Thursday, March 4, 2010

Short News Stories No. 7

Treasure Island Makeover
The 400-acre landfill site in the middle of San Francisco Bay is about to undergo a massive makeover in one of the largest waterfront projects around. The U.S. Navy agreed recently to sell most of it and a portion of the natural Yerba Buena Island for $55 million to San Francisco. From the present 2,000 residents ambitious plans call for an "eco-savvy" (if is SF after all) neighborhood of 20,000. There are also plans for a waterfront hotel, retail center and something called a tourist draw. First must come major remediation to shore up the sea wall and build up the soil. Then comes infrastructure. The initial tab is $1.5 billion.
San Mateo County Times, January 24, 2010.

Working Waterfronts Wakeup
Another state has joined pioneers Maine and Florida in trying to save elements of the working waterfront from being developed out of existence. Now we don't want to appear smug about this, but we did put together a monography in 1984 entitled "Caution: Working Waterfront - The Impact of Change on Marine Enterprises." We sounded the alarm that small marine buisinesses could easily be swept away. North Carolina put up $20-million for the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund. But, so far it was a one-time action in 2008 with no follow-up in 2009. Florida provides financing and technical assistance to revitalize working waterfront installations (boatyards, marinas, and the like) and Maine has a Working Waterfront Access Program with an emphasis on the fishing industry.
Lisa Stifler, Research Associate, Community and Economic Development Program, University of North Carolina, January 6, 2010.

Big Dig West
Four teams have picked to compete for the $1 billion tunnel in Seattle to replace the damaged Alaskan Way viaduct. Washington State Department of Transportation will make the award in late 2010. The replacement is to be a four-lane, two-mile-long double-deck tunnel, taking an estimated five years. Competing are Dragdos USA, Florida and HNTB, Kansas; S. A. Healy Co., Illinois, FCC Construction, Spain, Parsons Transportation Group, Washington, D.C. and Halcrow Inc., N.Y.; Vinci Construction, France, Traylor Bros Inc., Indiana, Skanska USA, N.Y. and Arup, U.K., and Kiewit Pacific Co., Washington, Bilfinger Berger Germany and AECOM Technology Corp., N.Y. With the viaduct gone, the opportunity is presented to totally redo the central Seattle waterfront. Stay tuned.
Engineering News Record, December 28, 2009.

Walkability Works
You know you're in the U.S. when people make a big deal out of walkable neighborhoods. Where you could, the example states, walk to a bookstore (while we still have them!) and then to an ice cream shop and kids could walk to school unescorted. CEO's For Cities has published a study of home values in the 40 largest cities and gave them a Walk Score. Housing with a high Walk Score commanded a premium, as much as $30,000 for the same property in Charlotte, San Francisco and Sacramento. And the winner is: our own Washington, D.C., where the White House neighborhood scores a 97.
The New York Times, January 10, 2010.

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