Friday, December 30, 2011

This Week on Foot

As 2011 wraps up, we see Pedestrian Safety Changes Coming to Village in Ridgewood, but wonder
Did America's Cup Avenue Change Newport's Walkability? If not, then at least in Michigan Detroit Complete Streets Coalition Makes City Streets Safer For Bikers, Pedestrians, while further south
New Orleans' 'complete streets' ordinance draws praise.Of course, we could have figured this complete streets thing out a little sooner if we had paid attention to the Warning of Urban 1959
Meanwhile, the Times Square Pedestrian Plaza Drives NY Post Columnist Mad, but in Janesville it's signs that are coming under fire with much Bash, bang, bother: Pedestrian signs face vehicular assault.
Thankfully it's not all negative news out there though, as Research offers fixes for Toronto's high-rise isolation and Pedestrian safety, new police chief among top Dublin stories in '11 in Columbus Ohio
Finally, for those in Washington who'd like to get more involved in pedestrian advocacy: Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board seeks new members.

And remember, New Year's Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for pedestrians, so stay safe as you celebrate the start of 2012! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Make 2012 Distraction-Free

"Wear more red lipstick."

When I decided to limit my New Year's resolutions to one simple idea each year, that was what I started with. Last year it was the slightly more ambitious "Learn to bake a decent homemade chocolate chip cookie." My husband particularly enjoyed that one.

If you're searching for your own resolution this year, why not make it "Give up distracted driving"? Regular readers of this blog don't need to be reminded of the dangers of talking or texting while driving--but just in case you need a refresher you can find a nice summary here on the US government's distracted driving website. (I find it especially compelling to remember that using a cell phone--even hands-free--is like driving drunk.)

Driving used to be a time when we were safe from outside distractions, but now we feel obligated to use driving time "productively." It reminds me of a vintage ad for washing machines I saw once that showed a housewife relaxing with a drink in a lounge chair while the laundry ran. "Take a break while the washer does the work," the ad urged. But of course, instead of relaxation, that "found" time was only used to complete an ever-growing list of other chores and household obligations.

Friday, December 23, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week we're reminded that Statistics show pedestrians at risk during holiday season, which perhaps is why in Las Vegas Santa Claus crosses Nellis to make the case for pedestrian safety. Meanwhile there's Growing concern over rise in Hispanic pedestrian deathsWhy have pedestrian accidents been increasing? we wonder, as a Pedestrian dies when struck by SUV in Panorama City, a
Good Samaritan, pedestrian remain hospitalized following crash near Klamath Falls, and in San Diego a Pedestrian killed by car was 17-year-old boy.

Fortunately, in Michigan there's a new Pedestrian safety law: New strobe lights and crosswalk rules approved in Ann Arbor. And other cities are working on pedestrian safety too: East Palo Alto moves to build pedestrian-bicycle bridge over 101, Pedestrian flags debut in Park Ridge, Sidewalk studies go full steam ahead in Florida and the Meridian Township to find ways to promote walking biking. Will one of those ways be scramble intersections? Maybe not in Canada, because although Vancouver sees future in ‘scramble’ intersections, Toronto sees congestion.

On the national level Biking and Walking Score Big in TIGER III, but elsewhere in the world Cyclists, walkers a neglected lot and a Raging cyclist mystifies pedestrian. Of course, what cyclists should be angry about is the fact that Funding for NH bike, pedestrian trails runs dry. Without funding, we're going to have a hard time Fixing suburbs with green streets that accommodate everyone. Perhaps the USDOT has some ideas about what to do about that problem in this Q & A with Polly Trottenberg, Asst Sec of Transportation Policy at the USDOT.

Finally, if you're looking for a good read over the holiday weekend, you might want to check out this piece from the Economist about The wisdom of crowds: The strange but extremely valuable science of how pedestrians behave. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Walking in Winter Wonderland

The season of snow is upon us--well, those of us who live outside of Southern California anyway--and with it comes the perennial problem of snowy sidewalks. For those in more wintry climes, major snowfall can be a serious impediment to walkability. Particularly for less adroit walkers or for those in wheelchairs, navigating sidewalks-turned-snowdrifts is iffy at best.

Many northern cities address this issue by including sidewalk snow removal regulations in their municipal ordinances. Philadelphia, for example, requires "the owner, agent, and tenants of any building or premise shall clear a path of not less than 36 inches in width on all sidewalks, including curb cuts, abutting the building or premises within 6 (six) hours after the snow has ceased to fall." Saint Paul allows property owners a leisurely 24 hours for snow removal, while the ever-hurried residents of New York City have a mere four hours to comply.

Other cities vary slightly in timing and specific requirements, but nearly all stipulate that sidewalk snow removal 1) is the responsibility of adjacent property owners, 2) must be finished within a relatively short period of time following significant snowfall, and 3) if not completed according to city regulations can result in stiff fines. If you're interested in reading about more cities' policies, you can find a nice summary of a dozen or so here.

While having a strict snow-removal policy in place is a great start, those of us in the business of writing ordinances know all-too-well that having a law on the books doesn't always lead efficiently to the anticipated outcome. Tony Hull of Bike Walk Twin Cities tells the story nicely in a post from earlier this year on Seasonal Sidewalk Disorder: given the time it takes to process a violation, two weeks is a best case scenario for clearing a non-compliant sidewalk of snow.

Can you imagine the outcry if it took two weeks to clear roadways of snow after a storm?

