Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Charlotte snags 'Smart Growth' award

Although Charlotte's policy to design streets to better accommodate pedestrians and bicycles remains under assault by the local developers' lobby – who claim the extra pavement required for sidewalks and more streets isn't good for the environment – note that the Environmental Protection Agency has given the city an award for those very same Urban Street Design Guidelines.

The EPA announced today that Charlotte is one of four winners of its Smart Growth Awards.
Click on this link to the EPA web site, which should be updated after 3 p.m. Here's what the press release says:

Policies and Regulations: City of Charlotte for Urban Street Design Guidelines. As the central city in a rapidly growing metropolitan area, Charlotte, N.C., is under intense development pressures. Rather than continue the automobile-dominated development patterns of the last 50 years, Charlotte adopted Urban Street Design Guidelines to make walking, bicycling, and transit more appealing and to make the city more attractive and sustainable.

Other winners:

Overall Excellence: Lancaster County (Pa.) Planning Commission for Envision Lancaster County. "Lancaster County, in south-central Pennsylvania, is known for its historic towns and villages, and its fertile farmland. To maintain the county’s character, its diverse economy, and its natural resources for future generations, the Lancaster County Planning Commission established a countywide comprehensive growth management plan, which protects valuable farmland and historic landscapes by directing development to established towns and cities in the county."

• Built Projects: Chicago Housing Authority, FitzGerald Associates Architects and Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation for Parkside of Old Town. "Parkside of Old Town sits on eight city blocks that were once home to a public housing complex notorious for criminal activity. The redevelopment has transformed the neighborhood by reconnecting it to downtown Chicago and tying together mixed-income housing, parks, and new shops and restaurants."

• Smart Growth and Green Building: City of Tempe, Ariz. for the Tempe Transportation Center. "The Tempe Transportation Center is a model for sustainable design, a vibrant, mixed-use regional transportation hub that incorporates innovative and green building elements tailored to the Southwest desert environment. The Tempe Transportation Center is a true multi-modal facility that integrates a light rail stop, the main city bus station, and paths for bicyclists and pedestrians."

36 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I hope developers notice this. It is this kind of mention that gets people to move to a city!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, we need more developers uptown. Get real..........stupid.

rick b said...

REBIC can take its faux-environmental "concerns" about the street guidelines and shove 'em, ummmm, under one of their buldozers.

Meanwhile, "...To maintain the county’s character, its diverse economy, and its natural resources for future generations, the Lancaster County Planning Commission established a countywide comprehensive growth management plan, which protects valuable farmland and historic landscapes by directing development to established towns and cities in the county.'"

I wish somebody here in Union County would get an initiative like this adopted, before it's too late.

If it isn't too late already... :-(

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This is a joke... right! As for the bikes they are in the way only. I allready hit one person on the bike. I lived in cities with bike lanes and this is not it.

consultant said...

So much anger out here.

It's interesting how the people who managed to never write ANYTHING in high school, find they have to express themselves on a blog.

The results are predictable. Cussin' mixed with bad grammar. Illogical thoughts expressed by put upon people. Not completely their fault. We have a failed public school system, and that includes many private schools.

Back in middle and high school, the cascade of red marks on their homework assignments discouraged them from continuing to write and the ridicule of classmates kept them from freely speaking their "minds". Except amongst themselves, where it was mostly, "shoot, g@# d@##$##, what t@# @#$!!

The anonymous nature of the blog however allows them to throw something out, much like a 3 year old, and not feel the rebuke they had constantly in school.

America has always required effort to understand this place. For most of our history (until Reagan was elected), this was a place of constant tinkering and restlessness. If you didn't know how to do something, you learned. If you didn't know something, you'd ask.

We've also been a nation of fools. Sometimes it seems we have more fools than at other times. We're in a pretty foolish period right now.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see an example of this innovative urban design that incorporates walking, biking and alternative transportation anywhere north of Graham and I 85 in the city limits.

The sprawl that was initially approved for Highland Creek and has spread to Northstone, Skybrook and all along Eastfield Road in nothing but developer funded design with a rubber stamp.

