Monday, April 1st, 2013
One of the strongest arguments in favor of investment in public transit is the role it plays in mitigating traffic congestion. The logic is simple: more train and bus commuters mean fewer car commuters and fewer cars on the road. A recently released working paper from University of California scholar Michael Anderson provides some real data to back this up. In 2003, employees of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority went on strike, shutting down the cities bus and train services.
The strike, lasting 35 days, provided an ideal natural experiment demonstrating what one of the countries busiest metro areas would look like without transit services. Anderson found that during peak periods, delays caused by traffic on L.A’s major freeways increased by 47 percent or 0.19 minutes per mile. The delays were more pronounced on freeways that parallel major transit lines reinforcing the idea that transit provides a real alternative to car travel for millions of commuters. The working paper estimates that the benefit of transit in terms of traffic reduction for Los Angeles ranges from $1.2 billion to $4.1 billion per year. Read more »
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Photo Credit: Steven Vance/Flickr Creative Commons License
With deficit reduction still the watchword in public policy and with federal spending on a downward slope, states and regions are exploring different ways to fund programs and public works like transportation infrastructure. Traditionally, highways and roads are mostly paid for through the Highway Trust Fund which was designed to draw on gas taxes paid by motorists. However, from time to time as the fund runs dry, the Congress tops it off with money from general revenue. Although some economists dispute this, deficit financed highway construction is generally considered to be less than optimal public policy.
As part of the Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget, Jack Basso and Tyler Duvall discuss the potential solution offered by ‘user fees’—in other words, charging road users directly for the use of certain highways. Sometimes called ‘congestion pricing’, the main advantage of this proposal is that it succeeds in both raising revenue to reduce the deficit and reducing traffic congestion and the negative effects associated with it. The pair estimates that a federal user fee could raise $312 billion over the next decade, money that could be used not just for deficit reduction but also to invest in smarter infrastructure projects like expanding and improving transit systems that would help mitigate congestion even further.
User fees are often politically unpopular, at least in the beginning. Motorists naturally resent being obliged to pay for something that they previously used ‘for free’. The truth of course is that building and maintaining highways has never been free and the congestion that plagues so much of the highway system costs motorists directly in wasted time and wasted fuel as well as harming the environment. Proponents of user fees argue that the cost of road use should be borne by road users and that if the cost was reflected by the price, many would reconsider whether and when to make their journey by car.
Basso and Duvall point to the example of Singapore, a city of 5 million that occupies only 250 square miles of land. Despite their population density, Singapore’s use of electronic road pricing has delivered both increased revenue and free flow speeds on its major roadways. As the traditional funding mechanism for surface transportation infrastructure becomes increasingly inadequate, perhaps user fees are the sort of innovative method that policy makers should consider to pay for transportation infrastructure.
Monday, February 11th, 2013
If there was ever a reason for more transit it is embodied in the recently published report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institution (TTI). Its 2012 Urban Mobility Report details the enormous costs associated with the ever increasing traffic congestion blighting America’s major metro areas. It calculates, for example, that in 2011 commuters spent 5.5 billion hours sitting in traffic (equivalent to the total amount of time that businesses and individuals spend filing their annual tax returns), wasted 2.9 billion gallons of fuel and pumped out 56 billion extra pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Photo Credit: Steven Vance/Flickr Creative Commons License
The Chicagoland area ranks 7th overall when it comes to hours wasted due to traffic congestion, 8th in terms of wasted fuel and 5th in terms of total dollar cost. The average Chicago commuter spends 51 hours a year in traffic, consuming 24 extra gallons of fuel. Traffic congestion cost each Chicagoan commuter an average of $1,153 in 2011. This is not efficient use of resources. Chicagoland commuters are also contributing to global warming by pumping out more than 2.3 billion pounds of carbon dioxide while sitting in traffic.
I agree with some of the potential solutions cited in the report. The authors point out that in the absence of public transit services in the 498 major metro areas studied, the situation would have been a lot worse. Commuters would have suffered through an additional 865 million hours of wasted time and consumed 450 million extra gallons of fuel. This wasted time and fuel would have cost, according to the report, an additional $20.8 billion, a 15% increase over current congestion costs.