Friday, December 16, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week pedestrians scored a victory at the federal level as U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed important T4-America policies in its portion of transportation reauthorization bill, including requirements for accommodation of pedestrians in federal surface transportation projects (aka complete streets). It's great news for pedestrians, as we know that Completing streets might prevent more ghosts

And across the country, others are also trying to save pedestrians' lives. In North Carolina, Troopers try to stop pedestrian deaths, announce crackdown, while in Austin Colorado Street to get wider sidewalks, fewer traffic lanes. In Philadelphia officials are urged to Protect pedestrians during Center City revival, while Developers aspire to create new public spaces in MidTown Oklahoma City    ,
CB1 Committee Backs Making a Tribeca Pedestrian Plaza Permanent in New York, and
Walkabout steps up ideas for Hernando in Tennessee.

All this hard work is important, especially since we see a  Growing trend in Bakersfield: Increase in pedestrian deaths. And guys should be especially concerned, especially if they live in New Jersey, where Male pedestrians more likely to be fatally struck than females along N.J. roads.

Elsewhere in the world there's a Plan to make city roads safer for pedestrians in Delhi, and in Australia there's a City taking right steps to encourage walking. But in the UK Ashford pedestrians avoid crossing in 'shared space', and the city is considering a return to more traditional crossings.

Of course, it's the traditional crossings that are problematic in Seattle, where there's no shortage of Crosswalk carnage: Why do cops still ignore drivers who won't yield? Hard to say, but maybe it would help if we Make Driving While Dialing the New DWI, as the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition suggests. More money can't hurt either, as we learn this week in Ventura’s Cool Video Calling for More Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding. And if nothing else works, maybe we can just keep Fighting Job Sprawl, and keep more jobs in walkable central cities. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #19: Triple Plays

It's been a while since I've been able to post about all things awesome in the ped world, so this week I've got three for you (with thanks to the America Walks forum for the first two):
Walking Apps
Everybody Walk! is an online campaign to encourage 30 minutes of walking, five days a week for better health. The new Everybody Walk app helps you find walking paths near you, connect with other walkers, and track your own routes and history. Find the links to download it here.
For those hoping for a more poetic (if dark) take on pedestrian safety, the NY DOT has installed these haiku safety signs around the city. The campaign uses 17 syllables and clever graphics to remind pedestrians, cyclists and drivers about the dangers of careless behavior on the road. Read the full story from NPR here.
Video Advocacy
In yet another example of a creative approach to advocacy, our friends at the Right to Walk Foundation in Hyderabad, India just released this new video encouraging drivers to respect the rights of pedestrians in the city.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week we learn that As U.S. road deaths drop, more pedestrians getting struck, although no one seems to be able to figure out quite why that is due to the shameful lack of data on pedestrian travel in the US. Some theories are that more pedestrians are walking in the auto-oriented suburbs, smart phones are contributing to pedestrian distraction, or that alcohol maybe a factor, like the Pedestrian Fatally Struck by Car in Bel Air; May Have Been Under Influence of Alcohol.

But even if they can't figure them out, many officials are trying to do something about those discouraging pedestrian statistics. In Chicago Flags are newest weapon in city's pedestrian safety push, while in London they're taking a Walk on the wild side: Pedestrians could soon be given equal footing with cars (not entirely sure what's so "wild" about that...). In Tennessee Lawmakers Want Safe Solution After 8th Pedestrian Dies, to which I'm sure pedestrians across the state are saying "it's about time." In Las Vegas the it's the Parent of girl killed in traffic accident working to help improve pedestrian safety, where we're reminded No, you don't get points for hitting pedestrians.

Finally, You Like Walking in the City? So Do Plenty of Others, although Pedestrians reluctant to use overhead bridges. And outside central cities Walkable Neighborhoods Gaining Popularity -- Even in the Suburbs. So Take a Walk, If You Can (although if your neighborhood is like some of parts of India, that might be tough to do...). 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And we're back!

With some nice photos of the walkable Northwest. Here are a few streets in Oregon that caught my eye as we traveled. Note the buildings that front the sidewalk, nice street furniture, and wide area for walking in this pic of Hood River:

With a street like this in Albany, with on-street parking and a relatively narrow space for vehicle travel, a zebra crossing can be enough for a pedestrian. Note also the street trees, decorative lighting, and (again) buildings fronting the sidewalk that are "human" scale.

I liked how this pocket park in Ashland made use of what might otherwise be wasted space, and in doing so made the entire area feel like it belonged to both pedestrians and vehicles.

But it wasn't just the street design that made Oregon so pedestrian-friendly, it was the clear culture of equality between pedestrians, bikes, and vehicles. I'm not quite sure how they've managed it, but somehow Oregonians have created cities where driving is downplayed, sharrows abound, and not stopping for a pedestrian is a gross violation of social norms. Maybe they put something in the microbrew?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not intended to be ironic, but...

A bit of trivia from our travel route: the 1958 Oregon State Dept. of Transportation promotional slogan was "Oregon freeways...a symbol of 2nd century progress." Take off the "Oregon" and I think that pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ten Reasons I'm Thankful for Walkability

1. Even my most expensive pair of shoes is cheaper than new tires.
2. There are no one-way sidewalks.
3. Unlike at the gym, if the person next to you grunts or wears too much perfume, you can walk away.
4. It's better at reducing healthcare costs than Congress.
5. No one celebrates International Drive to School Day.
6. A lot of people in the street = block party. A lot of cars in the street = roadblock.
7. You can't get a ticket for walking too fast.
8. Building a sidewalk next to your community doesn't increase asthma rates.
9. Bumping into someone you know while driving isn't a pleasant surprise.
10. You don't burn off Thanksgiving dinner by going for an after-meal drive.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great LA Walk This Weekend

Angelenos, don't forget about this Saturday's Great Los Angeles Walk 2011. Meet other walking enthusiasts, check out some of LA's fabulous neighborhoods, including Downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and enjoy the afterparty at Locanda del Lago restaurant in Santa Monica. If 19 miles sounds too intimidating, you can find the full route on the Walk's website and just pick your favorite segment to complete.

