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Entries in Mobility (3)

Sunday
Jun242012

Weekly Top 5 - Homeownership, Trickle Up, Kasim Reed, Biking & Walking, Bad Architecture

Here's what we found this week out there.. 
What's up in Roswell...
This Tuesday, the final public input meeting will be held for the Holcomb Bridge Road Corridor Study from 5 to 7 pm at the Holiday Inn at 909 Holcomb Bridge Road.
The Groveway Architectural Design Guidelines were released.  Check out the document here.  This document clarifies a lot of the questions that were found in the hybrid form-based code document.
Top 5 Articles of the Week

Homeownership Means Little to Economic Growth - The Atlantic Cities

OUCH! The truth hurts.

Robert Shiller of Yale University documents that from "1890 to 1990, the rate of return on residential real estate was just about zero after inflation." Other studies have shown how America’s historic over-investment in housing has distorted its economy, leading to under-investment in technology and skills. Or as Nobel prize-winning Columbia University economist Edmund Phelps bluntly states it: "To recover and grow again, America needs to get over its 'house passion.'"

Tools for Trickle Up Economics - Place Shakers

This article made it to the top 5 simply because of the quote below. Think of how many worthless buildings we have dotting the landscape that were not beautiful when they were constructed and are decaying now with little hope of ever becoming commercially viable again.  Some of the solutions to the conundrum that the post recommends are Form-Based Codes, Updating Infrastructure Standards and ceding more control to localities.

I hope that you of San Diego, whose city is just entering on its great period of development, will recognize what so many old communities have failed to recognize. That beauty is not only well worthwhile for its own sake, but that it is valuable commercially. Keep your waterfront and develop it so that it may add to the beauty of your city. Do not let a number of private individuals. . . make it hideous with buildings, and then force your children to pay them an exorbitant sum to get rid of the ugliness they have created. - Teddy Roosevelt

Mayor: Conversation over T-SPLOST too ‘esoteric’ - Creative Loafing

I can’t tell you how much I loathe the conversation going on about the transportation tax right now.  The opening paragraph of this article sums up my thoughts pretty nicely below... no ned to say more (but I will in this month’s Roswell Current).

Bickering over the number of lanes on a road project. Debating whether the Atlanta Beltline will reduce a Cherokee County soccer mom's commute time. Or, for that matter, if a Sugarloaf Parkway expansion will help a Little Five Points barista have better access to transit.

House Republicans Ramp Up War on Safe Biking and Walking - Sierra Club Compass

It’s no secret that we like walkability and bikability at NUR.  We recognize that not all areas are walkable and bikable and accept that they never will be.  Cars are necessary tools just like a hammer and chainsaw but I generally don’t use a hammer or a chainsaw for every task that I do.  That being said, our national legislature continues to pursue a ‘cars only’ agenda.. the four bullets below is all you need to know from this Sierra Club post.

 

  • Nationwide, biking and walking account for almost 12% of all trips, yet biking and walking infrastructure receives less than 2% of all federal transportation funding.
  • But as Senate and House negotiators enter the final three weeks of negotiations over a transportation bill, House Republicans are demanding that the Senate drop provisions that will make biking and walking safer across the country
  • One particularly egregious demand from House Republican negotiators is that the Senate eliminate the Safe Routes to School program.
  • 83% of Americans support maintaining or increasing funding for biking and walking, including 80% of Republicans. 

 

25 Buildings to Demolish Right Now - ca Home & Design

I agree with most of the buildings on this list.. most notably the Boston City Hall.  Yikes!  So, what buildings in Roswell need to be “Demolished Right Now?”  I’d have to say the AT&T building on Oak Street is on the list.  How about the entire south east quadrant of the HBR/400 interchange? 

Saturday
Jun022012

NUR Top5 - Traffic, Soccer, Entertainment Districts, Walkable Urbanism

We're once again trying something new here.  The plan is to post this weekly.  Each week, I will be sifting through the noise out there (I already do that) to bring you the top five stories of the week related to new urbanism, complete neighborhoods and Roswell.  First though, please check out my most recent article in the Roswell Current, The Elusive Neighborhood Grocery Store.  In no particular order, here’s what we have this week.