Photo Credit: Zesmerelda/Flickr Creative Commons License
While the report mentions increased highway capacity and more efficient use of highway infrastructure as part of a potential remedy, it emphasizes the importance of greater investment in expanding and improving public transit services in cities and their surrounding areas. Transit services don’t just take cars off the road improving traffic flow. They offer a safe, affordable and environmentally friendly alternative. The huge costs, financial and environmental, caused by traffic congestion highlighted in this report lend even more weight to the argument for greater commitment to transit infrastructure laid out in CMAP’s GOTO 2040.
Read the full report here.>>
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
At CNT, we advocate for transit because it is an important strategy for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet today, so it was good to hear President Obama reaffirm his commitment to take action on the issue in his recent inaugural address. The Presidential Climate Action Project, which CNT participated in creating, sets out specific, practical steps that the President and Congress can take to reduce America’s carbon emissions and set the country on the path towards a renewable energy future. The President is certainly familiar with the report (I personally put a copy of the freshly printed 2008 version of it in then candidate Obama’s hand) and has indicated his support in the past for many of the steps that it outlines.
Although climate change has become a sensitive issue politically, there are important steps that the President can take to advance the agenda without legislation. CNT encourages him to follow the recommendations contained in the PCAP and communicate directly with the American people about the importance of taking action on climate change and of the economic opportunities presented by making the transition towards a green, advanced energy economy.
The President should also engage with Congress to push for the passing of legislation capping carbon emissions or pricing carbon. These market based mechanisms, by promoting efficiency and encouraging the private sector to invest and innovate in new, green sources of energy, must be part of any comprehensive solution to the problem.
The decision surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline presents the President with an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to tackling climate change. CNT urges him to kill the pipeline which does nothing but increase America’s dependency on polluting fossil fuels. Recent severe droughts and extreme weather conditions has reminded everyone of the urgency of the threat that we face. CNT encourages the President to follow through on the promises he has made as soon as possible.
Read the 2012 PCAP Action Plan here>>
Monday, August 6th, 2012
On June 29, the United States House of Representatives passed the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill for FY2013. Differing from both the President’s budget and the tentative Senate budget, the House plan does not include any funding for the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI), which was established in 2010 as part of a federal pledge to coordinate transportation, economic, and environmental improvement projects to create a more sustainable nation. Through direct community and regional grants, this comprehensive program has already helped numerous municipalities nationwide to thrive, including several in the Chicago region.
The Initiative provides grant support through Community Challenge Grants and Regional Planning Grants, both of which help urban, suburban, and rural areas plan for sustainable development and encourage building code and land use reform. These efforts, in turn, provide communities with the opportunity to build transportation infrastructure that shortens the link between jobs and affordable housing.
The holistic focus of the grants enables the creation of mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhoods, bolsters economic development through job creation and increased connectivity, and improves both public and environmental health by decreasing traffic congestion and using infill to revitalize neighborhoods. These grants are integral to sustained national growth.
Funding for the Initiative is provided through a set aside by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Fund (CDBG) program; administration of the grants is supported by a partnership between HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Thankfully, the President’s budget for FY2013 aims to restore the FY2011 level of funding ($100 million), and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $50 million for the Initiative, but the full Senate has not voted on the bill.
Unfortunately, the House budget once again leaves this important program without any funding, providing our nation with no way to make sustainable investments in our cities and towns. The myriad benefits that SCI grants help to realize—in the areas of economic growth and sustainable development—are too important to be left unfunded. Without money from SCI, metropolitan areas around the country are deprived of the opportunity to strategically integrate jobs, housing, and transit into their communities.
In the Chicago region, the benefits of SCI are palpable. During the first two years of funding, three separate area coalitions received grants to invest in economic development, housing, and transportation. The South Suburban Mayor and Management Association (SSMMA) and the West Cook County Housing Collaborative were awarded Community Challenge Grants of $2.3 million and $3 million, respectively, while the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) was granted a Regional Planning Grant of $4.25 million to fund local technical assistance (LTA) programs.
