10 Stories, Driving Trends and Regions

It's amazing how much can change around the city in two weeks. This post is pretty long but I think there are a bunch of juicy articles for everyone. Also, as you know, we have a new Governor who will have to take on the challenges of the state and region. I'm looking forward to seeing his position on transit in the metro region.


Roswell


North Fulton Cities Affirm Billion Dollar Transit Plan - AJC


This is just one piece of a metro-wide plan that is being put together by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Notable Excerpt:


The north Fulton proposal includes three layers of projects. The top layer has about 18 projects, including greenway connections and capacity improvements on Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs, McGinnis Ferry Road in Johns Creek and on Ga. 9 in Alpharetta.

Roswell Sued Over Holcomb Rezoning - NorthFulton.com


Now, this is about as boring as it gets but it struck me as interesting because a developer couldn't get his land rezoned from office to retail to provide what he believes the market wants.. a strip center that will house a car wash, dry cleaners and day care... maybe we can throw in a nail salon, tanning bed and a wing delivery joint. I think the market is demanding some of those too.


$100M, 10 Story Office Project OK'd - NorthFulton.com


I don't think this one's ever going to get built.. Do we really need two 10 story towers in a park in Alpharetta? Unless the roads are more interconnected, you can rest assured that you'll be seeing more traffic in the area around these two towers (if/when they get built and occupied).

Roswell gets $400k Grant for Holcomb Bridge Rd Study - AJC


The study is supposed to recommend ways to improve traffic from Warsaw Road to Holcomb Woods Parkway, including the Ga. 400 interchange. We need to be sure that the improvements are not completely oriented to auto travel. There are pedestrians and bicyclists that would also like to see notable improvements in that area.

Alpharetta Readies Downtown Changes - NorthFulton.com

I was a huge proponent of the now dead mixed-use (with residential) proposal for downtown Alpharetta. However, that is long gone and they are now looking at streetscaping as an improvement measure that is cheaper and more in line with the times. The project will go just from the Roswell border at Hembree Rd all the way up to Windward. I like the idea and I hope that it can encourage them to bring back the old proposal sometime.


Region


Obama's DOT Chief Calls for Leadership in GA - WSBRadio.com


Ray LaHood was in Macon a couple weeks ago making a case that leadership in GA can get us where we need to go.. literally. Notable Quote from LaHood:


If Georgia wants a rail line and wants to be connected to high-speed intercity rail, you can make it happen.. You need to have leadership from all of you, but you need it from the governor's office, too.

Georgia Conservancy Promotes Healthy Growth Through Blueprints Program - Saporta Report


I'm currently taking the Good Urbanism 101 class that the Ga Conservancy offers and it is a well put together program to educate leadership in Georgia on the ecological benefits of smarter development. Katherine Moore gives a good overview of the program in this guest piece on the Saporta Report.


Mayor Calls for Elimination of 'Food Deserts', 25 Percent Reduction of GHGs by 2020 - Creative Loafing


Mayor Reed wants to establish Atlanta alongside New York, Chicago and Seattle as one of the top 10 greenest cities in the US. One of the goals is to bring local food available within a 10 minute trip of 75 percent of all residents by 2020. You can check out an 8 page summary of the plan here. There's only one problem with this.... They are talking about the City of Atlanta not the Region of Atlanta... we need to be doing all of this Regionally.


"Cities" May Not Matter as much as We Think - Regions and Neighborhoods are Where Things Actually Happen - Kaid Benfield NRDC Switchboard


So, adding on to the statement above that we need to be doing more regionally, this post focuses on the city vs. region debate and mentions Atlanta. Notable excerpt:

One might say that Atlanta is a sprawling metropolis and powerful economic engine with a population of 5.4 million people; but, using the second, Atlanta becomes a much smaller area confined within an artificially drawn boundary containing only some 540,000 residents. The smaller, jurisdictional Atlanta may mean something to candidates for city office and cartographers, but it has very little to do with economic or environmental reality.


Why You Should Stop Bitching and Embrace the Streetcar - CitySearchBlog


As I look deeper into the Streetcar, I like it a lot more. The amount of ridership from GSU students as well as office workers in the area will probably be a lot larger than most expect. Plus, it's a good start for a project (eventual Peachtree Streetcar) that has to start somewhere.


Branded! Municipal Identity and the Selling of Cities - PlaceMakers


This post focuses on the new branding campaign for the City of Dunwoody which looks very similar to the Wal-Mart logo. Notable Excerpt:


If your leadership fails to engender trust, you can t sell strength. If your policies are not incentivizing what you want and penalizing what you don t, you can t sell vision. If your zoning promotes sprawl and your citizens are disconnected from civic participation, you can t sell community. No matter how pretty your logo or clever your tag, you are wasting your time.


Transit Links Crucial to Suburban Prosperity - Jay Bookman - AJC


Uneasy Alliance of Officials Meets on Metro Atlanta's Transportation Needs - AJC


Rail Between Atlanta and Charlotte Looks Promising with New Funds - Politic365.com

Solar Powered Green Home for Atlanta - Jetson Green

Council Asks Haddix to Resign from RTR - FayetteDailyNews.com

Beyond


Is the Digital Age Changing Our Desire to Drive? - Infrastructurist


The statistics used are from an Advertising Age article about the diminished importance of the automobile in the digital age. The piece points out that in 1995 people age 21 to 30 accounted for roughly 21 percent of automobile-miles driven in the United States. By 2001 that figure had dipped to 18 percent, and in 2009 it had fallen below 14 percent. All this while the proportion of people in this age group actually increased.


A Very Impressive Two Weeks for the Federal Sustainability Partnership - Kaid Benfield NRDC Switchboard


This is a great summary of how EPA, DOT, HUD and the white house have teamed up to support smart growth initiatives around the country with the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.


Smart Grids are a Dumb Idea - Tree Hugger


In essence the smart grid advocates are saying we can't afford what we have, so let's build something else we can't afford. We need to be building local power systems that are more efficient at transferring energy to the end user.

Investing in Metro Areas is the Key to Sustainable Growth - Grist

One of the fundamental beliefs of new urbanism is that the region is the true economic engine of the country. Two plus two equals five in cities.

Christopher Leinberger Explains Why Washington DC is a Model for Walkable Redevelopment - Tree Hugger

Good case for why future train stops should go to walkable centers and not to spots along 400. In my opinion, stops should go along Notrhridge's low income area, Roswell near Canton Street, town center shopping center, the hospital, Alpharetta at Northpoint, the old Prospect Park site at Old Milton and then up to Windward.

Will Los Angeles Ever Become Something Besides a 'Suburban Metropolis' - Grist

Great point on the rationale for building rail. The point is not to decrease traffic. Any system that is built for that purpose will fail.


British Officials Demand a Reduction in Street Sign Clutter - Unclutterer

I demand a reduction as well.

Good News on Energy Efficiency - Sierra Club Compass

Increasing the efficiency of new homes by 30% is a HUGE win on the sustainability front.

Suburban Renewal - Richard Florida @ Creative Class

Prizes for Public Participation - Daily Camera via Planetizen

Cul-de-sac Hell, Continued - Human Transit

How Segregation Caused the Housing Crisis - ChicagoNow