Perhaps nowhere is the conflict between mobility and livability more apparent than along arterials. One problem in improving livability is that, while practitioners have multiple well-established standards for mobility, they have none for livability. Since “what gets measured, gets managed,” livability tends to go unmanaged. In many cases we have simply built for mobility, with unfortunate results for areas along and near arterials. Researchers from the University of Denver are trying to better understand what factors contribute to livability.
When $17 million in funding was set aside for a new interchange on NJ Route 42 in suburban Camden County in 2005, NJDOT’s design concepts involved traditional clover leaf and diamond designs to improve automobile level of service and mobility. However, after engaging the community in a dialog about their vision for the future of the area—which focused on increasing development near the interchange and creating a more walkable environment—planners and designers settled on a more context-sensitive solution that would slow traffic, preserve land for development, and set the stage for a grid roadway network.
Instead of converting former rail lines to multi-use trails, states and municipalities are also finding that trails can be built alongside active rail lines. This report examines the characteristics of 88 rails-with-trails in 33 states, based on a survey of trail managers and the results of ongoing study over the past 20 years.
This project, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE), identifies and evaluates strategies to reduce the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas by managing freight transportation demand.
New York City took a big step last month in its efforts to reduce the number of garbage trucks on city streets when it signed a 20-year, $3 billion contract with the waste-to-energy firm, Covanta. The firm plans to send about 30 percent of the city’s solid-waste to power-generating incinerators using primarily barges and railroads. This will help the city move closer to its goals of improving solid waste management and reducing associated negative impacts as cited in PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s effort to plan for one million more residents and the resulting impacts on the city’s quality of life.
After several unsuccessful TIGER applications, Rochester, NY underutilized urban Inner Loop, built in the 1960s, received 17.7 million dollars to facilitate the removal of the expressway and frontage roads and reconstruction as a parkway. A road once disparaged by the city itself as a “noose around the neck of downtown,” has been two decades in planning and will give way to a boulevard that will reconnect the city street grid, improve the business environment, and improve livability for Rochester’s residents.
Walkscore, the first website to offer easy-to-use walkability ratings for cities, neighborhoods, and individual properties now has some competition. Walkability, a rating system released this month targets private businesses, particularly those in the marketing, social networking, and real estate sectors.
As the demand for more complete, multimodal streets increases, so does the push to alter the functional classification system to allow for greater local flexibility in roadway design. The functional classification system often restricts communities seeking flexibility in roadway design and can effectively hobble transit planners attempting to advance livability initiatives.
Interstate 81, known locally as “the viaduct”, slices through the middle of Syracuse in upstate New York. The aging, elevated freeway effectively forms a barrier between the city and the Syracuse University neighborhood known as the Hill. A coalition of local businesses, education, and political leaders have come together to solicit input on whether to rebuild, replace, or remove the freeway. The process could serve as a model for other communities wrestling with a similar decision.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, has extended its temporary ban on demolishing buildings downtown for new surface parking lots until the first of September while the City Planning Department crafts a zoning ordinance that would place new restrictions on downtown surface parking lots.