December 1 – 30, 2012

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

** Top Reads **

Toward More Prosperous Cities – Wendell Cox, World Streets
Can We Drop the Fantasy That Transit Is Green? – The Antiplanner
Just Transportation: Is Los Angeles Making Progress on Transit for All? – The City Project

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Mobility & Transportation
Transportation would suffer because of fiscal cliff and impact on economy – McClatchy
Why Your Highway Has Potholes – Wall Street Journal
How to Ease Traffic and Fix America’s Roads—Charge for Them – National Journal
Controversial HOT lanes spread nationally – USA Today
Controversy surrounds Va. plan to build $1.4 billion toll road – Washington Post
ICC tolls spark local debate – WTOP
Accident rate rises at intersections with red-light cameras, N.J. study shows –
Dreaded Yellow Light May Be Trap for Traffic Violations – National Journal
Obama’s Cap-and-Trade Scheme for Cars – The Foundry, Heritage
Plug-In Cars Don’t Re-Sell – Because They Don’t Sell – PJ Media
Montgomery County considers giving more of the road to buses – Washington Post
Metro ridership tumbles due to Superstorm Sandy – Washington Examiner
Gov. McDonnell’s detour from bold action on Virginia road funding – Washington Post
State appears ready to get on board with Orlando-to-Miami train – Orlando Sentinel
Rail Plan Stirs Distrust Among Black Los Angelenos – New York Times
Video Shows MTA Bus Driver Fighting With A Teen Passenger – CBS Baltimore
Suspect confesses in pushing death of Queens dad in Times Square subway station – New York Post
Video shows suspect fleeing the scene of second fatal subway shove – New York Post

** New Study Finds Community Reinvestment Act ‘Clearly’ Did Lead To Risky Lending – Investors Business Daily **

Housing & Land Use
Urban Housing:  A Master Plan for the Few – Richard Reep, New Geography
“Livability” vs. Livability: The Pitfalls of Willy Wonka Urbanism – Richey Piiparinen
Exodus to Suburbs Continues Through 2012 – Wendell Cox, New Geography
1972 trip to England influenced planning here – Fauquier Now, Virginia
The FHA: A home wrecker – Los Angeles Times
10 most affordable cities for homebuying – CNN Money
Home, squeezed home: Living in a 200-square-foot space – Washington Post
Manufactured Housing: The Homeowners No One Thinks Of – Democracy Journal
California planning low-carbon oasis where cars aren’t king – Reuters
On Ravaged Coastline, It’s Rebuild Deliberately vs. Rebuild Now – New York Times
Lessons learned from 100% made-in-USA house – Orlando Sentinel
End of the Line for an Oyster Farm – New York Times
Baltimore planners ban iconic formstone home siding invented in Baltimore – Baltimore Sun

Freedom & Grassroots
Obama’s Energy Dilemma: Back Energy-Fueled Growth or Please Green Lobby – Joel Kotkin, Daily Beast
Moving to North Dakota: The New Census Estimates – Wendell Cox, New Geography
America’s Most Competitive Metros Since 2010 – EMSI
Smart Meters vs. Social Capital – City Journal California
California Law Tests Company Responses to Carbon Costs – New York Times
Oakland Crime Rate Soaring As City Loses Officers – CBS San Francisco
USDA chief: Rural America becoming less relevant – WTOP
The Fiscal Interplay Between Federal, State, and Local Governments – Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center

Smart Growth IS Un-Sustainable
Subsidies Make Streetcars Costly – Randal O’Toole, San Antonio Express-News
Assessing the Financial Burden of Being an M.T.A Rider  – New York Times
Silicon Valley’s light rail among least efficient – Portland Oregonian
Higher costs, fewer stations on proposed Red Line – Baltimore Brew
Purple Line cost tops $2 billion – Washington Examiner
Operating Silver Line could cost Metro millions more than expected – Washington Post
Poll shows public support for publicly financed light rail – Tampa Bay Times

High Speed Hype
Is the Acela Killing America? – Urbanophile
High-speed rail’s fiscal cliff – Wendell Cox, Orange County Register
China Opens Longest High-Speed Rail Line – New York Times
Atlanta mayor wants high-speed rail from city to Savannah –

Around the World
Hong Kong’s Decentralizing Commuting Patterns – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Home ownership hits lowest level in 24 years – London Telegraph
Gridlock on Britain’s roads is costing families £500 a year in wasted time and fuel – Daily Mail
Prudent gentrification keeps Corktown a small village – Globe & Mail
Frozen out: Behind Canada’s housing ‘affordability crisis’ – Globe & Mail

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Across the Tracks
A Holiday Message From Santa: “No More Suburbs!” – Paul Knight Blog
No slowing on sustainable communities – Fast Lane, USDOT
Proximity Trumps Mobility: Smart Growth Maximizes Accessibility – Todd Litman, Planetizen
To Get America Growing, Look to Our Most Productive Metro Areas – Richard Florida, Atlantic Cities
Breaking: Sprawl Just as Reliant on “Big Government” as Smart Growth – Streetsblog Network
Sustainable Street Network Principles – Noodles & New Urbanism

Can We Please Stop Pretending Cars Are Greener Than Transit? – Atlantic Cities
Tempe Better for Bikes Than Portland? – Planetizen
Bicyclists, pedestrians and TriMet riders outspend drivers at small businesses – Portland Oregonian
Losing ‘Protection’ in environmental agency – Hernando Today, Florida
Religious Condo Conversions – Wall Street Journal
San Diego’s ‘Visionary’ Transportation Plan Tossed By Judge – Planetizen
Michigan’s Minor Miracle – CitiWire

Around the Bend
Your Smartphone Will Replace Your Car Keys by 2015 – Wired
How Germany Is Getting Cars to Talk to Each Other (And Traffic Lights) – Wired
Feds Requiring ‘Black Boxes’ in All Motor Vehicles – Wired

In the Mecca of Smart Growth
Brief Adventures in Portlandia – Steven Hayward, Powerline
“Stop Portland Creep” Resonates in Suburbs – Wendell Cox, New Geography

Vibrant Urbanism
Chicago Transit Passenger Attacked With Sock Filled With Human Feces – NBC Chicago
Police Warn St. Louis Homeowners to Avoid Christmas Crime – CBS St. Louis
Man brutally shot in head in broad daylight in Midtown – New York Post
Man and woman found bound and gagged on San Francisco street – US News
Suspect Attacked, Robbed 85-Year-Old Woman In Elevator – CBS New York
Robbers With AK-47s Hit Two Detroit Gas Stations – CBS Detroit
Jogger groped in NYC’s Central Park – MyFox NY

Oh Joy!
Ray LaHood talking with Obama about staying on at DOT – Politico

Notable Quotables

“This decline in homeownership is depriving a generation of the chance to own the roof over their head, shattering their dreams and aspirations. It is preventing millions of people from living the sort of lives they want to.” Paula Higgins of London’s Homeowner’s Alliance, after Britain hits 24-year housing low.

“I wouldn’t want to live in something like this. People are going to be packed in like sardines.” Bay area environmentalist Margaret Lewis, on opposing San Francisco’s densification scheme to pack housing onto remaining undeveloped land.

“It is an unmitigated disaster and a waste of taxpayer money. I think the original concept was very seriously flawed.” Transit consultant Tom Rubin, on the Silicon Valley’s anemic light rail system that carries less than 1 percent of Santa Clara County residents while requiring taxpayers to subsidize 85 percent of service costs.

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