Friday, March 4, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week begins with a series of bizarre pedestrian injuries. First there was the 5-year-old hit by CHP vehicle, injured on Mt. Pinos, then in the Oakland area Teens in car knocked Ferndale pedestrian down “for fun,” police say.

And the discouraging news continues, as Raise the Hammer points out, with a Dundurn Plaza Walkability Fail and a Main Street Walkability Fail. But those weren't the only fails this week. New York City Drops Plan for 34th St. Pedestrian Plaza, while further north in New York folks battle Syracuse in winter: Forget 'walkability'. Even cities with less snow have the troubles, as Walkable Dallas-Fort Worth says downtown Dallas' tunnels crippled city center.

And just when we think it can't get worse, an Amtrak train fatally strikes pedestrian in Oakland (I should point out, this wasn't the only train death this week--but I didn't want to get you too depressed).

But take heart fellow walkers. Planners, engineers, and policy-makers everywhere are doing their best to combat these problems. For instance, a Pedestrian warning system now operating at Metra station in Chicago might help with some of those train issues, and in Portland TriMet Puts "Pedestrian Warning System" on Buses to deal with the other transit mode. And if things are slippery in Syracuse, at least in Buffalo Sidewalk snow policy on clearing is tightened .

And that's not all. Twin Cities Streets for People share with us a video describing the Pedestrianization of Mercaderes Street, in Arequipa, Peru , and Springfield Weighs Options To Improve Pedestrian Safety On National Avenue At MSU (although that Pedestrian crossing sparks discussion). Perhaps best of all, in San Diego Billions proposed for bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly streets (and Streetsblog takes SCAG to task for not doing as well as SANDAG with the ped/bike funding).

Still, dangers remain. New technologies like in-vehicle Facebook and Twitter take distracted driving to a whole new level, prompting one NY Times columnist to wonder Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately?

But sometimes, technology can make the pedestrian experience even more interesting (if expensive), as in a new gizmo that lets you  Point, click, buy: The device that allows pedestrians to buy from a shop window without stepping into the store. Just look both ways if you want to buy something from that store across the street.

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