→ Smart Growth America: Smart Growth Stories: Emerick Corsi on driving growth with transit
Many people recognize Forest City Enterprises as one of the biggest real estate companies in the nation, with a multi-billion dollar portfolio that spans coast to coast and a spot on the New York Stock Exchange.
What’s less well known is that Forest City also happens to be one of the biggest advocates of walkable neighborhoods with transportation choices. Real Estate Services President Emerick Corsi is a firm believer in the power of transit to drive economic growth in surrounding areas, and the company is actively pursuing this kind of development. As a member of LOCUS, Forest City understands the impact of transit-oriented development on local economic growth and job creation.
The elevated section of Interstate 91 downtown needs $360 million to $400 million worth of reconstruction within the next few years, but local, state and federal transportation planners are only now starting to figure out how to pay for the project and what Springfield’s city center might look like when it’s done.
Options on the table include demolishing the viaduct and making I-91 a surface road or burying the interstate in the style of Boston’s notorious Big Dig. Springfield’s elevated stretch of Interstate 91 has long been blamed for smothering downtown development by cutting the city off from the Connecticut River.
The scale of an I-91 reconstruction is hard to imagine, Brennan said. At $360 million, the multi-year I-91 rehab would cost about half the total amount Massachusetts spends annually on roads and bridges. It will be about six times the size of the $55 million Great River Bridge project in Westfield. The Great River Bridge to this point has been the most expensive public works project in the region’s history.
→ DC Streetsblog: The Coming Infrastructure Crisis in Texas
The way Texas throws around money for highways — $5.2 billion for a third outer-belt for Houston, $2 billion for Dallas’ eighth downtown highway – you would think TxDOT was running over with cheddar. This is a state, need we remind you, that “found” $350 million for a stalled highway project local leaders freely admit was designed to encourage sprawl, not solve any pressing mobility problems.
But the Lone Star State is on a crash course toward a big infrastructure crisis, according to a new report from TRIP, a think tank supported by road builders, insurance agencies and other interest groups.
→ Cap’n Transit Rides Again: The limits of naive Monderman analysis
I’ve talked before about the revolutionary approach to traffic engineering that was pioneered in the Netherlands by the late Hans Monderman, father of the woonerf. The crux of Monderman’s idea is that too many signs and signals slow down traffic and make roads more dangerous. It’s an application of the general principle that micromanaging anything can make it worse.
You can see, for example, that bike recreation and tourism contributes an estimated $924 million a year to Wisconsin, plus $409 million in health benefits. Or that biking generates $400 million for Iowa, according to the University of Northern Iowa, and the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Or that bike tourism brings in $60 million for North Carolina’s Outer Banks area.