Blue Dress FTW
1 day ago
Son: Dad, there are lots of businesses here! (he likes places with lots of businesses)
Me: Well, yeah, lots of big signs too.
Son: Do you think it would be better to live here by all these businesses. (he's been thinking lately that he wants to have a shop himself)
Me: Maybe, but you can't really walk here easily, there's no sidewalks.
Son: Some people are walking Dad. (there's a guy trying to cross at the Cross-County freeway exit ramp as he says this, and we have seen a few others struggling along)
5yr old Daughter: Only people with brown skin walk here.
Me: Only people who don't have cars, dear.
Former Cincinnati lawmaker Greg Harris said the fire union is 'playing the politics of fear-mongering' by using brownouts to keep budgets in check. Harris maintains the fire budget is about $20 million beyond what it should be anyway. He said it's a colossal waste of money to send a fire truck and an ambulance to virtually every 911 medical call." - WLWT Story
From Huffiungton Post:Interestingly, this is developing somewhat in a voluntary way. For example if you want to build a "green" building, part of the LEED analysis will give credit for being within walking distance of different transit options.
...The (anti-transit) bias is built into our language. We speak of "investing" in highways and "investing" in freeways and parking spaces. But we "subsidize" trains and buses. Ofﬁcials criticize bus, rail, and other public transportation alternatives for "losing money." Lost in this language is the fact that public transit is a civic necessity. Buses, railroads, and other forms of public transportation can no more "lose money" than roads and highways.
...Governments at every level have required businesses, as a condition of their licenses and permits, to provide ample parking spaces. What if instead local zoning ordinances required workplaces to be located within walking distance of public transit? -John Robbins
.... The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center started rescuing and rehabilitating factories in 1992. The center is a cluster of five old industrial buildings, housing more than 100 businesses and about 500 workers, including furniture makers, fish processors, and a guy who fabricates dinosaur armatures for the American Museum of Natural History...
..... “The cost of doing business is going up in China,” he says. “Shipping costs are rising. There is nothing remotely green about buying anything made overseas. Prices will not stay low indefinitely. This country has an opportunity to regain some of its manufacturing base, using cutting-edge technology and a new generation of interested youth.”
...Maybe Richard Florida has promoted the wrong creative class. In his model, artists beget coffee bars that make formerly dreary neighborhoods attractive to real estate developers, who lure lawyers and accountants into luxury loft buildings with names like “the Shoe Factory.” Maybe there’s another model, one that sucks a little of the class bias out of the formula and privileges artisans over artists, blue-collar jobs over white-collar ones. Give enough people who are passionate about making things the stability to invest in equipment and hire workers, and you might slow, or even reverse, the death spiral.
....drivers will pay less than ever at the pump for upkeep of the nation's roads — just $19 in gas taxes for every 1,000 miles driven, a USA TODAY analysis finds. That's a new low in inflation-adjusted dollars, half what drivers paid in 1975.
....Americans spent just 46 cents on gas taxes for every $100 of income in the first quarter of 2010. That's the lowest rate since the government began keeping track in 1929. By comparison, Americans spent $1.18 in 1970 on gas taxes out of every $100 earned.
Although the federal gas tax — 18.4 cents per gallon — hasn't changed since 1993, tax collections are down because today's vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas, cutting tax collections while increasing wear and tear on highways. Inflation since 1993 has eroded the value of the tax to maintain roads.
"The gas tax isn't going to work as the user fee to finance the highway system in the 21st century," says Robert Poole, transportation policy director at the free-market Reason Foundation...
The Reverse Commute
... Shelley Poticha, a small woman with a big assignment. As director of HUD's new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Poticha is working to encourage a suburban nation to live in ways that make it feasible to walk, take public transit, and bike. Her goal is to make suburban sprawl a thing of the past by equipping local governments with the tools to build neighborhoods centered on public transit and walking.
....housing will no longer be classified as "affordable" based on the rent or mortgage alone; under a new system in development, financing formulas will factor in residents' transportation and utility costs, too.
....New measures to reverse the march of spraw may be too little, too late. It took seven decades and trillions in federal investment to create the sprawl that the Obama administration is now moving to brake. The first interstate highways rolled out in the 1950s with the present-day equivalent of $300 billion in federal funds. The suburban home industry was fueled by subsidies that today amount each year to almost twice HUD's entire budget.
"The risk is that the culture war ... will spill over into this field," .... "What should be a bipartisan, economic, and environmental quality-of-life issue becomes, 'Everyone who owns a car is the devil and is going to drive us off a cliff,' versus, 'The other side wants to take our cars away from me, and you're going to rip my hands off my steering wheel when I'm dead and cold.' ...
...A household with access to transit spends 9 percent of its income on transportation, compared with 25 percent for the car-dependent. Making households conscious of the true expense of car dependency is an important part of the Obama administration's sustainability project. ...
...In the stimulus, most transportation spending went to roads and highways because state agencies already had plans ready. But for the first time, a single program, called Transportation Investments for Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), supported any mode of travel a local government cared to pursue, from rapid bus transit to bike lanes. Its $1.5 billion in grants lured proposals from unlikely places...
But mostly the administration is moving to do things for which it doesn't have to ask Congress to pay, such as influencing consumer choices through devices like the location-efficient mortgage, which gives homebuyers who settle near mass transit more borrowing power. The Obama administration is betting that such gestures can influence individual decision-making on a large scale by tilting economics to favor certain geographic choices over others.
History suggests that the landscape changes when economic habits become cultural ones, so ingrained that most of us don't realize why we act as we do. ...
"In my mind there's just a big myth that we can't change," Poticha says. "That isn't true. If we give people better information about making choices and then we deliver some options for them, there are just a lot more ways that we can grow our communities."