September 5 – 11, 2009

News & commentary about urban policy in America’s cities.

** This Communicator sponsored by Happy Smart Growth **

Mobility & Transportation
The Costs of Climate Change Strategies, Who Will Tell People? – Wendel Cox, New Geography
Senator muscles U.S. for Vancouver light rail money – The Oregonian
NYSDOT: $19.9 Million in Stimulus Money to Fund Transit – Read Media, New York
Phoenix to sell 7 properties it bought for light-rail facilities – AZCentral
Light-rail settlement to cost $36.7 million – Ottawa Citizen
Honolulu residents paying $4,000 per person for light rail – Honolulu Advertiser
Missouri S.C. won’t hear appeal regarding light-rail plan – Kansas City Business Journal
D.C. Metro Predicts Shortfall, Talks Fare Hike – Washington Post
VTA proposes bus, light rail cuts – San Jose Business Journal
Tenants Evicted by Metro Transit Authority to make way for subway – New York Times
Sacramento light-rail factory is hiring – Sacramento Bee
Cyclist dies after collision with Toronto streetcar – National Post, Canada
Metro employee struck by train, seriously injured – Washington Examiner
Light rail train derailed in Phoenix crash, 7 hurt – ABC-15, Arizona
Pedestrian Hit By Light-Rail Train in Minneapolis – KSTP-TV, Minneapolis
Traffic circles stir more controversy in Ahwatukee – AZCentral
Big traffic calming schemes increase emissions – Environmental Data Interactive
PODCARS – A Personal Rapid Transit primer – Miami Examiner
America’s Ten Best Transportation Projects Unveiled –

Housing & Land Use
Will Obama’s “Livability” Program Bring Britain’s “Hobbit Homes” to America? – Ron Utt, Heritage Foundation
What A City Needs
– Edward Glaeser, The New Republic
Oregon’s land-use system: a barrier to economic recovery – Bill Moshofsky, Oregon Live
Higher Density Housing To Do Little To Cut Fossil Fuels –
Florida Drifts Into the Morass – Richard Reep, New Geography
Texas Tops U.S. in Housing Affordability – Buyers House Realty
State leaders clash over growth plans – Naples News, Florida

People and Metro Prosperity – The New Republic

Sex and the City of the Future –
Council OKs using eminent domain to create rail quiet zone – Kansas City Star
Williamsburg businesses fear eminent domain for Broadway Triangle – New York Daily News
School board seeks to condemn property – Statesman Journal, Oregon
Cedar Falls TIF district would let mall keep some option tax funds – WCF Courier, Iowa
Development Stifled By 10-Year-Old Comprehensive Plan – Daily Commercial, Florida
What We’ve Learned: Ugly Truths About Housing – New York Times

Freedom & Grassroots
Justification for TIF & special tax district: There is none – Warren Bolton, The State, South Carolina
Exhilaration as Giant Mall Springs Up in a Strike Against Blight – New York Times
Light rail or I-270 toll roads? –, Maryland

High Speed Rail
High-Speed Rail Is Not “Interstate 2.0” – Randal O’Toole, Cato Institute
Amtrak Runs Off The Rails – New Geography
Dispute could derail high-speed rail in Illinois –
Poll: Most back property rights vs. high-speed rail – San Jose Business Journal
Maryland seeks $10 million to study rail station expansion –
Georgia gets $14.2 million grant to study HSR – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Across the Trenches
What We Can Really Learn From Portland – California Planning & Development Report
Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys – New York Times
Driving the Built Environment: Going Compact – Reconnecting America
Building Communities to Lower CO2 Emissions – The Transit Pass
Transit-Oriented Development as a Road to Sustainable Growth –
Transportation Lessons from the Stimulus – The New Republic
Prime farmland continues to vanish – Daily Astorian, Oregon
Study: Denser development may cut pollution – USA Today
Demand grows for smaller homes – Baltimore Sun
Man commutes 4 hours daily by transit to make point, writes dissertation – Whittier Daily News, California

Three Cheers!
Transportation Goals Continue to Be Unmet – Jessica Custer, Lincoln Tribune, North Carolina
Exaggerated importance not a selling point – Peoria Journal Star
Kansas Supreme Court rules in favor of private property – Kansas City Star

Quote of the Year Nominees*
“[W]e don’t want to pit one mode of transportation against another.” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who had earlier said the goal of the Obama Administration was to coerce people out of their cars.

“We cannot build it outside the urban growth boundary, and we have an obligation as stewards of the taxpayers’ money to try to reach a
settlement that is going to be to the advantage of the taxpayers in terms of price.” Salem-Keizer (OR) School Board Chairman Steve Chambers, rationalizing the use of eminent domain to get land for public schools.

“If we get this right, there’s an opportunity for a Cafe Nineteen in every new development. If you go to any smart-growth conference, this is the kind of thing they are looking for.” Sean Lupton-Smith, on the coffee shop he is opening to create a unique sense of place.

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

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