Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where the Sidewalk Starts Puts its Feet Up

Where the Sidewalk Starts will be taking a brief hiatus as we welcome a new pedestrian into our family. If you're looking for something to read in the meantime, check out the Best of the Blog or one of the many fascinating posts from our friends on the blogroll.

Happy walking!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Upcoming Walking Events

July 27
PBIC Webinar: Funding Issues
12:00-1:30 PT

In the final presentation of the Pedestrian SafetyAction Plan Webinar series, instructors will address the critical issueof funding programs, projects and plan recommendations. Specifically,the presentation will discuss how pedestrian considerations can beroutinely included and funded in transportation projects and throughannual maintenance budgets. Information will also be presented onvarious Federal, State, local and private sector funding sources. By theend of the presentation, participants will be able to describe how toidentify funding sources for the development and implementation of theirpedestrian safety action plans.

Register online here.

August 19
Active Living Research Conference
Call for Abstracts

Active Living Research invites abstracts to be considered for presentation at the 2012 Annual Conference on March 12-14, 2012 in San Diego, CA. The theme of the 2012 conference, Disparities in Environments and Policies that Support Active Living, recognizes the importance of engaging experts from multiple disciplines to address the inequities seen in many communities throughout the nation where childhood obesity and inactivity are the highest. Abstracts are due no later than 4:00 pm on August 19.

Additional information available online here.

October 24-27
Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
2011 Professional Development Seminar

APBP’s Professional Development Seminar is a biennial conference distinguished by in-depth seminars and a collegial atmosphere where participants network, share knowledge, and learn to propel policy into practice. Attend this conference for cutting edge training and the newest, best information to advance your work and your career. PDS 2011 takes place in Charlotte, N.C., a living laboratory for Complete Streets implementation. The conference will offer three classroom training tracks:
  • Complete Streets Design and Implementation
  • New Guidelines, Research and Standards
  • Livability and Economic Development.

Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week on Foot

This week the transportation world continues to lament The Lonesome Death of a Child Pedestrian in Atlanta, while expressing its unending frustration with a system that blames the child's mother for problems (e.g. lack of pedestrian infrastructure) that are beyond her control.

Meanwhile, a series of odd crashes this week show that no one--from celebrities to cops--can afford to ignore pedestrians. First the Teen Victim in Lamar Odom Limo Crash Dies, then 'Cash Cab' strikes and kills pedestrian in Canada, and finally a N.Y. Officer to Be Fired After Killing a Pedestrian With Patrol Car.

Perhaps it's stories like these that led Philly to increase distracted driving, biking enforcement, or encouraged the development of a Toyota System Can Sense Pedestrians, Avoid Accidents. Other places are interested in improving pedestrian safety as well. In Canada, a City takes steps to curb deaths, while there are Updated pedestrian signals announced in New Haven and New Crosswalks Improve Pedestrian Safety in Denver. Even Memphis business leader McVean wants cyclist/pedestrian path over the Mississippi.

Further abroad, the story isn't as pleasant. In India, we learn about Kochi: No city for pedestrians, and in New Zealand the Law of the jungle rules zebra crossing. Maybe we should just be Living Large Driving Less...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Research Summary

Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment
The UK-based organization Living Streets recently released a report that explores the potential benefits of investing in the walking environment. It outlines many of the well-known benefits of improving the pedestrian environment, including increases in physical and mental health, improved mobility for specific groups like children and the elderly, environmental and economic benefits.

Among the report's key points:
  • The most significant measured benefit of investments in the walking environment is improved health from increased physical activity
  • User experience (often referred to as journey ambience) is the second largest benefit
  • All the evidence reviewed of evaluations of walking environments showed positive cost benefit ratios, of up to 37.6
  • investment in the walking environment is likely to be at least, if not better, value for money than other transport projects
Attitudes Towards Red-Light Camera Enforcement in Cities with Camera Programs
The objective of this report, published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, was to obtain information on attitudes and experiences related to red light camera enforcement in cities with camera programs, as well as in Houston, Texas, where cameras were removed after voters rejected the program in November 2010. Telephone surveys were conducted with 3,111 drivers in 14 large cities (population greater than 200,000) with long-standing red light camera programs and 300 drivers in Houston.
According to the report, among drivers in the 14 cities with red light camera programs, two-thirds favor the use of cameras for red light enforcement, and 42 percent strongly favor it. The chief reasons for opposing cameras were the perceptions that cameras make mistakes and that the motivation for installing them is revenue, not safety.

