Sam Zimbabwe, director of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, and Catherine Cox Blair, program director, will talk about strategies for advancing livability and sustainability in the regional context at a Federal Transit Adminstration sponsored Brown Bag Session at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 4 at the New Partners conference in Seattle.
WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a change in the criteria on which federal transportation funding decisions are based that moves away from “very narrow cost and performance criteria” to a consideration of “all the factors that help communities reduce their carbon footprint, spur economic activity, and relieve congestion.” These considerations would include economic development, mobility improvements, environmental benefits, operating efficiencies and land use – in addition to cost effectiveness. LaHood promised that the Federal Transit Administration would initiate a rulemaking process to accomplish this change shortly. The new rules will be used to award some $2 billion a year in funding through the New Starts and Small Starts transit funding programs.
Senator Dodd’s Livable Communities Act (S. 1619) will help local communities plan for and create better and more affordable places to live, work, and raise families. With sustainable development, our communities will cut traffic congestion; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline consumption; protect rural areas and green spaces; revitalize existing Main Streets and urban centers; and create more affordable housing.
Reconnecting America applauds U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) for introducing the Livable Communities Act, a bill authorizing the creation of a new office at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to coordinate federal policies that foster sustainable development and administer HUD’s sustainability initiatives. This new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities would be directed by Shelley Poticha, Reconnecting America’s outgoing President and CEO.
With California facing an unprecedented budget crisis, eleven California urban planners, architects, engineers, public officials, developers, retail managers and a journalist are convening a seminar on the challenges of making towns and cities in the new realities of fiscal chaos, energy constraints and climate change. Instead of flying to Denver, this group of California New Urbanists has chartered two private railcars from California Zephyr Rail Charters, Inc. that will be pulled by Amtrak’s regular Zephyr train. The California New Urbanists are committing the time needed for a structured, deep conversation among accomplished professionals. They are also practicing what they preach: train travel is 21 percent more efficient than automobile travel, and 17 percent more efficient than airline travel.
hifting from a highway-centered federal transportation focus to one centered around transit is explored in a U.S.PIRG document. The specific greenhouse gas savings from using transit is explored in another document. Finally, the national numbers behind greenhouse gases are explored in a FTA presentation.
The Congress for the New Urbanism's 17th annual gathering is in Denver this year, June 10-14, and the Denver-bound California Zephyr will roll out of San Francisco with special cars for New Urbanists. Reconnecting America is helping sponsor this 1,400-mile salon-in-motion, which will follow the original transcontinental rail route, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful journeys in the world.
Among those hosting the salon’s conversation is Robert Davis, visionary founder and developer of Seaside, Florida, considered the birthplace of the New Urbanist movement. Davis is a principal of Arcadia Land Company, and a CNU board member.
The topic of this year’s CNU conference is urban recovery and the re-urbanization of America, the quest for energy efficiency, the dramatic growth in smaller households, and the yearning for neighborhood connections and freedom from the automobile. Featured speakers include CEOs for Cities’ Carol Coletta, Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory and Denver…
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.
Everybody’s been talking about rising gas prices, our dependence on foreign oil, and how burning fossil fuels hurts the environment – and our bank accounts. But here’s something we rarely hear about: It’s the way that we’re planning and building our communities that’s forcing us to consume more and more oil, robbing us of our precious time, and making life in America unaffordable.
It’s time to rethink the way we use the land around us. We need more options, and not just the ones you’ve been hearing about on the news. Wind, solar energy and biofuels are all important to our future, but they won’t shorten the distances Americans have to travel to get home from work at night, or decrease the traffic that chokes our highways.
Next time you’re stuck going 20 mph in the fast lane, waiting forever to get through a traffic light, or trying to find your way out of a giant concrete parking structure, remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time for America to…