The Habits of the Western Jay(walker)

Our family is spending the next few weeks on an ambitious road trip from LA to the Pacific Northwest, which leaves little time for blogging, but much time to observe the pedestrian environments and walking habits in cities along the west coast. Aside from vast differences in walkability between a city like LA and one like San Francisco, I've been particularly struck by differences in jaywalking habits from place to place.

Based on my strictly unscientific observations, there is a distinct correlation between the walkability of a city and the tendency of its citizens to cross the street against traffic signals, midblock, and in other officially unsanctioned ways. The pedestrian advocate side of me is enthusiastic about this, but the driving-in-an-unfamiliar-city side finds it disconcerting that when my signal is green a pedestrian might still dart out in front of me.

Proponents of the "shared space" concept, and its close cousin the woonerf, suggest that one solution to this problem is to ditch the traffic signals altogether and reintroduce the idea of the street as common space for all users. The thought is that removing signage and signals would force roadway users to rely on eye contact and social interaction to navigate streets, thus improving roadway safety by eliminating "mindless" driving.

There are several successful examples of this idea out there (e.g. New Zealand, the UK), and just on this trip I've noticed shared space used informally in small towns like Ferndale, CA. But what about in the heart of a big city like Portland or San Francisco? Is it courting disaster to open up major streets to a vehicle/cyclist/transit/pedestrian free-for-all, or is it just returning the streets to a happier time when they belonged to everyone and people paid attention to the environment around them when they traveled?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week the Two-Year Transpo Bill Moves on to Full Senate Without Bike/Ped Protections, which sounds discouraging--but according to our friends at Streetsblog there are Nine Reasons For Bike/Ped Advocates to Take Heart: The Senate Edition.

Unfortunately, here in California there aren't so many reasons to take heart. There was a Pedestrian killed outside Camarillo, and there was an Arrest in Santa Ana toddler pedestrian death.

Elsewhere in the country a Fatal hit-and-run raises safety concerns in Dallas and an Ann Arbor pedestrian safety ordinance repeal proposed in response to concerns from councilmembers. On top of it all, The Pedestrian Loses the Way when it comes to bikes and sidewalks, at least in the opinion of one NY Times columnist. I guess it's more than just the Time Change Hazardous To Pedestrians.

Fortunately,  UNLV seeks scientific way to curb pedestrian death and a New bicycle, pedestrian committee launches in Baltimore County. Meanwhile, Pedestrians called to action in Ottawa and they're Making city streets safer for pedestrians in Philadelphia.

Oh, and in these tough economic times want One way to save money? Walk!       

Monday, November 7, 2011

Research and Resources

Wow, there is a whole bunch of great stuff out there these days for pedestrian advocates.
Model Design Manual for Living Streets
Courtesy of the County of LA, this new manual has been generating a lot of buzz in the Complete Streets world. More info from the authors:
"The Model Street Design Manual was created during a 2-day writing charrette, which brought together national experts in living streets concepts. This effort was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. This manual focuses on all users and all modes, seeking to achieve balanced street design that accommodates cars while ensuring that pedestrians, cyclists and transit users can travel safely and comfortably. This manual also incorporates features to make streets lively, beautiful, economically vibrant as well as environmentally sustainable."

American Council of the Blind Pedestrian Safety Handbook
The third edition of the Council's Pedestrian Safety Handbook, the new online version of the handbook is envisioned as a "living document" that can be updated on an ongoing basis to address evolving vehicle technology and roadway design feathers.

Pedestrian Countermeasure Policy Best Practice Report
A discussion of relevant policies related to medians, refuge islands, walkways and shoulders from several states throughout the US.
State Best Practice Policy for Shoulders and Walkways
A brief summary of three state departments of transportation (New York State Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation) that have implemented policies and plans that promote the inclusion of paved shoulders and walkways.
State Best Practice Policy for Medians
A short description of three agencies that have implemented policies and plans that promote the inclusion of raised medians: the New York State Department of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Safe Routes to School: Helping Communities Save Lives and Dollars
A comprehensive discussion of the SRTS program, along with specific data covering a variety of areas (e.g. traffic congestion, busing costs, physical activity) to help advocates make the case for SRTS.
Street Network Types and Road Safety: A Study of 24 California Cities
This study uses data from over 130,000 crashes in 24 cities to evaluate whether or not street network types affect roadway safety. The results show a correlation between roadway safety and both street network density and connectivity, with the highest risk of fatal or severe crashes occurring with very low street network density, and safety outcomes improving as intersection density increases.

Predicting Walkability
This research provides new methodologies for predicting the quality of the walking environment from the perspective of the user using operational and physical variables. The formulas were derived by combining the perception data gathered from participants in the community street reviews with measurements of the walking environment.

The Street Level Built Environment and Physical Activity and Walking: Results of a Predictive Validity Study for the Irvine Minnesota Inventory
The Irvine Minnesota Inventory (IMI) was designed to measure environmental features that may be associated with physical activity and particularly walking. This study assesses how well the IMI predicts physical activity and walking behavior and develops shortened, validated audit tools.

The authors find that while this inventory provides reliable measurement of urban design features, only some of these features present associations with increased or decreased walking. Characteristics of the sidewalk infrastructure, street crossings and traffic speeds, and land use are more strongly associated with walking for travel, while factors that measure aesthetics are typically less strongly associated with walking for travel.