Chicagos Ambitious Plan for Zero Traffic Fatalities - The Atlantic Cities

Chicago wants to eliminate all pedestrian, bicycle and overall traffic crash related fatalities by 2050.  I’d love to see Roswell take on a challenge like this.  We should start by lowering all of our current 25 mph speed limits to 20 mph.  The 20 is Plenty movement is a great one that will reduce deaths worldwide if it can take root.  I also think our obsession with adding more and more traffic signs to our roads is counterintuitive.  People tend to drive more recklessly when they feel they don’t need to anticipate and pay attention.  Road signs and safety features have been proven in some cases to reduce driver awareness or increase complacency and in many cases have no impact on safety (they just make our city uglier).

Urban Entertainment Districts: Blocks Where No One Has Fun - Salon.com

Reading this, you can’t help but conjure up images of Atlantic Station, Lindberg Center, the proposed Avalon development in Alpharetta and Buckhead Atlanta development in Buckhead.  Although, not exactly what the article is referring to, they are close enough as they are manufactured environments devised primarily for corporate profit.  Atlantic Station and Lindberg Center have a distinctly plastic feel.  The jury is still out on Avalon and Buckhead Atlanta.  There are dozens of other spots that feel authentic such as Canton Street, Va Highlands, Inman Park, Downtown Decatur, and the old Buckhead Village... that grew up incrementally.  I think incremental growth is the key.  Roswell should be wary of any situation where one developer is planning on developing a huge tract of land all at once to create a place... You run the risk of that place being distinctly corporate and not distinctly Roswell.  (now, all of the these corporate developments are good but they likely will never reach the greatness of an incrementally incubated environment)

Arizona DOT Study: Compact, Mixed-Use Development Leads to Less Traffic - StreetsBlog

This one is no secret but the article has some great data.  It is applicable to Roswell primarily in the Groveway area as it is the only area in our city that has a true grid system with potential to be built out as a Mixed-Use environment (if you assume our NIMBYs will continue to block any action at the HBR/400 interchange).  The study basically concludes that as net residential density increases, daily vehicle miles traveled per capita decreases.  It talks about the added benefits of the grid distributing traffic more evenly than the sprawl arterial system as well as the park-once ability when visitors come to a mixed-use area.  There isn’t a need to go back to the car to drive to the next parking lot over.  Why?  Because it’s more interesting to walk there.

Atlanta Needs a New Football Stadium, But Not For the Falcons - Curbed Atlanta

I had originally thought this article in the AJC addressing recent Stadium cost overruns and overzealous revenue projections would be appropriate for the Top 5.  However, I loved the idea from Curbed Atlanta that we need a soccer stadium instead of a new NFL stadium.  Recruiting an MLS team to Atlanta would be big.  Curbed thinks the right spot for a soccer specific stadium would be along Northside Dr by the Atlanta Water Works.  However, I think our own 400/HBR intersection would be a really sweet spot.  Roswell, could stake a claim to a sports franchise and it would then make even more sense for a MARTA connection in Roswell.  We have a large Latino community and the northern burbs are ripe with young soccer talent that would love to attend the games.  The Real Salt Lake team is located in the suburb of Sandy which is very similar to North Fulton in demographic... it’s worth a shot.

Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place - NY Times Opinion 

We’ve written about Christopher Lienberger here before.  He basically coined the dichotomy of Walkable Urbanism vs. Drivable Suburban development.  He makes the case as we have as well that walkable urbanism is spreading beyond our large city centers and actually into our smaller cities and towns.  This is mainly due to a change in preference amongst our two largest generations.  This is nothing new but reaffirms virtually everything that NUR is about.  Roswell, needs to get in gear quickly to meet the coming storm of demand/need for walkable urbanism.  

Monday
Mar192012

Thought of the Week: On Car Ownership

The smarter companies are jumping feet-first into this brave new world where people don’t measure their worth by the amount of chrome they haul around. By 2026, a recent survey of global auto execs estimates that a quarter or more of urban inhabitants in some parts of the world will spurn personal cars in favor of “mobility services” such as car sharing. “The world is moving from car ownership to car usership,” the study says.

When I look at how much I pay each month for my car, I really start to wonder if this type of arrangement wouldn't be that bad.  Unfortunately, car sharing in the burbs would be a bit difficult and MARTA service keeps getting cut further.  

Check out the full article on Grist.