Greater City Providence

News & Notes

A Stupid Attack On Smart Growth [Planetizen]

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a well-financed campaign to discourage communities from considering smart growth as a possible way to conserve energy and reduce pollution emissions. They contend that compact development has little effect on travel activity and so provides minimal benefits. The NAHB states that, “The existing body of research demonstrates no clear link between residential land use and GHG emissions.” But their research actually found the opposite: it indicates that smart growth policies can have significant impacts on travel activity and emissions.

Most Aging Baby Boomers Will Face Poor Mobility Options [Transportation for America]

By 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent, a new study shows. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

The report, Aging in Place, Stuck without Options, ranks metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation, now and in the coming years, and presents other data on aging and transportation.

WikiCity – How Citizens can Improve their Cities [This Big City]

When governments don’t build infrastructure, citizens usually complain, but can’t do much about it. They pressure public officials and protest against proposed projects, but that’s as far as citizen participation in city building usually goes. It’s reactive, not proactive.

However, this model of citizen participation is being rethought by citizens around the world. They are taking control over what happens in their cities. They are helping to build them, mostly with paint. Local groups all around the world are taking the initiative and are building the infrastructure that governments refuse or are slow to do.

Federal Transportation Bill Uncertain; Cities Try New Ways to Finance Streetcars [UrbanLand]

Taking the conversation down to the local level, Lee reviewed financing approaches for new streetcar systems in nearly a dozen cities – including Seattle, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; and Salt Lake City, Utah; and others – across the country. These modern streetcars are being built using a variety of funding methods, some traditional and others innovative.

Seattle is using one of the more innovative approaches Lee explored. About half of the $52 million capital costs for the city’s South Lake Union Line streetcar project will be provided by property owners adjacent to the system through a local improvement district (LID), with the remaining costs being borne by the federal, state, and local government. Private sponsorship opportunities for the line and stations will account for about 25 percent of operating expenses.

Jan Gehl on Making Cities Safe for People [Streetsblog]

Mixing types of traffic is certainly possible, but not on the equal terms implied by the shared street concept. As the British “home zones,” Dutch “woonerfs,” and Scandinavian “sivegader” have demonstrated for years, pedestrians can thrive with other forms of traffic as long as it is crystal clear that all movement is based on the premises of pedestrians. Mixed-traffic solutions must prioritize either pedestrians or provide appropriate traffic segregation.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.

1 comment

  • I wonder why the NAHB would care. I would think that more smaller houses built closely together would mean more more money than fewer bigger houses on acre lots. I mean, the builders aren’t making money off the land. They’re just making money off the work they do… unless the NAHB isn’t just for the actual builders.

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