Saturday, December 13th, 2008

News Briefs

Our friends over at Broken Sidewalk have a great post on how sidewalks are often polluted with poles and other obstructions that would never be tolerated in a street. It’s a great read. Here’s a sample photo:

The left leaning American Prospect talks about NYC’s pedestrian and bike friendliness programs.

The Web Urbanist profiles 15 great library designs.

Stephen Bayley rips on the new urbanist aesthetic and even takes a gratuitous swipe at Ft. Wayne in the Guardian.

Time Magazine talks about how failing cities can reinvent themselves.

Much has been written about the need for the Midwest to think regionally. Well, similar discussions are ongoing in the South. Here’s a couple of articles, one pro and another con.

Since I’ve said nice things about Charlotte, it is worth noting that the banking sector troubles are affecting that town. The Economist has the story.

CEO’s for Cities has a couple of great blog postings on Austin, Texas. You can read them here and here. Here is a great quote from Mayor Will Wynn: “I’m as nostalgic as the next person, but nostalgia doesn’t help deal with growth. The fact is attractive cities attract people. Which side of the sword do you want to be on? If you are not growing, young people are leaving.” And in discussing a presentation by local leader Pike Powers, the blog notes, “Asked about how to overcome internecine funding wars that occur in every state, Pike advised the leaders to ‘construct artificial devices and don’t be afraid to embarrass people. That’s leadership.’ He also admonished them to recognize the power in the ‘unadulterated brashness of saying, “We’re going there”‘ as Austin did when it proclaimed itself in 1991 the Live Music Capital. ‘It works more often than not.'”

American City Business Journals publishes its economic strength rankings. Here’s how our cities stack up. Note that I’ve got a few quibbles with the methodology, but the general thrust of their rankings seems right. Not a stellar outing for the Midwest

  • #47 – Kansas City
  • #57 – Indianapolis
  • #60 – Milwaukee
  • #61 – Louisville
  • #65 – Chicago
  • #72 – Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • #76 – Columbus
  • #91 – Cincinnati
  • #96 – Cleveland
  • #100 – Detroit

Chicago. Chicago is privatizing its parking meters in a transaction that will raise $1.2 billion.

CTA President Ron Huberman releases his December President’s report. Highlights include major progress in eliminating slow zones (down to only 6% of trackage) and increased ridership.

Cincinnati. The airport is at a turning point, with Delta downsizing the passenger counts expected to only be 10 million next year, down from a peak of 22 million.

Columbus. A nice article on high tech Columbus.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is looking to add up to 2,400 jobs.

Detroit. Time Magazine says Detroit is still waiting for the Renaissance.

Michigan economy stuck in an eight year recession.

Twin City Sidewalks excoriates Livonia.

Indianapolis. The MPO approves expanding a transit study to put together a regional concept plan.

From the Not Good Dept., the IBJ reports that the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has been drawing down the principal in its endowment to balance the budget.

Louisville. The city unveils its version of the sewer overflow fix.

Milwaukee. A neighborhood wants to literally print its own money.

Twin Cities. Minnesota is $5.2 billion in the hole.

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