N.J.’s transportation issues — and their effect on business — are in focus at symposium

Brett Johnson | NJBiz.com

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.There’s a reason some of Silicon Valley’s major companies have based their marketing operations in New Jersey. As Choose New Jersey’s Michael Chrobak will tell you: It’s an exceptional market.

And that has global resonance; Chrobak said more than half the calls his organization gets from companies interested in setting up in New Jersey are foreign businesses.

But for each business interested in entering the Garden State fray, many more of New Jersey’s workers exit.

How the state’s transportation options (or lack thereof) play into that dilemma was the subject of a symposium Wednesday in Iselin. The event was hosted by New Jersey’s chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Any discussion of the state’s residents leaving in droves has to begin with the costs, which was State Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s message in his keynote speech.

“Primarily it’s the middle class leaving because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” Sweeney (D-West Deptford) said. “There needs to be a solution for that, and it can’t be a partisan one.”

But the transportation funding crisis, currently a major priority for Sweeney and other state leaders, has to be part of the conversation as well. Read more

What Seattle can learn about growth from San Francisco, Kansas City, Nairobi

Lynn Porter| Daily Journal of Commerce

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.Stefan Kaiser, a 24-year-old associate with Encore Architects in Seattle, has some ideas about how to make tech cities more equitable.

He did research on the topic thanks to an AIA Seattle travel scholarship, which allowed him to spend time last year in San Francisco, Kansas City and Nairobi.

Kaiser moved to Seattle in 2013 with his fiancee after earning a bachelor of architecture degree from Syracuse University in New York. He worked at DLR Group and moved to Encore in 2014 when it expanded.

Even before he got the scholarship, Kaiser said he had been thinking about what tech firms want from architecture. He also started contemplating how these firms affect the communities around them, and it was about this time that protesters in San Francisco were objecting to private shuttles run by tech firms using city bus stops.

Seeing the pace at which new projects are filling up Seattle’s South Lake Union made him think the topic was worth exploring, he said, so he applied for the scholarship.

Kaiser said Seattle is growing so quickly that it needs to start thinking like a world-class city — a tech hub that will continue to attract lots of new people. The city needs to plan so that growth happens in a sustainable way, he said. Read more

 

The town that Hyperloop built

Amelia Taylor-Hochberg | Archinect News

The development's advisors include "two former Disney execs" Transit oriented developments, or TODs, are mixed-use urban nodes designed with public transit as their core. The typology emerged from the idea that well-integrated and easy access to transit supports businesses and an active urban life, and that strategic transportation planning can help make thriving cities. But what if that transit, and the town, are both brand new?

Cut to Quay Valley, a proposed development out in the middle of California’s Central Valley that would bear the testing ground for a bunny-slope version of the Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s pneumatic wonder-transit. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), an organization intent on making the Hyperloop a reality but independent from Musk (and working with UCLA to get there), wants the new city to be the test environment for a Hyperloop mockup halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles – the end-lines in Musk’s original proposal.

The Hyperloop would be the de facto public transit of Quay Valley’s 7,500-acre plot, getting people to grocery stores, the movies, friend’s homes, and eventually hooking up with larger Hyperloop networks connected to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Read more

 

2015-2017 Travel options grantees

The development's advisors include "two former Disney execs" Travel options grants fund projects designed to improve air quality and increase mobility via biking, walking, ride sharing, telecommuting and public transit.
Amelia Taylor-Hochberg | Archinect News

On Monday, Feb. 23, Metro announced 18 projects from around the region that will receive a total of $2.1 million in grants to make it easier for people to walk, bike, take transit or carpool. The grantees for the travel options program’s 2015-2017 cycle, listed alphabetically, are as follows:

Beaverton School District, Safe Routes to School Program: $158,000

The Beaverton School District will reignite its Safe Routes to School program by hiring a program coordinator to provide leadership and expanded program offerings. The program provides school-appropriate programs and training to help communities and students reduce reliance on private auto travel and help them find and choose non-drive alone options. This program will also help reduce reliance on busing students to these schools, and ensure more young people feel comfortable walking and biking at an early age using the “6E approach”: Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, Equity, Evaluation and Engineering. These skills and knowledge of the benefits of using a variety of travel options will follow students into adulthood.

Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Expanding Access to Bicycling: $155,040

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance seeks to support the region’s health, equity, and Climate Smart Strategy goals by building on its successful Bike Commute Challenge program to deliver positive bicycling experiences to a diversity of regoinal residents with the goal of expanding personal options to access work, school and neighborhood destinations by bike. The project has three key components: the Bike Commute Challenge, geographically‐focused community engagement in East Portland and Washington County and a new woman‐focused bicycling initiative. Read more

Cleanup study could lead to west-side development in Tucson

Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star

This area west of the Santa Cruz River, which holds two old landfills, has long been the target of development.

This area west of the Santa Cruz River, which holds two old landfills, has long been the target of development.

Drive down Cushing Street just west of the Santa Cruz River, look south, and you’ll see plenty of bare dirt covered with a few spare desert shrubs.

This is Tucson’s land of broken dreams, a place where study after study and committee after committee have looked for decades at possible development to turn the west side into a magnet for tourists, culture lovers and shoppers. But little happened, and most plans sat on the shelf.

Now, a consultant hired by the city is looking at the potential for cleaning up one of the area’s biggest lingering problems — two municipal garbage landfills dating to the 1950s — and turning an eyesore into an asset.

IRG LLC of Denver will spend about 10 weeks evaluating the costs and benefits of making 27 acres of this property habitable for development, as well as the merits of development itself.

Part of this property, bordered by Cushing on the north and Mission Lane on the south, is supposed to be the site of the Tucson Origins Heritage Park. That’s a longtime centerpiece of this area’s redevelopment hopes that has been largely stillborn since about 2008 due to lack of funds in the Great Recession and its aftermath.

Officials are hoping for some kind of private, “mixed-use” development of homes and businesses on the rest of the site.

The Denver consultants will return with recommendations to neighbors, city staff and the City Council. The council along with possible future private investors would make the ultimate decision on the area’s fate. Read more

 

A 20/20 perspective on 2020, and even 2040, in Northwestern Indiana

Ty Warner | NWI Times

Local contractors and others peer over a solar panel array on the roof of the Porter County Career and Technical Center in August. The group participated in a Solar Ready II tour hosted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Local contractors and others peer over a solar panel array on the roof of the Porter County Career and Technical Center in August. The group participated in a Solar Ready II tour hosted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

Whenever you take a road trip (as my family recently did), it is, of course, important to get to your final destination. But what makes any road trip memorable are the opportunities along the way that enrich your trip while still getting to where you want to go. It’s the same with the future of Northwest Indiana.

The region is not operating in a vacuum. Within the past five years, regionally minded citizens of Northwest Indiana came together in unprecedented numbers to plan the region’s “road trip” not just for the next five years, but for the next 25. That future, laid out in the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan: A Vision for Northwest Indiana, is fresh and compelling, and shapes not only what we’ll be doing for the long term, but also how we approach opportunities in the short term.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has seized opportunities to launch several recent initiatives which will have results in the next five years and yet move the region down the road toward its envisioned future:

– NIRPC’s Creating Livable Communities program was recently established to fund plans to enhance the “central places” of our communities. Seven Northwest Indiana communities are already benefitting from the $400,000 put toward their planning efforts, and NIRPC plans to enhance the program within the next couple of years for a new round of funding. Read more

 

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