The only innovative design was done by the late Warren Burgess before he went to lead Huntersville. He designed a remarkable village center interchange for the proposed final 485 exit, that will never be finished in our lifetimes. It is a real shame as he spent many, many weeks literally walking acres to saves historic buildings, trees and create a village center with retail and residential coexisting.

The spin from this award is nonsense.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"So much anger out here."
I wonder why? Our government is inflating out curreny, which at current levels will be all but worthless. The value of the dollar this year alone has dropped over 10%. Our elected leaders don't give a damn what the people say. I say if your not mad you are not paying attention.

consultant said...

"The question remains when will consultant get a life?"

The one I've got is pretty good.

But...I would like to see some major transportation improvements.

*More sidewalks-everywhere.
*More concentrated retail/services with safe access to them by car, walking and bike.
•A metro network of light rail, buses and commuter rail that would allow people to easily get around the area without a car.
•Counties and cities, quit paying to build roads & sewers to distant, sprawl type subdivisions and retail centers. If developers want to build them, let them (future homeowners/office tenants in that development) pay for them.

That's the life I want YOU to work on for me.

Anonymous said...

"That's the life I want YOU to work on for me." Typical. What about all the talk about aspiring. Sounds more like a leeech or greed.

Anonymous said...

As the unemployment rate rises, taxes are not cut and our politicans continue to throw our money away, the anger grows.

Who care about this crap. I walk 6 blocks to work uptown and look over my shoulders every few steps. This is becoming insane.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...12/01/2009 05:47:00 PM
I say if your not mad you are not paying attention."


Agreed.

And I say that using the words "smart" and "growth" in a sentence referring to Charlotte is oxymoronic.

Anonymous said...

The anger will continue to grow until our elected leaders realize they work for us not the other way around. What is going on in our country is crazy. How can we as citezens think we are giving our children a better place to live than we had. What we giving them is a huge debt and less liberty. That my friends is not progress!

altdude said...

consultant,
you are the typical liberal elitist, always thinking you are superior, wanting someone to do all of the work and pay all of the bills all the while you look your snobby nose on those who really work. i like living in the 'burbs, so i guess YOU will have to live with it.

Dr. Horrible said...

Odd how "smart growth" always involves driving out the people who are expected to pay for all those "improvements."

Real smart growth involves three things: low crime, good schools, low taxes. Get those right and everything else takes care of itself. Charlotte, unfortunately, seems determined to get those three as wrong as possible.

consultant said...

"..i like living in the 'burbs, so i guess YOU will have to live with it."

Actually, you have to live with it. The rest of us don't.

But I do (as you do) have to live with the consequences of:

*developers "buying" our politicians so the city or county will build the roads and sewers to developer projects in the far flung corners of our metro areas. When these same developers come into the city, they use tax breaks like a gun to cajole too easily bought politicians into backing projects, some worthwhile, others of dubious value;

*building and street design codes that are stuck in the 1950s era of cheap oil. A design that has made our butts wide, our pockets empty and a few oil rich nations controllers of our future (see Iraq & Afghanistan);

•citizens who are overwhelmed by modernity in every way. The city is just an easy manifestation of "it". There are too many blacks, too many other people of color, too many women with "big" jobs, too much traffic, too much crime, too many temptations-it's just too much. That's why these folks want things simple. They like it quiet-as in dead quiet. Country quiet. That's why I can't figure out why they are on "this" blog, and not on the "How to care for your livestock and other things a country person needs to know to live in peace and quiet blog"

http://booshay.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

consultant said...

Afghanistan is Vietnam all over again.

I meant Iran, and while I'm at it, Saudi Arabia.

Cato said...

We have a failed public school system, and that includes many private schools.

Well, no. Our failed education system may include many private schools. But the public system doesn't. Its copious failures are all its own.

More fun:

America has always required effort to understand this place What does this sentence mean? Requires effort from whom? What place?

