Dec 16, 2010 – Jan 10, 2011

The American Dream Communicator
The most comprehensive digest of news & commentary about urban policy in America!

Top Reads
Faith-Based City Planning: Exorcising the Suburban Dream – Rick Harrison, New Geography
Overselling Transit – Wendell Cox, New Geography

Mobility & Transportation
Yes, We Do Need to Build More Roads – Aaron Renn, New Geography
The Return of the Minivan – Steve Chapman, Reason
Privatizing Local Transit: Part of the Free Market Energy Agenda – Randal O’Toole, Master Resource
10 Transportation Trends That Rocked 2010
– Autopia
New, lower rider estimates for Dulles rail expose big costs – Washington Examiner
Stranded on the Subway, Some Through the Night – New York Times
Virginia Beach puts the brakes on light rail
–, Virginia
Bellevue Council Seeks Delay in Light Rail Planning – Publicola, Seattle
Union denies deliberate delays on light rail system – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Merchants protest new downtown bike lanes – Washington Examiner
At-grade light rail line most dangerous line in Los Angeles –
San Francisco spends $2.5 million to settle 11 transit lawsuits – ABC-7, San Francisco
10 passengers aboard Metro Light Rail during collision with 18-wheeler –, Houston
Teen charged in attack at Minneapolis light rail platform – Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Sacramento light rail train hits, injures man – News-10, Sacramento, California
Pedestrian hit by light rail train in Phoenix – Fox-11, Arizona
San Jose pedestrian killed in fatal VTA light-rail collision
– Silicon Valley Mercury News
Pedestrian Hit By Light Rail Train Dies – KIRO-TV, Seattle

Housing & Land Use
Why I don’t like inclusionary zoning – Stephen Smith, Market Urbanism
‘Saving’ the Housing MarketThomas Sowell, National Review
Is Smart Growth Smart? Debunking the Myths of Sustainable Development – Northwest Report
Housing bust creates new kind of declining city – Los Angeles Times
Is the housing market taking a double dip? – Money Rates
The Truth about the US Housing Market – Unconventional Economist
Assessed values drop an average of 22% on Maryland homes
– Baltimore Sun
Mortgage deduction: A sacred cow whose time is up? – Baltimore Sun
Governor seems intent on gutting growth management agency – Palm Beach Post
Can Private Markets Rescue Urban Brownfields? – Sam Staley, Reason Foundation
Ex-Duke stars foul out as New Urbanist developers – News Observer, North Carolina
TIFs, Economic Development, And Job Losses – Progress Illinois
NJ Town Revives Eminent Domain Abuse of 1950s – Christina Walsh, Huffington Post

Freedom & Grassroot
The Vision of the Urbanites – The Antiplanner
Can trains, subways be protected from terrorists? – USA Today
Bright, shiny things are not a priority – Gene Miller, Times Colonist, Canada

Not So Sustainable
Proving the New Jersey Governor right – NY Post
Cleveland Transit Officials Get Pay Raise Despite Falling Ridership – Sam Staley, Reason
Charlotte’s light-rail cuts include reduced route – Charlotte Business Journal, North Carolina
Hillsborough will forage for transit money – St. Petersburg Times, Florida
Transit projects backlogged – Hometown Annapolis, Maryland
Budget shortfall forces MTA to consider route cuts – ABC-12, Michigan
$600 million needed for Virginia rail services – Washington Examiner

** New Report: The Tampa To Orlando High-Speed Rail Project: Risk Assessment – Wendell Cox, Reason Foundation **

High Speed Hype
High-speed trains are not an alternative to cars – Mike Rutherford, London Telegraph
Report By Scott Adviser Recommends Canceling HSR Project – Sunshine State News
Florida Senate President drop-kicks high-speed rail – Orlando Sentinel
Transportation Secretary says HSR system will be our generation’s legacy – egm CarTech
High-Speed Rail as the New Political Football? –
Worries Follow Route of High-Speed California Line
– New York Times
The government’s high speed rail gamble is not worth the risk – The Guardian, UK
A cheap bus undermines high-speed rail – Washington Examiner
Math adds up to making high-speed rail a perpetual money loser in Florida –

Around the World
Growing pains are not something a city simply gets over – The Age, Australia
Beijing tackles transit, with stunning results – Toronto Star

Around the Bend
New Service Frees Drivers from Traffic Jams – CRI English, China
The future electric car that beats traffic congestion – Economic Times
A Physicist Solves the City – New York Times

Beats Shining Shoes
Light Rail Consultant’s Pay Could Near $800,000 – WSOC-TV, Charlotte, North Carolina

Across the Tracks
Will smart growth or sprawl win in 2011? – Greater Greater Washington
Six sustainable communities stories to watch in 2011 – NRDC Switchboard
Maryland Smart Growth Needs to Get Smarter – News Wise
Why smart growth falls short – Baltimore Sun
Governor Cuomo Reauthorizes Smart Growth Cabinet – Empire State Future
Density = Economic Development? – Prosperity Blog
Light Rail Transforming Cities, Guiding Development –
Light rail would help usher in a glorious age – Clay Chastain, Kansas City Star
Busting the ‘User Fee’ Highway Myth – Phineas Baxandall, Huffington Post

Vibrant Urbanism
A hundred light-rail riders peel off their pants – Seattle Times
Garbage pile saves man who tried to commit suicide in midtown – NY Daily News
Snake Disappears On Boston Subway – CBS Boston
Metro security increases after transit hub beating –, Washington, D.C.
Fights at downtown club lead to several arrests
– Gainesville Sun
Teen arrested after man stabbed at light rail station – KARE-11, Minneapolis-St. Paul

Notable Quotables

“Why don’t they use the streets that aren’t crowded? It’s going to hurt my business. It’s going to be hurting a lot of businesses.” Lisette Attias, on the District of Columbia’s new bike lanes that have forced the removal of dozens of parking spaces.

“I would not want to be in a partnership to build light rail with HRT now. I would say light rail is being slowed down.” Mayor Will Sessoms, after an audit report found the transit agency knowingly hid the costs of light rail in the nearby city of Norfolk.

“I can take these laws and make precise predictions about the number of violent crimes and the surface area of roads in a city in Japan with 200,000 people. I don’t know anything about this city or even where it is or its history, but I can tell you all about it. And the reason I can do that is because every city is really the same.” Physicist Geoffrey West, on ‘discovering’ the scientific constants that are common to urban areas.

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