Forty-one percent of drivers favor using cameras to enforce right-turn-on-red violations. Nearly 9 in 10 drivers were aware of the camera enforcement programs in their cities, and 59 percent of these drivers believe the cameras have made intersections safer.

Almost half of those surveyed knew someone who received a red light camera citation, and 17 percent had received at least one ticket themselves. When compared with drivers in the 14 cities with camera programs, the percentage of drivers in Houston who strongly favored enforcement was about the same (45 percent), but strong opposition was higher in Houston than in the other cities (28 percent versus 18 percent).
An Assessment of Urban Form and Pedestrian and Transit Improvements
A recent study from the Washington State Department of Transportation looked at the impact of various community design strategies on travel and carbon emissions. The study used data from the 2006 PRSC Houshold Activity Survey and existing sidewalk data in its evaluation, controlling for household characteristics that could influence walking behavior.

According to the statistical analysis in the study, travel pricing and demand management strategies yield consistently large and significant influence on VMT and CO2 generation. For example, filling in a community's sidewalk network so that 70% of streets offer safe pedestrian space reduces vehicular travel by 3.4% and carbon emissions by 4.9%. The analysis also suggests that only moderate increases in sidewalk infrastructure may be needed to yield significant decreases in VMT and associated CO2 emissions.

On the other hand, more aggressive and substantial increases in land use mix may be required before a greater return on investment is realized. Moreover, the authors make the important point that the success of strategies to promote land use mix and sidewalk availability may largely depend on having a local land use and transportation system to encourage alternative mobility options.

It's important to note that the study was hindered by a lack of sidewalk data for much of the region, so the results should only be considered a "first step"--albeit an encouraging one. Eventually the DOT hopes to expand the study when data from more neighborhoods becomes available.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This week on foot

This week the pedestrian world is feeling outraged over the Pedestrian convicted of vehicular homicide in own child's death. To be clear, the pedestrian in question didn't hit her child--a driver who had "a little to drink" did. The mother's crime was trying to cross a busy street at a location without a crosswalk (to do so, she would have had to walk a very considerable distance out of her way). David Herron's piece about the Marietta pedestrian convicted of vehicular manslaughter, while walking does a great job laying out the absurdities involved in this case.

Meanwhile, the news around LA is carmageddon and more carmageddon. As I pointed out yesterday,
'Carmageddon' can be motivation to get out and move--let's show the country that Angelenos don't actually wither up and die en masse when they're forced to consider "alternative" transportation modes.

Elsewhere we're reminded that summer is upon us, which means trips to the shore. In the town of Brick Officials Work to Ensure Pedestrian Safety Near Beaches, while Fort Myers Beach locals ready to purchase more pedestrian signs.

 But pedesstrians interested in spending summer days outdoors have other options as well. In Long Beach they're  Revolutionizing the Road – Parklets on 4th Street, and the Powell Street Promenade Enlivens the ‘Heart of San Francisco’s Downtown’. For folks in Dallas that Want A Pedestrian Zone That Cuts Through Downtown? It Already Exists. Perhaps envy for these cities is the reason that a Del Mar group pushes for vibrant town center.

In other good news for pedestrians, Garden Gate neighborhood to see safer pedestrian routes, and FC, JM roads to get pedestrian signals. In Little Rock US Transportation Secretary LaHood on hand for dedication of Arkansas pedestrian bridge, and a Canadian City strikes deal to build pedestrian tunnel for Toronto Island airport.

