communities find smart-growth answers for challenges they face.

Area lawmakers want changes to state’s Smart Growth law
The Lakeland Times (Wis.), October 4, 2011
The state’s comprehensive planning law, also known as Smart Growth, has long been a thorn in the side of property rights advocates, even if stormier protests have subsided in recent years, but now several northern Wisconsin lawmakers are making another attempt to modify the statute.

Urban analysis
Boston Globe, October 3, 2011
What makes a location a good place to set up shop? Is it a nearby T station, or visibility on a busy corner? Is it better to be in the midst of a strip with lots of other stores, or within a 10-minute walk of many offices?

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Smart growth news – August 16

Regional transportation list approved
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 15, 2011
Five mayors and county commissioners from across the Atlanta region made history on Monday, agreeing unanimously on a $6.14 billion list of transportation projects to be built across 10 counties, and paid for by the region as a whole if approved in a 2012 referendum.

EPA to help Lincoln spruce up
Omaha World-Herald (Neb.), August 12, 2011
With assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency, Lincoln city planners hope to transform the aging neighborhoods south of the State Capitol into a green and pedestrian-friendly place to live, work and shop.

Appealing remakes: Towns seem energized by revitalization
The Patriot-News (Pa.), August 16, 2011
Planners strengthened town-and-gown connections by reducing travel lanes to slow down drivers and encouraging the redevelopment of storefronts near the college. In addition, new businesses as well as a garden area appeared along the corridor. Now students and alumni alike know a walk is a journey into a resurgent downtown.

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Michigan communities overwhelmingly support public transit ballot measures

As municipalities across the country feel the crunch of tightening budgets, voters are choosing to prioritize public transportation at the ballot box. Transit agencies large and small are feeling enormous fiscal pressures and many are being forced to cut service, lay off workers, and, in some cases, stop operating altogether. According to the American Public Transportation Association, 84% of U.S. transit agencies are being forced to make these choices. However, in the great state of Michigan, voters are choosing to save local transit through property tax levies. Eleven communities held ballot elections on transit funding in 2011, and ten of these were approved.

A ballot measure (sometimes referred to as initiative, proposition, or referendum) is a form of direct democracy where voters decide to approve or reject a policy proposal that is presented on Election Day. The proposal could enact a new law, create or direct a funding source, change the local or state constitution, or even recall an elected leader. Each year, states bring dozens of ballot measures about transportation funding to a vote, particularly about public transit. Often these measures propose creating or renewing a source of funding by enacting a fee or tax, and they can include project lists and designate specific receiving jurisdictions or transit agencies. Transportation ballot measures tend to pass at twice the rate of funding measures for things like arts, education, and open space. According to the Center for Transportation Excellence, transit funding ballots have had a 70% approval rate over the last ten years. They win in both red and blue districts, indicating voters’ willingness to prioritize transportation choices in their communities.

A ballot measure (sometimes referred to as initiative, proposition, or referendum) is a form of direct democracy where voters decide to approve or reject a policy proposal that is presented on Election Day. The proposal could enact a new law, create or direct a funding source, change the local or state constitution, or even recall an elected leader. Each year, states bring dozens of ballot measures about transportation funding to a vote, particularly about public transit. Often these measures propose creating or renewing a source of funding by enacting a fee or tax, and they can include project lists and designate specific receiving jurisdictions or transit agencies. Transportation ballot measures tend to pass at twice the rate of funding measures for things like arts, education, and open space. According to the Center for Transportation Excellence, transit funding ballots have had a 70% approval rate over the last ten years. They win in both red and blue districts, indicating voters’ willingness to prioritize transportation choices in their communities.

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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 – August 3

Cities See the Other Side of the Tracks
New York Times, August 2, 2011
The High Line’s first and second sections cost $153 million, but have generated an estimated $2 billion in new developments. In the five years since construction started on the High Line, 29 new projects have been built or are under way in the neighborhood, according to the New York City Department of City Planning. More than 2,500 new residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms and over 500,000 square feet of office and art gallery space have gone up.

Bike share program coming to downtown areas of Oklahoma City
The Oklahoman, August 3, 2011
A bike share program like those embraced in other cities will be started later this year in downtown Oklahoma City. Such programs have “stations” where bicycles are checked in and out with a deposit placed on one’s credit card. A nominal charge is sometimes paid for use of the bicycles; final details of the downtown arrangements are pending negotiation of a vendor contract.

Residents fill long-empty Tempe tower
Arizona Republic, August 2, 2011
“They’ve taken an eyesore and turned it into an icon,” Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said of Zaremba finishing Tower 1 within six months of buying the property.

America’s Top Public Transportation Cities
Forbes’ The Jungle blog, August 1, 2011
To determine America’s top public transportation cities, we looked at estimates of the percent of workers 16 years of age or older who traveled from their community to work by public transportation from 2005 to 2009, provided in the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey.

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