Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Ideas Being Studied... Memphis:
With Smart Growth as a guide for redeveloping its central business district, Germantown wants an urban core that's walkable.

There are major plans for changing streets and parking areas that eventually will affect anyone who drives.

But one topic that has received little notice so far is one that gets much more attention in many other cities: public transit.

It's one key to following the Smart Growth principle of providing a variety of transportation choices.

Light-rail systems, in particular, have emerged as fertile ground for Smart Growth developments, said Thomas D. Fox, assistant general manager of planning and capital projects for the Memphis Area Transit Authority.

The Smart Growth way -- pedestrian-friendly areas, denser populations and a mix of homes, offices, stores and other uses in multi-level buildings -- has become a winning formula for development and redevelopment around light-rail stations.

Charlotte, N.C., for example, will open that city's first light-rail line next month, Fox said.

"They are claiming billions of dollars of development already around station locations, before they even open," he said.