Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Complete Streets help the economy, street vendors vs BIDs smack down, and over designed intersections? Commercial District News Round Up, Week of July 7th, 2015

How Thoughtful Street Design Is Helping Communities and the Economy
The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, released a new report analyzing street improvements in 37 neighborhoods across the country.  In the report, communities that were redesigned to accommodate pedestrians, transit users and bicyclists (as well as drivers of motor vehicles) found that the design resulted in positive impacts on key economic indicators, including employment, new businesses, property values and private investment.
Source: Huffington Post
BIDS Worry Over Movement to Increase Vendor Permits
In New York, the number of street vendor licenses are limited by law - only 3,000 permits are issued annually. But a movement led by The Street Vendor Project seeks to change all that. On the other side of this issue are BIDs that are concerned about the impact of vendors on established businesses - many of whom are paying assessments into the BID and who are affected by vendors right outside their doors. Fordham Road Business Improvement District, the largest BID in the Bronx, along with 72 BIDs across NYC, presented a four-page statement prepared by the New York City BID Association warning of “unilateral, piecemeal change” to the current laws “will lead to unintended consequences.” The BIDs suggest a study before lifting the ban. Both sides see financial struggle as vendors have mounting permitting costs while property owners and merchants of BIDs pay assessments to keep the streets clean and orderly.
Image Source:   Credit: Adi Talwar
Neighbors Are Mad Lincoln Hub Slows Traffic, But That Was Kind of the Point
The design, intended to imitate an oriental rug and also to slow down traffic, not appreciated by local residents at this Chicago intersection.  Overdesigned? be the judge.

Reshaping Growth Centers with Open Space = Smart Growth
The addition of open space to urban areas seems counter intuitive to the often assumed need for high-density growth, but this article points out that the addition of open space and the practice of smart growth can lead to high density and better use of land.  The comparison of Atlanta and Barcelona maps, with similar population size, is astonishing.

Most Bikeable Cities of 2015
Minneapolis took number one spot, putting often assumed bike mecca, Portland, in number three. The ranking looked at cities of 300,000+ and the scores are measured on a scale of 0 - 100 based on bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity, and share of local workers' commutes traveled by bicycle.  Check it your city on the list?

The USDA Site Now Has a National Farmers Market Directory
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a searchable national farmers market directory, allowing you to search for markets online. The site has an interactive map and can search the 8,260 farmers markets by zip code and products sold. The USDA included any market that has two+ farm vendors selling their goods in the same location week to week.


  1. We've been hearing a lot of metaphoric descriptions for the sad state of the global economy. These descriptions are bantered about by TV talking heads and the pundits who populate the Sunday morning talk shows-earning their millions in the process-and you wonder how badly these folks have been impacted by the present situation.

  2. Wall Street wants Americans to believe that poor people and the Middle Class were the causes of the global financial crisis. Not! Most of us lost all or a major part of our life's savings because of the way Wall Street was allowed to run its business-hand's off, "We want complete freedom to do whatever we want. Freedom, freedom, that's what we need! Freedom!" Let's talk about what really happened!