"Per-capita vehicle miles of travel dropped again in 2013, making it the ninth consecutive year of decline…This recent downward shift has had no clear, lasting connection to economic trends or gas prices. Evidence suggests that the decline is likely due to changing demographics, saturated highways, and a rising preference for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods."

Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year; DOTs taking notice | SSTI.us, 2/24/2014

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail wins Smart Growth award from EPA

As part of its 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, the Environmental Protection Agency has award recognition for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park.

Here’s a quote from the EPA awards page, which has a nice write-up on the Beltline:

The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park’s most outstanding achievement has been to connect people. Neighborhoods that were separated for decades are now accessible through the multi-use trail that provides both recreation and transportation routes. What were once a deserted industrial landscape and an unused, overgrown, and debris-filled rail corridor are now thriving, active neighborhood assets

Congrats! Well deserved.

Metro Atlanta: still the #1 moving destination; let’s welcome them w/ good urbanism

image

From Business Insider comes a report that Metro Atlanta is the #1 moving destination in US for the last four years.The numbers come from the Penske moving company.

Which sounds to me like a good reason to focus on compact, walkable growth and shun sprawl. A growing population will be best served by compact infill, since that makes for efficient movement via alternative transportation. Additional sprawl, meanwhile, would just put more cars on the roads.

Luckily, there is data that shows Metro Atlanta to be moving in the right direction and leaving sprawl behind.

"In today’s world smart growth shouldn’t be considered smart if it doesn’t include green buildings and green infrastructure, if it doesn’t show respect to our historic buildings and local culture, if it doesn’t foster public health, if it isn’t equitable, if it doesn’t pay more attention to stewardship of the earth."

People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities | by F. Kaid Benfield

Must read! This CNBC piece takes a look at Woodstock, GA as an example of a suburban place that’s thriving by becoming walkable and growing in a compact (non-sprawly) way. Go, Woodstock!

"Atlanta’s planned so poorly, it’ll take generations to change the shape of the place"

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, speaking on the potential for Portland’s style of transit-oriented development to translate to other places, such as Atlanta

Hales: Let’s avoid Atlanta- and D.C.-style planning | Portland Business Journal, 9/25/2013

"[For] environmental sustainability, we need strong cities and walkable suburbs. They enable living patterns that save energy, reduce automobile dependence and tailpipe emissions, slow the spread of pavement across watersheds, and conserve land, compared to spread-out suburbs. But, for cities to serve this function, they need to work for people. And I mean people of all sorts in an increasingly diversifying population, not just creative-class Millennials with no school-age kids and well-to-do Baby Boomers moving back downtown."

City sustainability is about the environment, even when it isn’t | Kaid Benfield, 9/25/2013