The improvement projects funded by the SCI grants have provided multiple new growth opportunities to underserved neighborhoods. Both the SSMMA and the Housing Collaborative are using their grants to establish transit-oriented development (TOD) in their communities, and the SSMMA has created a pre-development fund to facilitate the building process. CMAP has created a thriving LTA program that provides short-term targeted technical assistance to guide development decisions for communities throughout the region. These programs are all crucial to the continued success of CMAP’s regional vision plan GO TO 2040.
Chicago has proven its commitment to positive change–as evidenced by the dozens of successful improvement projects throughout the area–but commitment is not enough. Chicago needs the funds provided by SCI grants to continue progressing toward its goals. We cannot afford to let Congress eliminate these funds. Please contact your congressional representative today, and make your voice heard. SCI grants are improving the Chicago region by creating municipalities that are both affordable and economically competitive. SCI grants are integral to our future, do not let them disappear.
Friday, July 20th, 2012
On June 22, the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) approved a $10.4 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program grant to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project. The grant will complete a $370 million rail improvement funding package that was established through CREATE’s groundbreaking public-private partnership between the US DOT, State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
These TIGER funds will contribute to the completion of fifteen planned infrastructure improvement projects, eight of which are concentrated along CREATE’s Western Avenue corridor. Five railroads–Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian National, CSX, Indiana Harbor Belt, and Union Pacific–as well as a Metra line to Joliet and an Amtrak line to St. Louis are concentrated along the busy corridor. TIGER-funded system updates will benefit all of these rail lines by replacing hand-thrown switches with automatic ones, installing a computerized Traffic Control System, and constructing connection tracks between the different lines. These improvement projects will reduce congestion for both passenger and freight lines, resulting in increased rail capacity–good for businesses–and more efficient transit trips–good for commuters. Chicago has been a national leader in rail transit for more than 150 years. Reduced delays and increased rail efficiency in this critical transit corridor will help ensure Chicago rail’s continued vitality.
Map of CREATE projects
CREATE projects have already made significant progress in congestion mitigation: freight delay has decreased by 28 percent and passenger delay by 33 percent as a result of past improvements. The upcoming projects will be equally effective (when compared to a system with no additional improvements), with delay reductions projected at 50 percent for freight and over 60 percent for passenger rail.
CREATE's role in national rail
I believe that this example of strategic investment through the federal TIGER grant—enabling improvements in movement through the city, creating connections between housing and job opportunities, and providing for economic prosperity within the Chicago region. If Chicago takes this opportunity to make more strategic investments in transportation infrastructure it will become a national model for urban transit success.
Governor Quinn underscored the importance of CREATE to the economy of the region with his recent announcement of the next phase of Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds, which will encourage employment and economic growth by improving the state’s transportation and basic infrastructure systems. CREATE will receive $211 million of the $1.6 billion package, to augment the TIGER funding and complete the key 15 projects for increasing the transit efficiency and safety that are currently planned. Highway improvements will receive $817.3 million, and mass transit and general rail upgrades will receive $799.5 million.
One of 78 CREATE projects in progress
Quinn’s commitment to improving transit mobility is heartening. I hope that more decision makers and stakeholders take notice, and continue to implement transit-friendly legislation. Chicago has the opportunity to lead the nation in transportation sustainability –let’s make it happen!
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
On Friday, the transportation bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in both chambers. In the Senate, the bill passed by a bi-partisan vote of 74-19, and in the House, all but the 52 Tea Party Republicans voted for the bill. The “compromise bill” is not ideal, and many reform provisions included in the approved Senate bill were taken out in the conference committee – but there are some victories.
The new, $127 billion bill will last 27 months. It provides funding for transit at about the same level as current law and the transit program continues to derive the majority of its funding from the Highway Trust Fund. Importantly, the bill continues direct suballocation of highway funding from one of the main highway programs – the Transportation Mobility program to metro areas over 200,000. The dollar amount is about the same as before but the percentage share for metro areas dropped from 62.5% of the program to 50% – a change we argued against – but the house wanted zero suballocation so it’s a partial victory. Details on a new $500 million program for projects of national significance are not clear, but it seems to be modeled on the popular TIGER grant program – although funding will be reserved for projects at the $50 million or higher level.
