Piqua Recognized as Top 10 National Leader in Creating Complete Streets

Greater Ohio congratulates the City of Piqua, Ohio on receiving national recognition for developing complete streets. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of national non-profit Smart Growth America (SGA), the complete streets policy that Piqua passed last year ranked 9th in the country, out of more than 80 cities, states, and regions that passed similar policies in 2013. SGA says this makes Piqua “a national leader in making streets safer and more convenient for everyone who uses them.” Complete streets policies “encourage planners and engineers to design and build streets that are safe and convenient for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel,” according to SGA.

SGA’s rankings are “intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in crafting comprehensive policy language over the past year.” The evaluators determine scores based on 10 technical elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy. The communities with the top-scoring policies of 2013 are:

1.         Littleton, MA

2.         Peru, IN

3.         Fort Lauderdale, FL

4.         Auburn, ME (tie)

4.         Lewiston, ME (tie)

6.         Baltimore County, MD

7.         Portsmouth, NH

8.         Muscatine, IA

9.          Piqua, OH

10.        Oakland, CA

11.        Hayward, CA (tie)

11.        Livermore, CA (tie)

11.        Massachusetts Department of Transportation (tie)

14.        Cedar Falls, IA (tie)

14.        Waterloo, IA (tie)

More information about the winning policies and evaluation criteria, and what Piqua scored, is available here.

Nationwide, a total of 610 jurisdictions in 48 states have Complete Streets policies in place.

Smart Growth America Releases Report on Economic Benefits of Smart Growth

Smart Growth America recently released a new report titled “Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development,” which discusses the economic benefits of smart growth as opposed to traditional development patterns.  According to SGA, it is the first to determine a national average for how much communities can expect to save through the use of smart growth strategies.

The report analyzes 17 case study areas, comparing development scenarios within each. The first scenario, “smart growth development,” is characterized by more efficient use of land; a mixture of homes, businesses and services located close together; and better connections between streets and neighborhoods. The second scenario, “conventional suburban development,” is characterized by less efficient use of land with homes, schools and businesses separated and areas designed primarily for driving.

Their findings include the following:

  1. Smart growth development costs one-third less for upfront infrastructure.
  2. Smart growth development saves an average of 10 percent of the costs for ongoing delivery of services.
  3. Smart growth development generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development

Ohio has seen an increase in the adoption of smart growth policies, including most recently in Piqua. GOPC continues to address the need for more smart growth policies throughout the state.

Sprawl costs Ohio families and regional economy, new report shows

By Smart Growth America

The twelve counties that make up Northeast Ohio are home to a community that prides itself on its public art, theaters, parks and hiking trails, and home-grown businesses. Now, a new vanguard of engaged residents are working with a local organization to make Northeast Ohio even better.

The first step in this process is to examine what’s working in Northeast Ohio’s communities, and a new survey from the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) does just that. NEOSCC released its Conditions & Trends platform on Tuesday, during the Consortium’s monthly meeting in Youngstown. The extensive inventory of Northeast Ohio’s assets, challenges and year-over-year trends provides a comprehensive assessment of how the region could improve. Prominent among the findings is the fact that Northeast Ohio has spread out over the past several decades, and that this trend is damaging the region’s economy. Between 1979 and 2006, the average number of people per acre of developed land in Northeast Ohio declined by 22.96% with population shifting from urban areas like Cleveland and Akron to more sparsely populated ones.

The region’s economy has faced challenges as a result. Cities and towns in the region are struggling to support the cost of roads and sewers in this sparse development, as these expenses have far outpaced public revenues from employment growth, per capita wage growth, and property value increases. The region’s housing market is weak, as supply exceeds demand and many homes stand vacant. Yet there’s a shortage of housing that meets the needs of people with disabilities and elderly residents, and the area’s sparse population distribution makes public transportation difficult to support. In addition, as many residents move to the suburbs low-income families who cannot afford to move are often left in areas that now struggle to afford public services. All of this weighs on taxpayers. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer explained, the region’s development strategy of recent decades has imposed “higher costs of living on Northeast Ohioans through longer commuting distances to work, gas taxes, user fees, sales taxes and other outlays.”

These findings are meant to inform the region’s planning, and the NEOSCC’s platform also provides a way forward. The platform encourages visitors to weigh in and discuss the issues online, and provides space for visitors to comment on each of the substantive issues areas.

NEOSCC’s work is made possible by a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s grant program is part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate federal spending in smarter ways, to bring local government spending under control and to help regions understand the true cost of long-term decisions on where development should occur.