From Smart Growth America
Two weeks ago, a Green New Deal resolution was unveiled to tackle climate change in a way that will create new jobs and economic opportunity. It’s just a resolution—general guiding principles for any future legislation—but even at this 10,000 foot view, there is still a gaping hole. Like most conversations about climate change, it is largely devoid of any bold reimagining of existing federal transportation spending which today encourages building more roads, which in turn virtually guarantees more driving, more sprawl, and more emissions.
The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States—outpacing the power sector—and transportation emissions keep climbing in spite of the fact that vehicles are getting more efficient and fuels are getting cleaner because people are driving more and further.
If the supporters of the Green New Deal are serious about addressing GHG emissions, they are going to have to spend far more time on the sector that is going in the wrong direction—a sector they have more direct responsibility for than any other.
Dangerous by Design: How poor street design is killing people
Last month, our report ranking the most dangerous states and metro areas for people walking was covered by papers and TV stations around the country. And officials from local governments all the way up to members of Congress have been put on notice: we can not continue to ignore this problem.
In fact, just yesterday afternoon, we were invited to brief staffers from a key Senate committee and explain the problem, potential solutions, and how federal policy plays a major role. While Dangerous by Design lays out a number of solutions, the adoption and implementation of a binding federal Complete Streets policy would be a big step forward. And with members of Congress now paying attention to our research, now is the perfect time to call for such a policy.
Also, don’t miss our Dangerous by Design Q&A post where our staff tackled many of the questions we’ve received about the report, the data, the problem, how we talk about pedestrian deaths, and potential solutions.
Don’t hate the state (DOT): They’re just solving the wrong problem: Over the last two years, Smart Growth America has been working to help a small group of state departments of transportation question and assess the underlying assumptions that lead to giant highway solutions for every transportation problem. A singular focus on speed has led many state DOTs to overspend and overbuild, but the most productive state departments of transportation have come to grips with the fact that moving cars fast all the time is hard to square with most of their other stated priorities, whether improved safety, more mobility, or reduced costs. Read the first two posts in a short series about states that are finding success through what’s known as practical solutions >>
Blind Spots: How unhealthy corridors harm communities and how to fix them: Directly related to the series above about how states overemphasize vehicle speed, in a new report produced by Smart Growth America and the Urban Land Institute, we look at what conditions commercial corridors share that make them unhealthy and the impact they have on people’s lives. It also explores the land use and transportation decisions that give rise to such unhealthy corridors and opportunities to use policy to shape them into something better. Among the findings: Unhealthy corridors are ubiquitous (just 3 percent of commercial corridors can be considered healthy) and pedestrians are especially vulnerable. Learn more about Blind Spots on the blog >>
Minneapolis: The land of 10,000 comments: You may have seen Minneapolis in the news over the past few months after the city effectively eliminated single-family zoning throughout the city as part of an update to their comprehensive plan. But that’s just the beginning. This month on the Building Better Communities with Transit podcast, we talk to Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender who talks about streets as public spaces and how the plan plays into the city’s vision for transportation and efforts to address equity and racial disparities. Learn more and listen to the podcast on the blog >>
Walking through questions about our new Playbook for Shared Micromobility: With the help of representatives from two cities, T4America staff a few weeks ago walked through our new Playbook for effectively managing shared micromobility services like dockless bikes, electric scooters, and other new technologies. See answers to questions we received on the blog >>