But things aren't so rosy on the international front. Pedestrians left to fend for themselves in Bangalore, even though advocates point out that Pedestrians do need space to walk. They're encouraging residents to Come, reclaim Bangalore for the pedestrians. Meanwhile in Jakarta, Pedestrians Violating Act Fined Rp 250,000, while Kiwis wonder Why are Wellington pedestrians so reckless? In response to the so-called "reckless" behavior, a Plea issued for pedestrians to take extra care on region's roads in that country.

Back at home, is it Sharing or chaos? Central Park biking shortcuts get mixed reaction. And speaking of mixed reactions, Ford, Verizon Support Distracted-Driver Law — And Its Loophole. Is that good news or bad news? Maybe it falls into the category of "better than nothing" news...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carmageddon is Nigh

Image courtesy of Good, with a little tweaking by me.

We'll know in a few days if it's truly the disaster the media is proclaiming it will be, or the disaster that never was, but either way this weekend's shutdown of the 405 is a great excuse to ditch your car and check out your neighborhood on foot. If you live in the Valley near me, you can join in Saturday's Carmageddon Walk to Mulholland Bridge, or take an hour to do a walk audit of your neighborhood and then find out what you can do to fix the problems you discover. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cool Ped Stuff #15: TV Series

Perils for Pedestrians is a monthly television series promoting awareness of issues affecting the safety of people who walk and bicycle. It appears on public access cable stations in many cities across the United States and is also webcast. Check out the two latest episodes, or view them all online.

Episode 171:
--Meet the public health director for Broome County, NY.
--Learn about New York State DOT's role in greenways.
--Learn about the City of Binghamton's role in greenways.
--Partnerships are key to the greenway system.
--Talk with a blind pedestrian about traffic.

Episode 172:
--Dobbs Ferry, New York, is losing pedestrian access to development.
--A lawyer explains Sovereign Immunity, Tort, Duty, Notice, and their relation to sidewalk defects.
--An elderly woman in Oswego, New York, makes an inventory of sidewalk defects.
--A pedestrian in New York City is concerned about bicyclists that don't follow the rules.
--A look at sexual harassment of pedestrians in New York City.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Upcoming ITE Webinars

CSS: Case Study Successes in Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares
Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Eastern

Credits: 1.5 PDH/Approved AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity

Instructor:  James M. Daisa, P.E., Associate Principal, Ove Arup & Partners, San Francisco, CA, USA; Brian Bochner, P.E., PTOE, Senior Research Engineer, Texas Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA and Beverly Storey, Associate Research Scientist, Texas Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA
This Web briefing provides background and examples of collaborative planning, community and thoroughfare design, design issue resolution, innovative financing,  value capture through redevelopment and public/private partnerships. It will provide two examples of the use of the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) approach to develop a vision, objectives and design for an urban thoroughfare in areas targeted for redevelopment.

Site Fee: $50 non-refundable fee. Register online here.

CSS: Designing Safety and Security Into Walkable Urban Thoroughfares
Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Eastern

Credits: 1.5 PDH/Approved AICP Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity
Instructor: James M. Daisa, P.E., Associate Principal, Ove Arup & Partners, San Francisco, CA, USA; Brian Bochner, P.E., PTOE, Senior Research Engineer, Texas Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA; and Beverly Storey, Associate Research Scientist, Texas Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA
This Web briefing presents a wide range of design approaches and features that help designers incorporate transportation safety into the design of walkable urban thoroughfares. This includes both roadway and urban design. The briefing will cover primary causes of safety issues and the basic approaches to increasing safety, design features that can increase safety in a multimodal, walkable urban environment and safety benefits and personal security aspects.

Site Fee: $50 non-refundable fee. Register online here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Action Alert from SRTS

A call to action from our friends at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership:

IMPORTANT – Key lawmakers acting to end dedicated funding for bicycling and walking!
Key Congressional leaders are attacking Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational trails and are taking steps to cut off dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking.  We need every single person who simply wants safe options to walk or bicycle to contact their Senators and Representative today!          

