This story from Thomas MacMillan of the New Haven Independent shows what I think is one of the best implementations of New Urbanism: replacing 60s-70s era public housing barracks with mixed-income, human-scale communities. West Rock’s Brookside Avenue will be home to the new Brookside Housing Development, with the Rockview development nearby. The developments will have nearly 400 rental units, but also 60 home ownership units, which will allow people of different incomes to live together and allow members to move up to a home when they can afford it or move down to a rental if hard times hit without leaving the neighborhood. New streets will be named after important citizens in the community, like Shirley Banks, co-chair of the West Rock Implementation Committee, which worked as an advisory council on the project and made sure that construction jobs would go to residents, locals and minorities. Many former residents are planning on moving back and looking forward to the reuniting of the community that was created there with the previous development. The project should be completed by the fall of 2011.
Yonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed of The Infrastrcturist bring us this article on freeways that should be torn down. Although there is a lot of crossover between this list and the Congress for the New Urbanism‘s list of Freeways Without Futures, they are separate and do have some differences. Urban freeways function as walls, cutting off neighborhoods from the rest of the city with disastrous results. They are often built along lakefronts and waterways, destroying what could be a great asset to a city. When freeways have been torn down and turned into surface-level roads, such as in Portland and San Francisco, they have had wonderful results as far as revitalizing their neighboring districts. Their list of freeways to tear down includes:
Cleveland: West Shoreway
Seattle: Alaskan Way Viaduct
Oklahoma City: I-40
New Haven: Route 34
Baltimore: Jones Falls Expressway
I think it’s great that people are willing to re-examine urban freeways and the negative impacts they have on cities, and I hope more cities (including my hometown of Pittsburgh, which could afford to tear down both I-376 along the Monongahela River and I-579 which cuts off the Strip, Hill and Uptown districts from Downtown) follow the example of Milwaukee and others and tear down their freeways.
Posted in Commentary, New Urbanism
Tagged Alaskan Way Viaduct, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Downtown, Freeways Without Futures, Hill District, I-376, I-40, I-579, I-81, Jones Falls Expressway, Milwaukee, Monongahela River, New Haven, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Route 34, Seattle, Skyway, Strip District, Syracuse, Uptown, Urban Freeways, West Shoreway
Don Stacom brings us this article in which he tracks a variety of transit-oriented developments in southern New England. He mentions various smart planning strategies, including saving 20% of the units in a development for those making less than 80% of the area’s median income, and shared parking garages, both for residents and commuters, as opposed to never-ending surface lots which stifle development. He quotes David Fink of the Partnership for Strong Communities as saying that transit helps housing by lessening the need for and money spent on cars, and that housing is good for transit, because it allows more people to use it, raising more revenue through fares and less through taxes. He pays special attention to a development in Wallingford, CT, where they are planning for vertical mixed use buildings and a density of 26 units to the acre, much higher than traditional suburbs. The affordable housing element, unlike previous public housing projects, is aimed at helping firefighters, teachers, and other necessary workers who oftentimes cannot afford market rate housing in expensive neighborhoods. This is a pretty in-depth and interesting article, and it shows good things on the way for Connecticut transit.