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National Institute for Transportation and Communities;
This report presents finding from research evaluating U.S. protected bicycle lanes (cycle tracks) in terms of their use, perception, benefits, and impacts. This research examines protected bicycle lanes in five cities: Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C., using video, surveys of intercepted bicyclists and nearby residents, and count data. A total of 168 hours were analyzed in this report where 16,393 bicyclists and 19,724 turning and merging vehicles were observed. These data were analyzed to assess actual behavior of bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers to determine how well each user type understands the design of the facility and to identify potential conflicts between bicyclists, motor vehicles and pedestrians. City count data from before and after installation, along with counts from video observation, were used to analyze change in ridership. A resident survey (n=2,283 or 23% of those who received the survey in the mail) provided the perspective of people who live, drive, and walk near the new lanes, as well as residents who bike on the new lanes. A bicyclist intercept survey (n= 1,111; or 33% of those invited to participate) focused more on people's experiences riding in the protected lanes. A measured increase was observed in ridership on all facilities after the installation of the protected cycling facilities, ranging from +21% to +171%. Survey data indicates that 10% of current riders switched from other modes, and 24% shifted from other bicycle routes.
In 2003, building-related construction and demolition (C&D) debris totaled more than 164 million tons a year, up from 136 million tons a year in 1993.1 The largest share of this debris comes from building demolitions (53%), followed by building remodeling and renovation (38%) and finally construction (9%).2 Together, it comprises nearly 40 percent of the combined C&D and municipal solid waste stream.3 Landfilling this material incurs a significant economic cost. In 2004, the national average landfill tipping fee was $35 per ton,4 putting the national bill for landfilling construction and demolition debris at something on the order of $5.7 billion.
Moreover, landfilling this debris also generates a considerable environmental cost. Landfill space is used up and fossil fuels are expended to transport and store debris; fossil fuels are used, natural resources depleted, and toxins generated in the production and transport of replacement materials. An environmental cost calculator prepared by the Deconstruction Institute and the University of Florida provides some examples:5
Some 33 million tons of wood-related construction and demolition debris are buried each year in the US, releasing about 5 million tons of carbon equivalent in the form of methane gas. These greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.7 million cars.
The average (2,000 square foot) American home, if demolished, would produce 10,000 cubic feet of debris. Recycling the steel and plastics in it would save almost 3,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. Salvaging the wood could yield 6,000 board feet of reusable lumber - equivalent to saving 33 mature trees.
The building materials in the average American home contain about 892 million Btu of embodied energy -- the total amount of energy used to produce, transport and assemble the materials into a home. This amount is equivalent to 7,826 gallons of gasoline. Reusing or recycling these materials would recapture much of this embodied energy rather than wasting it.
One year of construction and demolition debris is enough to build a wall 30 feet high and 30 feet thick around the entire coast of the continental United States (4,993 miles long).
Lastly, landfilling this debris represents an opportunity cost for the many people and organizations that could have used the materials if they had been salvaged.
Research Center for Leadership in Action;
This ethnography examines the components that allow quality solidarity work to happen between organizations with leadership and constituencies that are primarily people of color and primarily white, respectively. CAUSA (an immigrant rights coalition) and the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) of Oregon have developed a working relationship over ten years that has contributed to numerous victories for immigrant and farm worker rights, as well as greater consciousness among white rural activists of what it means to provide support as anti-racist allies. Because Oregon has a relatively small population (three million), and progressive organizations tend to know each other, the relationship provides an opportunity to study how such organizations manage power and historical inequalities in a manner suited for success. Ethnographer Lynn Stephen has conducted in-depth interviews with organizational leaders and members as a way to explore the history and lessons learned from the collaborative work between the two organizations. Key findings include the importance of both in-depth and sustained dialogue around the key values of work, and staff training around the issues involved with connecting to the other organization. The organizations use these techniques to build common ground. Hence, collaborative capacity can be mobilized quickly to support each other's actions as needed.
Though many people consider Portland, Oregon, a model of 21st-century urban planning, the region's integrated land-use and transportation plans have greatly reduced the area's livability. To halt urban sprawl and reduce people's dependence on the automobile, Portland's plans use an urban-growth boundary to greatly increase the area's population density, spend most of the region's transportation funds on various rail transit projects, and promote construction of scores of high-density, mixed-use developments.
When judged by the results rather than the intentions, the costs of Portland's planning far outweigh the benefits. Planners made housing unaffordable to force more people to live in multifamily housing or in homes on tiny lots. They allowed congestion to increase to near-gridlock levels to force more people to ride the region's expensive rail transit lines. They diverted billions of dollars of taxes from schools, fire, public health, and other essential services to subsidize the construction of transit and high-density housing projects.
