Today’s Headlines

  • Feds Maneuver to End Lawsuit, Move Forward With Brightline (Palm Beach Post)
  • DC Pressures Virginia to Increase Funding for the Metro (Washington Post)
  • Orange County, University of Central Florida Agree to Street Safety Plan (Orlando Sentinel)
  • A New Atlanta Resident Notices the City Isn’t Very Walkable (Paste)
  • Neighbors Think Atlanta BeltLine Development Is Both Too Tall and Too Suburban (Curbed)
  • The AJC Explains Why One North Fulton Intersection Is Such a Mess
  • Meet the Two Candidates to Head Chatham Transit (Savannah Morning News)
  • Corvallis, NC Residents Want to Improve Bike and Pedestrian Safety (Gazette-Times)
  • Hickory, NC, Police Seek Driver Who Critically Injured Pedestrian and Left Scene (Observer)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


via ATL Urbanist

That Cheap Atlanta Housing Comes With Big Transpo Costs

The hidden costs of transportation in car-centric sprawl are considerable. Atlanta draws people to its suburbs by way of home prices that are relatively affordable. BUT… when you factor in transportation costs, studies show that sprawling Atlanta region is one of the least affordable places in the US for moderate-income households (based on Area Median Income).This page on the Atlanta Regional Commission website has more info on the numbers. Here’s a quote:“Moderate-income” households…in metro Atlanta spend 63 percent of their income on transportation and housing costs.The cost of purchasing, maintaining and fueling a car (plus buying insurance for it) can make for an expensive way of life in places like Atlanta — the most sprawling metro in the US.It’s a situation that may not affect the wallets of the most affluent residents of the region too much, but medium and low income Atlantans feel the pinch in a big way. That’s why it’s increasingly important to look at housing and transportation costs together when measuring the affordability of an area. Below is a map that shows the per-capita vehicle miles driven by people in metro Atlanta (source). The dark orange areas are places where residents drive the most number of miles per day.If you live in the most car-centric outer regions of Atlanta and are thinking to yourself, “but I’m not broke! I can afford my lifestyle” — that may be due to the way that we’re all subsidizing your housing, helping to offset the costs of car ownership and use. The image of north Georgia below, taken from a Pew study, shows where housing is subsidized the most. That dark blue doughnut shape is the suburbs of Atlanta, all relying on mortgage interest deductions at a rate that is far higher than the national or state average. So if you aren’t feeling the pinch of those transportation costs, you’re welcome! It’s because we’re all helping to shoulder your housing costs.  I often hear people from the Atlanta region talk about where they live in terms of how many minutes it takes to drive somewhere. Their home is a “15 minute drive” from a store or some other amenity and only a “30 minute drive” to work. To which the usual kind reply is, “oh, that’s not bad at all!”As a point of reference, the livability of walkable places like my neighborhood (and I realize I risk sounding smug here, though I certainly don’t intend to) can often be measured in terms of how many blocks you are from an amenity or how many minutes it takes to walk to a certain destination. That’s a measurement tool that signifies something good for physical and economic health.
via ATL Urbanist

Newest Census Data Show Steady Population Rise in Atlanta

The newest population estimates, released this week from the US Census Bureau, show that the City of Atlanta continues to experience a steady amount of population growth.From 2010 to 2014, that’s a respectable 7.85% increase for Atlanta (that’s the city, not the metro). The 1.69% of increase in population from 2013 to 2014 puts Atlanta in line with the increase seen in other big US cities during that time – such as Pheonix, Houston and San Diego –  according to this Census infographic. Where Atlanta differs from those three cities is in overall population; while those three now house over a million people, total, we’re still struggling to hit the half million mark. With 17,000 reported vacant properties in the city, and a relatively low population density, it’s clear that Atlanta has room for growth.Creative Loafing has done a good job recently covering the city’s struggle to add new affordable housing, with a recent editorial stating the problem well: The Atlanta Beltline, touted as a great equalizer for residents from all walks of life, has fallen behind its goals to build 5,600 affordable housing units near the smart-growth project. The steps the city has taken — making some developers set aside affordable units in exchange for subsidies — is a drop in the bucket toward fixing the larger problem.When the city can do a better job at encouraging new housing in a compact, walkable format that accommodates walking, transit and cycling mobility – the way sustainable cities should – we may finally hit that 500k mark and beyond.