October 10 – 16, 2009

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

** Talk of the Town Interview – Randal O’Toole, Cato Institute **

Mobility & Transportation
In Bribe Case, a Taste of Regulation’s Perils – Sam Staley, Washington Post
The car that uses urine to save the planet – The Age, Australia
Quirky electric car design from Peugeot – Daily Mail, UK
Time for a different fuel – Baltimore Sun
Road funding to be cut $134 million more this year – Richmond Times-Dispatch
Leaders to discuss tolls on ‘free’ highways – WTOP, Washington, D.C.
Why commuters are still waiting on Cap Metro’s train – Austin Statesman
Rapid bus line debuts in Reno – San Jose Mercury News
Dallas may have downtown streetcar line within 5 years – Dallas Morning News
New Light Rail Billion Dollar Transit Gambit – KCUR, Missouri
Revenue dip hits transit plans – News Tribune, Washington
Light rail cuts work force – KTAR, Arizona
H1N1 Flu Precautions on Public Transportation – Fox-9, Minnesota
Flu Virus Is Climbing Aboard Public Transportation – KCAU-TV, Iowa
Metro thieves looking for riders near doors – WTOP, Washington, D.C.
Man to be sentenced in robbery, kidnapping at light rail station – Baltimore Sun
Businesses fear city bike plan might drive people away – KATU-2 Portland
Calgary residents fight traffic calming efforts – Calgary Herald
Drivers despair over new traffic calming measures – North Devon Journal, UK
The Speed Hump Sound-Off – Washington Post
Retractable speed bumps that could change the (traffic) world – Oregon Live

Housing & Land Use
Go to Middle America, Young Men & Women – Wendell Cox, NewGeography
Will Hawaii Become the Next California? – Pearl Hahn, Hawaii Reporter
Houses of the Future – The Atlantic
State gives Metro’s growth boundary ideas a qualified thumbs-up – Valley Times, Oregon
Planners have tool to fight more sprawl – Tampa Bay Online
New zoning rules bar flashing signs along roads – Valley Breeze, Massachusetts
‘What the public sees, the public owns’ may be unconstitutional – Randy Bright, Tulsa Beacon
Smart Growth planning drags – Kenosha News, Wisconsin
Master plan firm: Shreveport sprawl costing taxpayers – Shreveport Times, Alabama
Are banks a roadblock to walkable development? – Salt Lake Tribune
New York’s Highest Court to Hear Important Eminent Domain Case – Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy
Widespread Eminent Domain Abuse in New York State, Report – North Country Gazette
MBTA pays $1.9 million to settle eminent domain case for commuter rail – Patriot Ledger, Massachusetts
Eminent domain may be used for parking in Clarksville – Leaf Chronicle, Tennessee
Council approves survey, use of eminent domain for BNSF quiet zone – Kansas City Star
Transit authority pays $1.875 million for seven acres – Wicked Local, Massachusetts
City To Pour Another $153.9 Million in TIF Down Innovista Drain – Fits News, South Carolina
Council approves $17.5 million TIF subsidy for downtown building – Dallas City Hall Blog
Walking study may influence El Paso policies – El Paso Times

Freedom & Grassroots
There’s No Place Like Home, Americans are Returning to Localism – Joel Kotkin, New Geography
Planners find Southland a hell on Earth – Steven Greenhut, Orange County Register
Sin in the suburbs – Peter Gordon’s Blog
Stupid, Greedy or Controlling? – Lawrence Journal-World & News
Statewide property owner coalition organizes to limit eminent domain – North Texas e-News
Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse – Marc Scribner, OpenMarket.org

Three Cheers!
Judge rules against city in land case – AxXiom for Liberty
Coal plants could emit 90% less CO2 thanks to chilled ammonia – AutoGreenBlog
Sprawl as defined by Suburban Nation – Michael Saunders, TeamExtreme blog
Is Mass Transit Green? – Robin Hansen, Overcoming Bias

Too True To Be Good
No joke! SCAG’s new leader was a Soviet planner – Steven Greenhut, Orange Punch blog
Sacramento Mayor’s Clothes Stolen – News-10, Sacramento
Berlin brothel cuts rates for ‘green’ customers who bicycle – WTOP.com
Will ‘Hotel of Doom’ ever be finished? – BBC World News
Highway to nowhere – Washington Examiner

High Speed Rail
What’s Disney willing to do for high-speed rail? – Orlando Sentinel
Hydrogen-based high-speed rail across Michigan faces skeptical crowd – Mlive.com
A Rochester high speed rail route has myriad problems – Winona Post
Wrong time for high speed rail push – Woodbury Bulletin, Minnesota
Officials sidetrack county’s rail plans – San Diego Union-Tribune

Across the Trenches
How Traffic Jams Help the Environment – David Owen, Wall Street Journal
Good news for L.A.: More Congestion, Higher Parking Fees – Siel Ju, L.A. StreetsBlog
The return of rental housing – Neal Peirce, Denver Post
Mission is to make a divine difference downtown – Kansas City Star
Driving Alone – A Quick and Dirty Analysis – Richard Florida, Atlantic
The Good 100: The People of Portland – Good.is Magazine
Debate Follows Bills to Remove Clotheslines Bans – New York Times
Are Americans ready for lifestyle change? – New Urban News
Urban planner has global ideas, local focus in Mayor’s race – Houston Chronicle
Could your suburb fall victim to the housing bust? – New Urbanism Blog
Public transportation is going away in U.S. – Naperville Sun, Chicago
Without Cars, a Different Sort of 42nd Street – New York Times

Quote of the Year Nominees*

“At first I thought I was definitely against sprawl because of how terrible the book [Suburban Nation] made it sound, but when I saw the book mention my hometown as an example of sprawl, I started taking the material with a grain of salt.” Michael Saunders, on assessing the difference between the perception and the reality of Smart Growth rhetoric.

“As a matter of fact one of the reasons we are moving is our customers complain with the lack of parking, the gridlock, and the construction. They don’t come downtown anymore.” Gerhard Watzig, on his decision to relocate his small business out of downtown Portland.

“The more I study and read about [Form Based Codes] and New Urbanism, the more I am convinced that there are serious constitutional issues that are being overlooked in this nationwide drive by cities to convert their zoning and city planning to an outcome-based system of codes.” Randy Bright, on the trend of local officials to impose design standards on private property owners.

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

** This Communicator sponsored by Happy Smart Growth **

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