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CNU Makes Removal of the Claiborne Expressway a Hot Topic in New Orleans
Report Release, Briefings, Outreach Has City Considering How to Undo a Major Infrastructure Mistake
After putting the elevated Claiborne
Expressway, which runs through New Orleans' TremÚ and Lower Mid-City
neighborhoods just northwest of the French Quarter, on our 2008 "Freeways
Without Futures" list of the ten urban highways with the most potential for
conversion to surface boulevards, CNU and partners in New Orleans initiated a
flurry of actions this summer that boosted the prospects for removing the overpass and stimulating economic revival in the storied corridor.
View of Claiborne Avenue with freeway removed and traffic circle restored at St. Bernard Avenue The activity centered around the July release of Restoring Claiborne: Alternatives for the Future of Claiborne Avenue. This all-new study of
traffic data and circulation patterns concludes that replacement of
major segments of the Claiborne I-10 freeway with a restored
boulevard would result in a well-functioning transportation system that
meets regional needs while promoting the economic and social rebirth of
the once-vibrant Claiborne Avenue and its surrounding communities.
Current view of Claiborne Corridor at St. Bernard Avenue(Images by Mac Ball, Waggoner & Ball Architects) The study --
by CNU and the Claiborne Corridor Improvement Coalition --
is the first detailed effort to assess the impact of the
freeway removal proposal that receives serious consideration in the city's new
draft Master Plan.
Signs of the coalition's success in elevating its message in key New Orleans circles were abundant. The group followed a meeting
with Mayor Mitch Landrieu on July 20th with a lunchtime community meeting
the next day at the famed Dooky Chase's restaurant in TremÚ, where
President Obama has dined multiple times, bookending this activity with
briefings of several city council members. The New Orleans Times-Picayune made the release of the report the top
story in both its e-mail alert and print edition, which was extensively
illustrated with historical photos, current views, and renderings of the
Just a week earlier, the Mayor had told a development group that the freeway removal could potentially be a "game changer" and that it deserved further exploration.
John Norquist started actively pushing this idea three years ago, I thought we'd be
lucky to get this in the public spotlight in a decade or two," reports CNU board member Jack Davis, a co-chair of the coalition whose career in journalism included a decade as reporter and editor at the Times-Picayune. "But
almost overnight we've helped make this one of the top issues in New
Orleans -- with surprisingly broad popular support and encouragement from
our new mayor and key members of the City Council. This monster just might
be down before Mitch Landrieu finishes his second term.'
"Claiborne Avenue was an elegant setting in a neighborhood with important economic and cultural value," says Norquist, recalling the avenue's pre-freeway role as a main street of African-American and Creole business and culture and a promenade where New Orleans legends such as Louis Armstrong might be found strolling. "If the avenue is restored, a great
wrong can be righted and new opportunities pursued."
Read the front-page coverage in the New Orleans Times Picayune.
Read the CNU news release.
Read about the effort and find the full report by Smart Mobility and Waggoner and Ball Architects at cnu.org/restoringclairborne.
This project of CNU's Highways to Boulevards initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
CNU and Partners Submit Stormwater Regulation Reform Letter to EPA
"Rainwater Initiative" Seeks to Intervene in the Reforming of the NPDES
In June, a group of CNU members helped form a Rainwater Initiative aimed at reforming regulations that encourage sprawl. One goal of this group is to intervene in the ongoing reform of the EPA's stormwater regulations process, known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The group -- whose leaders include Paul Crabtree, Lisa Nisenson, Tom Low, and John Jacob -- is concerned that the EPA "has been issuing and promoting new source- and volume-control
regulations that are site-based, not watershed-based, and thus have the
unintended consequence of promoting sprawl rather than fixing it."
On July 15, in an effort initiated by this group, CNU and a set of partners (the Local Government Commission, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Coastal Conservation League, City of Madison, Wisconsin, and the National Town Builders Association) submitted a letter to the EPA. Referencing EPA's participation in the historic Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities with HUD and US DOT, the signers wrote:
As the federal agencies take a holistic look at how they work together to support sustainable development, we would like to discuss a similarly holistic approach for the EPA Office of Water's efforts as it revises the current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). As US DOT, HUD and EPA strive to break down silos, we urge you to continue this effort with stormwater regulations and make them complement broader environmental objectives.
