Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Past Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Awards

Here's what some winners of the EPA's past program awards have done, just to give us an idea of what's possible...

Denver, Colorado

Site visit: date to be determined
Denver's Downtown-Cherry Creek corridor is a significant route for the region. Along it are dense urban neighborhoods, a major employment and retail center, suburban neighborhoods, and commercial strips. Because this route will carry more traffic as the region grows, local officials want to improve the corridor to better connect the region and link transit nodes. By encouraging compact, dense, mixed-use redevelopment of the land along the corridor and the land immediately adjacent to it, the city will help create a more pleasant and inviting walking and biking environment and will expand transit use. Giving people transportation choices besides driving can help reduce air pollution from automobiles. To implement these goals, the city requested SGIA assistance for policy analysis and public participation to explore options to improve the Downtown-Cherry Creek corridor with street design that accommodates automobiles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit, and better coordination of land use with transportation.

Support and Partners: Mayor John Hickenlooper and managers of the city of Denver's Community Planning and Development & Public Works Departments.

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846,

Spokane, Washington

Site visit: Jan. 17-20, 2007
The city of Spokane adopted the University District Master Plan in August 2005. The plan focuses on creating greater bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, encouraging infill development, restoring the Spokane River, and improving accessibility within the district and to adjacent neighborhoods and downtown. The city requested assistance to identify market opportunities for smart growth development in the district, and present policy options that would implement the University District Master Plan.

EPA assembled a team to complete a market analysis of the University District and work with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to explore development opportunities for the Riverpoint campus -- a key development opportunity site in the University District. The team's analysis revealed that there is significant market potential to develop the Riverpoint campus as an urban, pedestrian-friendly place. The team's final report presents the results of the market analysis and identifies policy options for a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly Riverpoint campus.

Funding partner: City of Spokane Economic Development

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846,
Local contact: Brian Jennings (509-625-6986,, Brownfields Coordinator, City of Spokane Economic Development

Report: Spokane's University District: Policy Options for a New Urban Center (PDF) (41 pp, 1.9 MB)

College Park, Maryland

Site visit: Jan. 19-21, 2006
Residents and local leaders in College Park expressed a vision in the city's 2002 Sector Plan for development along U.S. Route 1 that is walkable and bikeable, lively and functional, that enables a range of businesses (new and existing) to complement one another, and that manages traffic while serving as a gateway to the community and the University of Maryland. However, after four years of implementation efforts, the vision is still not being realized. As part of its response to this situation, the city of College Park requested assistance to understand the disconnect between the vision for the Route 1 corridor and current development and to get the tools to address it.

In response to the city's request, and drawing on best practices from around the country, local data, and the expertise of local residents and professionals, the EPA assistance team worked with local partners to develop options for the city and county to help move the Route 1 corridor toward the vision. The team's report was approved by the city council. Many of the options were discussed with county officials, who have direct influence over site planning.

In the months following the report's approval, the city of College Park implemented two of the key options outlined in the report: preparing a form-based code to better direct the redevelopment of the commercial corridor, and undertaking a transportation demand management study to identify appropriate measures for reducing traffic congestion, including the feasibility of a Route 1 trolley. The city is exploring other elements, such as enhancements to the development process, with county officials.

Funding partners: City of College Park, Prince George's County

Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island

"The EPA team's discussions with town and city planning staff, municipal board and commission members, and the AIPC staff resulted in a consensus that the most useful assistance under this project would be zoning options for mixed-use development and design review. ...The EPA team developed approaches for mixed-use zoning standards, design guidelines, and review processes in three communities, including some options for future growth in specific sites in each community."

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Site visit: May 2-4, 2006
By 2030, the Cheyenne region could have 56,000 new residents. To make sure that growth benefits the entire community, Cheyenne residents have been working together to articulate a vision for growth and development. The result is PLANCHEYENNE, a new comprehensive plan for the region that encourages growth in existing neighborhoods and downtown and promotes new neighborhoods that are built according to smart growth principles. The city requested assistance from EPA to: 1) identify policy options that would implement PlanCheyenne; and 2) illustrate development that would help to achieve the community's goals articulated in PlanCheyenne.

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