Volume 4, Number 21 - June 26, 2002
= = =Highlight = =
Amtrak will keep operating at least through this
week (6/24), and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said a solution
for its fiscal crisis was "very, very close." Both Senate Democrats and
Republicans are in support of a national railroad system. Unless a $200
million Amtrak budget gap is closed, Amtrak says it will have to shut down
without the money. To read the AP article link to http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/3544593.htm
Neal Pierce Column "Reviving Cities and Rail Stations:
As Imperiled as Amtrak. http://www.citistates.com/np_columns.html
The 2002 Texas Transportation Institute's "Urban
Mobility Report" is released (6/20). The nation's longest-running study
of traffic jams this year shows that urban congestion is growing in three
increasing visible ways.
*The time penalty for making "rush-hours" trips
* The period of time that travelers might encounter
congestion is longer.
* The number of streets and freeways that are
This year's annual report also for the first
time introduces "delay per peak period traveler" to better illustrate the
plight faced by those who use major roadways during "rush hours." The new
gauge replaces "delay per capita" as the primary delay measure used in
recent years. The new measure provides a more relevant illustration of
the extra time spent traveling when roadway demand is at its highest. http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/news_release/
Link to Associated Press story via CBS News:
Reactions To Study
- Urban Land Institute
- The Road Information Program
American Road & Transportation Builders
- Surface Transportation Policy Project
= = = State and Local News = = =
The divided town of Green River soon could be
unified under the auspices of Emery County after the Utah Supreme Court
upheld a state law Tuesday that spells out the rules for annexing another
county's land. http://www.sltrib.com/06262002/utah/748585.htm
The South Carolina, Richland County Conservation
Commission will ask county leaders for $2 million for historic preservation
and land conservation. The conservation commission, created by County Council
in 1998, told council members six months ago it wanted to conserve one
acre of undeveloped land for every acre of urbanized land in Richland County.
The South Dakota State Historical Society has
awarded $229,065 in matching grants to 22 historic preservation projects
in 16 cities.
More development in Southwest Florida pushes
the Everglades to the edge. Part three of a four part series on growth
and the Everglades.
Open Space Preservation
The Garden State Preservation Trust- the state
board that reviews requests for open space preservation money- approved
a total of $115.6 million for 151 projects, and for the first time set
aside millions to purchase urban land for city parks. The Legislature
is expected to take up the trust board's recommendations in the fall. Gov.
James E. McGreevey also must approve the projects before money can be distributed.
Howard Frumkin, director of the environmental
and occupational health department at Emory's Rollins School of Public
Health, spent an afternoon driving around metro Atlanta to talk about the
public health effects of sprawl, which he defines as a pattern of single-use,
low-density development that's heavily dependent on the automobile.
For the 15th year in a row, L.A. has claimed
the title of the most traffic-choked urban area in the nation. The region
won the ranking in an annual traffic mobility study released by the Texas
Transportation Institute. The study calculated that Los Angeles-area motorists
spent an average of 136 hours in rush-hour congestion in 2000--an increase
of two hours over 1999.
The transportation departments in Maine and New
Hampshire have launched a joint marketing campaign to promote rail and
bus service along the Interstate 95 corridor. http://www.cmonitor.com/stories/news/state2002/nh__i_95alternatives_07y09y5_2002.shtml
Metro has released its much-awaited plan for
revamping the area's mass transit system from a city-oriented bus service
to a multimode system complete with light rail, street cars and transfer
stations throughout southwest Ohio.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board today approved
a plan to spend $7.3 billion over the next six years to build roads and
mass transit in Virginia, slashing the amount it had previously said it
would spend by almost $3 billion.
Traffic woes in the Washington, D.C. area are
getting worse, costing the region $2.3 billion a year in lost time and
other expenses in 2000, according to a study released by the Texas Transportation
Institute. The Washington region again ranked as having the third-worst
congestion in the country, behind Los Angeles and San Francisco. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20593-2002Jun20.html
= = = New Releases = = =
The Western Governors' Association (WGA), the
National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), and the Trust for Public
Land (TPL) have re-published "Purchase of Development Rights: Conserving
Lands, Preserving Western Livelihoods" to assist states, counties, land
trusts, and citizens in protecting productive farm and ranch land through
the use of purchase of development rights (PDR). The report highlights
the increased federal resources for PDR now available under the newly enacted
2002 Farm Bill. To view or obtain the report: www.tpl.org,
PDR transactions allow a landowner to sell development
rights but retain title to the underlying land for farming and ranching.
