August 15 – 21, 2009

The American Dream Communicator – news & commentary about urban policy in America’s cities.

Mobility & Transportation
Prius effect: Energy-efficient cars undercut the appeal of light rail – Chuck Plunkett, Denver Post
Vetting the Volt: Toward Meaningful Electric Car Fuel Consumption Ratings – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Five Things Congress and the President Are Doing to Bring Back Sky-High Gas Prices – Heritage Foundation
Wanted: Your A-rated roads – Tampa Bay Online
Keeping Faith, but Losing Time, Under New York Subway – New York Times
Striptease on the NY subway… – New York Post
A quick decline, and bleak future, for O.C. transit agency – L.A. Times
Public sentiment solidly against BART strike – San Francisco Chronicle
Bus backer wary of light rail plans – Concord Monitor
Cuts Proposed For Detroit Buses – Click-on Detroit
VTA line among those targeted for chopping block – San Jose Mercury News
Where will transportation money come from? – Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
Metro ridership down since June’s deadly crash – Washington Examiner
Stabbing at light rail station leaves one dead, two hospitalized – San Jose Mercury News
Dozens Of People Injured In San Francisco Light Rail Accident – Official Wire
Bicyclist Seriously Injured in Accident Involving Light Rail – KRON-4, San Francisco
Light rail train collides with taxi in Jersey City –

Housing & Land Use
The Seven State Regulations of Markets That Made the Crisis Possible – Vincent Benard, Le Quebecois Libre
California Disease: Oregon at Risk of Economic Malady – New Geography
Home Prices: There’s No Quick Recovery Ahead – Wall Street Journal
County wants two more years for comprehensive plan – The Daily News, Wisconsin
From a Dream New Urbanist Development, a Harder Reality – Washington Post
The New American Dream: Renting – Wall Street Journal
Inclusionary zoning in 3… 2… 1… – Greater Greater Washington
California’s Inclusionary Zoning Laws on the Brink of Collapse – Real Estate & Construction Law
On the Mat, Florida Wonders Which Way Is Up – New York Times
A tough year for property rights in North Carolina – Gaston Gazette, North Carolina
Property owner, city far apart – will consider eminent domain – Telegraph Herald, Iowa
Maine Town Chooses Eminent Domain to Site Solar Power Project – Cooler Planet
Beachfront South eminent domain issue heats – APP News, New Jersey
No ‘urban reserve’ land added to Multnomah County planning map – Oregon City News
Color-Coding the Suburbs – Wall Street Journal

Freedom & Grassroots
DeSaulnier’s smart growth recession – Halfway to Concord
Taking Of Quarry For Highway Bypass Was A Costly DOT Fiasco – Hartford Courant
Time for Property Tax Transparency in Schaumburg – Schaumburg Freedom Coalition, Illinois
Berkeley officials seek to block petition drive – San Francisco Chronicle
Teachers and Advocates Question Chicago’s Use of TIF – Chicago Public Radio
Locals vent at road-realignment rage & traffic calming on Sunshine Coast highway – The Province

High Speed Rail
What Would High-Speed Rail Do to Suburban Sprawl? – Edward Glaeser, New York Times
Why High-Speed Rail Fails as a Jobs Program – Sam Staley, Reason Online
High Speed Trains Won’t Revitalize Dying Cities – Business Insider
HSR, electrified CalTrain may prove disastrous for freight rail – Oakland Tribune
High-speed rail supporters kick off campaign to get federal funds – St. Petersburg Times

Across the Trenches
Cul de Sacs are Killing our Planet (video 3 min) – Crest Halifax
NIMBY neighbours aid urban sprawl – Edmonton Journal
Public transportation stalled by US recession – advocates claim – Forbes
KCATA Again Pushing Light Rail, Big Consultants’ Fees – K.C. Tribune
Stay on track on Tri-Rail – Miami Herald
Want to lose weight? Stop suburban sprawl – Miami Examiner
Urban Whales? Ocean Sprawl? Really?! – Tree Hugger
From Liberal NIMBY to Green YIMBY – New York Times

The European Model
Room to swing a cat? Hardly – BBC Magazine
Nice Houses for Ducks – New Geography
High-speed rail strategy not so green, report says – Guardian, UK
NS paid too much for high-speed rail track – Dutch News

Three Cheers!
Appeals court rules Readington cannot use eminent domain – NJ Real Time News

Quote of the Year Nominees*

“For every million passenger-miles traveled in Denver, light rail puts 50,000 more pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere than passenger cars do.” Chuck Plunkett, writing on his conversion from a light rail advocate to a skeptic.

“I think the New West should return to the Old West, when there was an emphasis on communities, on families and neighbors. It’s time to think about what kinds of development we want, whether we want to develop more communities or subdivisions and sprawl.” Robert Redford, demonstrating his nuanced thinking on urban policy.

“People see a naked woman and they smile.” Zach Hyman, on photographing female strippers on New York Subways as performance art.

* Submit your nominees for Quote of the Year by emailing me at Check for past nominees on our website here.

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