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APA Dateline: May 20, 2002


A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Dateline: May 20, 2002

-- U.S. DOT Honors Commuter Choice Pioneers --
In conjunction with National Transportation Week, the U.S. Department of Transportation commended 11 publicly supported agencies as pioneers in providing choices for
commuters dealing with congestion and the challenge of getting to work. The honored groups were from eight states and the District of Columbia. Commuter Choice programs are
partnerships between government and business designed to help employers create customized solutions to the commuting challenges faced by their employees and also to
reduce traffic congestion. Commuter Choice also can involve communities working with residents, schools working with students, and even developers working with future tenants
to provide and promote choices for travelers.

Read about Commuter Choice at http://www.commuterchoice.gov and http://www.commuterchoice.com.
See the honored agencies: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/fhwa1902.htm

-- Report Finds California Air Deadly --
Pollution from airborne soot and dust causes or contributes to the deaths of more Californians than traffic accidents, homicide, and AIDS combined, according to a new report from
Environmental Working Group. The group analyzed state data and concluded that respiratory illnesses caused or made worse by microscopic particles of soot and dust - particulate
matter - are responsible for more than 9,300 deaths, thousands of hospital visits, hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, and millions of missed work days each year. "Particle
Civics: How Cleaner Air in California Will Save Lives and Save Money" details the public health impacts in each California county and estimates the annual cost in dollars.
Particulate air pollution is most severe in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Joaquin Valley, where agriculture is a significant source Statewide, says the report,
55 of 58 counties have average annual particulate levels that exceed the proposed state standards.

Read a summary of the report: http://www.ewg.org/reports/particlecivics/newsrelease_20020515.php
Read the complete report: http://www.ewg.org/reports/particlecivics/particlecivics_report.pdf

-- Planning and Building in the Anonymous Suburbs --
San Francisco Chronicle urban design writer John King has news for planners and architects who yearn to transform suburbia with mixed use, public transit, and density: It's not
gonna happen. "There is an enormous gap between the bright minds of architecture and the typical suburbanite and until it narrows, sprawl will keep on sprawling," writes King in a
recent column. "The fact is, suburbia will never morph into an old-fashioned city; there are different expectations about daily life. But there's no reason that new growth can't take a
shape that offers an alternative to the spatial segregation that's now the norm." His advice to bright young architects: "Don't design a country home that looks like a washboard, or a
museum that looks like a bag of groceries wrapped in tinfoil. Move to the outer suburbs. Once you're there, schmooze the city council members and the folks on the planning
commission. Get them to steer you to a developer with a chunk of land. If you can design a subdivision that's a neighborhood, a neighborhood with some real character and
convenience - buddy, you've made an impact. Not that your peers will ever know."

Read King's column: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/05/12/CM19115.DTL

-- Struggling Strip Malls Invite Non-Retail Tenants --
High vacancy rates in strip shopping centers are driving mall owners in Long Island, New York, to welcome tenants other than the retail stores that traditionally populate the
streetfront centers. According to The New York Times, the combination of large discount stores that sell a variety of items and the increase in Internet buying have led to the closing
of local retail shops. And so many Suffolk County centers that usually feature delicatessens and video and stationery stores have evolved into centers occupied in part by such
businesses as dance studios, medical services, and lawyers. The article says such changes are not necessarily beneficial to retailers who remain in the strip. "It fills the
vacancies," Roy Fedelem, principal planner at the Suffolk County Department of Planning, told The Times, "but doesn't necessarily benefit the retail tenant because non-retail
doesn't create a lot of traffic."

Read the Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/19/realestate/19LIZO.html

Dateline is based on reports from Internet sources and public and private
organizations. For more information, contact sources mentioned in the news
item. If you have suggestions or corrections for Dateline, contact Ralph
Jassen at mailto:rjassen@planning.org or Cynthia Cheski at