The Transportation Enhancements (TE), Safe Routes, Recreational Trails, and Scenic Byways programs were consolidated into a “Transportation Alternatives” program, with funding cut by 1/3 of what the previous programs received. (50 percent of the funds are to be suballocated to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) with over 200,000 population, while the remaining 50 percent will be distributed by the state as in current law.) The states were given several ‘outs’ on this program including opting out of the program entirely under certain circumstances, including using all of the funds to repair damage caused by a natural disaster – tornadoes, hurricanes etc. Keeping a bicycle and pedestrian program at all was possible only because advocates turned up the heat last week and you made your voices heard.
A new pilot program provides $10 million for transit-oriented development planning, which allows communities to do station area planning, but there is no special TOD capital program. However, the bill does not restore parity between transit and parking tax benefits as the Senate bill did. This means the transit benefit that expired on the first of the year will remain in effect. Its expiration reduced the maximum monthly pretax benefit to $125 from the $230 it had been since the President’s stimulus package of 2009.
The bill requires regions over 1 million people to develop a performance plan that outlines baseline conditions and targets for each of the performance measures developed by USDOT. It also requires a description of the projects funded and how such projects will help to meet the goal. Unfortunately, in increasing the TIFIA program (loans and credit enhancement for innovative finance or public-private partnerships) from the current $122 million per year to $750 million the first year and $1 billion the second, the bill eliminates current program objectives and makes this a first come, first served program, rather than performance based. This is immediately most useful to agencies that either have a proven source of dedicated revenues from future projects, such as ports, airports and toll highway authorities, and to a handful of regions that have passed or might soon pass a dedicated revenue source for mass transit investments
All of the safety provisions from the Senate’s bill were successfully adopted into the new bill. The first of these provisions is an incentive grant program to encourage states to implement laws addressing teen drivers, distracted and impaired drivers, and occupant protection. Additionally, DOT is required to issue new safety standards addressing occupant protection in vehicles to improve seatbelts, roof crush strength, anti-ejection window glazing, tire pressure monitoring, and rollover prevention. Furthermore, interstate buses and trucks will be required to install electronic-on-board recorders (EOBRs) to improve safety by ensuring hours of service (HOS) rules are followed. Several child safety measures such as consumer information on the performance of child safety seats in front and side impact collisions and improvements on the latch that anchors the seat to the vehicle, were also included.
The Senate bill had included a rail title for the first time, including eligibility for passenger rail projects but the rail title was removed all together. Additionally, the Senate bill had included a national freight program but that also was struck. A national freight policy and goals, however, were established and national freight plan is now required.
This bill comes with several other problems. One of the most striking changes is that there is no dedicated funding for road and bridge repair, while under the current law roughly 32 percent of funding is restricted to repair. It also eliminates the current priority for toll revenues to go to projects that provide alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle travel. The bill also directs the transportation Secretary to suspend environmental reviews of highway and transit projects costing less than $5 million and makes other changes to “streamline” the process that was established under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Moreover, we lost the Senate provision to design federal aid roads to accommodate all users (Complete Streets), which is a big disappointment.
One of the biggest surprises (in a good sense) of the bill is that it did not include provisions to advance the Keystone XL Pipeline project. As an environmental bonus, the Act included the Gulf Coast Restoration fund (otherwise known as the RESTORE Act) which provides for 80 percent of civil penalties (estimated at $5 – 20 billion) related to the BP oil spill to be used to clean up coastal eco-systems.
Overall the bill is not what we had envisioned, and it seems the Senate bill was highly compromised to make this “compromise bill.” Be on the look-out for a piece on how this bill impacts cities in general and Chicago in particular.
Monday, June 25th, 2012
The current transportation authorization expires next Saturday, June 30. The original bill, which expired nearly 1,000 days ago, has already been renewed 9 times. In an effort to create a bill with majority support and to avoid the 10th renewal of the bill, the Senate created a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). MAP-21 was passed with support from Democrats and Republicans from every region of the country, not an easy task to accomplish, but the House is preventing further advancement by pushing their radical agenda onto the Senate’s bill.
In an effort to speed up projects and cut any red tape, MAP-21 lays out reforms for project reviews and the delivery processes. These reforms still allow taxpayers the ability to play a role in projects that will influence their community and health. The House, however, has different ideas. They have proposed project streamlining, which eliminates the rights of local citizens and elected officials to be involved in shaping transportation projects.
