CNT in the News

Transit-Oriented Development and Waking up from the American Dream

Chicago Codes and Ordinances | December 17, 2015

One emerging part of the urban planner’s toolbox is transit-oriented development (TOD). As our culture shifts, with more and more people opting to live in dense, urban neighborhoods and renouncing automobiles, the urban landscape must respond.

One problem is population per household. According to a report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), the average household size in the region decreased by 2%, but that attrition was over 5% near transit in one ten-year period. This indicates that households near transit are increasingly single occupants, childless couples, empty-nesters or other small household types.

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CNT: Funding Not Spent According to Community Plans Has Less Impact

Streetsblog Chicago | December 4, 2015

The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a local community planning think tank, said that municipalities and public agencies are failing to follow their own plans. They’re investing public funds for the region in economic development and transportation projects in undeveloped areas or away from train stations.

CNT wrote in their new report, “Putting Places First,” that money is instead spent on repaving or enlarging roads, and projects that a municipality may already be comfortable building, even if that’s contrary to their adopted plan. The report said that the mindset about how we implement projects needs to change: “even though stakeholders increasingly agree about the need to stop sprawl, and communities make plans for more compact growth, implementation crawls.”

“We have plans in place, hundreds of them, that demonstrate local support to grow more compactly, near transit, and in line with GO TO 2040,” said Kyle Smith, a planner at CNT and who wrote the report. “But we’re not promising communities the resources they need to implement these plans.”

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The App Around the Corner

New Republic | November 30, 2015

Neighborhoods used to be valuable because of their convenience—which, in New York, is usually measured by how close they are to public transportation, their proximity to the commercial centers of Manhattan—and their amenities. There was value in the local. But now, with apps available for pretty much anything you could want, locality is losing ground to a different form of convenience, one that means you never have to leave your house, but one that also means once you’re out of your house there’s not much there.

New York regulates hundreds of thousands of apartments to help reduce citywide rents, offers incentives to developers to include affordable housing in new buildings, and has several programs encouraging middle class homeownership. But nothing like that exists for commercial storefronts, probably because of the market-friendliness of local politicians. “These things are treated as if they’re entirely private market decisions,” CNT President Scott Bernstein said. “There are all sorts of programs for subsidizing housing but there’s not one for stores.”

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Transit Future Plans to Expand Rail Lines

The Columbia Chronicle | November 30, 2015

The drive to gain support for a host of transportation projects that include a CTA Lime Line linking the Blue Line’s O’Hare Airport station to the Orange Line’s Midway Airport stop has attracted at least 2,500 signatures on a petition, but still has significant financial and political hurdles to overcome, according to the two advocacy groups that are its primary sponsors.

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Hillsborough offering unused lots to develop affordable housing

The Tampa Tribune | November 27, 2015

Hillsborough County is seeking nonprofit organizations willing to develop 23 scattered lots with affordable housing options...A 2012 rent study by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology showed that renters in Tampa have the second-highest burden of the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. On average, according to the study, moderate-income Tampa renters spend $882 on transportation and $892 on housing costs each month — 65 percent of their monthly income.

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Chicago is home to worst traffic bottleneck in U.S.: study

Chicago Sun-Times | November 24, 2015

Chicago came in tops in the nation again Monday — but not for anything its residents want to brag about. A new study identified a 12-mile stretch of mostly the Kennedy Expressway — from Nagle through the Edens Junction past the Jane Byrne Interchange to Roosevelt Road — as the worst bottleneck in the nation.

CNT's Jacky Grimshaw, head of the Transit Future campaign to expand mass transit in the Chicago area, said extending the CTA Blue line northward to Schaumburg could convert some Kennedy drivers into transit riders and bring some relief. “The answer is not roadways, it’s alternative ways of transportation,” Grimshaw said.

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