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How Much of Your City Is Really Urban?

Only a small portion of Seattle is considered "urban" in a new study by the Urban Land Institute. Image: ULI

Only a small portion of the Seattle region is considered “urban” in a new report by the Urban Land Institute. Image via RCLCo

Editor’s note: Read to the end of this post for an important update on the Streetsblog Network.

Many places that get categorized as “suburbs” are actually pretty urban. They may not be located in a central city, but they are compact, walkable places. But the inverse is also true: Large portions of nearly every American city are pretty spread out and suburban in character.

A new report from the Urban Land Institute [PDF] divides every metro area into a number of classifications based on density and other factors. You can click through ULI’s map and see whether they consider your neighborhood urban or suburban.

Frank Chiachiere at Seattle Transit Blog notes that ULI classifies almost all of Seattle as suburban, and he thinks that’s basically correct:

The report seeks to subdivide suburbia, using census tracts, into five categories — Established high-end, stable middle-income, economically challenged, greenfield lifestyle, and greenfield value — to reflect the diversity of communities that are often lumped together as “the suburbs.”  The modern suburb, they argue, is a hodgepodge of very different housing and land-use types, a continuum that stretches from stately, tree-lined streetcar suburbs close to the center to the sprawling planned communities on the exurban fringe.

What’s interesting its that the report finds that there’s not much different between North Ballard and Bellevue: both are classified as “established, high-end” suburban communities. Seattleites might chafe at the comparison, but there’s something to it.

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Today’s Headlines

  • GDOT Priorities: Roads, Roads, Crumbs for Transit, and More Roads (Athens Banner-Herald)
  • Atlantans Urge Mayoral Candidates to Address Broken Sidewalks, Dangerous Streets (Creative Loafing)
  • It’s Public Transit Day in Miami (Herald)
  • Brightline Opponents Ask to Review Bond Records (Palm Beach Post)
  • Durham Council Member Wonders If City Can Afford Light Rail (News & Observer)
  • Charlotte Cops Get Crosswalk Enforcement Half Right (Observer)
  • Memphis Hospital Expansion Will Include Pedestrian Improvements (Commercial Appeal)
  • Rural Residents Fight Nashville Sprawl (Tennessean)
  • Hapeville, GA Is Working on a Development Master Plan (AJC)
  • Urban Land Institute: Auto-Centric Suburbs Are Here to Stay (Curbed Atlanta)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via PlanCharlotte.org

Raised in Charlotte, He Now Runs the Planning Show in Atlanta

Charlotte for years has had a love-hate view of Atlanta, with civic leaders envying their fellow southeastern metro for its big-city status, achieved decades earlier than Charlotte’s. But sprawling growth and traffic congestion in the Georgia capital city fuel a We Don’t Want To Become Like Atlanta counterpoint.

Last year a Charlottean became Atlanta’s planning director. Tim Keane grew up in Charlotte, graduated from UNC Charlotte and went on to be planning director 1994-1999 in the north Mecklenburg town of Davidson. There he helped pioneer Davidson’s traditional town development ordinance. From Davidson he went to Charleston, where he was director of planning, preservation and sustainability 2009-2015. He was hired in July 2015 to be commissioner of planning and community development for the City of Atlanta.

PlanCharlotte editor Mary Newsom interviewed Keane recently as he visited family in Charlotte.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Virginia Will Throw Away $4 Billion to Widen I-64 in Hampton Roads (Virginian Pilot)
  • Birmingham Votes Today on $1.2 Billion Road Bond Issue (AL.com)
  • Muscle Shoals to Update Bike and Pedestrian Plan (Times Daily)
  • “Star Wars” Art Showcases Potential for Buckhead Trail (Curbed Atlanta)
  • Funding Approved for Cobb County Multi-Use Path (AJC)
  • Johns Creek, GA Is Condemning a Church to Widen a Road (AJC)
  • Roswell, GA Moves Forward With River Walk and Trail Connecting Schools (AJC)
  • Transit Users Get Scraps in Panama City (News Herald)
  • Memphis Rep Introduces School Bus Seat Belt Bill (WJHL)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via The Black Urbanist

It Really Started With a Train Part 1: My North Carolina Amtrak Fantasy Map

I’m finally getting around to doing a fantasy transit map.

My inspiration? My trip home from D.C. to Greensboro via the train.

It takes approximately 8 hours to do it in the daylight and 5.5 hours to do it in the middle of the night. And those are the only choices, just the two trains a day.

