Transportation and Community Development News
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Laying the foundations for long-term, sustainable economic development will require adopting innovative policy solutions to overcome obstacles to growth. Unfortunately, implementing new policy is often politically unpopular, especially when the change involves levying a new charge or increasing taxes to fund investment or influence behavior.
A case in point was illustrated in a presentation given by Dr. Jonas Eliasson of Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology at a recent Earth Day event in Chicago. Like most major metropolitan areas, the Swedish capital had long suffered from acute traffic congestion and all of the economic and environmental problems associated with it. Beginning in the early 1990’s, academics and policy experts had discussed the potential solution offered by “congestion pricing,” whereby drivers pay a fee for use of the city’s roads, the level of which depends upon the time of day and the “zone” of the city in which the driver is traveling.
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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
King County Metro Transit, the public transportation administration agency for King County, Washington (which includes Seattle), recently released the Right Size Parking Calculator website, an innovative new tool that allows users to view estimated parking use in the context of a specific site for multi-family developments. The calculator was developed in collaboration with CNT, with grant support from the Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Program.
The announcement came at a ULI Northwest luncheon headlined by Donald Shoup, who discussed the art and science of parking.
King County was interested in developing a tool that could be used to achieve a more balanced approach to parking for the region. Outdated parking requirements have led to parking supply that is not reflective of actual demand, which can have a direct impact on a jurisdiction’s ability to create compact, healthy communities.
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Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Residential real estate sales prices for properties located near transit are healthier and more resilient than in the broader metropolitan region. That’s the conclusion of The New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation, written by CNT and commissioned by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Although residential real estate prices dropped during the recession in the five regions studied (2006 to 2011 in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, and San Francisco), average sales prices for residential properties within walking distance of a heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station outperformed the region by an average of 42 percent.
In Boston, transit-served areas (transit sheds) outperformed the region by a staggering 129 percent. In Chicago, home values in transit served areas performed 30 percent better than the region; in San Francisco, 37 percent; Minneapolis-St Paul, 48 percent; and in Phoenix 37 percent.
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Friday, February 15th, 2013
Photo credit: Patrick Putze
For nearly a century the Bloomingdale freight line has rolled across and above the City’s Northwest side. Today the tracks are aligned to transform the Bloomingdale into an elevated, mixed-use, linear park and trail running through the heart of Chicago, connecting neighborhoods, the river, and Chicago’s great park system. Since 2003, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail have been advocating for this conversion of the rail line into Chicago’s next great park. Many community groups and public agencies have participated in a community charrette that led to the development a framework plan for this major endeavor.
CNT is pleased to be hosting, Reframing Ruin: A Prelude to the Bloomingdale Trail, a photography exhibition presented by Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and The Trust for Public Land. The exhibit showcases the community’s documentation of the future trail, its relationship to the diverse neighborhoods it cuts through, and how we currently interact with this stretch of land through photography. Read more »
Friday, February 8th, 2013
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) today released results of a year-long study into the potential for transit-oriented development to unlock economic, environmental and fiscal benefits for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The report, “Transit-Oriented Development Typology Strategy for Allegheny County,” was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group under the auspices of its GoBurgh initiative and funded by the Heinz Endowments. Read more »
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
CNT will be participating in an upcoming summit on Building a 21st Century Transit System. Riders for Better Transit, a group dedicated to organizing Chicagoland transit riders to push for improved and expanded services in the city, will be hosting a summit at the UBS Tower Conference Center on February 25th. Bringing together a group of transportation policy leaders, the summit will discuss the challenges of creating a 21st century transit system. Focusing on issues like reform of the transit authorities’ governance structure and funding sources and investment strategies of the Chicagoland transit system, expert panels will discuss potential solutions to the problems facing the region. Read more »
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in the process of developing Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Guidelines and Policies in order to expand upon the environmental benefits of Complete Streets and respond to changing climate conditions. The guidelines will define ways to implement environmental best practices on CDOT infrastructure projects and all work within our streets and alleys. With input from project stakeholders, CDOT is proposing a consistent criteria for the design, implementation, and maintenance of sustainable infrastructure best practices that will help ensure these innovative ideas are consistently implemented.
On January 29th from 6-9pm, CNT will host a public briefing meeting for CDOT to share the draft guidelines. As a project stakeholder, CNT is a participating member of the task force to inform and shape these unique, wide-reaching guidelines and policies. If you’ve ever seen your street re-paved, only to see a utility trench cut a year later and roughly covered over, these guidelines hope to address this issue (among many other issues that affect the long-term viability of our urban infrastructure). Read more »
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
In the Chicago region, as in most US metropolitan areas, the dispersal of businesses and residents from settled communities to greenfield developments has created a number of socioeconomic and environmental challenges. The growth of employment centers in exurban areas inaccessible by mass transit creates strains on municipal infrastructure, depletes farmland and natural resources, increases regional congestion and pollution from cars and trucks, and exacerbates a jobs-housing mismatch as workers must drive farther and pay more at the fuel pump. These trends can be countered by creating more jobs, housing, and amenities near well-established passenger and freight transportation infrastructure, particularly in the west Cook County suburbs, as a recent CNT report finds. Read more »
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
|Cover image from Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation
Conventional wisdom holds that metro areas like New York, San Francisco, Boston and D.C. are the most expensive places to live for average families. After all, these traditionally upmarket cities have some of the highest housing costs in the nation. But conventional wisdom is the name given to a popular idea about to be debunked; housing costs are just one part of this story. A new report from the Center for Housing Policy and CNT draws attention to the other, often hidden, factors that contribute to a growing cost of place for American households. Read more »
Friday, October 5th, 2012
*** Deadline extended to November 6th, due to Hurricane Sandy ***
Through a grant to Project for Public Spaces from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program, Livability Solutions will be offering free technical assistance workshops to 6 to 12 communities around the country, enabling local governments and communities to implement changes that will move them along the road towards smart growth and sustainability. Livability Solutions is a partnership of organizations with expertise in sustainability planning, including CNT. This technical assistance will take the form of one- to two-day workshops, led by one or more experienced coalition members, focused on one or more of the group’s unique suite of livability tools. Read more »