Caitlin Ghoshal's blog
CNU's John Norquist moderated the "Urban Freeways: Devastation and Opportunity" panel at CNU 20 in West Palm Beach this year. Panelists included Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., Tony Garcia, and Alison Richardson. Richardson, landscape architect, discussed the often forgotten parks in Boston's Big Dig, Garcia tackled the socioeconomic consequences of Miami's Overtown Expressway, and Mayor DeStefano talked about New Haven's current plans for Route 34. You can view this session below:
On Thursday, May 10, a group of CNU 20 attendees gathered to discuss the topic, “Local Government and New Urbanism.” The group responded to Peter Katz's call for greater congruence between local government planning departments and the New Urbanism. Katz related his own past frustration as a New Urbanist inside local planning departments, which gave lip service to New Urbanism's physically-based approach, but for the most part, defaulted to more abstract, use-based policy recommendations.
As of May 2012, New York City has officially taken the Sheridan Expressway removal option off the table from its TIGER II funded study. The Sheridan-Hunts Point Land Use and Transportation Study, embraced by community stakeholders and residents, aimed to weigh the benefits of replacing the aging expressway with mixed-use development and parks or expressway reconstruction.
If you are not already aware of CNU’s Highways-to-Boulevards initiative, CNU believes replacing urban freeways with surface streets, boulevards, and avenues is the most cost-effective, and value-producing option for cities with aging grade-separated roads. The Highways-to-Boulevards Initiative unites a diverse set of professionals, residents and activists in advocating for and demonstrating the value of freeway teardowns.
Now more than ever, urban freeway removal projects are gaining support from both the public and their elected leaders. CNU's bi-annual Freeways Without Futures report showcases just a handful of the many replacement opportunities across North America. We'll take some time at CNU 20 to talk more about the before and after - the devastation wreaked by freeways and the tremendous opportunities to rebuild value in urban cores with removal projects.
On March 21, Jacky Grimshaw of Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology and Jeff Tumlin of San Francisco's Nelson/Nygaard firm discussed how an urban freeway removal project may influence equity and access issues along Claiborne Avenue. Grimshaw's focus on community organizing principles learned from similar urban freeway removal projects across the country shed light on how the New Orleans community can participate in revitalizing Claiborne Avenue. Tumlin used San Francisco as a case study to illustrate the mechanisms that protect and sustain social equity in transportation corridors.
The Senate approved a two-year surface transportation bill, successfully attracting bipartisan support needed to avoid a potential shutdown at the end of the month. The House continues to work on a bill with a longer timeline - five years - but has been beleagured by debate and conflicting interests. The Senate's MAP-21 bill makes several key reforms, such as establishing goals and performance metrics for multimodal travel options and prioritizes planning for walkable neighborhoods.
In late February, the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced their FY2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants program. Nearly $5 million dollars are available to support comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans focused on three core goals: housing, people and neighborhoods. As part of their grant requirements, HUD requires that all grantees secure Stage 1 Conditional Approval for LEED-Neighborhood Development as part of their neighborhood revitalization plan.
The Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) is hosting the sixth annual award for achievement in the writing and implementation of Form-Based Codes. Winners will be announced on May 11, 2012 at the CNU's 20th annual meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The US Senate adopted several key amendments to the base Senate transportation reauthorization bill in recent days, including the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran amendment. This amendment would restore local control over bicycle and pedestrian spending and would allow for more flexible development of transportation options. James Corless, Director for Transportation for American, contacted supporters and coalition members to urge them to call their Senator and help move this bill forward.