Webinar: The Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Walkable, Bikeable City and Town Centers


Click flyer to view larger

This webinar features the experiences of six U.S. cities in creating or increasing the walkability and bicycle-friendliness of their downtown areas. The cities profiled include small towns (Grandview, MO and West Jefferson, NC); medium-sized cities (Orlando, FL, Redmond, WA and Lancaster, CA) and large cities (the Bronx in NYC, Cleveland, OH, and Charlotte, NC). The webinar focuses on the implemented strategies, the resulting increases in walkability and bikeability, and the economic and fiscal benefits of each project.

View slides
View sources



Jim Cohen, Senior Lecturer and Director, Urban Studies and Planning Program, University of Maryland College Park (Moderator)

Dennis Randolph, Director of Public Works, Grandview, MO

Carolyn Hope, Park Planning, Arts and Culture Manager, Department of Parks and Recreation, Redmond, WA

Brian Ludicke, Planning Director, Economic Development, Lancaster, CA

Gustavo Castro, Project Manager, Transportation Planning Division, Orlando, FL

Dean Ledbetter, Senior Planning Engineer, North Carolina Department of Transportation


Panelist Bios:


Jim Cohen

Jim Cohen is Director of the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland, where he has been on the faculty since 1990.  Dr. Cohen teaches graduate planning courses in history and theory, growth management and environmental planning, and community planning studios.  He also manages the graduate student internship program, and teaches an undergraduate course entitled “The Sustainable City:  Exploring Opportunities and Challenges”.  Dr. Cohen co-wrote the proposal that led to the creation of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education in 2000.


Gustavo “Gus” Castro

Gus Castro is a transportation professional with an established record of accomplishments in transportation planning, simulation and education.  Since 2006, Gus has been a Transportation Project Manager with the City of Orlando’s Transportation and Economic Development Departments and responsible for conducting and reviewing several transportation planning studies and traffic/transit forecasting.  Gus had an active role in writing the transportation policies for the City of Orlando’s comprehensive plan or “Growth Management Plan”.  An avid bicycle advocate, Gus wrote the first City of Orlando Bicycle Plan in 1994 and participated in the designation and implementation of many bikeways in Orlando.  Gus also taught transportation planning at Rollins College in 1996, acted as Vice Chair and Chair for the MetroPlan Orlando’s Land Use Subcommittee between 2006 through 2008, and continues to represent the City of Orlando on MetroPlan regional transportation committees.  He actively participated in the Edgewater Drive “Road Diet” project in 2002, examined the urban form, pedestrian friendliness, and evaluated potential transportation improvements.  Gus holds a Master’s degree in Regional and Urban Planning with emphasis in transportation planning from the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, and is a member of the American Planning Association and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.


Carolyn Hope

Carolyn Hope is the Park Planning & Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Redmond, Washington’s Parks and Recreation Department.  She has worked for the City since 2009, where she is responsible for the planning, designing and building capital projects for the department.  She has prior experience in environmental and transit planning.  Carolyn holds a B.A. from the University of Maine in Public Administration and Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. At Redmond, Carolyn oversees a team of planners and cultural arts professionals as well as the Parks and Trails Commission and the Arts and Culture Commission. A key initiative of the department is to integrate art into park design, and the Redmond Central Connector was the first project completed under this new model.  Carolyn was the project manager for the acquisition, planning and design of the Redmond Central Connector, which was a critical project for the city as a linear park, alternative transportation corridor, utility corridor, future transit corridor, and a destination that attracts people to Downtown businesses.


Dean Ledbetter

Dean Ledbetter, P.E., is the Senior Planning Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Eleventh Transportation Division.  He is involved in long-range planning, project prioritization and project development for highway, transit, aviation and bicycle/pedestrian projects for eight counties in Northwest North Carolina.  After beginning his career as a traffic signal designer, he spent more than twenty years as a Division Traffic Engineer.  He is a member of the Technical Working Group for FHWA’s Multimodal Conflict Points research project.  Dean received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UNC-Charlotte in 1990.


Brian Ludicke

Brian Ludicke is the Planning Director of the City of Lancaster, California. He holds a B.S. in Urban Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and has over 30 years of public sector planning experience.  As the planning director, he seeks to create a sustainable, healthy and economically sound Lancaster by enhancing the relationship between land use, design, transportation, energy and fiscal systems. Brian has been directly involved in the City’s ongoing downtown revitalization and complete streets planning initiatives.  He is a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Urban Land Institute, and Strong Towns.


Dennis Randolph

Dennis Randolph is the Director of Public Works in the City of Grandview, Missouri. He has held his current position since 2009, and has forty years of experience working in civil engineering and public works at the local government level, in three different states. Dennis also has 25 years of classroom instruction experience in higher education, including military, community college, university and continuing education venues. Dennis received his Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, as well as his Master of Science Civil Engineering from Wayne State University.  He is on the board of directors for the Transportation Professionals Certification Board.