Crossing Solutions at Roundabouts and Channelized Turn Lanes for Pedestrians with Disabilities
This report explores concerns over the accessibility of two complex intersection forms for pedestrians who are blind: intersections with channelized right turn lanes and modern roundabouts with one-lane and two-lane approaches. Based on the findings of this research project, significant impediments to the accessibility of these sites exist for pedestrians who are blind, but some crossing solutions can increase the accessibility in terms of improving safety and reducing delay.
Assessing the perceived safety risk from quiet electric and hybrid vehicles to vision-impaired pedestrians
This study investigates the accident risk posed by electric and hybrid vehicles and compares it with that for equivalent vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines to determine whether electric/hybrid vehicles are audibly more difficult to detect. This report presents the findings from the study, based upon a review of accident statistics, a programme of practical measurements to compare the noise of electric/hybrid and internal combustion engine vehicles, and a small-scale subjective assessment of the noise from these vehicles involving visually impaired participants.

Reducing Pedestrian Delay at Traffic Signals
This research, which was carried out between 2007 and 2010 in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, used techniques such as pedestrian attitude surveys, micro-simulation modelling and a literature review of international best practice to identify methods of reducing pedestrian delay at signalized intersections in these cities.

Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do
This report reviews and summarizes distracted driving research available as of January 2011 to inform states and other organizations as they consider distracted driving countermeasures. It concentrates on distractions produced by cell phones, text messaging, and other electronic devices brought into the vehicle. It also considers other distractions that drivers choose to engage in, such as eating and drinking, personal grooming, reading, and talking to passengers.

Effect of 20 mph traffic speed zones on road injuries in London, 1986-2006: controlled interrupted time series analysis
This report quantifies the effect of the introduction of 20 mph traffic speed zones on road collisions, injuries, and fatalities in London based on analysis of geographically coded police data on road casualties between 1986-2006.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week we ask, is it the End of the road for the zebra? Perhaps there are safer alternatives out there for pedestrian crossings, and it's time to move on from the stripes. Colorado seems to think so, where they're wondering about the Aspen airport pedestrian crossing: Over or under?

Either option would have been better for the Pedestrian Struck & Killed While Crossing Ventura Freeway. Fortunately, things turned out better in Michigan, where according to an Ann Arbor resident: Collision at pedestrian crosswalk 'could have been tragic'.

Of course, some believe it's all the fault of the pedestrian, like this Devil’s Advocate: Careless pedestrians put themselves at risk by ignoring traffic safety laws, but we know the bigger problem is the Utter disregard for pedestrians' right, don't we?

At least in some places there's a little regard for the pedestrian, like in Ashland, Oregon where Pedestrian-friendly ideas approved, Salt Lake City where Transportation policy to consider needs of cyclists, pedestrians and more, or in Mississippi where there's a Pedestrian trail project planned for downtown Jackson. Hopefully these ideas catch on at higher levels as well, and just in case there's some hesitation here are 3 Reasons Congress Shouldn’t Abandon Cyclists And Pedestrians. My fingers are crossed that Congress acknowledges the value of  Wheels & Heels: Pedestrian-Friendly Streets Good for Business.

Some cyclists definitely see that value, such as this Bicycling group wants pedestrian mall on Pacific: Panels to weigh proposal for two-way traffic Thursday. Guess they understand that "Urbanism is Sustainable".

Speaking of sustainability, ever wonder What does trick-or-treating tell us about sustainable living? Maybe it's the same lesson we learn about Making cities healthier (and livelier) with a 'walking school bus' and vitality makeover. (Hint: Sustainable Communities focus on livability, walkability).

Finally, with winter snows upon (some of) us, it's good to know that in the PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP: Residents will have to shovel sidewalks after 1 inch of snowfall

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Walking Events

A few activities to keep you busy this month....

November 2
Update on the Proposed Rule for Accessible Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way
12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Scott Windley, Accessibility Specialist with the U.S. Access Board, will deliver detailed information about the proposed rule regarding Accessible Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way, including pedestrian accessible routes, curb ramps and blended transitions, street crossings, on-street parking, street furniture, and more. The comment period for the proposed rule-making is open through November 23. Attend this webinar to learn what you should incorporate into your plans in order to comply with ADA.

Site license fee: $75 (free for APBP members)
APBP has applied to the AICP for 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits. 

Register here. For more information, contact Debra Goeks (or 262-228-7025).

November 12
WalkSanDiego Community Walk: Walk to Cabrillo Lighthouse
9:00 am

Meet at parking lot at Catalina Blvd and Electron Drive (across from Point Loma Credit Union)

Let's take a beautiful fall walk along the Point Loma peninsula, visiting the historic Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and Cabrillo National Monument. Some fascinating history along the way of little known facts/trivia about the two sites. About 6 miles round trip with gently rolling hills (one-way shuttle option available – please contact Dave if interested).

Bring $3 for entrance fee to Cabrillo monument.

November 18
WalkSanDiego Visioning San Diego lunch forum: Creating a Walkable Downtown: Oceanside’s Mission Avenue Redesign
12:00 pm

Hear how a road diet and back-in parking along Mission Avenue will enhance bicycle and pedestrian activity and link public transit to downtown amenities. Speakers: David DiPierro, Oceanside Traffic Engineer and Kathy Baker, Oceanside Redevelopment Manager

Location: Encinitas City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Avenue, Poinsettia Room

RSVP here by Tuesday, November 15th
$5.00 in advance, $7.00 at the door

November 19
The Great LA Walk

Participants will meet downtown at City Hall (facing Temple St.) at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, and proceed to walk the approximately 19-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean.
For the Great Los Angeles Walk 2011, we're going to trek through the neighborhood that symbolizes L.A.'s most famous export -- Hollywood. Think Musso & Frank's; Grauman's Egyptian and Chinese Theatres; the Walk of Fame; the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Capitol Records Building; the Pantages; Hollywood and Vine; and much more. 