Those high costs have not produced the utopia planners promised. Far from curbing sprawl, high housing prices led tens of thousands of families to move to Vancouver, Washington, and other cities outside the region's authority. Far from reducing driving, rail transit has actually reduced the share of travel using transit from what it was in 1980. And developers have found that so-called transit-oriented developments only work when they include plenty of parking.
Portland-area residents have expressed their opposition to these plans by voting against light rail and density and voting for a property-rights measure that allows landowners to claim either compensation or waivers for land-use rules passed since they purchased their property. Opposition turned to anger when a 2004 scandal revealed that an insider network known as the "light-rail mafia" had manipulated the planning process to direct rail construction contracts and urban-renewal subsidies to themselves.
These problems are all the predictable result of a process that gives a few people enormous power over an entire urban area. Portland should dismantle its planning programs, and other cities that want to maintain their livability would do well to study Portland as an example of how not to plan.
Boston Foundation, The;
A new study commissioned by the Boston Foundation on how Boston and comparable cities support the arts shows that only New York City has higher per capita contributed revenue for the art than Boston, among major American cities.
The study, titled "How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts: Funding for Cultural Nonprofits in Boston and 10 Other Metropolitan Cities," also examined Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, and Seattle. "How Boston" is a follow-up of sorts to a 2003 Boston Foundation report titled, "Funding for Cultural Organizations in Boston and Nine Other Metropolitan Areas."
Key findings of this study, regarding Boston, include the fact that Boston's arts market is quite densely populated. While Greater Boston is the nation's 10th largest metro area and ranks ninth for total Gross Domestic Product, its non-profit arts market, which consists of more than 1,500 organizations, is comparable to that of New York and San Francisco, and consistently surpasses large cities such as Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia, in terms of the number of organizations and their per capita expenses.
Center for Neighborhood Technology;
This report examines the impacts of transportation spending on households in the 28 metro areas for which the federal government collects expenditure data and of rising gas prices on both households and regional economies. It finds that households in regions that have invested in public transportation reap financial benefits from having access to affordable mobility options, even as gas prices rise, and that regions with public transit are losing less per household from the increase in gas prices than those without transit options.
This report provides essential information to inform policy discussions about foreclosure recovery. It presents information about the foreclosure crisis and its consequences, describes the federal program created to help communities recover from the impacts of foreclosures, shares case studies of foreclosure recovery efforts in three regions in the Northwest -- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, and Seattle -- and suggests policy recommendations for ensuring equitable recovery.
Battelle Memorial Institute;
Illustrates the economic importance of arts and culture, outlines the financial challenges facing the Valley's arts and culture institutions, and recommends regional strategies for advancement.
National League of Cities;
Mobile food vending generates approximately $650 million in revenue annually. The industry is projected to account for approximately $2.7 billion in food revenue over the next five years, but unfortunately, most cities are legally ill-equipped to harness this expansion. Many city ordinances were written decades ago, with a different type of mobile food supplier in mind, like ice cream trucks, hot dog carts, sidewalk peddlers, and similar operators. Modern mobile vending is a substantial departure from the vending typically assumed in outdated local regulations. Vendors utilize large vehicles packed with high-tech cooking equipment and sanitation devices to provide sophisticated, safe food usually prepared to order.
Increasingly, city leaders are recognizing that food trucks are here to stay. They also recognize that there is no "one size fits all" prescription for how to most effectively incorporate food trucks into the fabric of a community. With the intent of helping city leaders with this task, this guide examines the following questions: What policy options do local governments have to regulate food trucks? What is the best way to incorporate food trucks into the fabric of a city, taking into account the preferences of all stakeholders?
Thirteen cities of varying size and geographic location were analyzed for this study. Information on vending regulations within each of these cities was collected and analyzed, and supplemented with semi-structured interviews with city staff and food truck vendors.
Pew Internet & American Life Project;
Examines how institutions in Austin, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., are adapting to the Internet as an economic development and community building tool.
Details Triple Aim pilot programs designed to offer patient-centered medical homes and multidisciplinary case management in an effort to improve population health, enhance patients' experience, and slow cost growth.
Green for All;
Green For All teamed up with the City of Portland to help implement a cutting-edge green jobs program. Clean Energy Works Portland is an effort that will cut energy bills, create green jobs, reduce pollution and expand business opportunities. In addition, it will ensure that Recovery Act investment dollars reach those hit hardest by the recession. It's not a silver bullet, but it is a great model on which to build an important component of a new clean energy economy.
Green For All's report details why Clean Energy Works Portland has such special appeal. The program includes a revolving loan fund with innovative "on-bill financing" and a Community Workforce Agreement that creates jobs in the communities that need them most.