House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced today that his transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourage states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.”  Chairman Mica’s statement that these programs remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs, they are effectively eliminated.
Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’  This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking.  However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination. 
Help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Members of Congress  , and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue dedicated funding for these important bicycling and walking programs. 
Need some good facts to bolster your argument?  Read on:

Cool Ped Stuff #16: People Powered Photo Contest

For all you pedestrisn photographers out there, a fun contest from tge Alliance For Biking and Walking:
The People Powered Movement Photo Contest addresses a critical need for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates need high-quality images of biking and walking to make their campaigns and communications both professional and engaging. Our nationwide contest builds our online Photo Library, which provides hundreds of images for Alliance members to download and use at no cost. Support grassroots advocacy by submitting your best biking and walking photos for use in the Alliance’s photo library. Enter the 2011 People Powered Movement Photo Contest!

You could win:
The contest runs through October 31, 2011.
  • Online photo submissions will be accepted from August 1 to September 30.
  • Public voting will open October 1 and close October 31.
  • Winners will be announced in early 2012.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This Week on Foot

It's shaping up to be a good week in the world of pedestrian safety. Here in the LA region, Metrolink proposals target pedestrian safety at downtown Burbank station. Meanwhile, there's One Complete Street at Atlanta Streets Alive, and even oil-lovin' Texans think that Dallas-Fort Worth should join global pedestrian trend. Under proposed legislation in New York,  Road projects would have to consider sidewalks and bike lanes, while on the national stage Electric, Hybrid Cars to Be Required to Sound Pedestrian Alerts.

Outside the US, there's good news as well. In Canada there are Cops targeting bad bicyclists, mean motorists, while (taking a page from other Latin American countries) Mimes Turn Silent Force For Traffic Safety in Honduras. And even though Zurich streets among Europe’s most congested, that's not stopping the city from continuing to favor pedestrians over cars. London's former mayor argues that city should follow suit, citing 2012 London Olympics 'Games Lanes deaths risk' if pedestrian crossing are removed for the games. 

But don't worry, I won't leave you without a little bad news to balance things out. First, there's an Alarming increase in pedestrian deaths in Bakersfield. And elsewhere we're reminded that Dated sidewalks often pose problems for pedestrians. If only that was the worst of our problems... 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 10 Most Convenient US Cities

The Street recently released its list of the 10 most convenient cities in the US-- and by "convenient," they don't mean an abundance of free parking. In their words, "a convenient city is both walkable and easily accessible by public transportation, with jobs, schools, hospitals, groceries, entertainment and other amenities all within striking distance." Using from APTA, Zillow, and WalkScore, they identified cities where--in a least many neighborhoods-- you can leave the car behind and still accomplish many of your day-to-day tasks.

There aren't any big surprises on the list (except maybe Milwaukee), although I'm sure there are naysayers who would argue that LA shouldn't be in the top ten. As someone who resides in the so-called epitome of urban sprawl (an LA suburb), but can still walk to the grocery store, optometrist,  drugstore, bank, pet store, yoga studio, and numerous restaurants, I disagree. Without further ado, the top ten:
  • Boston
  • New York
  • Denver
  • Portland
  • Chicago
  • Washington, DC
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Milwaukee
  • Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Upcoming Walking Events

A plethora of ways for you to get involved in the pedestrian community this summer and fall:

Transportation Research Board
91st Annual Meeting
January 22-26, 2012
Call for Papers: Modelling pedestrians and motorized traffic

Societal issues present and future (aging, public health, developmentof new transportation modes) require a better knowledge of pedestrian travelsand behaviours as well as their interactions with the environment. To carry outthis work, simulation tools are playing an increasingly important role.In order to improve our knowledge, the pedestrian committee and the traffic flow theory committee are seeking papers for the 2012 TRB Annual Meeting.

Details are available here.

July 7, 2011 - 11:00 AM PDT
Webinar: Engineering Strategies

Examining a variety of engineering strategies, this presentation will provide participants with knowledge of the different types of improvements that have been shown to enhance safety forpedestrians. Specifically, instructors will present information about sidewalks, street crossings, intersection design, signals, transitconnections and road diets. Following the presentation, participants will be able to describe effective engineering strategies and understand how to integrate them into their pedestrian safety action plans. Sponsored by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, the Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety andthe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AICP CM Credits: 1.5

Register here.