In case you're new to what we do, here's the rundown: We walk just to walk. No money, no agenda. The Great Los Angeles Walk is a completely free event; as a matter of fact, it operates without any budget whatsoever. Participants handle their own meals along the way, via local businesses and food trucks.

More info available online here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Become a Ghost This Halloween

It's one of the three deadliest nights of the year for pedestrians (the others fall around Christmas and New Year's Eve), particularly for young walkers: deaths among pedestrians between 5 and 14 years are four times higher on Halloween than other nights of the year. If you're trick-or-treating--or driving--make sure to take special care tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week they're thinking a lot about pedestrian safety in Chicago, where Mannequins help kick off pedestrian safety blitz and Red light cameras reduce speeding. Similarly there are Pedestrian crossing improvements considered for Plymouth Road and Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor, and further east the NJDOT to install sidewalks in shopping district and AARP NJ Urges Rep. LoBiondo to Work for Safer Streets. Even as far away as Japan Cops want bikes off sidewalks / Pedestrian safety the aim of crackdown on bicycle road rules

But the cops have other ideas in Austin, where the appropriately-named PEST (Pedestrian Enforcement Safety Team) is going after walking violations as  Police teams scan streets more closely.
Could this be part of a War on pedestrians? Jaywalking tickets rise in Seattle as well, although admittedly pedestrians can sometimes be their own worst enemy, like the Drunken pedestrians faulted in Santa Rosa crashes.

However, the pedestrian certainly wasn't to blame when a Driver hanging up her cellphone admits killing young pedestrian in St. Paul, or a Pedestrian killed in Santa Monica hit-and-run. And it's no wonder that East Palo Alto residents demand more pedestrian safety after 6-year-old’s death.

Speaking of young pedestrians, Angelenos are wondering this week: Is Westwood the Best Neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating in L.A.? Zillow thinks so, but some people (like Curbed readers) aren't so sure...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pedestrian/Bicycle Data Collection and Prioritization Survey

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program and Transportation Research Board would like your help in understanding pedestrian and bicycle prioritization strategies. Please give them a hand by completing a brief survey, available online here.

More info on the project and survey from NCHRP and TRB:

This survey asks about methodologies for collecting and analyzing bicycle and pedestrian data and prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle projects. We seek input from federal agencies, states, MPOs, counties, local jurisdictions of all sizes, transit agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, and public works and utililties departments. We also seek input from private sector transportation professionals, academics, non-profits, activists, and others. EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE A METHODOLOGY, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! We will use this information to develop recommended methodologies for transportation agencies to evaluate and prioritize improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists along existing roads.

This survey should take about 20 minutes to complete (but I finished it more quickly than that, so you probably can too!). Surveys should be submitted by Friday, November 4, 2011.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Trick-or-Treat for your Feet

Real estate site Zillow has once again released its annual list of the best US cities for trick-or-treating. Using data on walkability, population density, crime, and home value, Zillow ranks the top 20 cities for candy gathering, along with the best neighborhoods for little ghouls in each city. (Here in LA, that would be Westwood, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, and Venice.)

  1.  San Francisco
  2. Boston
  3. Honolulu
  4. Seattle
  5. Chicago
  6. San Jose
  7. Washington
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Portland
  11. Minneapolis
  12. Pittsburgh
  13. San Diego
  14. Cleveland
  15. Miami
  16. Denver
  17. Milwaukee
  18. Virginia Beach
  19. Baltimore
  20. Albuquerque 

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week the Transportation Enhancements Program Beats Back Another Assault from the Senate, but we're still in the midst of The War On Kids, the Elderly, and Other People Who Walk--and their pets, like in TEMECULA: Pedestrian, 81, and dog killed Sunday.

And it's not just in California that folks are worried: 2011 pedestrian deaths causing concern in Arizona, and Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise in Reno. It kind of makes you want to avoid the well-intentioned advice of Transportationist, who suggests you Walk don't run across crosswalks to emphasize the point that roads aren't just for vehicles.

Fortunately in Jakarta they aren't as wimpy as me, where Pedestrians fight for their right to sidewalks. And congratulations are in order for our friends in India, where Model footpaths planned on five roads thanks to their advocacy efforts.

Back here in LA, the City considers making homeowners responsible for sidewalk repairs and legally liable for mishaps, which of course outrages Daily News readers here in the Valley. Fortunately in some places they're more enthusiastic about pedestrian improvements, like in Texas where according to a Dallas council member: Time to act on Complete Streets. Similarly, San Mateo plans to make city streets safer for pedestrians, but funding questions linger.

Funding is also a question for a small city in Canada, where a Pedestrian overpass over roundabout would be pricey. At least it wouldn't be a Bridge to nowhere: Pedestrian bridge linking students to classrooms in southwest Loveland closed. Maybe a better idea is just to add a pedestrian path, like in Pennsylvania where Fahy Bridge to get pedestrian lane next to unsafe sidewalks.

Perhaps New York should try the same thing for some of its neighborhoods, as this week we learned that Midtown is NY's most dangerous for pedestrians. And you thought it was just New Yorkers' bad attitudes that were scary...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tell Your Story

The National Complete Streets Coalition is looking for real-life stories about the importance of complete streets in your community, and successes you've had in implementing them. In particular, they're looking for examples that demonstrate how
  • Complete Streets policies are necessary to accommodate existing users
  • Complete Streets can be achieved within existing budgets.
  • Complete Streets can lead to new transportation funding opportunities.
  • Complete Streets add lasting value.
Follow the directions here to share a few sentences, a quote or photograph about your experiences with complete streets.

