Robin Kniech, Program Director of FRESC: Good Jobs, Strong Communities in Denver, Colorado, presents on Mass Transit, Transit Oriented Development, and the Opportunity for Community Benefits. The presentation was originally delivered at the February 2009 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington, D.C. A similar presentation focused more on tools and best practices related to affordable housing was delivered as part of a panel on Gentrification and Mixed Income Housing moderated by Reconnecting America at the October 2008 Railvolution Conference in San Francisco, and is available upon request. The presentation distinguishes the types of transit and TOD projects where equity and community benefits might be pursued, specific job benefits that can be captured, challenges, and case studies from the Denver experience.
Roll Call, Capitol Hill's daily newspaper, published an online transportation policy briefing this week that includes the first in-depth interview with President Obama's Transportation Secretary, former Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois. It also includes commentary and essays about the stimulus package and the impending reauthorization of the 6-year federal transportation bill, which expires in September.
The leadership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House on Friday, February 20. Among them was Meridian, Miss., Mayor John Robert Smith, A Reconnecting America Board Member.
President Obama's stimulus money is nearly out the door and on its way to the states, but will it be spent in the way it is intended? One alarming example: mass transit. Cities and states, strapped for money, are cutting back on mass transit even as it becomes more popular with Americans. Meanwhile, Preisdent Obama is calling for increased mass transit as a necessary step toward energy independence. Will the government's investment dramatically revitalize our national travel infrastructure, or will states spend the money according to "business as usual"?
Reconnecting America sold all copies of the award-winning Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century book and we are publishing a second edition, which will be available on our website before the end of February, with a downloadable Table of Contents and sample chapter. This new edition includes case studies of the two most recent new streetcar projects: Seattle’s South Lake Union streetcar, which some believe will eventually attract more development than Portland’s Pearl District, and Savannah’s streetcar, which cost just $1 million, has no overhead wires, and runs on cooking grease from nearby restaurants.
Presentation to the Council of State Community Development Agencies Housing Training Conference. This session was part of the CSCDA training seminar for housing program managers on the issues of transit-oriented development and the role states can play in implementation. The panel included presenters from California and Massachusetts.
Reconnecting America's Technical Assistance Director Sam Zimbabwe addressed a Regional Transit-Oriented Development Summit in Pittsburgh Jan. 5. An audience of 170 government and transit officials, planners, private developers and community leaders attended. The event was organized by City of Pittsburgh Planning and Mayor's Office, East Liberty Development Inc., The Heinz Endowments, Surdna Foundation, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority. This presentation was the keynote presentation that kicked-off a discussion of the specific challenges and opportunities to implementing TOD in the Pittsburgh region.