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January 2015

Transit Oriented Development Critical to Florida’s Metropolitan Growth

James W. Shindell | The National Law Review

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth, a report released in October 2014 by Cushman & Wakefield, provided insight into Transit Oriented Development as it explored “the consequences of rapid population growth in 10 major North American cities”—with Miami being one. The study found that the majority of these major cities’ workforce is burdened by challenging commutes and substantial congestion because of aging and insufficient infrastructure.

Developers and municipalities have recognized this direct impact on growth and, as a result, a rapidly growing portion of new commercial development has shifted to be strikingly more transit oriented. All Aboard Florida, a leader in this development, is seeking to connect South Florida’s tri-county area with each station (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) being a vehicle to improve individuals’ transportation, while also serving as an engine for growth in its surrounding areas. Read more

11 Reasons Why Transit, Bikes & Walking Are Moving us to a Brighter Future

Jay Walljasper | BeyondChron

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)According to the pundits and prophets who dominate the media, the future of transportation is all figured out for us.  Cheaper gas prices mean we can still count on our private cars to take us everywhere we want to go in the years to come. The only big change down the road will be driverless autos, which will make long hours behind the wheel less boring and more productive.

But this everything-stays-the-same vision ignores some significant social developments. Americans have actually been driving less per-capita for the past decade, bucking a century-long trend of ever-increasing dependence on automobiles.

This startling turnaround is usually written off as a mere statistical blip caused by the great recession and $4 gas, both of which hit in 2008. But, in fact, the driving decline began several years before that.  (In light of these facts, The Federal Highway Administration recently reduced its forecast for the future growth from driving between 24-44 percent. This is after overestimating the actual rate of driving in 61 consecutive reports to Congress.) Read more

Apartments, innovation hub proposed for MBTA land

Dyke Hendrickson | Newburyport Daily News

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)A construction project that until recently was described as an apartment complex with some affordable units near the MBTA train line is emerging as a modern live-work innovation hub where professionals can make their careers as well as their homes.

Louis Minicucci, founder and president of MINCO Corp. of North Andover, spoke before the Affordable Housing Trust last night.

In a meeting that included members of the Housing Trust, the Planning Board and Mayor Donna Holaday, he outlined the plan that he proposes to launch: One Boston Way, Residences at Clipper City Innovation Hub.

It will offer “luxury apartments with modern design, amenities of a corporate office, great potential for company space, and the leisure of no commute to work.”

Though numbers could change, he indicated there would be about 80 units — 70 apartments and about 10 live-work spaces.

On the ground floor, there could be as much as 3,500 square feet of space for a business center that could “be used by a software engineer who meets an entrepreneur who gets to know a marketing executive.”

“This could be an excellent site for small businesses that could work in Newburyport, and get on the train to Boston when they needed to,” said the executive, who has built thousands of residential and business units on the North Shore over a four-decade career.

City officials had indicated that MINCO was considering 64 units with some retail, but his presentation outlined a more ambitions plan with a major business-office accent. Read more


A sustainable city is one that you love

Kelsey Wharton | Phys Org

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)Imagine walking through downtown Phoenix on a warm fall afternoon. Palm trees frame the clear blue sky as you pass brightly painted murals on the sides of buildings. The light rail passes with a friendly “ding, ding.” Down the perfectly parallel, flat streets you occasionally glimpse Camelback to the east.

Cut to a stroll through downtown Seattle. The air smells of the ocean and evergreens. A hot cup of coffee warms you against the autumn chill as you walk downhill toward the bustling Pike Place Market. People haggle noisily over goods from nearby farms. Beyond the market, you catch sight of twinkling boat lights and distant, snow-capped mountains.

Every city has its own “personality.” This is not only true of far-flung cities, like Phoenix and Seattle, but also of cities in close proximity, like Phoenix and Mesa. Where does a city’s unique character or sense of place come from? And how can understanding sense of place help us to create more sustainable cities? Read more


Massachusetts Governor taps well-known transit advocate for transportation secretary

Gabrielle Gurley | Commonweath Magazine

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)Stephanie Pollack May know more about the MBTA than anyone alive. She’s been a dogged advocate for transit expansion. She opposed the repeal of gas tax indexing, believing the state needs a steady stream of new revenue to meet infrastructure needsAnd she has lots of solid ideas for dealing with the state’s transportation problems. The catch is most of them cost money.

How does a transportation advocate with stellar policy bona fides but limited public sector experience work with a Republican governor who has sworn off new taxes and fees?

Were about to find out. Pollack, one of the Bay State’s foremost transportation experts, was tapped by Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday to become the first woman to lead the state Department of Transportation.

Stephanie is one of the top transportation minds in Massachusetts,” said former transportation secretary Richard Davey who headed up MassDOT from 2011 to 2014.

Michael Wider, the outgoing president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, recently told CommonWealth that ideally Baker needed a transportation visionary to helm one of the state’s most complex sectors.

In selecting Pollack, Baker is going with the vision thing. Pollack, associate director of Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, has been a fervent advocate of the need to invest in state transportation assets, while being well-versed in the sector’s deep financial problems“Massachusetts has run up all its credit cards in the transportation area,” Pollack told CommonWealth in 2008. Read more

Whole new year: Georgia Mayor’s plans include tourism center, trolley system

Hilary Butschek | The Marietta Daily Journal

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)Mayor Steve Tumlin has big plans for 2015, including a city trolley, a Cobb Galleria-like development off Franklin Road and a new tourism center on the Square.

Tumlin plans to propose a trolley on wheels that will circle the museums and shops in Marietta at the City Council agenda work session meeting tonight.

The mayor’s proposal includes between two and four trollies running on wheels set to make stops at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History, and the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw.

“The Marietta Kiwanis Club and Micky Blackwell did a big study on this about 8 years ago, and it failed for lack of money. But, it was well-received,” Tumlin said.

Starting up the trolley system could cost about $75,000 to $120,000, Tumlin said. He suggested funding could come from the city’s hotel/motel tax and the Downtown Marietta Development Authority.

Tumlin said the DMDA previously purchased the pedicabs used by Marietta residents Brian and Cassandra Buckalew, who run the tourism businesses Marietta Pedicabs, Marietta Trolley Company and Marietta Ghost Tours in town.

Tumlin said as long as the trolley system is used for tourism purposes in Marietta, the DMDA and hotel/motel tax can help with funding.

“If we can brand it as a tourism product, we could go a lot further,” Tumlin said.

Additionally, the trolley could shuttle Marietta residents to SunTrust Park when it opens in 2017, Tumlin said.

To do this, Tumlin suggested using the 8.7 acres the Marietta Redevelopment Corporation owns on West Dixie and Hedges streets as a parking lot where trolley riders could leave their cars and take a trip to shop on the Square, visit a museum, or on nights when the Braves play at home, watch a ballgame at SunTrust Park. Read more


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