For most of our history (until Reagan was elected), this was a place of constant tinkering and restlessness. If you didn't know how to do something, you learned. If you didn't know something, you'd ask. Regarding restlessness, people now move more often than they used to. Further, much of the restlessness of yore was motivated by things most of us probably wouldn't like to revisit: the great migration of African Americans fleeing segregation, the Okies heading to California to escape the Dust Bowl, people in Appalachia taking Route 23 away from the grinding poverty of the hollers. And, regarding learning, we now have more people spending more time on education than at any point in history (much of it wasted, much of it fruitless). And what did the election of Reagan have to do with it? What about the country showed particular pioneering spirit when Carter was president?

Your "illogical thoughts" lead me to wonder if you're "put upon."

Anonymous said...

Maybe consultant should consider a move to Cuba or Venezuala.

Anonymous said...

"But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply.
See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them,
and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.
See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another
by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime" Frederic Bastiat

consultant said...

Cato,

Good points. But you missed getting a B because you couldn't explain what the election of Reagan said about America, then or now. Sorry.

Anonymous,

I've been to a lot of places. As long as they have smart growth like area, I'm good to go.

Cato said...

But you missed getting a B...

Does that mean I got an A?

consultant said...

Cato,

C+.

Anonymous said...

Smart growth won't matter much if our currency is worthless. Thank you congress and the federal reserve. Audit the FED.

Jumper said...

The Smart Growth award is a good sign, relatively speaking. And Mary can take a tiny little bow for helping promulgate some of the message of smart growth itself. I know Warren Burgess approved of her participation in the debate, when he was alive.

Also, I saw the dollar pointing south in about 2006. In any case deficit spending is not necessarily a losing strategy. It certainly can turn into one with bad oversight. Seems like the smart economic strategies are the most difficult, politically, to put in place: whatever tax levels the society agrees on should be fluctuated to the high side during good times, and lowered in bad times. This shows that some on the Left at least see the need for the lower taxes right now. And whatever projects the society chooses to embark on are most useful during the times of low employment. All this puts people who only mentally live in the present in a bad frame of mind.

consultant said...

"The Charlotte metro area posted the largest percent increase nationally among metro areas in the number of people who are getting to work by public transportation in a three-year period.."
In today's Observer.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/1085607.html

Charlotte's doing the right things.

If you can just keep Atlanta developers away from your metro area, you'll have a fighting chance at a future where you can get to key resources without having to use a car for every trip.

Anonymous said...

I like my car. I much prefer to travel by car vs public transportation.

Tweedle Dumb said...

Yep, I like my car because it's all about me, and that's what's really important - not going along with what may be best for the group over the long run, but doing what's best for me, myself and I right now.

Besides, if you get on a bus or train you have to ride with other people you despise. And don't forget that those modes of transportation are found in areas where there might actually be a cosmopolitan populace instead of an all-white Western European origin group like mine out here in the far 'burbs.

Besides, bus and train transportation would probably save me money,and I'd have less to complain to public officials about. Not to mention that they will reduce the cloud of automobile exhaust pollution that is steadily heading out to where I live. Let my kids worry about lung and heart disease on their own time.

Yes, I want my acre in the country as far from center city as I can get. The heck with what's good for the region 20 years from now. I live for today!

Anonymous said...

Tweedle Dumb. The name says it all. I don't care if you like public transportation. I prefer an automobile or walking. If you like the bus Ok. But let me live the life I want. I'm sick and tired of the do gooders telling everybofy how to live.

Lewis Grizzard said...

If you don't like it here, Delta's ready when you are.

Anonymous said...

Isn't downtown Charlotte already OVERdeveloped, as in very many unsold apartments, condos, empty stores, etc?

Anonymous said...

Cities are not good places to raise children unless you are wealthy and can pay for private schools.

Public schools in cities are terrible. Also, there is very little nature for the kids to play in because it has all been paved over in the cities -- hence the rising phenomenon of "nature deficit disorder."

Cities are good for permanently childless and single people, but not for people with families.

J said...

"Rather than continue the automobile-dominated development patterns of the last 50 years, Charlotte adopted Urban Street Design Guidelines to make walking, bicycling, and transit more appealing and to make the city more attractive and sustainable."

I'll believe it when I'm not encountering at least one motorist hell-bent on running me over every single day.