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News & Notes

Governing: Tree Population Falling in Cities

Trees have a tough life in cities. They face heavy stress from storms, insects, air pollution, road salt, low-quality soil and even reckless drivers. Yet the benefits of a healthy tree population are vast, from the numerous environmental qualities to the aesthetic value that comes with a green canopy in a city park or along a busy street.

There’s also the economic value of trees. Real estate experts say trees on residential and commercial properties can increase the value by as much as 23 percent. They can also cut the cost of cooling a home or building, and their ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide makes them a great investment. According to the U.S. Forest Service, that value can average $2,500 per tree in urban areas.


Hartford Courant: After 2nd Wave Of Layoffs in 2 Years, Mohegans Look Beyond Gaming For Future Growth In State “We’re Going To Have To Seek The Appropriate Size For The Gaming Floor”

In the gaming industry, it’s always about the next big thing.

But this week’s layoffs at the Mohegan Sun casino — the second wave in two years — are about something else: the permanent downsizing of gambling operations in Connecticut, as major casinos face intensifying competition in neighboring states.

Mitchell G. Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said Friday that the tribe’s future growth in Connecticut is likely to come from other attractions such as dining, shopping, lodging and entertainment.


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News & Notes

In wake of Ohio River bridge closure, NBC Nightly News examines the sorry state of U.S. bridges [Transportation for America]

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Over the weekend, NBC Nightly News ran a sharp piece on our country’s structurally deficient bridges, focusing on the data in the T4 America bridge report.

At least one person somewhere in the U.S. is driving over a structurally deficient bridge, according to T4 America director James Corless in a report on the woeful condition of our nation’s bridges on NBC Nightly News Sunday evening.

Brought into the national spotlight because of the recent closure of a highly-trafficked interstate bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky and the President’s scheduled appearance at a Cincinnati-area bridge this Thursday, more national media outlets (and Americans and their leaders in Congress, one would hope) are paying attention to the real-life impacts of underinvestment in infrastructure.


Debunking the Cul-de-Sac [The Atlantic Cities]

This is where it’s most apparent – from an airplane window – that American ideas about how to live and build communities have changed dramatically over time. For decades, families fled the dense urban grid for newer types of neighborhoods that felt safer, more private, even pastoral. Through their research, Garrick and colleague Wesley Marshall are now making the argument that we got it all wrong: We’ve really been designing communities that make us drive more, make us less safe, keep us disconnected from one another, and that may even make us less healthy.


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News & Notes

Chicago’s New Protected Bike Lanes [The City Fix]

Along with a new mayor, Chicago got its first protected bike lanes this past month. Funded by a federal grant, the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing the half-mile bike lane as a pilot program. The protected bike lanes will have a three feet buffer to parked cars and will be separated by delineated posts.


Amid Budget Cuts, Nation’s Mayors Speak as One [Wall Street Journal]

LOS ANGELES-It may not seem like the Republican mayor of Mesa, Ariz., and the Democratic mayor of Hilo, Hawaii, would have much in common.

But these days, they have the same complaints.

Their cities’ once-vital construction industries have withered, and their unemployment rates are at 9%. Both have cut funding to schools and police, and both rely on federal dollars to help their struggling cities.

Mayors from 50 cities gathered here Thursday for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to collectively vent about the impact that a sour economy and years of budget cuts—as well as possible cuts to federal funding if the debt ceiling isn’t raised—is having on their cities.


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News & Notes

Aberystwyth: The town without traffic wardens [The Telegraph]

“We’re disappointed, obviously. If you went around asking people about their pet hates, they’d probably all say ‘traffic wardens’, but here we had a chance to show that we could get by without them, and we seem to have failed.”

Everyone agrees there are lessons to be learnt. One of them is likely to be that if you give the motoring public what it says it wants, you end up not with the Big Society but a big mess.


With Few Funds Available, What are Transit Agencies to Do? [The TransportPolitic]

The timing of these discussions – premised on GOP skepticism of government spending and Democratic fears of advocating raising taxes – comes not coincidentally just a week after House Republicans revealed their proposal for a six-year transportation budget. If it was not clear last week, it is now: The cuts being proposed would be devastating to the nation’s transit agencies, depriving them of much-needed funds for the purchase of new rolling stock and the maintenance and construction of necessary facilities. Even if this plan, which would diminish already too-limited transportation funds by a third, does not get implemented, the context of the debt negotiations suggests that something much better is unlikely to be had.


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