Tearing Down the Syracuse Berlin Wall: Interstate 81

NPR aired a story on July 24, 2012 about sprawl and tearing down a destructive inner city elevated expressway, A City Faces Its ‘Berlin Wall’:An Interstate Highway. For those in Shreveport organizing to block an I-49 inner city expressway proposed by NLCOG this is a must here and read.The story is also shown in article form with pictures of the destructive roadway and people interivied in the story. One of the key points in gaining support for a tear down strategy is the long term cost of maintaining the elevated roadway and its needed replacement as it approaches end-of-life for the 1.4 miles of roadway.The current estimate for replacing the deck is $500 million or $357 million per mile. The current estimate used by NLCOG for 3.5 miles of elevated roadway is approximately $300 million. Based on the NPR story the “I-49 inner city connector” could cost considerably more than this optimistic projection.Here is an excerpt from the story:

A few years ago, Emanuel Carter, a professor at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, teamed up with a local citizens league on a study called “Rethinking I-81.” The main finding was that removing the I-81 viaduct would spur significant development.”We’re in full-blown sprawl mode right now,” Carter says. “And one of the ways we can kind of refocus on the core would be to have [I-81] cease to be an impediment.”

Here is the study “Rethinking I-81”. OCLRethinking I-81


Cut Cost of Solar by Cutting the Red Tape

A Forbes article posted by Todd Woody, Cut the Price of Solar in half by Cutting the Red Tape, reveals that the costs of solar installations in the US are far more expensive than Germany. A 4,000 watt solar array system in the US goes for approximately $20,000 installed compared to the same system in Germany that installed, costs approximately $8,000. the article explains that the primary reason for the cost difference is in paperwork and policies that are not keeping up with advances.

Here is another post on the ILSR Energy-Democratizing the Electricity System site, Why we pay double for solar in America (But won’t forever).



Tactical Urbanism as a strategy to better connect Planning and Doing

As we continue to develop Agile Planning it is encouraging to find other groups that are experimenting with strategies to align resources more quickly and better connect planning and implementation. Here is an artcile from The Architect’s Newspaper that colleague Ed Morrison forwarded today, Talking Tactical Urbansim. Here are some excerpts from the article:

…A lot of these efforts are not expensive. Really, $2,000 can help people envision change.What’s difficult about the traditional planning process is that it’s behind closed doors. It can be intimidating for people to get involved, but if you’re experimenting with change in real time on the street, on your block, or on your sidewalk, people get a real understanding of what that means. Especially when it’s part of the larger planning process. You can mock it up, and it becomes a type of rendering in real time. People can say, “This really works for me. I like it.”…

…The planning process is not going to be replaced by tactical urbanism. Following up on comprehensive planning efforts, the neighborhood-wide or city-wide planning process can use tactical urbanism to take some of the most popular ideas and really do things quickly rather than have them wait on the shelf for the million-dollar funding stream. Tactical urbanism is a tool for the more formal planning process.

Here is a video posted with the article:

<p>A New Face for an Old Broad from American Grapefruit Media on Vimeo.</p>