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Week on Foot

It's a mixed bag in the pedestrian world this week. Pedestrian, bicyclist deaths down in Minn. but it's not so sunny in the town of Hampton Roads, Virginia, where Pedestrian deaths rise to level not seen in 4 years. And then, we're plagued by stories like this one of a Pedestrian hit, injured near hospital, driver takes off, police say in Charlotte, NC.

At least Ann Arbor officials say they're listening to concerns about pedestrian safety ordinance, and in Ithaca, NY the City to expand roadways for pedestrian commute. Closer to home, we learn of Arceo Walk, Small Investment, Big Changes in El Monte --but at the same time, there was a Pedestrian struck, killed on Santa Monica Fwy, a Pedestrian injured in suspected hit-and-run in Ventura, and the 15 year-old pedestrian, killed in Santa Barbara, has been identified.

Meanwhile, rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver Launches "Bad Move" Pedestrian Safety PSA With Online Contest. While I'm sure it's well-intentioned, I can't entirely get on board (so to speak) with a PSA that tells the tale of "a young couple who choose a dangerous place to walk," when so often the problem is that a safe route isn't a choice--I'd rather see a PSA that explains why a Pedestrian-friendly city should be priority for all.

Elsewhere in the world, Inconsistent signals puzzle pedestrians in Montreal--which is perhaps a better state of affairs than in Kingspark where a Pedestrian Crossing Sign Vanishes Days After Installed. At least they've kept their signs in Philadelphia, although it's a little half-hearted to say that Pedestrian yield signs aimed at voluntary compliance.

Next, in a stating of the obvious, Drivers and pedestrians blamed for mishaps in Fredricton, Canada. Perhaps in response to half of that problem. TRW Demonstrates Advanced Pedestrian Detection System With Automatic Emergency Braking.

Finally, we learn of A pedestrians only road for Ahmedabad, and wonder about Suburban sprawl: A Ponzi scheme? Perhaps, but as naysayers point out, Walkability is great, but having a Walmart nearby is better. Good thing there are still folks around to remind us Why walkability is important.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sidewalk Hall of Shame

Inspired by KECT's recent request to submit photos of broken sidewalks in LA, I took a stroll around my neighborhood to "show off" some of the most absurd examples of what passes for a sidewalk in Woodland Hills--AND, since I'm a transpo geek that way, I came up with a point system to rate just how bad they are. Think of it as a sort of anti-WalkScore.
If you squint, it almost looks like modern art on Medina Rd near Baza Ave.
Disconnectivity (0-10)
One of the most critical elements of walkability, this criteria rates whether or not a sidewalk actually takes you anywhere. Like the roller skate without its mate, the lone sidewalk won't get you anywhere if it's not part of network. Sure, it's well and good to have a beautiful smooth sidewalk in front of your house, but if your neighbors aren't on board how far are you really going to be able to walk?
 A dead end at Campo Rd near Celes St.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week has been dangerous for pedestrians and trains, as we learn of a Pedestrian Killed By Amtrak Train In North Hollywood and there were No Safe Option for Jersey Teens Killed on Railroad Tracks. On the other hand, it hasn't been so safe for pedestrians and vehicles, like the Wheelchair-bound pedestrian hit Sunday dies. And it should come as no surprise, as In Crashes, Low Driving Speed Can Cause Serious Injury and Death to Pedestrians, Report Finds.

Fortunately, this week there have also been numerous efforts to thwart pedestrian safety problems. In Nevada, there were Grants to help NLV police target pedestrian safety, and closer to home El Monte Walks Towards a Healthier Future.    Across the country, the MLK corridor to have pedestrian-friendly restrictions on buildings in Winston-Salem, and a Bagley Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit Provides Safe Access to Canada

Speaking of Canada, one Canadian mayor insists that his City must become safer for pedestrians, while in Vancouver a Messy street patterns boost city's walkability. Further abroad they're Building a Joburg for walkers

Finding safe routes is key in successful walking programs, which LA's new Model Street Manual: A Generic Road Map to Sustainable Transportation Planning will surely help do. And LA isn't the only place thinking about good road design: 'Complete Streets' might come to city of Zeeland in Michigan.

Of course, there are always other ways to deal with pedestrian-vehicle this Texas Pedestrian tells driver to buy him a beer, he'd forget about being hit. Proof again that they do things a little differently in Texas, I guess.

And sometimes we do things a little differently here in LA too--don't forget CiLAvia this Sunday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

KCET wants to see your crack

Your sidewalk crack, that is. KECT is compiling a map of the worst examples in LA, and will share some of them on-air in the future. Submit your heinous sidewalk photos by following the instructions here.

My only problem will be picking which horrible sidewalk in my neighborhood to showcase. So many options...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's International Walk to School Day!

Celebrate with your favorite kid by doing the Ped Safety Dance, or check out an activity at your local school. Here are just a few of the fun things happening this week at schools around the region.

Westlake Elementary School
We always invite the City's Bike Patrol and Horse Patrol to International Walk to School Day. We get the word out via a big banner at the front of the school and via the weekly email newsletter sent to all parents. This is the kick off of a year-long program, "Westlake's Walking and Wheeling Wednesdays," in which we have walking and biking events the first Wednesday of every month. We give the kids punch cards to attach to their backpacks which they can get punched every month. There are incentives for walking of biking 3 months in a row and for walking or biking every month of the year.
Linwood E. Howe Elementary School
We will be working with a local Girl Scout Troop to hold a bike clinic the weekend before so that families can get their bikes tuned up and students can learn about and practice bicycle safety. On Walk to School Wednesday, local city and school district officials will meet us in front of City Hall to walk to school. This will be the kick-off event for monthly Walk to School Wednesdays, which will be part of our encouragement efforts for our Safe Routes to School Program. 
William Mckinley Elementary School
We set up stations at all four corners on the way to school. Everyone who walks gets a juice and muffin and a wristband that says "I Walked".

