Trying to Lure Google? Better Have Mixed-Use, Walkable Development

Around the Network today: A mega-employer demands more sustainable development near its headquarters, a city launches bike sharing, and NIMBYs resist sidewalks.

Google Wants Mixed-Use Development: Scaledown reports on what Google wants from the city where its global headquarters are located: mixed-use development and residential density. In a letter to the city of Mountain View, California, published in TechCrunch, Google executives had this to say: “Our goals for Google’s HQ are to provide a future redevelopment that is nurturing and regenerative to the environment, provide a vibrant community and worklife balance for all, and efficiently manage transportation and pedestrian access needs.” Chris at Scaledown writes that the letter demonstrates how simple livability measures might be much more critical to local economic and physical health than the popular public investments of previous decades, like arenas. (Andrew Basile, Jr., the Troy, Michigan employer whose anti-sprawl letter we published yesterday, would agree.)

A sneak preview of Miami Beach's Deco Bikes. Photo: Transit Miami

Deco Bikes Arrives in Miami: Miami Beach will debut South Florida’s first bike-share system — Deco Bikes — tomorrow. Transit Miami reports the system will be launched with 500 bikes at 50 stations and later expanded to 1,000 bikes at 100 stations. Each station will hold 12 bikes and occupy two parking spaces. Transit Miami blogger Tony Garcia hopes the system will help greater Miami become more bike-friendly.

“With the implementation of sharrows on Washington and elsewhere in the beach, upcoming revised bicycle parking standards, and now the implementation of a city-wide bikeshare program, Miami Beach is making big strides to expand bicycle use around the city,” said Garcia. “If successful, other cities in the region like Miami and Coral Gables would be smart to look to Deco Bikes as a partner in creating a regional bike share network.”

Sidewalk Wars: Rob Pitingolo at Extraordinary Observations comments on the political battles taking place in suburban America over sidewalks, as outlined in a recent Wall Street Journal article. In some quarters, campaigns to install sidewalks have divided communities. Pedestrian infrastructure has sometimes faced fierce opposition from residents, as strange as that may sound. Pitingolo thinks, in these situations, sidewalks have simply become a symbol of progress. “I think the debates that are raging about sidewalks aren’t even really about sidewalks – they’re about change,” Pitingolo said. “Some people, for one reason or another, are scared of change, don’t like it and don’t want it.”