The letter addresses the shortcomings with the current and proposed rainwater/stormwater management approach:
Current regulations focus on individual site mitigation
not larger-scale prevention.
- Current regulations hinder shared practices.
- Current regulations are silent on a site's context and
location within the watershed and weak on larger watershed scale.
- Current regulations assume costs are equal for different development environments.
- Current regulations depend on development to cure waterways.
The letter also offers suggestions for advancing an effort that makes regulatory reform more meaningful:
Interested in reading the full letter for yourself? Find it here.
- Make redevelopment the priority.
- Establish separate regulatory tracks for new development
and redevelopment within NPDES.
- Place watershed and sub-watershed analysis at the
- Update best management practices with solutions
to their urban context.
Deadline Less Than a Month Away for CNU 19 Call for Input
It's not too late to make your voice heard!
The CNU 19 Call for Input is underway! Through
our exciting new
IdeaScale platform, CNU members are making their voices heard on the
direction and content of CNU 19 in Madison, WI. Our
interactive forum allows members and allies to share their ideas for next year's Congress.
The new interactive forum allows users to
submit ideas for people they would like to see, sessions they would like
to attend, and goals they would like the Congress to achieve. With this new platform, CNU seeks to create a transparent and open forum where
users share, refine, and receive feedback on ideas.
Some of the
current top ideas titles include:
- [14 votes] Milwaukee Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative
"I think it would be great to hear about this intervention that focuses on
building demand in middle market neighborhoods in Milwaukee. The need
to attract and retain households in existing, workable neighborhoods is a
critical strategy in an overall policy framework aimed at smart growth.
The Healthy Neighborhoods initiative lays out exactly what this kind of
strategy looks like on the ground."
- [ 8 votes ] Private Frontage Secrets
"We did this session in Denver, and it got a great response... it's a
detailed look at the design of everything from the front wall of a
building to the back of the sidewalk: porches, fences, and frontage
gardens in T-3 and T-4 or storefronts, galleries and arcades in T-5.
Proper design of private frontages is a huge determinant of walkability,
because it either creates pedestrian propulsion or pedestrian
- [ 8 votes ] Will Allen
"Founder of expanding urban farming empire in Milwaukee called "Growing Power"
that connects diverse city residents with locally grown produce."
- [ 6 votes ] Nourishable Places
"The Original Green proposed several years ago that a sustainable place
must be a 'nourishable place' because if you can't eat there, you can't
live there. When this was first proposed, the idea seemed strange
because we can currently ship food anywhere. But now, the value of
agrarian urbanism is becoming more apparent. This session looks at some
of the latest ideas surrounding the creation of nourishable places."
- [ 6 votes ] Bike Sharing
"A new way to get from point A to point B. Grab a bike from one bike
station, ride to your destination, and turn it in at any other bike
station. This would bridge the gap between walking and driving
distance, and it would make neighborhoods more livable and vibrant."
Don't wait until the August 20, 2010, deadline
to submit your ideas! The sooner you get your idea online, the more
chances you will have to receive feedback from your colleagues in the
form of comments and votes!
CNU Joins With NeighborWorks America on National Affordable Housing Symposium
Participate in Philadelphia on Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Congress for New Urbanism is collaborating with NeighborWorks America on a national symposium that addresses how to promote deep affordability consistent with our vision for sustainable communities. The symposium, A New Era in Affordable Housing: Investing for Impact in Sustainable Communities, will be held in Philadelphia on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. Register now.
CNU representatives have worked specifically on the session Designing Housing as Infrastructure. In this session,
Emily Talen Emily Talen will deliver an opening white paper in which she will review what is needed to shift local policies and practices (including land use, design, etc) meaningfully so that deep affordability is integrated in walkable mixed-use community development. Five successful mixed-use, mixed-income developments that include deep affordability will then be highlighted -- so that lessons can be learned from their success. Jennifer Hurley from the CNU Board will then moderate a follow-up discussion among public officials from five locations featured in the white paper. The discussion will provide insights on how CNU could make a difference in helping cities include affordability.
The symposium will bring together leaders from the fields of impact investment, sustainable community design, and affordable housing to explore how to expand resources for affordable housing in sustainable communities. The goal is to both build bridges between these fields and create the opportunity for new insights on how to make housing more attractive to triple bottom line investors.