The landowner benefits through cash payments and lower property taxes,
while the community benefits from land kept open and in production.
Developers and housing advocates often shudder
at the mention of the word "moratorium." While it's true some jurisdictions
have abused building shutdowns, California Planning & Development Report
Publisher William Fulton says that a limited "pause for planning" can serve
all interests in the long run. You can read now his column regarding moratoriums
Volume 4, Number 20 - June 20, 2002
= = =HIGHLIGHT = = =
Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
Intensive mixed-use development projects around
transit stations, commonly known as transit-oriented development or TOD,
have moved into the mainstream debate over metropolitan growth and development.
Such projects are generally considered to have positive benefits in terms
of economic development and transit ridership. A new Brooking's Institution
Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy report "Transit-Oriented Development:
Moving From Rhetoric To Reality" finds that true, comprehensive TOD projects
remain relatively scarce in this country and that often projects labeled
"transit-oriented" are merely "transit-related," in that they do not take
full advantage of their potential to also be environmentally sustainable
and socially just.
In order to reframe the debate, this paper offers
an expanded definition of TOD that focuses primarily on functions and outcomes
rather than on physical form and project configuration. It identifies challenges
that must be addressed and offers policy
recommendations to achieve optimal TOD projects.
= = = State and Local News = = =
A proposed committee the "Bi-State Coordination
Committee" may bridge the land-use divide for Southwest Washington and
Oregon. The committee would have no independent powers, but governments
with land-use authority in Southwest Washington and the Portland metropolitan
area would sign an accord to create the committee and
agree to let it review and comment on land-use
issues that have an effect on transportation.
Spurred by Tampa's dismal reputation for cyclist
and pedestrian safety, efforts to create a 100-mile network of greenways
and trails throughout the city are quietly gaining steam. http://www.sptimes.com/2002/06/17/Hillsborough/100_mile_greenway_eme.shtml
Land Use Plans
Instead of new houses popping up anyplace developers
can buy expansive acreage, a South Fulton groups seeks to designate specific
areas for new homes and commercial buildings and far more for open space.
The alliance is asking Fulton County to change the official land use plan
and create an overlay district with formal guidelines that say what can
and can't be built. National experts say the concept is unusual because
it's bubbling up from the landowners, including those who own the largest
Martha's Vineyard could see as many as 7,000
more homes on its 17,475 remaining acres of developable land, according
to officials from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
The island town is now looking at what steps they can take today to impact
the effect on growth, transportation, conservation and development." http://www.mvgazette.com/news/2002/06/11/buildout_rate.php
Signaling its intention to curb growth in Central
O'ahu, the state Land Use Commission drastically reduced the size of a
proposed development by nearly 3,000 homes while taking the unprecedented
step of requiring that area schools be built before the first residents
Some members of the Regional Transportation District
board are shrugging off news that they won't be able to ask voters to raise
the transit sales tax to a full penny on the dollar from the current 0.6
percent. The money would be used for a package of projects.
Metro Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce President
urged the region's transportation agency (GRTA) to do more to relieve traffic
congestion on 17 of the area's most gridlocked roads. Calling mobility
and traffic congestion "the number one threat to our economic success today.
"Any company that is looking to move to metro Atlanta today is very keenly
aware of our congestion," Williams said. He added that Atlanta's reputation
for gridlock also handicaps the ability of local businesses to recruit
promising young workers to the area.
Gov. Foster plans to sign a bill designed to
speed roadwork by letting Louisiana borrow more money against the promise
of future federal highway dollars. http://www.nolalive.com/news/t-p/capital/index.ssf?/newsstory/highway13.html
The Northern Virginia anti-tax advocates "Virginians
for Growth" vow to defeat a half penny sales tax in Northern Virginia to
fund transportation improvements. The anti-tax advocates insist that the
tax increase would benefit developers eager for more roads and developable
land, but it would do little to ease Northern Virginia's traffic.