However, years ago, there were at least 5 trains a day, if not more. I think we could get back to that point and do so quite cheaply. Also, I think there’s no real excuse why we can’t have trains going to every major city, at at least 60 miles, if not 90 miles an hour.

This idea actually was planted in me years before I decided to do planning work, but not long after my first ever train trip just before I started kindergarten.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Miami-Miami Beach Streetcar Remains in Limbo (Florida Politics)
  • Atlantans Fear They’ll Lose Access in Deal to Give Away Downtown Streets (Creative Loafing)
  • Atlanta Will Hire a Streetcar Safety Consultant (Saporta Report)
  • Couple Charged With Murder in Gwinnett Road Rage Shooting (AJC)
  • High-Speed Rail Could Come Through Downtown Fredericksburg (Free Lance Star)
  • UNC Wilmington Starts Bike-Share (Star News)
  • Surburban Nashville Traffic Forces Banker to Drive Distracted, He Says (Business Journal)
  • It Only Took Five Deaths for FDOT to Add Sidewalks to Jacksonville Road (First Coast News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Today’s Headlines

  • Atlanta City Council Considers Privatizing Downtown Streets (ThreadATL)
  • Georgia Bikes Issues Recommendations for Cities on Implementing Complete Streets
  • Macon Looks to End Pedestrian Deaths With Wider Roads (Telegraph)
  • Atlanta Cabbies’ Lawsuit Says Uber Regs Slashed Value of Medallions (AJC)
  • Louisianans Can Expect “Sticker Shock” for Road Funding (Times Picayune)
  • Alexandria, AL City Council Will Consider Sidewalk Vote (Outlook)
  • Never Mind That Cyclist Underneath the $68 Million Panama City Flyover (News Herald)
  • Jacksonville Officials Say Non-Existent Driverless Cars Could Replace Transit (Times-Union)
  • Developer Wants to Pedestrianize Street for Virginia Beach Condos (Virginian Pilot)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

Streetsblog.net

From Pennsylvania, a Preview of How Trump & Co. Might Bully Cities

How much will cities be threatened by the impending Trump presidency? An early front in this confrontation concerns immigration.

The money that supports revitalization programs in cities like Philadelphia is being held up for punitive cuts by a Pennsylvania lawmaker. Here Philadelphia's North Fifth Street Revitalization Project leaders participate in a community cleanup day. Photo: Plan Philly

Trump has threatened to revoke federal funds from hundreds of “sanctuary cities” that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal officials.

Jake Blumgart at Plan Philly reports that Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey has already embraced the spirit of Trump’s proposal, calling for the feds to withhold Philadelphia’s Community Development Block Grants because of its sanctuary city policies:

The CDBG program is a flexible financial assistance program for economically distressed jurisdictions. In Philadelphia, it supports a diverse array of more than 20 programs, from financial counseling to help families access Earned Income Tax Credits to security deposit assistance for homeless families..

A quarter of the funding supports economic development initiatives like those that [Philip] Green’s North 5th Street organization utilizes. For commercial corridor support organizations in neighborhoods like Olney, and for community development corporations more broadly, CDBG are an essential source of support.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Prof: MARTA Should Improve Bus Service Before Laying New Tracks (Creative Loafing)
  • Jacksonville Express Bus Line Starts Service Today (WJXT)
  • Column: Don’t Disband Hillsborough Transit Board (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Virginia Police Crack Down on Texting Drivers (WTOP)
  • Northern Virginia Transit Ridership Declines (WTOP)
  • Charlotte Observer Calls for More Transpo Spending — But Not Through Tolls
  • No Charges for Asheville Driver Who Killed Two Kids (WLOS)
  • Tennessee DOT Chief Frets Driverless Cars Will Make Infrastructure Obsolete (Commercial Appeal)
  • Court Ruling Blocking New I-59/20 Bridge Means Freeway Will Continue to Divide Birmingham (AL.com)
  • Feds Give Louisiana Colleges Millions to Research Regional Transportation (Baton Rouge Biz Journal)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

via Walkable West Palm Beach

Form Based Codes Can Lead to Better Outcomes for Eastern WPB Neighborhoods

How do form-based codes result in a better community outcome? This video from the Form Based Codes Institute (FBCI) is fantastic. It contrasts the likely outcomes of conventional Euclidean-based zoning with the outcomes that result from a strong community vision implemented using Form Based Codes.

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