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In recent years the frequency and severity of heavy precipitation and floods in parts of the United States have been increasing to a statistically significant degree, and this trend is expected to worsen. This article summarizes some of the liability issues that result from floods, and efforts to control them. Under governmental liability, the author highlights multiple participating factors including sovereign immunity, structural measures, nonstructural measures, flood-related regulations, and land use regulations. Under private liability, the column points to issues regarding neighboring property owners, dams and other obstructions, overflow, insurance, utilities, and design professionals. Lastly, the author draws upon the Hurricane Katrina Case where the U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in an important case on flood liability.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee approved a Work Plan for Equity, Education and Encouragement that is included in the Appendix.
As a federally-funded demonstration, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) purposefully and openly shares information about implementing the SFpark pilot project that other cities might find useful as they consider how to manage parking. This book summarizes the SFpark pilot project and documents lessons learned from project planning, implementation, operation, and evaluation. It was written in late spring 2014 after the pilot and its evaluation report were completed.
Bicycling is on the rise across the U.S. Adults are capitalizing on the health and economic benefits of active transportation, while an increasing number of young people are forgoing drivers' licenses to save money and embrace more walkable, bikeable lifestyles. The new majority that elected a president - youth, women and people of color - is playing a key role in pedaling the country toward a more Bicycle Friendly America. These diverse communities are embracing bicycling at a high rate, redefining the face and trajectory of the bicycle movement and the way the nation addresses transportation. An increasingly powerful and growing constituency, previously underrepresented groups are cultivating new campaigns and bike cultures that address the needs, serve the safety and improve the health of all residents who ride - or want to ride. These new riders, leaders and organizations are making biking accessible and inviting to all Americans - while making the case for a safer and more equitable transportation system in communities nationwide.
The scope and severity of flood risk and flood-related damages in the Chatham community are among the worst in Cook County. At the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), our water program promotes practical changes in the way people manage water as a resource and changes that are good for residents, good for businesses, and good for the environment. Through programs like our RainReadySM℠ Initiative, we help homeowners and municipalities save money by installing green infrastructure solutions like rain gardens and bioswales for stormwater management. Much of our work is done to prevent and alleviate flood issues which includes community outreach and development of the RainReady Midlothian Plan and six community plans in Suburban Cook County, Illinois.
Gold plating is when we make changes to projects that are outside the scope of the original plan, resulting in increased time, expenses, and waste. Gold-plating presents barriers to accomplishing good urbanism in the form of initial financial costs that can completely block growth. A lean infrastructure approach to city planning focuses on smaller, incremental improvements instead of sweeping, inefficient upgrades. It prioritizes long term well-being, expandable and scalable projects, and building community competency and ownership of their neighborhoods. The document provides a theoretical and historical overview of infrastructure planning and lessons learned from past mistakes to help city planners move forward with a recommitment to designing workable solutions that support civilization in an economical and sustainable fashion.
As required by a 2014 state statute, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued official sea level rise projections effective February 22. They reflect a range of possible scenarios; at the high end, sea level in the New York City area could rise 75 inches by the year 2100. Now that they are embodied in a formal regulation, these projections may begin to affect a broad range of decisions in building and infrastructure siting, design, construction and materials; insurance and financing; securities disclosure; and estate planning. The following article details out these changes and their potential implications.
Municipal bonds are one financing tool well suited to close the U.S. infrastructure investment gap. The U.S. municipal bond market has funded large-scale, long-term capital-intensive projects in states and cities, as well as their operational expenses, since the beginning of the 1900s. The market is large, with investors today holding a total of $3.7 trillion of U.S. municipal debt. Different types of investors are attracted to the muni bond market, but individuals are the dominant investors, either directly as individual retail investors or through mutual funds, accounting for more than 70 percent of the market. This is largely because the vast majority of muni bonds are issued as tax-exempt instruments: of the $3.7 trillion in outstanding muni bonds, only approximately $600 billion are taxable. Because individuals tend to have significant tax liability, tax-exempt muni bonds are attractive investment opportunities. Some federal programs also offer additional subsidies to attract tax exempt investors, such as pension funds, to the U.S. muni bond market.
Late at night, when Chicago sleeps, apartment parking lots are at their peak usage. When CNT visited those lots and garages at 4:00 a.m., though, we found one third of the parking spaces sitting empty. This may not seem like a huge problem, but each indoor, underground parking space - one individual space - costs $37,300 to build. Multiply that by all of the spaces in the lot, and the price tag is huge. We think that wasted money and space should be allocated to housing instead. As we began to dig into this issue, some important questions emerged. How does that unused parking impact communities? How much of it exists? And how can rethinking how much parking cities mandate promote neighborhoods that are more compact and affordable with access to frequent transit?
The goBerkeley Pilot Program was launched in Downtown Berkeley, the Elmwood, and Southside/Telegraph in July 2013 with 3 overarching goals: to support economic vitality, to reduce congestion and emissions and to assess the feasibility of expanding the program beyond the 2-year pilot period. Council authorized the Pilot Program to test the extent to which a combination of free bus passes for employees, carshare discounts for businesses, and demand-based parking management could achieve these goals. The goBerkeley Pilot Program worked closely with businesses and residents, conducted visitors, resident and employee surveys, and collected transit usage and parking data before and during the pilot period. The program also tested automated parking data collection methods to ascertain the most accurate and cost-effective program design going forward.