MAP-21 consolidates small programs like Transportation Enhancement (TE) and Safe Routes to School into a single program that provides funding to local communities for projects to improve safety, revitalize communities, and improve the environment. This program allows decisions over local issues to be made locally, by people that know them best. The House, however, wants to prevent local input by eliminating these programs all together, which puts the safety of America’s roadways at risk.
In today’s economy when the unemployment rate is 8.2%, job creation is on the mind of every American. Some members of the House want to cut the funding measures for job creation laid out in MAP-21. This would reduce the projected 3 million jobs by an unthinkable 500,000, and shows the blatant disregard for Americans’ well-beings.
Members of the House are intent on changing the Senate’s bill, but their bill never made it to the floor for a vote, and it failed to dedicate any money to road and bridge repair. The Senate’s bill, however, increases funding for these repairs above even what the current law has allotted.
As if this was not enough, the House is pushing to add the Keystone XL pipeline project to the bill, a measure that will surely prevent its implementation. President Obama has previously stated that he will veto any bill with the Keystone XL pipeline project, so the proposed addition would serve only to cripple any attempt at passing a new transportation bill.
MAP-21 is the clearest path forward and offers the best chance at a bi-partisan supported bill. Without a committee consensus, the threat of shut down becomes increasingly possible. The continued failure to compromise and pass a bi-partisan supported bill puts the creation of millions of jobs and the safety of our roads, bridges, and transit systems in jeopardy.
I urge you to ask your Representatives to talk to members of the Transportation Conference Committee. Tell Conferees to stop trying to compromise the integrity of the Senate’s bi-partisan supported bill. Remind your members of Congress that the Conference Committee should be focusing on the job creation and long-term economic benefits for their constituents, rather than on their political careers and the upcoming election. And urge your Senators and Representatives to support MAP-21.
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
After a steady increase during the 1980s and 1990s, VMT, or vehicle miles traveled, have leveled out in the United States and are actually decreasing in the wake of the Great Recession. Even during the slow recovery period we’re now in, Americans are keeping their foot off the gas pedal.
Americans are holding on to their cars. There are more than 240 million passenger vehicles in operation nationwide. Only in 2008 were there more cars on the road in the United States. The average age of these vehicles in circulation has steadily increased from an 8.4 year average in 1995 to 10.8 in 2011.
It seems likely that people are holding on to their cars not necessarily because they want to, but because there’s no other way to get around. A 2010 poll found that the majority of adults in the United States say they have no choice but to drive as much as they do and most would like to spend less time in their cars. Transit may exist for many of these people, but the hassle of accessibility doesn’t translate into more ridership for many cities around the country.
A 2010 poll found that the majority of adults in the United States say they have no choice but to drive as much as they do and most would like to spend less time in their cars. Photo by Flickr User: freefotouk
Whether it’s the recession or a response to high gas prices or something else, people are driving less but holding on to their cars. People who care about cities, affordability, and the environment need to capitalize on this change in behavior by making it easier and obvious for people to keep their VMT low even when the economy gets stronger, gas prices drop, etc.
That means policies and funding for transit, biking, and car-sharing that reflects a fundamental shift in how we view and invest in transportation networks. We need policies that support infrastructure for multiple mobility options instead of policies that prioritize driving over everything else. If we want to offer a way for people to drive less long-term, dependable and convenient transportation options are a must.
This argument I’m making isn’t particularly novel to anyone outside of the Capitol. Cities and regions are getting it and moving forward with innovative ways to fund transit on their own. In at least 33 metropolitan regions around the country, large investments are being made in streetcars, light rail, metro rail, or commuter rail projects in 2012. I wrote about Los Angeles’ efforts not too long ago. In 2009, Oklahoma City voters approved MAPS3 program, which included $130 million worth of mass transit improvements in addition to other public works and redevelopment projects. The Research Triangle area has three counties and two metropolitan planning organizations working together on funding a dedicated transit system, with Durham County already approving a sales tax increase for its part. Here in Chicago, we expect our new Infrastructure Trust to be used to invest in transit upgrades and expansion.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and her Senate colleagues have developed a bipartisan bill - Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) - which would reauthorize the nation's surface transportation programs for the next two years. Photo credit: U.S. Senate Photo Studio
Congress desperately needs to get on board. Public transit is not partisan. Saving people money on getting to work and the grocery store is not partisan. But both Republicans and Democrats have failed for more than three years now to reach common ground on a multiyear transportation bill to replace the 2005-09 legislation. We are on the ninth short term extension, which will expire on June 30. Forty seven Members of Congress are meeting now to decide the fate of public transportation in our country. Such a critical issue deserves a thoughtful approach that articulates a transportation vision for the country for the next 50 years and beyond.
