September 19 – 25, 2009

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

** This Communicator sponsored by Happy Smart Growth **

Mobility & Transportation
Traffic Congestion, Time, Money & Productivity – Wendell Cox, New Geography
HOT Lanes Show Diverse Benefits – Sam Staley, Reason Foundation
Honda unveils ‘Segway-style’ unicycle that travels in any direction you want – U.K. Daily Mail
An Electric Rolls Royce Phantom could be on the way –, U.K.
National Terror Alert for Mass Transit – KCBS, Washington D.C.
Metro Steps Up Patrols to Curb Violence at Transit Stations – Washington Post
Light-rail train hits car near Star Tribune building – Star-Tribune, Minnesota
Car collides with Tacoma Link light rail – Tacoma News Tribune, Washington
Light rail vote delayed a month by TAMC board – Monterey County Herald, California
Light rail noise becomes official emergency – NWCN Headlines, Seattle
Mayor makes pitch for light rail –
AC Transit to Cannibalize BRT Program to Keep the Lights On – Action Alameda News
University sues Met Council over light-rail issues – Star-Tribune, Minnesota
Road choked to slow traffic – Times & Transcript, Canada
Quick Study: Unlocking Gridlock – Reader’s Digest
D.C. workers commute longer, more likely to use transit – Washington Examiner
Metro Turns To Suicide Prevention Groups for Help – Washington Post
Critique of Tom Vanderbilt’s “Traffic” – Randal O’Toole, Antiplanner Blog

Housing & Land Use
Same 4-bedroom house – wildly different prices – CNN Money
Going Green: What Cities Can Teach The Country – WBUR affiliate, NPR
Wanted: Tax Money – Circleville Herald, Ohio
McKee gets initial approval for massive $390 million TIF – KWMU, St. Louis
Saginaw downtown group pursues TIF tax capture plan –, Michigan
Judge in TIF lawsuit sides with Belleville, developer –, Illinois
More on ACORN and Eminent Domain Abuse – Reason Hit & Run Blog
A family’s dream collides with a city’s plan – Orange County Register
Boulder files eminent domain petition to build bike path – Daily Camera, Colorado
New London land taken from homeowners still undeveloped – AP News, Connecticut

Freedom & Grassroots
I’m leaving … hold your applause – Steven Greenhut, Orange County Register
Smart growth = no growth – Don Magruder, Daily Commercial, Florida
Forget the rails, my bike really would have liked Ike – Colorado Springs Business Journal
Move It! – Developments by rail, by sea and by car – Houston Chronicle

Three Cheers!
Long Branch homeowners win eminent domain fight –, New Jersey
Homeowners win battle, but the war is not over – Tri-Town News, New Jersey

Across the Trenches
The Courage of Planning – Roger Lewis, Washington Post
Let’s Teach Children Planning – Michael Rodriguez, Planetizen
Real Men Tax Gas – Thomas Friedman, New York Times
Streetsblog re-mix of Kotkin’s Smart Growth article – Streetsblog Capitol Hill
Here’s Where High Speed Rail Funds Should Go – Business Insider
Freedom and Density in Tyson’s Corner – Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress
Toward a perfect city – Ottawa Citizen
Making Suburbia More Livable – Wall Street Journal
A Day Without the Detriments of Driving – Washington Post
Car-Free Diet Hard to Swallow For Many – Washington Post
Documentary traces Portland’s quest for livability – Oregon Live
EPA Smart Growth Program to Aid El Paseo Area – iStockAnalyst

High Speed Rail
Fiscal Reality Check Stops Louisiana Rail Boondoggle – Leonard Gilroy, Reason
Why the feds should stay out of high-speed rail (and most transportation) – Tory Gattis, New Geography
U.S. Senator: High-speed rail ‘can transform the Midwest’ – Galesburg Register-Mail, Illinois
Government may take over debt-ridden high speed rail company – Taiwan News
California aims for billions of high-speed rail funds – Sacramento Business Journal
California’s high-speed rail project sparks residents’ fears – Sacramento Bee
Rail will come ‘when Georgia gets its act together’ – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Florida is a leading contender for high speed rail – Tampa Tribune

The Lighter Side of Light Rail
Broncos fans at McDonald’s get light-rail tickets – Denver Times
(… in the Happy Meal? – ed.)

Quote of the Year Nominees*

“Its primary purpose would be to funnel Americans into courses of action considered socially desirable — i.e., riding trains … since its ultimate objective would be to move Americans out of their cars and into rail cars.” John Hazlehurst, on the Obama Administration’s national high speed rail strategy.

“Some problems do not have feasible solutions. Traffic is one of them. So learn to enjoy congestion — it is not going away!” Anthony Downs, author of Still Stuck in Traffic.

“Those who argue that it doesn’t pay to build a road because it just fills up again should test that argument on libraries, schools, and hospitals.” Alan Pisarski, author of Commuting in America.

4. “The car is no longer just a transportation system. It is a platform for living.” Dr. Bryan Reimer, on efforts to build a safer car.

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

** Historical Footnote: On this day – September 25, 1690 – Boston printer Benjamin Harris produced the first issue of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in Britain’s North American colonies – thus, starting the necessary chain of events leading up to this Communicator! **

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