= = = National News = = =
A new book by Richard Florida, the H. John Heinz
III professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University
in Pittsburgh, "The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming
Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life," claims that the world has
moved away from the old "organizational" era of corporations and homogeneity
and into the "creative" era, which is spearheaded by 38 million workers
-- from scientists to IT workers to artists and writers -- with a variety
of lifestyles and needs.
What that means for cities is that instead of
"underwriting big-box retailers, subsidizing downtown malls, recruiting
call centers, and squandering precious taxpayer dollars on extravagant
stadium complexes," the leadership should instead develop an environment
attractive to the creative class by cultivating the arts, music, night
life and quaint historic districts -- in short, develop places that are
fun and interesting rather than corporate and mall-like. http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13325
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe
Regional Planning Agency
Lewis Goldshore and Marsha Wolf, New Jersey Law
Journal write that while the issue decided in Tahoe-Sierra Preservation
Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was simply that a 32-month development
moratorium did not constitute a per se compensable taking, the case will
likely have far broader implications because it provided the U.S.
Supreme Court with the opportunity to clarify a number of its earlier
takings decisions and allowed the Court to reveal how it is likely to approach
some of the unresolved issues in this area. http://www.law.com/jsp/statearchive.jsp?type=Article&oldid=ZZZ2OO19I1D
Railt-to-Trails Easement Suits
U.S. House of Representatives; Committee on the
Judiciary ~Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on 6/20 holds
a hearing on lawsuits that seek compensation for landowners when the government
retains old railroad easements for recreational trails, and the way that
litigation affects the Rails-To-Trails Program. Oversight hearing on "litigation
and Its Effect on the Rails-To-Trails Program."
Click Here for Live Audio <http://judaudio5.house.gov/2141b>
- only available during date and time of meeting. http://www.house.gov/judiciary/schedule.htm
Volume 4, Number 19 - June 12, 2002
= = = State and Local News = = =
Gubernatorial candidates and top state legislators
are meeting with members of religious congregations and labor union locals
of the Rhode Island Organizing Project to hear the organization's request
for a $10-million line item in the 2004 state budget for the Neighborhood
The initiative, if approved, would give voters--rather
than the City Council--the right to approve or reject development projects
that would create more traffic. Measure that allows residents to decide
on developments that create congestion should be on fall ballot, he rules.
Attorneys for the city argued that the measure is confusing, would mislead
voters and would tie the city's hands in its ability to provide housing
for all segments of the population.
Land Use Case Study
An extensive special report examines land use
in New Jersey by looking at The Hills, a 5,100-unit collection of townhouses
and single-family homes, commercial strips and office buildings, that's
home to about 10,000 people.
Open Space Protection
More than 300,000 acres of Maine's North Woods
will be permanently protected from development in a $35 million deal. The
largest contiguous parcel of land ever conserved in Maine.
Virginia's Governor Mark Warner is campaigning
to encourage the passage of $119 million in bonds to be used for
use at state parks. Money from the park bonds would be used to buy
land for three new state parks and additional land for 11 existing parks.
Living in Colorado, you're less likely to die
in a traffic accident than residents of Mississippi or Montana but more
likely to die than drivers in California or Massachusetts according to
a report released by the state health department. Data for the report was
provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Governor Jeb Bush thwarted legislators' plans
to raid a fund that buys environmentally sensitive lands. Bush admonished
the Legislature for attempting to take $100 million from a reserve account
for the state's environmental land-buying program, Florida Forever, and
use it to pump up the budget.
Society and Culture
Cities in California rise up to rescue neighborhood
green spaces from asphalt's onward march. In San Francisco there are more
registered vehicles per square mile than any place else in the United States.
The Department of Transportation is preparing
to buy land in highly developed areas to be used for stations for Macon-Atlanta
passenger rail. The sites are in danger of rising out of the price range
of state government because they're located in rapidly developing areas
of southern metro Atlanta.
