Part of Cincinnati’s Central Riverfront Master Plan is the eventual capping of Fort Washington Way. In Chicago, architects are working to develop a similar cap system that will bridge over the highway connecting the West Loop neighborhood to downtown. More from the Architect’s Newspaper:
In cooperation with developer Fifield Companies, Sarver and his firm have fleshed out a masterplan that calls for 10 million square feet of new office space in the West Loop in 10 years. The plan also calls for a 10-to-15-acre park covering the trench of the Kennedy Expressway, which forms a barrier between the West Loop and downtown. Alan Schachtman, executive vice president of Fifield, called this hypothetical green a Millennium Park for the West Loop.
The United Nations projects that 2.7 billion people will be living in cities across the world by 2050. What is the future course of cities in America? Historically Americans rejected the city for the suburbs after World War II, now a new generation of people are rejecting the suburbs for the city. Fomer Bogota mayor, Enrique Peñalosa offers his speculation on the future and what cities can do to prepare for it. More from Atlantic Cities:
If low-density suburbs are not desirable and a return to city life in the 1920s is not desirable either, then what should the future American city be like? It is a platitude to say that the new city should be designed for people, but over the past 90 years we have designed cities much more for the mobility of cars than for the well-being of people. Moreover, the best measure of a city’s quality is how good it is to its most vulnerable citizens—children, the elderly, the disabled, the poor—who often have no access to an automobile.
While ongoing sequestration has limited the federal governments ability to allocate much needed funding for the nations ailing infrastructure, the Obama administration rolled out a report touting the success of its Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) program. The program allocates funding to local governments by taking a holistic approach to the impacts of local development projects. The program, which can take on a multitude of urban issues however remains woefully underfunded. More from NextCity:
What Landrieu is diplomatically saying is that the federal government sometimes needed SC2 to shake money loose from its own agencies. That may sound absurd, but integrating the different programs so that each could try to make sure cities have jobs, affordable housing and safe mobility was a new goal when the Obama administration took office and starting pursuing it. The report demonstrates that SC2 is working at its primary goal of helping a handful of cities with some discrete projects.
As Amtrak has been recording record ridership on its core routes, federal budget belt-tightening has forced the transit agency to engage the states in cost-sharing measures for some of its smaller lines. However; this also serves an opportunity for some lines to be upgraded with enhanced infrastructure thus enabling some routes to operate at higher speeds. More from the New York Times:
The railroad has traditionally subsidized some local routes, while leaving others up to the states to support, but now state governments will have to pay for all local routes of less than 750 miles in a state. The Northeast line, Amtrak’s moneymaker, is not included. If all the states chip in, Amtrak officials expect revenue to increase by about $85 million a year, which would shrink its chronic deficit.
Last month President Obama choose outgoing Transpiration Secretary Ray LaHood’s (R) successor, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (D). While Foxx has overseen the expansion of the city’s light rail line and championed its streetcar project he has also supported extensions for the regions highways. What does his eventual appointment mean for American cities looking to mitigate sprawl and increase transportation alternatives? More from NextCity:
When the news broke in January that LaHood would not serve a second term, a number of transit advocates fantasized that his position would go to a superstar like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Instead, as our friends at Streetsblog have already pointed out, LaHood’s successor comes from a background indicating that he’ll support “giving people more transportation options without making much of an effort to rein in sprawl infrastructure.”
As more people are turning to smartphones to help guide them around cities, app makers are looking into ways to create a transit app that not only provides mass transit directions but also information about the nearest car sharing service and taxi services. This kind of app would serve as a “one-stop shop” for urbanites looking to ditch the expense of owning an automobile and rely entirely on transportation alternatives. More from the Atlantic Cities:
What all of these apps, including taxis, are essentially trying to convince users that they can get to and from work, run errands, meet people for lunch, get to appointments, and do all their other daily tasks without having their own car. RideScout is betting that aggregating all these new transportation options in one place is the best way to make that case to users — which is a win for all transportation disrupters. “If people aren’t pumping $50 into a tank when they fill up, they can transfer that money to taxis, public transportation, and these other options,” Kopser says. “When people make the decision to leave their car at home, we all win — the roads are less clogged, there is less smog, and money is staying in the local economy.”
Recent economics data released from the Brookings Institute have shown that job sprawl has spread outside of metro downtowns, including Cincinnati. Planning theorists however are at odds as to what this means with New Geography’s Joel Kotkin claiming the “triumph of suburbia” over the center city. However; his assertions seem to be based on several false assumptions in the market and does not take into account the millenial generations preference for walkable neighborhoods. Is this a City vs. Suburb debate or as Robert Steuteville claims a walkable vs. auto-dominated debate? More from Better Cities & Towns:
In his analysis, Kotlin ignores many inconvenient facts and trends that don’t fit his narrative of an inexorable, historical march to lower density in generation after generation. Real estate values have declined in the automobile-oriented suburbs relative to compact, mixed-use neighborhoods. There’s a growing preference for rental housing, and multifamily development has recovered far more quickly than single-family development. Multifamily development has taken on a new character in recent years. In the 1990s it was garden apartments in the suburbs. Now it is being built in urban, transit-served neighborhoods.