April 21, 2021

Mitt Romney Has A Smart Growth Record; But He Keeps It Hidden

  There’s never been a time in my life, which now spans 51 years, when the conversation in communities is so distanced from what state lawmakers choose to talk about. And the gulf only gets wider between the concerns knocking around state capitols and what Congress and the White House think is important. This isn’t a partisan problem. It’s a national disgrace. Our state government here in Michigan, for example, is led by a two-term …

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Banning Coal Power Plants in Ontario; Promoting Them in Michigan

  The Canadian province of Ontario, which lies across Lake Huron from Michigan, and is home to about the same number of people (10.3 million there, 10 million here), has supported one of the planet’s active conversations on the ties between a strong economy and a clean environment. Much of the dialogue centers of global climate change and the province’s coal-fired power plants, one of which, the Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie, is among the largest on the …

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Green Neighborhood Grant Act in Illinois

Illinois, our neighbor to the west, has been doing a lot of things right of late for its residents, environment, and economy. It makes a Michigan resident a bit jealous. The Center for Neighborhood Technology and Bethel New Life, for example, convinced the Chicago Transit Authority to rebuild rather than tear down the elevated Green Line in the 1990s, helping to promote the revival of the city’s West Side. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley turned a tree-planting campaign …

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Toronto Transit City

In 1954, the year that Detroit was busily completing the Lodge Freeway and starting construction on the city’s other major highways Toronto (see pix) opened 12 stations on the Yonge Street subway line, the city’s first. Since then Toronto has built three more regional rapid transit lines, 69 stations, and nearly 43 miles of subway and rapid transit track. The city’s subway and surface streetcar system carries 1.2 million passengers a day, many of whom …

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With Richardson Promise on Transit, Mode Shift Idea Enters 2008 Presidential Race

  Democrat Bill  Richardson, a member of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet and the current governor of New Mexico, this week became the first 2008 presidential candidate to formally introduce a Mode Shift idea into the national race. Richardson was in West Hollywood on Monday, and according to the Associated Press promised “to create a partnership to build a light rail network and help untangle the Los Angeles region’s notorious traffic. With gas prices rising and …

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What Will Shrink Metro Areas? Household Size and Transportation Costs

  If you travel to Las Vegas, Knoxville, Chicago, and Salt Lake City one of the surprising trends you’ll see is the abrupt shift in housing markets. Downtowns in these and other cities are outpacing the suburbs in new home construction and existing home sales. Two of the critical reasons for both are the shrinking size of American households — not a new trend — and the fact that transportation costs exceed housing expenses in household budgets. Though …

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Hey! Energy Bill Debaters Look At New York

  NEW YORK — Early this morning, before the sun peaked over the roofs of the grand old apartment buildings of the Upper East Side, I followed the road bikers and dog walkers and joggers over to Central Park for a splendid four-mile run. New York is full of young people now, bright, educated, trim, and ambitious. A whole bunch of them are up just after dawn to clear their minds and keep their bodies tuned sufficiently to compete …

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Grand Rapids, Other Cities Loving Transit

Last November, just as they have in previous local and state elections stretching back to the mid-1990s, voters in 13 states considered 32 transit-related ballot measures and approved 70 percent of them, according to the Center for Transportation Excellence, a research group based in Washington, D.C. Spending on those projects will total $40 billion—bringing both immediate stimulus and long-term economic development tools to local economies. Well, the beat goes on. Last month voters in the Grand Rapids …

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Mode Shift Postcards From Around The Nation

   Though it’s completely understandable why the triple whammy of rising peak oil energy prices, global climate change, and record population growth might get you down, here are a number of promising Mode Shift trends that indicate the end is not nigh. Singles now head the majority of American households and are repopulating America’s great cities. This from Baltimore, according to the May 29, 2007 edition of the Baltimore Sun: “Across Baltimore, single women – old …

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The Michigan Crisis: Ideology Not Intelligence

  Late on the Friday night before the Memorial Day weekend, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Michigan reached agreement with Democratic Governor Jennifer M. Granholm on a very temporary fix to close an $800 million state budget deficit. The deficit, for those who might be unfamiliar, is what happens when what the state earns in tax revenue doesn’t keep up with what it spends on programs. Next fall the crisis worsens when lawmakers look down the raw throat of …

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