We haven't posted a NUR Update in a while but that doesn't mean it has been quiet. Probably the biggest event recently was the 18th Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU18) that was held two weeks ago downtown. Tours were held all over the metro area and we were lucky to have one right here in Roswell. There were so many stories related to CNU18 that we decided to do a separate post. Below you will find a rundown of everything that we have found notable over the past several weeks aside from CNU18.
Those darn reversible lanes. I really think it's time to start on the South Atlanta Street project before someone gets killed.
This is a must read. It is a telling case of how suburbia, bad urbanism and planning can combine for deadly outcomes. Essentially, the article details just how dangerous the suburbs are for pedestrians, especially those who ride the bus. Notable quotes: "21 to 25 percent of pedestrian crashes occurred within 100 feet of bus stops and 41 to 48 percent happened within 300 feet.", "Transportation for America, which advocates against sprawl and in favor of walking and mass transit, ranks Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta as the 10th-most dangerous metro area for pedestrians."
We are pleased to see that conservation has finally made it into our legislation concerning our water resources. Additionally, it is also encouraging to see that water is now being viewed as an asset that is in limited supply. We should be working on ways to reduce our water usage on all fronts as well as ways to ensure that the water filtering down into our watersheds is not polluted as is much of the runoff that reaches our rivers and streams today. Notable quote; "In the end, SB 370 will be the strongest water conservation measure in the United States when it becomes law."
Does Success No Longer Live There? I think I like Gwinnett just a little bit more now. Well, just a little bit. I still find it disgraceful for the most part. The land use patterns in that county are some of the worst in the nation and the sprawl induced traffic is deadly if you hit it at the wrong time. There are a few things to like though. One of them being the Suwanee Town Center. Success may still live there.
Since we're in Gwinnett...
Two words. Not HOT.
I can see how this would be useful. Two areas we can learn from Phoenix are in water consumption and light rail. Let's hope our leaders bring some good ideas back to GA.
Kudos to Giwnnett for building a LEED certified library. In fact, just building a library is a great thing. However, I'm wondering just how green the library actually is even with it's LEED certification. The WalkScore is a 48 which is car dependent and just looking at the satellite images of the location, that is probably generous. let's work on building green communities not just green buildings. Notable quote: "89% of construction waste associated with this project was recycled and diverted from local area landfills."
I was thinking about doing something like this with the real estate info that came out in the May edition of Atlanta Magazine. However, after looking at the numbers, it dawned on me that Atlantans don't get it yet. Additionally, Atlantans don't have enough smart growth options. Virtually all neighborhoods are still car dependent. If there were any similarity to the data that Kaid Benefield presents in his blog, it would be that Atlantans congregate around schools and not transit and the home values would correlate accordingly.
This is a huge step in the right direction for sustainability in the design of new towns and neighborhoods. A lot of effort was put into this by the US Green Building Council, Congress for the New Urbanism, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others. As part of the pilot program, 68 projects were certified nationwide as of March 2010. Kaid Benefield consistently emphasizes that 50% of the buildings that we will have in 25 years have not been built yet. That is why it is so important to get these new certifications in place. One criticism that has been put forth is that the new system is too numbers based.
Crumbling infrastructure is a major problem. It is great to see that someone is bringing this to the forefront. I initially found it interesting that the study blames democracy for the issues. However, this Notable Quote might clear up the headline: "Political forces often undermine a strong commitment to maintenance: Members of Congress, state legislators and local politicians thrive on ribbon-cuttings. Powerful special interests push for new and bigger highways. Meanwhile, federal and state policies – which should provide strong guidance in the wise use of taxpayer dollars – often fail to achieve the proper balance between building new infrastructure and taking care of what we already have built."
This is one that I ponder every time I drive up GA 400 between Buckhead and just south of the Glenridge Connector. I see those MARTA tracks sandwiched between the northbound and southbound lanes and wonder why we haven't built more transit lines on the same corridors as our highways. It only makes sense to me. It would be pretty sweet to see the train extend all the way up 400 to Windward. That's not gonna happen though.
This is a worthwhile post to peruse. It makes you wonder where we are headed. We can sometimes see the general direction but it is impossible to see the exact destination. Notable quote: "The rate of poverty is rising five times faster in the suburbs than in cities."
Great quick read on the dilemma that is posed by our dendritic street networks. It makes the case that crappy street patterns and urban planning not only waste time but discourage interaction among neighbors. Notable quote: "Residents in metro Seattle areas with the most interconnected streets were found to travel 26% fewer vehicle miles than those in areas with many cul-de-sacs."
Image Courtesy of Fracker23 @ Flickr