Bell Gardens High School
Bell Gardens will host Safe Routes to School Week during the week of October 17th. The events will promote walking as a viable form of transportation and educate students about new infrastructure improvements, how to walk safely, the importance of physical activity and practicing healthy eating habits.

Tulsa St Elementary School
Cliff Kids sponsors us and donates healthy snacks for those that walk. We have all the walkers sign a banner and hang it up in the Cafeteria area.

Sunset Hills Elementary School
We always have a theme like "Buzz on up to School" or "Hop on up to School" We draw encouraging notes on the sidewalks for the children as they enter the school. We give out toe tokens for the children who walk. we also try to provide a healthy snack to those who walk. We also collect "slightly used" tennis shoes to give to charity.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week has been full of more buzzing about the recent study of the bike-ped relationship. As multiple sources point out, according to the Study: Pedestrians safer with more bikes on the street and
Local Data Confirm: NYC Bike-on-Ped Injuries Declined as Cycling Rates Rose . So, I guess it's no surprise that the Bike-Pedestrian Safety Study Draws Jabs.

Meanwhile in New York, A New Look Is Coming to Times Square: Minimalism, and  Audible Pedestrian Signals Debut At 25 NYC Intersections!

But it's not just New Yorkers thinking about pedestrian infrastructure. In Pennsylvania a Group wants to make Kennett Square more "walkable", and there's a Pedestrian bridge finished over Maine Turnpike.

Of course, here in LA it's the vehicle infrastructure people care about, as Protesters to Demand Their 'Apron' Parking Spots Back. Given the dangers pedestrians face here, like the Pedestrian struck by car and badly injured in El Monte or the Pedestrian Struck on PCH in Pacific Palisades, it's a shame cars are getting all the attention.

But in other parts of the country, pedestrians are getting their due, like in Oregon where a Report highlights bike, pedestrian activity in region, Baltimore where Pedestrian, bike safety issues are focus of efforts, and Philadelphia where AARP and the Mayor's Commission on Aging Partner to Make Philadelphia Streets More Walkable for the City's 50+ Population.

Unfortunately, similar efforts in Florida may not have been enough, as Traffic deaths drop in Florida, but pedestrian deaths climb. But across the ocean in Abu Dhabi Pedestrian deaths drop by a third, so at least there's some positive news out there--and speaking of positive stories, if you're looking for one, check out how this Pedestrian hit by train tells story of recovery.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff # 18: Elmer the Safety Elephant

Elmer the Safety Elephant’s Poem Look all ways
Before you cross the street.
Use your eyes and ears
Before you use your feet.

Courtesy of our friends to the north, Canada's Elmer the Safety Elephant teaches kids how to remain safe in all sorts of circumstances--including when walking to school, which is particularly important because coming up on October 5 is International Walk to School Day. I'll post some info about local activities, but check out the website if you'd like to see what your local school is up to next week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Walk Friendly Communities

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has announced another set of Walk Friendly communities that are working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. They include:

Gold Level
Chicago, IL
Minneapolis, MN
San Francisco, CA

Silver Level                                      
Alexandria, VA
Philadelphia, PA
Santa Monica, CA

Bronze Level                                     
Cary, NC
Corvallis, OR
Davidson, NC
Lee’s Summit, MO    

“We were very pleased to have a great mix of designated communities this round,” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. “Through the application process, communities share their best practices and, in turn, we’re able to share this information to all of the communities who apply through the technical assistance we provide.”

You can read more about the program and all the Walk Friendly communities on the Walk Friendly Communities website. Think your community deserves to be on this list? Applications open for the next round in November.

Oh, and of course I have to mention that to date, my hometown of Seattle, Washington, has been the only Platinum-level Walk Friendly Community awarded. Kudos to the Emerald City!        

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Week on Foot

Just as we've been discussing the relationship between bikes and pedestrians, this week a Study looks at pedestrians hospitalized after bicycle crashes in New York State, and shows that the numbers are higher than previously suspected. But in Chicago, it's trains not bikes that are the problem and Suburban train crossings prove most deadly. And of course, here at home it's the vehicles, like the Angry driver allegedly runs down pedestrian in Redondo Beach.
At least in some places they're thinking about pedestrian safety and walkability, like in Lompoc where Safe walking routes focus of health summit, St. Louis where there's a Pedestrian 'lid' over highway on track for Arch improvements, or even outside the US where Pedestrian-friendly model roads mooted, a Pedestrian Safety Blitz Deemed a Success, and  Uruguay Street pedestrian nightlife area opens in Beirut.

Back in the US Ann Arbor police begin ticketing motorists who don't stop for pedestrians, but in Pittsburgh DU Police may begin ticketing negligent pedestrians. Fortunately elsewhere in Pennsylvania they're taking a brighter stance on walking, like in one small town where Tredyffrin sidewalk ordinance aims for a walkable community.

Speaking of small towns, this week the NRDC brings us news of How a small community is becoming greener - with help from some important friends. And in a slightly bigger community, Putnam Avenue Closed For New Pedestrian Plaza in New York...but Pedestrian Plazas Remain Magnet for Homeless at Night, Despite Outreach  , which some folks aren't too happy about.

In North Carolina it's distracted pedestrians they aren't happy about, as the N.C. DOT to pedestrians: don’t text and walk, and in Glendale one person doesn't seem happy about any pedestrians, as we learn in A note to Saint Pedestrian.