Over 250 national and local leaders will attend, including government officials, nonprofit and for-profit developers, and investors. In addition to CNU, other NeighborWorks partners include Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Global Impact Investors Network. The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank will publish the proceedings this fall. Learn more.
The CNU 18 Webcast Store is Open
If you attended CNU 18, your code is your ticket to view dozens of multimedia recordings
By now, everyone who registered for CNU 18 should have received a message with a code to enable viewing of webcasts of all non-ticketed sessions. And those who registered for ticketed New Urbanism 202 seminars, should have received messages with codes to access those webcasts as well.
If you haven't seen your code, check your inbox (looks for "your complimentary code" in the subject line) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to have it sent to you again. Please specify whether you're retrieving codes for non-ticketed sessions, 202s or both.
And good news: the memorable address by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has been found and added to the webcast library after being originally mislabeled. We'll soon have links for free viewing of this and a few other sessions available soon, so you can share them with colleagues and your social media networks.
John Norquist To Be Headliner at International Event in Mexico
Will lecture on "Compact City"
On September 9, 2010, CNU President and CEO John Norquist will be one of the headliners at Foro Internacional de Vivienda Sustentable 2010, otherwise known as the International Forum on Sustainability 2010.
Foro International de Vivienda Sustenable 2010 will take place on September 9th and 10th in the World Trade Center in Mexico City. More than 1,200 participants are involved in this forum.
John will join former Bogota mayor Enrique Pe˝alosa and Mexican President Felipe Calderon as event headliners. He will lecture on the "compact city" from 10:50 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
For more information, check out the program.
New at CNU and CNU.org
The latest news from our site
Tax revenue from downtown mixed-use outperforms big-box superstores and malls. Analysis of property tax revenues from Sarasota, Florida reveals that
mixed-use, compact development outperforms Walmarts and conventional
shopping malls by a considerable margin when compared on a
revenue-per-acre basis. So writes one of our better observers of the
built environment, Mary Newsom, in The Charlotte Observer.
- Light Rail is Good for the Health of Cities and Residents. A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of
Preventive Medicine found that users of Light Rail (LRT) lost an average
of 6.45 lbs (for a person 5'5" tall) after they began using the train
regularly. Additionally, LRT users are 81% less likely to become obese
- Winners and losers in the latest round of federal transit grants. Within the last few weeks, federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $293
million in new federal grants for major transit improvements, including
new streetcars, buses, and transit facilities.
- Watch for Falling Infrastructure: The Benefits of Freeway Rollback Covered in the NY Times. The New York Times on July 12th had a smart piece by Sam Dolnick on the increasingly serious prospect that the
elevated Sheridan Expressway will come down and be replaced by a livable
street -- a pedestrian- and business-friendly boulevard or other
improved surface street. The article quotes CNU's John Norquist.
- Walkable and Bikeable Neighborhoods in Demand. In the past home buyers have generally looked for good schools, large
lots, and low crime rates. However, the latest trend is to look at the
walkability and bikeability of neighborhoods as well.
Upcoming Webinars and Courses from our Continuing Education Partners
CNU Members Eligible for Discounted Prices
National Charrette Institute
The National Charrette Institute is a nonprofit
educational institution that trains professionals and community in best
practices for charrettes -- a design-based, accelerated, collaborative
project management system that harnesses the talents and energies of all
interested parties to create and support a feasible plan. Since NCI is a
CNU continuing education partner, CNU members are eligible for a 10
NCI Charrette System Certificate Trainings are:
August 4-6 - Harvard University,
Septemer 20-22 - London, UK
October 1-13 - Portland, OR (Sign up before August 15th to receive a discount!)
pleased to offer the following webinars
for 2010. We are partnering with a range of experts on each topic to
bring you fresh perspectives on these current issues. The next webinar
is Charrettes for Form-Based Codes in September, 2010. Read more.
Form-Based Codes Institute
The Form-Based Codes Institute was founded in 2004. The goals of the institute are to set standards for the practice of Form-Based Coding, to educate and reach out to various audiences, and to create a forum for discussion about FBC.
Upcoming Form-Based Codes Courses:
October 5 - The ABC's of Form-Based Codes: Special One-Day Introduction - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
For more information, read more.
|About the Congress for the New Urbanism|
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting regions, cities and towns built around walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Learn more.