July 20, 2011 - 11:00 AM PDT
Webinar: Promising Practices and Solutions in Accessible Transportation: Signals for Pedestrians who are Blind - Overview of Current Issues and Available Training

As part of ESPA’s Promising Practices and Solutions in Accessible Transportation (PPSAT) series, Project ACTION and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) will present a webinar Signals for Pedestrians Who are BlindOverview of Current Issues and Available Training. This webinar will provide an overview of accessible pedestrian signals (APS), how they are used by people who are blind, current standards governing their use, and how webinar attendees can host a free APS workshop offered through TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP has initiated a project to develop guidelines and training materials for implementation of APS. A former APS workshop host and a former workshop participant will be featured to share their experiences.

Register  by July 15 here.

July 23, 2011
WalkSanDiego Community Walk

Mt Soledad/Back Roads of La Jolla
Free -WalkSanDiego members, suggested $5.00 Non-Member donation
RSVP and additional information: Dave Schumacher

August 6, 2011
WalkSanDiego Community Walk

Coronado Historic Walk
Free -WalkSanDiego members, suggested $5.00 Non-Member donation
RSVP and additional information: Dave Schumacher

August 21, 2011
WalkSanDiego Community Walk

Special Sunday Walk Through Balboa Park Trails
Free -WalkSanDiego members, suggested $5.00 Non-Member donation
RSVP and additional information: Dave Schumacher

WalkSanDiego Fall Walking Tour Weekend in Los Angeles

WalkSanDiego is looking into organizing a fall weekend walking tour to explore some of these hidden gems that showcase the real LA ---including old staircases that were scenes in old Laurel and Hardy/Three Stoogies movies, narrow/twisty streets in historic neighborhoods, unusual bridges, and a walk up to the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood sign!

Walks each day would 8-10 miles in length, but at a relaxed pace with plenty of stops at coffee bars in the morning, enjoyable lunch spots, and ice cream/gelato shops in the afternoon. If you are potentially interested in joining WSD, please contact Dave Schumacher.

September 11-14, 2011
California APA Conference

The California Chapter presents Mission: Possible, a statewide conference that provides networking and educational opportunities for its members. These popular conferences attract planning professionals from throughout California, the United States, and around the world.

Additional information available here.
February 2-4, 2012
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Sun, Surf, and Smart Growth: The 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will be held in San Diego, CA.

Additional information available here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

This week on foot

This week, further evidence that people are crazy out there. First, in Florida St. Andrews resident demands pedestrians yield to golfers (or rather golf carts) instead of the other way around. And closer to home, UCLA students criticize parking enforcement changes in Westwood that prevent them from parking in crosswalks. Now, as a former UCLA student myself I understand the parking problem in Westwood--but that's no excuse for blocking pedestrian access. It makes you wonder, Can LA Afford to Neglect Its Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure?

Meanwhile, Bike Lanes, Crosswalks, Pedestrian Signals Coming to Dahab Crash Corner in Culver City and New Signage to Guide Pedestrians in Four Neighborhoods in New York. But elsewhere in that city a Dangerous Queens Intersection Has Pedestrians Worried. Perhaps its fortunate then, that a 
Traffic Safety Boards target distracted drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Of course, that comes a little to late for one pedestrian in Washington, where an Officer’s text message ruled a factor in pedestrian fatality. At least in Tennessee a new "Due Care" law strengthens protections for Tennessee bicyclists, pedestrians

Further abroad, things are also looking positive this week. In Portugal Downtown Vilamoura improvements for greater pedestrian safety, and its a Smooth walk for south Mumbai pedestrians. In Canada Cops tell cyclists to stay off sidewalks, while European Cities Choose Walkability Over Traffic Flow. But watch out if you're in New Zealand, where Bus lanes blamed for pedestrian toll.

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!