Reconnecting America today released Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America, an ambitious report that tracks progress in America’s regions toward a vision of complete communities.
On May 29, Reconnecting America President & CEO John Robert Smith gave the morning keynote address at the Tennessee Obesity Task Force gathering in Nashville. Later, he was interviewed and that interview was recorded. Click on the links below to watch the video on each topic.
With this bill Congress had the opportunity to establish a transportation program that would support communities' efforts to become more sustainable and economically resilient. Unfortunately, the conference report missed this opportunity and is in many ways a retreat from these goals. While I am pleased to see that funding for public transit was preserved at current levels, rather than being cut by 30% as was proposed last year, and that some transit-oriented development (TOD) language was included, the bill could have done so much more to provide transportation choices for people in rural, suburban, and urban areas to connect them with jobs, education, healthcare, and opportunity.
Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith applauded today's award of nearly $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II construction and planning grants.
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) has released the "Creating Successful Transit Oriented Districts in Los Angeles: A Citywide Toolkit for Achieving Regional Goals" report, which assesses opportunities to improve land use and transportation linkages in communities surrounding 70 existing and planned transit stations in the City of Los Angeles. The report identifies strategies to help communities around transit stations achieve high transit ridership, increase mixed-income and mixed-use housing opportunities and create sustainable neighborhoods while offering its residents a wealth of travel options.
Changing demographics and housing preferences as well as concerns about quality of life are boosting the demand for walkable urbanism and transit-oriented development in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region as elsewhere in the U.S. The Twin Cities’ real estate market must be able to provide for this demand in order to preserve the region’s economic competitiveness, but a recent study by the Brookings Institution found the Twin Cities ranked below average in the number of “regionally significant walkable places.” Brookings found only two such existing places – the downtowns in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
As the Center for Transit-Oriented Development's report "Capturing the Value of Transit" pointed out, "Americans are increasingly prioritizing the advantages provided by neighborhoods near transit, including economic savings to households, reduced carbon emissions, healthier lifestyles, fewer traffic accidents, and reduced suburban sprawl."
A trio of papers that look into transit ridership and the factors influence the decisions on how to get from here to there have been added to the Best Practices section.
Office Development, Rail Transit, and Commuting Choices
While housing is generally the focus of transit-oriented development discussions, job centers are equally important, according to a paper by Robert Cervero, professor and chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.
"In the end, concentrating housing near rail stops will do little to lure commuters to trains and buses unless the other end of the trip—the workplace—is similarly convenient to and conducive to using transit.," Cervero concludes.
In California, central business district office workers with rail stations nearby are nearly three times more likely to commute by transit than workers in decentralized employment centers. Factors…