If state tax collections continue to improve,
Gov. Roy Barnes says he may recommend $12 million be added to the
state's budget to help jump-start commuter rail service to Macon. The state
plans to sell a total of $446 million in bonds to cover the entire startup
of the commuter rail, including a train station in Atlanta.
Anti-tax activists from Northern Virginia and
Hampton Roads filed suit in Richmond Circuit Court yesterday to try to
block sales tax referendums in those areas. Governor Mark Warner, who is
seeking to raise money for transportation improvements, is pushing the
Urban Heat Island
Phoenix's rapid development over the last four
decades have made it the "prime example in the world" of a heat island.
A place where the combination of sun, tile roofs, unshaded streets and
lots and lots of asphalt keeps people sweating long into the night.
= = = National News = = =
There's been a surge of interest in open space
protection in the last decade ... and there's no question that open space
protection helps shape urban and metropolitan growth in the United States.
A new report by Solimar and the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and
Metropolitan Policy surveys this national landscape in a comprehensive
way. The report also contains a comprehensive state-by-state review of
open space programs and how much acreage is protected. The report is now
available on http://www.solimar.org.
For a listing of upcoming conferences and events
make sure to check the Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse "Smart Growth Calendar".
= = = New Releases = = =
A new study "Location
Efficiency: Neighborhood and Socio-Economic Characteristics Determine Auto
Ownership and Use: Studies in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco" links
auto use to neighborhood design. Authors of the new, peer-reviewed study
say their research proves for the first time that better urban design can
reduce auto use and relieve the traffic congestion and pollution that come
with it. The study examines auto ownership and driving patterns in nearly
3,000 neighborhoods in the three metropolitan areas.
A new Environmental Protection Agency report "Climate
Action Report 2002" says that power plants, gasoline-fueled cars and other
human activities are largely responsible for global warming. The report
says a global temperature increase of 4.5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit is likely
before the end of the century.
A new report from the Brookings Institutions Center
on Urban and Metropolitan Policy "Signs of Life: The Growth of Biotechnology
Centers in the U.S." Biotechnology is at the heart of a fast-growing new
sector of the U.S. economy, and as the industry expands, it has become
a focal point of many local, regional, and state economic development strategies.
This report provides an analysis of biotechnology activity in the 51 largest
U.S. metropolitan areas and finds that the industry is heavily concentrated
in nine regions. By comparing the 51 metro areas on their research and
commercialization capacities, this report can help inform regions seeking
to capture a share of the nation's
biotechnology growth. http://www.brookings.edu/urban
= = = Foundation Watch = = =
The Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable
Communities "SpotLight" features the W.K Kellogg Foundation's People and
Land program (PAL). The program is a unique approach to promoting local,
regional, and multi-sector consensus building around issues of growth and
development. (PAL) funds a process that builds local, regional, and multi-sector
consensus around issues of growth and development. PAL's initial round
of grants fund projects that are regional in scale, and that aim to build
diverse constituencies, encourage partnerships, consensus, and changes
in attitude that are expected to bring significant change at the state
level over the long term. http://www.fundersnetwork.org
The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has
launched a new website at http://www.gddf.org.
It includes features about arts and environmental issues, how to work with
the foundation and detailed information about 185 grants.
Volume 4, Number 18 - June 5, 2002
= = = Highlight = = =
The Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP)
is compiling the newly released transportation figures from the US Census
in easy-to-use, downloadable Excel documents showing metropolitan area,
county, and place-level data for each state. STPP has also provided maps
and trend analysis using the national figures released 6/4. Instructions
are available to compare the new figures to 1990 Census results available
on the Census web page. To find the information, please link to www.transact.org
= = = State and Local News = = =
With interest in affordable housing construction
growing, the Hernando County, FL Housing Authority wants to expand
its power to issue bonds and make loans to qualified developers.
The D.C. Council voted unanimously to restore
full funding to the city's housing production trust fund in 2004, a move
that would send several million dollars more each year to affordable housing
projects. The bill doubles the portion of the city's real estate tax going
to the trust fund, from 7.5 percent to 15 percent.
