Tag: Transit

City Councilor Tim Lovain on promoting transit-oriented development in Alexandria, VA

King Street metro station

In a few weeks, Northern Virginia’s first bus rapid transit service will begin operations on dedicated busways through Alexandria, VA’s burgeoning Potomac Yard neighborhood. A visitor standing under one of the new station awnings can see a string of cranes stretching from north to south along US Route 1, at work on the planned 3000 residential units, 4 million square feet of office space, and 1 million square feet of retail space along the transit corridor. Alexandria City Councilor Tim Lovain, who championed the busway as an essential tool to support high-density growth in this corridor, smiles broadly as he describes the accomplishment, but is even more interested in the transit lines still under development in the city.

Many of these transit projects are included in the Transportation Master Plan Councilor Lovain helped adopt in 2008 during his first term on the Council. In addition to the Route 1 corridor, that plan identified two more high-priority corridors where bus rapid transit will be developed in anticipation of future streetcar lines. Both of those corridors are in the City’s newer West End, which is characterized by car-oriented, lower density development. West End neighborhoods are more difficult to serve with transit, but Councilor Lovain makes the case for it as an essential tool for economic survival in the transit-rich metropolitan Washington, DC region.

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Partnership in the news: Dallas seeks to improve and expand regional transit network


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.

Modern Streetcar

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.

Together, these projects are going to enhance the accessibility of the Dallas/Fort Worth region, making it easier for residents to be connected to where they live, work and play.

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Completing Our Streets: Who gets priority?

Health Line
Cleveland, OH’s HealthLine is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that offers rail-like convenience with the flexibility of a bus. It connects Public Square to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland. Photo by EMBARQ Brasil via Flickr.

This post is the fifth in a twice-monthly series of excerpts from Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks, the new book from Island Press by Barbara McCann, founder of the National Complete Streets Coalition. The book discusses the keys to the movement’s success, and how places and practitioners in the United States are tackling the challenges of putting a new transportation paradigm into daily practice.

All National Complete Streets Coalition Platinum Partners and those who upgrade to the next Partnership level will receive a signed copy of Completing Our Streets. Become a Coalition Partner today!

From Chapter 8: The Balancing Act: Setting Priorities for Different Users

Making a commitment to Complete Streets breaks open a tidy linear system that has traditionally delivered roads designed only to speed motor vehicles to their destinations. The transportation project pipeline was good at taking in a narrow set of inputs at one end and pouring out a finished road at the other. Agencies must now bring many more modes, voices, and considerations into the process all along the way. What was a pipeline can become something of a swamp; everyone involved may end up feeling caught in a morass of competing claims for limited roadway space and limited funding. Rather than simply delivering a project, transportation professionals must navigate their way toward a solution that may not quite satisfy anyone.

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Mayor Ralph Becker on building a prosperous Salt Lake City, UT

TRAX SLC
Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail line, one of Salt Lake City’s many innovative transportation projects. Photo by Matt Johnson via Flickr.

Mayor Ralph Becker, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is turning Salt Lake City, UT into one of this nation’s most prosperous urban centers. And he’s doing it by building accessibility, sustainability and livability into many city policies.

Becker’s efforts are evident across Salt Lake City. He has spearheaded one of the most ambitious rail systems in the country, building new light rail, bus rapid transit, streetcar AND commuter rail systems. He’s also made the city accessible for all users by more than doubling the number of bike lanes, launching a bike share program and focusing on walkability and pedestrian safety.

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Councilmember Hans Riemer on the challenge of creating attractive urban areas in Montgomery County, MD

Rockville Town Square
Rockville Town Square, in Councilmember Riemer’s district of Montgomery County, MD. Photo by Dan Reed via Flickr.

Councilmember Hans Riemer has a problem. Residents of the greater Washington, DC metro area increasingly want to live in attractive, high quality, urban neighborhoods—but there aren’t enough of those neighborhoods in his home district of Montgomery County, MD, to meet the demand.

“Cities are reviving and becoming incredibly attractive places to live,” says Riemer, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “We’re seeing the impacts of that in Montgomery County. Where people used to prefer the suburbs, they now want to live in cities.”

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Partnership in the News: Kansas transit center opens thanks to TIGER grant


Mission Transit Center. Image via the Federal Transit Administration.

Mission City, Missouri recently celebrated the grand opening of the Mission Transit Center, a new transportation hub serving Johnson County designed to enhance service for current riders, attract new riders and connect transit to key areas where people live, work and play.

In 2010, the greater Kansas City region was awarded a $50 million grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to assist transportation and infrastructure projects in the region. As part of the grant, Johnson County was awarded $10.7 million to upgrade its transit system.

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Partnership in the News: Portland, Maine and EPA Launch Bikeshare Effort

Portland, Maine has begun to develop a regional bikeshare program thanks to initial technical assistance provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Portland’s Planning and Urban Development Department applied for EPA’s 2013 grants under the leadership of Jeff Levine. Portland residents, Mr. Levine noticed, already had a strong interest in alternative transportation.

“There’s a big commitment in Portland toward the environment and sustainability,” said Levine. “The challenge is providing an infrastructure that can help people to meet that goal.”

Residents were interested in a bikeshare program, but Portland needed a catalytic event to kick-start the project.

EPA’s workshops and forums, conducted earlier this month, jumpstarted the city’s efforts to implement a bikeshare program. Mr. Levine believes EPA’s time in Maine brought a necessary and “strong focus on the issue”. Residents and local officials  participated in the sessions strategizing how Portland can make a bikeshare program a reality. With the project underway, Portland and the project’s supporters now must develop a business plan for a bikeshare program.

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Smart Growth America staff, partners, developers, local leaders and allies discuss implementing transit in Middle Tennessee


From right: Smart Growth America’s Geoff Anderson with Ken Rose, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mitchell Silver, American Planning Association; and Arthur Guzzetti, American Public Transportation Association. Photo courtesy of the Nashville Area MPO.  

In 2010 Middle Tennessee’s mayors agreed on a milestone, ten-county vision for transit. Last month, leaders in the region met to talk about how to make those plans a reality.

More than 250 political leaders, transportation and land use planners, transit agency partners, developers, architects, engineers, academics, and non-profit advocates came together on October 25 and 26, 2012 in downtown Nashville to discuss the first steps of implementing the region’s innovative transit plan. The event was organized by the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, and sponsored by Transportation for America, a joint project of Smart Growth America and Reconnecting America.

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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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Partnership in the News: Ames Intermodal Facility creates transportation connections in Iowa

The Ames Intermodal Facility in Ames, Iowa, a transportation hub that will bring together parking, transit access, public and private transportation providers, and the Iowa State University and Ames communities, opened its doors last week. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin as well as the mayor of Ames and the president of Iowa State.

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