American Panelists in Copenhagen Call for Sustainable Land Use and Growth Patterns
“Urban development patterns have a significant role to play in carbon reduction. Otherwise we’ll just get knocked back by land use patterns,” said University of California-Berkeley College of Environmental Design Professor of City & Regional Planning Robert B. Cervero during an international panel discussion at the climate change conference in Copenhagen. Cervero stressed that, “Sustainable urbanism has to be part of the equation.” Writer Ben Fried of dc.streetsblog.org pointed out that transit investment alone can reduce the U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita by 10 to 20 percent, but energy savings “embedded” in pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented development can push that reduction to 30 percent below the current level, and up to 60 percent below the future level expected under routine sprawl-type policies.
2010 Transit Security Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the release of application guidance for the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) totaling an estimated $253 million–funds for state, local, and territorial governments and private sector entities to strengthen the nation’s transportation infrastructure and protect the traveling public from acts of terrorism and other major disasters. Applications for the TSGP programs are due February 18, 2010.
Ecosystem, Vegetation Affect Intensity of Urban Heat Island Effect
NASA researchers studying urban landscapes have found that the intensity of the “heat island” created by a city depends on the ecosystem it replaced and on the regional climate. Urban areas developed in arid and semi-arid regions show far less heating compared with the surrounding countryside than cities built amid forested and temperate climates.
House Jobs Bill Provides $27.5B for Highways, $9.2B for Transit
“If the goal is to create jobs, invest in buses and rail rather than highways,” said the Boston-based US Public Interest Research Group’s (US PIRG’s) Senior Tax and Budget Policy Analyst Phineas Baxandall, commenting on the new $154-billion job stimulus bill. The bill takes $75 billion in leftover money from the bank-bailout fund to provide another $48 billion for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects that could put workers on the job by April, $26.7 billion to help states and localities avoid public worker layoffs, and $79.4 billion to expand or extend several programs for the poor and unemployed.