Photo by David Lewinski
The city of Center Line has revived its downtown development authority and refocused its tax increment financing (TIF) in a placemaking initiative to attract businesses that serve nearby workers and young people to its tidy blocks of affordable houses.
“The first challenge is getting the willpower and getting a champion,” said CWA’s Dave Scurto in this January 21 Metromode article. “Center Line has overcome this fantastically. Everybody’s working together with the same vision and message. The mayor and the council understand the business community.”
The article features the Center Line city manager/DDA director and the mayor and their plans for a façade improvement program, gateway signage, enhanced wayfinding, streetscape maintenance and online marketing.
Dave compared the initiative to the city of Riverview’s successful plan to acquire a faded shopping center and redevelop it into a medical complex.
Posted in Carlisle/Wortman in the news, Clients in the news, Corridor planning, Downtowns, economic development, Placemaking, Urban
Tagged Bob Binson, Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Center Line, david scurto, Dennis Champine, Michigan, planners, planning
Every month we ask our staff for stories for the blog. Matt Lonnerstater and Chris Nordstrom simultaneously came up with this one: A website that uses Google Street View and Google Maps to show before and after views of streets and public spaces around the world that have been transformed to serve pedestrians instead of cars. Glance at the pictures at the top of the page for a jolt of inspiration or drive deep into the map and the conversation.
By Matt Lonnerstater
Does your local sign ordinance contain regulations for “real estate signs,” “garage sale signs” or “political signs”? Well, then, it’s time to amend your sign ordinance! In the 2015 Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the court rendered a far-reaching decision that will require significant modifications to many local sign ordinances. While the details of the case are complex, the overarching premise of the decision is fairly simple: A sign regulation that makes any distinction based on sign content is unconstitutional.
Posted in Code enforcement, Corridor planning, Downtowns, Municipal Management, Zoning
Tagged Carlisle/Wortman Associates, Matt Lonnerstater, Michigan, planners, planning, Reed vs. Gilbert, SCOTUS, sign, sign ordinance, signs, Supreme Court
What a marvelous device are our thumbs. They are so useful that we employ them in a figure of speech: Rules of thumb. Rules of overwhelming consensus, indisputable, golden.
Except when they’re not.
SmartTowns.org shared a blog from economist Joe Cortright dispelling some of the rules of thumb that are gospel to highway engineers and anathema to planners creating places.
- We should have a high “level of service” on our streets
- Wider streets are safer streets
- We should require “enough” off-street parking for every use
- We should plan for a certain number of car trips to be generated by every land use, no matter where it is.
- We should have a hierarchy of streets
- Slower is safer
- Sharing is efficient
- Our objective should be accessibility, not mobility
Cortright’s details for each rule make a compelling case.
Posted in Corridor planning, Downtowns, economic development, Master plans, Placemaking, Urban
Tagged Carlisle/Wortman Associates, complete streets, highways, Michigan, Placemaking, planning, streets, Transportation, walkable
By Sharlan Douglas
This is the second planning-themed article from CWA’s marketing consultant, based on observations from a recent vacation in France
Throughout Europe, designers are deliberately creating shared spaces even along wide streets. Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman pioneered the concept, which removes all traffic control devices, markings, signs and curbs.
“The philosophy is that absence of all of those features forces all users of the space — from pedestrians to drivers — to negotiate passage through the space via eye contact and person to person negotiation,” says this article from the Project for Public Spaces. “This is all premised on the idea that traditional streets allocate distinct spaces to the different modes, and in doing so create a false sense of security to each user leading them to behave as if they have no responsibility to look out for other users in ‘their” space.”
Monderman is quoted as saying: “We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior …The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”
While calling for continued study of shared spaces, the article reports that they
- Reduce accidents
- Coexist with high-speed roads, and
- Are a political concept, not a transportation concept.
Posted in Corridor planning, Downtowns, Master plans, Placemaking, Urban
Tagged Carlisle/Wortman Associates, complete streets, Hans Monderman, Michigan, planning, shared spaces, Transportation
Paul Montagno and Matt Lonnerstater collaborated on this cover story for the October, 2015 issue of the Michigan Township Association’s Township Focus magazine.
Image courtesy of Orton Family Foundation
It’s a familiar refrain. Everyone from colleagues at the office to neighbors waiting in line at the grocery store, or acquaintances picking their kids or grandkids up from school echo the same sentiments. Life is hectic. So, how can townships actively engage their already-busy residents and business owners to vote in local elections, engage in public participation events, and discuss and plan for the community’s future?
Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
In 2010 and 2011, HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience and its Sustainable Communities Initiative funded 30 projects to help regions and communities plan for and begin to implement green infrastructure projects. Their report offers excellent examples and is rich with links to the grantees’ work.
HUD spent $165 million in funding for sustainable communities regional planning grants and $70 million in community challenge planning grants for projects in corridors, neighborhoods, across cities and around transit stations. A number of the projects supplemented their budgets with Department of Transportation funds.
- Green infrastructure investments are most effective and beneficial when coordinated regionally.
- Gray infrastructure alone isn’t a solution. Even expanded capacity may not help with extreme weather events and natural disasters. It can, though, when combined with green infrastructure improvements.
- Green infrastructure investments provide corollary benefits. New parks and water features, trees and landscaping have a placemaking effect that can increase property values.
Among the more interesting projects:
- Michigan’s Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties) developed a regional plan that includes an advertising campaign, Pollution Isn’t Pretty.
- SEMCOG received $2.85 million to develop a regional plan for sustainable development for its region.
- Cincinnati will daylight a creek which for 100 years has been buried and channelized as a combined overflow sewer.
- Pittsburgh will naturalize space on its riverfront, restoring habitats and native plants along the shore.
- Jersey City will use green infrastructure to harvest stormwater.
- Columbia, TN used the Light Imprint tools created by New Urbanism’s Duany Plater-Zyberk.
- The convergence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers made green infrastructure an important element in the St. Louis, MO region’s master plan. Their sustainable solutions toolkit is very useful.
- The Minneapolis-St. Paul region developed the concept of “Shared, stacked-function” green infrastructure, where the green infrastructure serves more than one parcel and provides additional community amenities.
Posted in Corridor planning, economic development, Master plans, Placemaking, Public engagement, Recreation planning
Tagged Carlisle/Wortman Associates, combined sewer, CSO, green infrastructure, Michigan, planning, storm water, stormwater