Advancing Sustainable, Transit-Oriented Development in Washtenaw County, Michigan: WAKE UP, WASHTENAW!

Wake Up, Washtenaw!

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A citizen organization with a vision for sustainable, transit-oriented development in and beyond Washtenaw County, Michigan.

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Passenger Rail Corridor Development Program

The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” was signed into law on November 15, 2021. This law provides a historically unprecedented amount of funding for developing and improving passenger rail corridors. The FRA was assigned the task of quickly coming up with a system for administering this funding fairly and effectively.

Language in the law specifies many criteria for corridor development, and makes it clear that public input is expected. Since the criteria in the law are broad and general, the FRA is asking for input on how to interpret the law. This Request for information (RFI) asks for public input on how the funding should be administered.

My summary and discussion (PDF, 10 pages) can be downloaded from here...

Progress Here and There - Transportation/Development News of Interest

Dangers of Complacency - Public Comment to AAATA Board

In the face of rising - and potentially dangerous - traffic congestion in Ann Arbor, AAATA continues to "study" improvements to schedule adherence. Unfortunately, they are very reluctant to change "business as usual" or suggest any solutions that might come with a cost. Wake Up Washtenaw finds this very disappointing. The Ann Arbor community is looking for transportation solutions, but apparently we cannot expect meaningful solutions from our Transportation Authority. Read more...

Focus 2019: "Edge Cities"

This year, I'm turning my focus on a phenomenon that has sometimes been called "Edge Cities", though I'm using the term somewhat differently than what was popularized by Joel Garreau in 1991. Why this focus?

All cities that are growing prosperously, no matter where they are in the world, are experiencing a similar set of problems. The value of land in their core is increasing so much that service personnel are unable to afford housing near the core, and those who were housed there until recently are being forced out ("gentrification" is the term usually applied); as buildings grow taller in the core, the demand for access increases, but the cost of providing that access becomes more and more unaffordable to the governments responsible for providing it.

Toyko from the Skytree

Affordable housing, commercial, and office space is needed "near" the core city. The problem is to achieve functional proximity at a reasonable cost. My focus has turned to a 21st Century version of the "edge city" concept as a possible solution.

If achieving functional proximity seems to be the key, what does it look like? How has it been achieved - if at all - in cities around the world? What are the major hurdles? What variations on the theme have proved more successful, and why? And how does one measure all the factors?

My travels in 2019 will take me to Vancouver Canada, Seattle and Sacramento USA, and in Japan to several cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai, and Sapporo. All these are cities that appear to be growing prosperously while functioning reasonably well. The visit to Vancouver includes my fourth EcoCities World Summit, where I hope to share my questions and potential answers with others from even more cities around the world.

My goal is to lay the groundwork during August and September, including more detailed articulation of the issues and preliminary measurement of the parameters in each of the cities I mentioned - plus others I'm familiar with like Toronto, Denver, and of course Detroit. I hope you'll follow along with me on this quest for the 21st Century Edge City.


Wake Up Washtenaw's vision ...

We seek to bring together people and enterprises to ...

What is "transit-oriented development"?

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is an area of compact development, incorporating commercial, residential and professional uses, within walking distance of a major transit stop, that facilitates walking and transit use. The urban design focuses on the pedestrian over the automobile.

What is "sustainable development"?

The simplest, most forceful and practical definition of sustainable development is from the World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission report):

Development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The reasons ...

The plans ...

Encourage sustainable redevelopment

Show the way for sustainable new development

Sustainability Walk

Walk the Walk!

University of Queensland's Sustainability Walk
Brisbane, Australia

What's here:

This site developed and maintained by
Laurence J. Krieg, PhD.