Livable Communities Coalition shares valuable community information and links

Dear readers,
I wanted to share with you the latest email blast from one of my favorite organizations — the Livable Communities Coalition. There’s a lot of great information and valuable links to several topics of significance to our region.
By the way, click here to link to the coalition’s website.
Maria

TRENDS URGE CHANGE; AND NEW POLICY GOALS SHOW WAY FORWARD

With the first round of projects already sent to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his approval and submission to Washington, Georgia’s Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission are working on a second round of projects to be funded by federal transportation stimulus money coming to Georgia.

Never in memory have so many factors urged a fresh approach. Consider:

Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today (IT3), last year’s trailblazing study on state transportation spending, estimates $39 billion in benefits if the region puts more homes closer to jobs and supports job centers with a mix of transportation alternatives.

Three ground-breaking plans showing how and where to put transportation alternatives in metro Atlanta:
* The area’s first regional transit vision, Concept 3.
* Connect Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s first comprehensive transportation plan, with everything from complete streets to transit.
* Atlanta’s BeltLine.

A first-ever partnership between the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development to “help American families gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs.” Goals include more affordable housing near jobs and coordination of transportation and development patterns.

A rapidly graying population in a region designed for young families and driving. (Most residents now 60 or older that have been in the region for 30 years or more and plan to stay, preferring to “age in place” in their home communities – assuming they can.)

A federal administration determined to pursue renewable energy and energy independence and address climate change. Because transportation accounts for nearly one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. and is the fastest growing source of GHG emissions, any new national climate change law seems certain to target transportation.

A growing sense among Americans that our transportation infrastructure is in serious trouble and that we should fix what we have before building more roads.

Increased public transportation ridership. MARTA ridership rose 8.6 percent in 2008.

The time for “business as usual” is gone. The time for a fresh approach is now.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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