Thursday, May 17th, 2012
When Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) held its inaugural convention 20 years ago, the traditional idea of walkable downtowns that are easily accessed by surrounding neighborhoods and serviced by public transit had been obliterated by commuter suburbs, inexpensive automobiles, and increasingly dispersed communities. Determined to ameliorate the affects of sprawl, which the CNU founders viewed as harmful to the nation as a whole, they banded together, began holding annual conferences, and, two decades later, have successfully transformed their then-radical idea of using mixed-use development to create sustainable communities into an internationally respected design practice that more and more people seek out when looking for a place to live.
New Urbanism’s continued success is marked by the remarkably wide turnout of young professionals at CNU 20. New Urbanism has made its way out of the obscure corners of urban planning and into academia, where the newest generation of design experts is learning the value of incorporating sustainable development practices into their own careers.
Although New Urbanism has the support of many planners and design professionals, actual change in the built environment is impeded by a misconception that big-box developments, which concentrate goods and services under one roof and have ample parking for cars, are more financially viable than mixed-use developments that adapt themselves to an existing neighborhood fabric.
Of all the sessions I attended at CNU 20, I was most compelled by the research discussed during the Friday morning breakout session, “The Economic Benefit of Good Urbanism.” The panelists used data from extensive financial and policy analysis to demonstrate that the economic benefits to municipalities from big-box stores are significantly less than those provided by mixed-use developments.
Panelists at the CNU conference used data from extensive financial and policy analysis to demonstrate that the economic benefits to municipalities from big-box stores are significantly less than those provided by mixed-use developments. Photo by Tim Boyle, Getty Images
Panelist Joseph Minicozzi of Urban3, LLC gave examples from his research in Asheville, North Carolina, where his firm compared the property tax generated by a Super Walmart on the edge of the city with a typical acre of mixed-use development in Asheville’s downtown district. The Walmart consumed 34.0 acres and generated property taxes of $47,500 per acre, while the mixed-use development consumed only 0.2 acres and generated $634,000 in property taxes per acre. A sample set of 15 cities from Montana to Florida provided similar results, underlining the economic potential of creating mixed-use developments on Main Streets, vibrant neighborhood hubs, or central business districts in communities across the nation. I was happy to see real numbers (and large ones at that!) to make the case for sustainable, mixed-use planning.
Joseph Minicozzi of Urban3, LLC gave examples from his research in Asheville, North Carolina, where his firm compared the property tax generated by a Super Walmart on the edge of the city with a typical acre of mixed-use development in Asheville’s downtown district. Credit - Urban3
You can read more about the analysis in the author’s own words in this Planetizen essay.
My own breakout session on Friday afternoon, “Preserving Affordability: Gentrification without Displacement,” was equally satisfying. More than 100 people gathered to hear Alexander Gorlin, Rosanne Haggarty, Jaimie Ross, Alexander von Hoffman, and myself consider strategies for spurring economic development while maintaining affordability. Employment-oriented transit, an idea explored in CNT’s publication Prospering in Place, is an important way to increase employment options for households at all income levels while decreasing transportation costs and maintaining neighborhood affordability.
The 48,100 square foot former Morris B. Sachs Building in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood has been converted into retail space, a community arts center and 28 loft-style market rate and affordable lofts. Photo from - YoChicago
More and more planners and design professionals have recognized the benefits of implementing sustainable New Urbanism principals. That’s wonderful progress. I’d like to see us New Urbanists doing even more to explain the benefits of these principals to our friends, neighbors, and family members to ensure we see more of these principals shaping the DNA of our communities.