The issues of taxes and sprawl have spurred political
struggles for some of the fastest-growing and wealthiest townships in the
Philadelphia area. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/3389681.htm
Smart Growth Legislation
The Metropolitan Council released figures that
the number of households is expected to double over the next 28 years in
developing suburbs of the Twin Cities. The forecasts, part of the Met Council's
Blueprint 2030 growth strategy, are meant to guide cities in planning for
the nearly 1 million additional people coming to the region. But they also
underscore the challenges that growth will bring, such as lack of housing
and inadequate infrastructure.
Wisconsin communities are starting to see the
reality of their Smart Growth land-use directive, which became law in 1999.
The law didn't cause much of a stir in 1999 but tempers are now rising
as communities realize that they must tailor all land-use decisions by
A $9 billion bond measure to start construction
of a 700-mile, high-speed rail system was approved by the state Senate
but the bill didn't get the two-thirds majority it ultimately will need.
The measure would allow the state to sell bonds to help pay for the first
leg of a system designed to link California's major metropolitan areas
with trains running at top speeds of more than 200 mph. http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/state/3364455.htm
Legislation to create a Metro Detroit Regional
Transit Authority moved a stutter-step closer to passage, but it's still
threatened by unresolved labor issues and opposition from anti-tax lawmakers.
The Wyoming Transportation Commission has adopted
a new bicycle and pedestrian plan to formerly integrate the accommodation
of bicyclists and pedestrians into the highway plan. Sharing the road and
increasing safety among varied travel modes is also a goal of the Wyoming
Department of Transportation.
In what may be the first big skirmish in Central
Florida's long-expected water wars, residents of Sumter County are fighting
a developer's request to pull 4 million gallons of water a day from the
ground to develop golf courses, businesses and enough homes for 10,000
more people for a master planned retirement community. Nearby residents
say there's not enough water to support the growth.
= = = National News = = =
The Millennial Housing Commission a bi-partisan
commission created by Congress released its final report after and extensive
17-month-long study. The Commission was charged with recommending methods
for increasing the role of the private sector in providing affordable housing
and examining whether existing HUD programs are meeting the housing needs
of families and communities.
The report's recommendations around policy reform
and new tools to address the shortage of affordable housing in the US will
have a significant impact on the housing policy debate. http://www.mhc.gov/
Census Data and Transportation
Americans are spending more time than ever getting
to work. But don't blame longer commutes on big cities or crowded suburbs.
The biggest jumps are coming from places that barely qualify for a stoplight.
Census bureau figures point to sobering trends for America's transportation
future. The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic congestion
costs the US an estimated $78 billion in lost productivity and wasted fuel
Special audio conference program "Defensible
Moratoria: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Supreme Court's Tahoe-Sierra Opinion".
Hear about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the use of moratoria.
The chair of the American Planning Association's amicus curiae committee
discusses the ruling with lawyers active in the case, advocates for planning
and legal experts. http://www.planning.org
It’s a surprising reversal. Since the 1980s,
Americans have migrated to giant supercenters like Home Depot, Wal-Mart,
and Staples but across the shopping landscape there are signs that the
supersize-it formula is evolving. Some of the nation’s leading big-box
retailers—Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Best Buy among them—are opening smaller
= = = New Releases = = =
With the Rio +10 Summit in Johannesburg approaching,
Jonathan Weiss of the George Washington Center on Sustainable Growth --
in an article in the June edition of the Environmental Law Reporter --
takes a fresh look at "Local Sustainability Efforts in the U.S.: The Progress
Since Rio." He cites rising concerns about sprawl as a main driver for
change at the local level. http://www.elr.info/articles/vol32/32.10667.pdf
The Fannie Mae Foundation, the nonprofit philanthropic
arm of Fannie Mae, will make a $2 million grant to the Brookings Institution's
Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy.
The money will be supplied over a five-year period
during which the policy center and the Fannie Mae Foundation will conduct
research and produce policy briefs and white papers. Key areas of interest
for 2002 include low-income households' ability to generate wealth; the
federal Earned Income Tax Credit; 2000 Census data; and demographic and
economic trends in Washington.