Finally, on a lighter note, one take on Pedestrian Art examines how ordinary objects on the street can make walking a little more interesting.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

War or Peace? Exploring the Relationship between Bikes and Peds

A recent question from a reader got me thinking once again about our friends on two wheels. I'll say up front that while I like and appreciate bikes--I have even been known to occasionally ride the one I own--I've always found it odd that they are inevitably grouped together with pedestrians. Given their widely differing demographics, trip lengths and purposes, and infrastructure needs, lumping cyclists with pedestrians strikes me as akin to calling submarines and spacecraft the same because both require users to travel with their own oxygen.

Nonetheless, it seems impossible for transportation policymakers to separate the two, and although there are some extraordinary partnerships between the modes (e.g. the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center), just as often we hear of intense conflicts as cyclists and pedestrians jostle for urban space. Are we really at war, as so many news articles claim? Let's examine the issues.

My observation is that when pedestrians complain about cyclists, they're most often grousing about illegal or inconsiderate behaviors: riding on sidewalks (where prohibited), riding too fast or in the wrong direction, or generally riding in ways that make pedestrians feel unsafe. (To be fair, cyclists could say the same about pedestrians).

While there are always going to be people who behave badly no matter what the circumstances,  a combination of enforcement and educational campaigns can help address these problems. This is an area where a partnership between cyclists and pedestrians can be particularly effective, as the two groups could work together to develop formal Codes of Conduct for both walkers and riders, lobbying for increased or clearer signage on shared paths, or create informational websites, signs, or brochures to help the public understand the expectations for all users.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Success! Sort of...

Thanks to your efforts, Senator Coburn temporarily softened his opposition to transportation enhancement funding and allowed federal surface transportation legislation to move forward...for now. But he's brokering a deal that will allow an "opt out" of those pesky enhancements like ped and bike projects as part of a future, long-term transportation bill. Read all about it on Streetsblog, and stay tuned for more calls to action.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Week on Foot

Disappointingly (though expected), this week Coburn Blocks Quick Senate Vote on Transportation Extension, leading to a reminder from T4America to Sen. Coburn: Cutting Bike/Ped Won’t Fix Oklahoma’s Problems. In fact, just the opposite, as we learn this week about how improving walking infrastructure is part of How to Build a Greener City, not to mention The suburb — in search of an identity. It's all about that Good Old Brand-New Urbanism.

And some places in the country get that. In Orlando a Project's goal: Make streets safer for pedestrians, Virginia promotes safety for cyclists, pedestrians, in Boston Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Day Returns to BU, and  Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga And FedEx Unveil Pedestrian Safety Improvements.

But it's not all rosy out there. In New York Two Manhattan Pedestrians Killed 24 Hours Apart, while in the ultimate irony a Pedestrian Horror: Woman Injured By Falling Walk Signal.

From walk signals to sidewalks, in Atlanta they're wondering Who Should Fix Our Broken Sidewalks? And sadly, in Chicago we learn that Suburban police write few tickets on crosswalk law

Perhaps its because the focus in that city is on the danger from bicycles, where a Cyclist Cell Phone Ban Mulled By Chicago City Council. And it's not just Chicago that's thinking about the relationship between cyclists and pedestrians. Across the ocean In city of cyclists, pedestrians feel the squeeze. Could we really be talking about The cyclists’ war on pedestrians?

Hopefully not, because pedestrians have enough to contend with from other quarters, like across the ocean where a Rhos-on-Sea pedestrian crossing hits stumbling block due to business owners' concerns about pedestrians interfering with parking. Because after all, it's the cars that do the shopping, not the people...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Upcoming Webinars

A bunch of interesting and (mostly) free webinars to up your pedestrian and transportation expertise.

September 20, 12:00 pm PT
2011 National Walking Survey Results

America Walks, the American Public Health Association, and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals have teamed up to present a free webinar on the National Walking Survey. Panelists will discuss the findings from the 7,000 who responded to the online survey and address the potential implications for advancing walking and health-related policies and programs. The webinar's capacity is limited, so register today here.

September 21, 12:00 pm PT
APBP Professional Development Webinar Series - ADA Compliance: Self-evaluation and Transition Plans

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in place for over 20 years, many communities still struggle to understand the parameters of the obligation to make the public right of way accessible or have not established a comprehensive transition plan to address deficiencies. This webinar offers two examples of recent plans and the process through which they were developed. Representatives from Hennepin County, Minnesota, and Miami/Dade County, Florida, will present case studies from their communities; the session also includes a brief update from the U.S. Access Board on the updated accessibility guidelines and the proposed rule-making on shared use paths.

These examples will offer insight into common issues: the self-evaluation process, including methods of data collection and prioritizing projects; implementing, financing and documenting corrective measures; how to update policies and practices; and establishing a protocol for regular updates to the transition plan once it has been adopted.

Register here.

September 22, 10:00 am PT
Creating Pedestrian-Friendly Streets: A Short Walk Through Legal and Practical Issues

Join us for a webinar on key practical and legal considerations involved in creating pedestrian-friendly streets. You’ll also learn about policy tools that can make walkable streets the default in your community, including our new directory filled with examples of codes from communities across the country that make streets safer and more comfortable for pedestrians.

We’ll be joined by Scott Bricker from America Walks, who will offer success stories, challenges, and tips from communities nationwide. He’ll also present data from a recent national survey on walking habits and talk about how this information can be used in advocacy campaigns.

Register here.
October 12, 11:00 am PT
Public Involvementin the Transportation Planning Process―Webinar

The National Center on Senior Transportation will partner with Easter Seals Project ACTION to present a webinar on Public Involvement in the Transportation Planning Process. This event is designed for transportation advocates who want to come to the table better informed and prepared better informed and prepared to offer input that will be heard, understood and incorporated into their regional transportation plans.

Register by October 7 here.